Second question: Why were less than 10 students given tickets to attend this event that had an audience of 300+?

Historically black Benedict College recently hosted a 3-day criminal justice reform event, the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum, with 7 students in attendance. The rest of the audience consisted of Trump supporters and political figures, most of which, came from out of state, including black Trump supporters.

The event featured 2020 presidential election candidates including Senator Kamala Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Cory Booker, former rep. John Delaney, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, former HUD secretary Julián Castro, Senator Tulsi Gabbard and Donald Trump.

Candidates took the stage and joined a conversation on a critical issue our country is facing. The forum allowed the presidential candidates the opportunity to follow up on the passing of the First Step Act criminal justice reform bill last year and to propose their second step to address criminal justice reform.

Donald Trump spoke and was presented with an award for his work on the First Step Act from event organizers, the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center.

Image result for benedict college criminal justice reform

During his speech, Trump took digs at his Democratic opponents, criticized the media, and unsurprisingly attacked President Barack Obama’s administration (again).

Democratic candidates for president were not happy. Former president Biden shared, “Let me just set the record straight … President Trump has fanned the fuels of white supremacy.”

Senator Harris was so passionate, she originally vowed not to be apart of certain events. Her sentiments stemmed from Donald Trump being awarded and speaking, but also from her disapproval of students being advised to remain in their dormitories during the event. She shared, “It’s about everybody being here…This is such an important conversation.”

Following Senator Harris’ vow, candidate forum co-host Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin then announced that he and Benedict College would be removing the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center as a sponsor of the event, and taking over the weekend’s events.

Positive takeaways include criminal justice reform being recognized as a critical and necessary discussion in the current presidential election.