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The Crisis January 3, 2020

NAACP Leads Presidential Forums on Economic Empowerment, Environmental Justice and Education

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In the latter half of 2019, the NAACP participated in three presidential forums and town halls after hosting our own Presidential Candidates Forum at our 110th Annual Convention in Detroit, Michigan in July.

On November 8, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) along with some two-dozen national and local organizations hosted the 2019 Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice: "Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving," in the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium of South Carolina State University. The forum gave candidates an opportunity to share their policies and visions for the country through an environmental justice lens, and moreover, connect and learn from voters of color whose issues are frequently overlooked. The forum centered the voices of marginalized communities to learn how presidential hopefuls intend to manage climate change, environmental pollution and public health risks that disproportionately affect communities of color.

On November 12, twelve presidential candidates spoke at Drake University for the NAACP Presidential Town Hall, hosted by KCCI, the Des Moines Register and the Des Moines branch of the NAACP. Participating candidates included Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang. The forum focused on the economic empowerment of black voters and allowed candidates to participate in an open conversation with the black community in Des Moines.

On December 12, the NAACP co-hosted the Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All in Pittsburg, PA along with 11 other public education groups. The forum welcomed more than 1,000 educators, students, parents and community members to a discussion with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates about their plans for K-12 and higher education. Participating candidates included Sen. Michael Bennet, Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Topics included school investment, student services, special education, student debt and teaching conditions, as well as key education equity and justice issues facing America's students and public schools.

The NAACP will also lead another forum with presidential candidates focused on protecting our democracy in Iowa on January 19, 2019. Visit for updates and more information.