While Van Jones and Cory Booker took swipes at Sen. Harris for boycotting the Criminal Justice forum last weekend, Gillum credits her for doing the right thing and creating change.
October 29, 2019

Kamala Harris made a strong, risky stand regarding this past weekend's events at Benedict College, an HBCU in South Carolina. At the risk of her campaign, Sen. Harris boycotted a Democratic Candidates' forum when she learned Donald Trump would be presented with an award on criminal justice reform by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center - the group sponsoring the weekend's events.

On CNN's New Day, Alysin Camerota asked her guest, former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, about the criminal justice forum, and Senator Kamala Harris' impact on the event. The 20/20 BJC is a group of Black Republicans, Democrats, and Independents focused on criminal justice reform.

Some of her colleagues were critical of her decision, notably Sen. Cory Booker and CNN's Van Jones.

I'm sorry, "running away?"

Her withdrawal led the College and the Mayor of the Columbia, SC to take over the event and remove the 20/20 BJC from sponsorship. In other words, results. She then agreed to attend. And even then, people are still trying to denigrate her for having taken a stand. A B Stoddard called it a "stunt" on MSNBC over the weekend, and Alysin Camerota tried her hardest to get Andrew Gillum to agree with Van Jones.

Gillum gave her and John Berman a free education.

GILLUM: Van is a colleague and I love Van, but I will tell you, I am with Senator Harris on this one. Quite frankly, the fact that it bore out her protest ended up getting this cosponsor removed from the sponsorship of that conference. By the way, I'm told that Benedict College didn't even know this presentation was being made. This was done by a sponsoring organization. I have to make this point. Senator Harris is a graduate of Howard University, a very rich tradition of the historically black college experience. I'm a graduate of Florida A&M University. These HBCUs are the academic conscience of our communities of color, and in the very same week that the president ends up using a word like he's going through a LYNCHING? With NO respect for the history, the historical facts around lynching, and the very deep-seated pain it causes so many communities of color, the SAME WEEK he gets presented at an HBCU, one of our leading HBCUs, an award? The good news is that they were able to get the course corrected, the sponsor was removed, Senator Harris then attended, and I have to tell you, the facts bear out, she -- her protests led to the changing of the rules.

STILL not satisfied, Camerota tried to get Gillum to agree with Van Jones that Trump deserved that award for criminal justice reform. She attempted to frame Trump as actually caring about Black people, the proof being that he signed the First Step Act, which reduced sentences for many African-Americans charged with drug crimes. Gillum was ready to roll. He turned that RIGHT around, and gave credit where it was due. President Barack Obama.

GILLUM: Yeah. So the Republicans obstructed under the Obama administration very similar policies, a stronger criminal justice reform platform. They wouldn't let it go through. To honor this president for the repackaging of Barack Obama's criminal justice agenda, good, good step in the right direction. I'm not going to overplay what this administration has done for criminal justice reform, especially when it sows seeds of hate against communities of color every single day.

BOOM. Well done, Mr. Gillum.

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