Presidential candidate forum looks to ease racial divide

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the presidential candidate forum on day two of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort in Aventura, Florida on Thursday. SARAHBETH MANEY/NABJ MONITOR

Elaijah Gibbs-Jones
NABJ Monitor

Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders along with Republican candidate Bill Weld took the stage at NABJ to talk key race and social issues as the 2020 election kicks into high gear. 

Attendees packed the forum at the convention to hear the candidates speak one at a time with Craig Melvin, NBC ‘Today’ show news anchor,  Alexi McCammond, Axios political reporter and 2019 Emerging Journalist of the Year; Vann Newkirk, The Atlantic politics and policy writer. 

“I’m really curious to hear about the ways in which the candidates intend to interact with media and journalists simply seeking to do their jobs,” said Lindsey Lavaux, public offender who was among the many attendees hoping to gain clarity amid a crowded 2020 race. 

Sen. Cory Booker speaks at the presidential candidate forum on day two of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort in Aventura, Florida on Thursday. SARAHBETH MANEY/NABJ MONITOR

Buttigieg was first to take the stage, where he explained why he abides by the Douglass Plan – a comprehensive and intentional dismantling of racist structures and systems – named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

He engaged the audience through questions he often uses to explain to white Americans how they should ponder on how important it would be for local communities to receive funding for health equity and entrepreneurship. 

Booker addressed his hope and faith in journalists, and how he believes it is up to them to keep combating white supremacy with their voices.

“White supremacy has always been a problem in our story,” said Booker. “It has always been there lurking if not on the surface, then beneath it. We need your voices.”

Sanders alluded to several issues within the black community including maternal death rates of black women, housing crises, lack of access to a college education and healthcare. 

“In African-American communities, among other things, there are not enough black doctors, black nurses, or other black professionals,” said Sanders. “What we have to do is focus special attention on those distressed communities where healthcare outcomes are bad.”

Republican candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, made it clear he was running due to Trump being a “complete disaster as president both domestically and internationally

Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld speaks at a forum on day two of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort in Aventura, Florida on Thursday. SARAHBETH MANEY/NABJ MONITOR

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