On Sunday evening, Sen. Bernie Sanders became the second Democratic candidate for president to release a comprehensive plan
addressing police brutality, serious criminal justice reforms, and other issues specifically tied to racial justice. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley released his own plan
addressing serious systemic reforms in the justice system about a week prior to Sanders.
Both plans from Sanders and O'Malley are very comprehensive and address scores of the root issues at hand that plague people of color as it pertains to police brutality, the death penalty, sentencing guidelines, and so much more.
Of course, each candidate gets to tweak and improve what he or she sees released from the first candidate to take the step. In that sense, Bernie's plan is powerful because it uses a vocabulary that resonates deeply with activists and leaders. It starts out like this:
We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color. That starts with addressing the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic.
PERPETRATED BY THE STATE
Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Samuel DuBose. We know their names. Each of them died unarmed at the hands of police officers or in police custody. The chants are growing louder. People are angry and they have a right to be angry. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that this violence only affects those whose names have appeared on TV or in the newspaper. African Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.
Following this, Bernie goes on to detail other forms of violence
faced by African Americans in a powerful nuanced manner, including political violence, legal violence, and economic violence. Beyond just hitting it correctly on tone, Sanders and his team got much of it correct on substance as well, with detailed solutions for each problem they enumerate.
The question is now being raised as to when and where Hillary Clinton will release such a plan.
When activist DeRay McKesson raised this thought on Twitter Sunday evening, Karen Finney, senior advisor for communications and political outreach for Hillary Clinton, instead of politely acknowledging the reality that Clinton had not yet released her plan, appeared halfway indignant in her response:
The truth is not gray on this. Hillary Clinton has given great speeches on criminal justice reform and has made some statements about specific ideas she'd like to see happen with voter reform and prison reform, but she hasn't released two essential things:
1. A comprehensive platform like that released by Bernie and O'Malley.
2. She has not firmly and concretely addressed the reality of race-based police brutality in this country.
While I think it's true that Hillary was addressing some of these issues in speeches months before her opponents, they have since doubled down in ways that she hasn't, and ways that she must, if she expects to receive the full support from millions of Democratic voters.