Yesterday, She the People hosted a presidential forum at Texas Southern University in Houston, featuring eight of the Democratic candidates: Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and Amy Klobuchar. She the People describes itself as “a national network connecting women of color to transform our democracy...elevating and amplifying the voice and power of women of color as leaders, political strategists, organizers, and voters.” The event was specifically to discuss issues that are important to women of color. It was moderated by Aimee Allison, who founded the organization, and Joy Reid from MSNBC. More than 1,000 people attended. Here's a rundown of what the four women (Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, Warren) talked about:
Tulsi Gabbard voiced her support for overturning the recently upheld transgender military ban. She discussed her foreign policy plans, and her record introducing the Securing America’s Elections Act into Congress, which “would authorize emergency funding to empower every state to use voter-verified paper ballots that produce an auditable paper trail ahead of the 2018 elections.” When asked if Puerto Rico should be a state, she said that she supports their right for self-determination.
Harris supports the legalization of marijuana. When asked if she would use her pardon power as president to release federal prisoners who are in prison for drug related crimes, she “absolutely” supported the idea. She talked about the importance of supporting mental health initiatives and comprehensive immigration reform. Within her hypothetical first 100 days as president, Harris wants to see Congress take action on gun safety.
Amy Klobuchar talked about her support for the prosecution of the officer who killed Philando Castile in 2016, adding that she believes our police departments and grand juries “should reflect the communities they serve.” She supports a $15 minimum wage and union-organizing. She talked about the importance of going beyond the groundwork laid with the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (by including a public option) and taking on the pharmaceutical companies.
Elizabeth Warren talked about her policy proposal to address the high rate of maternal mortality among black women. Her plan includes incentivizing hospitals who lower their rates of maternal mortality with bonus funds and financially penalizing those who don’t. She discussed the importance of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, especially as it relates to indigenous women (who are the victims of violent crime at a rate three-and-a-half times greater than the national average). Warren also talked about tackling racial housing discrimination and universal health care.
Reminder, 94 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. In 2020, supporting and listening to them is absolutely crucial.
Top credit: She the People Presidential Forum livestream
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Emma Davey is a blog editor for BUST. She recently earned a B.A. in politics and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies from Oberlin College. She is originally from Houston and worships Beyoncé accordingly. You can follow her on Twitter @navel_gazerr if you want to hear her rant about things.