National Action Network Convention

– videos: April 3 NowThis |  April 5 Guardian News
April 3-6, 2019 at the Sheraton Times Square in New York, NY.

13 CANDIDATES: Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Delaney, Gillibrand, Harris, Hickenlooper, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Ryan, Sanders, Warren and Yang.

Background: After each candidate's remarks during the plenary sessions, Rev. Sharpton stood next to them, hand on the lectern, and asked two questions, one on criminal justice reform, specifically consent decrees and commutation of unfair sentences and the second on whether they support Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's bill to create a commission on reparations [H.R. 40].  It was an interesting power dynamic. 

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who announced his candidacy on April 4, was a late addition to the luncheon program on April 6.

National Action Network
April 5, 2019

Rachel Noerdlinger
Erica Dumas
Alex Butcher-Nesbitt

Today at NAN: Rev. Al Sharpton To Host Five Presidential Candidates & Leading Democratic Figures


Day 3 of National Action Network’s (NAN) Annual Convention


  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), 9:45 a.m.
  • Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), 10:00 a.m.
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), 10:15 a.m.
  • Rep. Alexanria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), 10:30 a.m.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), 10:45 a.m.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), 11:00 a.m.
  • Rev. Dr. William Jones Memorial Luncheon, 12:00-2:00 p.m.:
      • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MI)
      • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
      • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ – plenary), 2:15 p.m.
  • Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA-06), 2:30 p.m.
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), 3:00 p.m.
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC-06), House Majority Whip, 7:00 p.m.

National Action Network
April 1, 2019


Largest public civil rights conference in the nation will feature nearly a dozen 2020 presidential hopefuls, clergy members, civil rights activists, and stakeholders in the nation to examine the state of civil liberties and racial justice today


National Action Network (NAN) Annual Convention

Panels, workshops, and speakers



Wednesday, April 3–Saturday, April 6, 2019



Rev. Al Sharpton, President & Founder, NAN

Stacey Abrams, Founder, Fair Fight Action

Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to Barack Obama & Author, Finding My Voice

Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14)

Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37)

Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA-06)

Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY-05)

Tom Perez, Chairman, Democratic National Committee wed, 10:40

Van Jones, CNN Commentator 

Lawrence O’Donnell, Host, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

Jesse Jackson, Jr. 


2020 Presidential Candidates:


Wednesday, April 3:

  • Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), 10:00 a.m.
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, 10:20 a.m.
  • Julian Castro (D-TX), 11:00 a.m.


Thursday, April 4:

  • Representative John Delaney (D-MD), 10:00 a.m.
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN), 10:15 a.m.


Friday, April 5:

  • Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), 9:45 a.m.
  • Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), 10:00 a.m.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), 10:45 a.m.
  • Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), 11:00 a.m.
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 12:00-2:00 p.m. (appearing during Dr. William A. Jones Memorial Luncheon)
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), 12:00-2:00 p.m. (appearing during Dr. William A. Jones Memorial Luncheon)
  • Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), 2:15 p.m.


** Full panel and plenary schedule available at this link.



Sheraton Times Square
811 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019


March 25, 2019

Updated schedule: Beto O’Rourke to join packed field of presidential contenders at Rev. Al Sharpton’s NAN Convention

Nearly a dozen presidential hopefuls to appear alongside black clergy, activists, and civil rights leaders as the convention explores the state of racial justice and climate of inequality in the U.S. April 3-6

NEW YORK — Rev. Al Sharpton announced today former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) will join the field of presidential candidates speaking at this year’s National Action Network (NAN) Convention in New York next week. The full schedule of plenaries, panels, and workshops can be found here:

NAN’s Annual Convention is historically one of the largest civil rights conferences in the country and will address the pressing political issues facing Black and Brown communities 2019. In addition, it will be the largest single gathering of presidential hopefuls before the Democratic debates this summer – with all but three declared candidates scheduled to address convention attendees.

“Donald Trump has injected a lot of noise into American politics,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of NAN. “Our annual convention exists to cut through the noise and focus on the issues and policies that truly affect Black America and the civil rights community by inviting local and national politicians and leaders to help foster policy discussions that lead to innovative solutions.”

With plenaries and panel appearances from nearly a dozen presidential contenders, the convention will be an essential forerunner to the 2020 Democratic presidential debates as the candidates make their case to the African American community – a critical constituency that has consistently carried the party on its back in recent elections. Presidential contenders addressing the convention will include Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN), former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (D-TX), Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Appearances from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Eric Holder, Stacey Abrams, Valerie Jarrett, and Tom Perez round out the impressive list of national political figures that will appear at the convention.

“NAN has mobilized Black voters at every level of the democratic process for decades now,” said Ebonie Riley, NAN’s DC Bureau Chief. “Politicians have historically ignored issues that resonate with the black community. Our annual convention has always been an opportunity to hold national leaders accountable to a black specific agenda. Our convention continues to serve as the foremost place for presidential candidates to discuss the policies that directly affect black voters.”

The convention will feature panels, plenaries, and workshops dedicated to dissecting the most pressing political issues of our time, including social justice and economic equality, immigrant rights, diversity, and the media, women’s empowerment and leadership, and consumer privacy and its impacts on communities of color. Each panel will feature a diverse array of political leaders, commentators, academics, clergy, and corporate leaders.

As in previous years, this year’s convention will feature NAN’s Keepers of the Dream Awards, honoring the leaders and luminaries that have shown their dedication and commitment to upholding the legacy and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.

Founded in the spirit and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., NAN is one of the foremost civil rights organizations in the country and has already hosted a series of influential events this year featuring leading 2020 presidential contenders. The NAN Annual Convention will take place over April 3-6 at the Sheraton Times Square.

** Media interested in press credentials should fill out this form and contact with any questions. **

Several of the candidates provided their prepared remarks...

Hickenlooper 2020


New York, NY - Today, in a speech at the National Action Network's annual conference, former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper called for a presidential apology for slavery.

"A great country should acknowledge its mistakes. We were founded on the idea that we could be better — that our union could always be made more perfect. Slavery is the nagging, unrelenting shame of America that continues to deny the true promise of the country to too many its citizens. We must own our past and acknowledge the shame, the sin, the injustice, and the ongoing consequences of enslaving an entire race of people. We must apologize, and that apology must come from the Oval Office."

Hickenlooper also detailed his long history of justice reform, as a two-term Mayor of Denver and two-term Governor of Colorado. In 2003, Hickenlooper instituted comprehensive reforms to reduce lethal force and to increase accountability in the Denver Police Department — requiring crisis intervention training, creating an independent monitor, strengthening the discipline policy, and arming officers with less-lethal defense tools. As Governor, he ended long-term solitary confinement, enacted drug sentencing reform, and shuttered two state prisons all together — turning one of them into a comprehensive campus for the chronically homeless.

The speech was received warmly by conference attendees, according to Business Insider and the Huffington Post.

***Full remarks as prepared***  

It’s an honor to be here with so many leaders of the civil rights movement, mothers of the movement, advocates for social justice, and leaders in the black church.

I like to personally acknowledge the Chairman of the National Action Network Board, Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson.

And NAN’s President and Founder, the Reverend Al Sharpton, who learned from his mother that life isn’t about where you start, but where you’re going.

That just about sums up this event — we see the barriers and the hope of a day free from racism and discrimination.

We see the grinding struggles and the strength to rise.

We see talent and brilliant contributions to America.

And mostly, we see triumph over tragedy.

My name is John Hickenlooper. I’m here today because I had opportunities and privilege, free from many barriers, to be who I wanted when I wanted.

I had never run for any office, even student council until I was elected Mayor of Denver at 50 years old. Within two years, Time Magazine listed me as one of the five best big-city mayors in the country.

My success had little to do with me, and everything to do with the people around me — my team.

I had surrounded myself with some of the most talented and experienced individuals in any Mayor’s office anywhere in America.

Our strength was rooted in our diversity, reflecting the richness of the city.

More than half of my cabinet leadership were people of color and sixty percent of them were women.

We were tested right from the beginning.

Paul Childs was a 15-year-old black high school student with developmental disabilities. One day he was walking around the kitchen, holding a kitchen knife straight up, as if he was holding a candle in church. He was talking to himself, not threatening anyone, when an inexperienced police officer shot him four times in his own home. 

His story is like that of so many black kids and mothers who bury their children.

Two weeks before I took office, I attended Paul’s funeral with outgoing Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife Wilma.

Mayor Webb, one of America’s greatest mayors, connected me with the Denver Ministerial Alliance — an assembly of 35 African-American Pastors and Reverends from the Denver Metro area. 

They quickly became my invaluable partners in all we did.

A wise man has often said, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

As Mayor, I did my best to make the table bigger.

My team and I put in place reforms to reduce lethal force and bias in policing.

As a community effort, we transformed the way the Denver Police Department handled issues of police misconduct. We required all officers to go through crisis de-escalation training. As a result, we reduced the number of officer-involved uses of deadly force under the leadership of my director of public safety, Al Lacabe.

Al was raised in a low-income parish of New Orleans. At age 16, he was one of three black students who desegregated Loyola University. He worked his way through law school as a police officer.

He went on to work for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and later as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Together, for the first time, we created what he called a discipline matrix that allowed us to discipline officers, including firing them, instead of just slapping their wrists.

This wasn’t exactly popular among the police force. Hundreds of cops protested on the steps of City Hall, chanting “chicken-looper,” “chicken-looper!”

Which isn’t even that much worse than “Hickenlooper!”

But we didn’t stop there.

Together, we established the Office of Independent Monitor, that was empowered outside the authority of the Mayor to investigate allegations of police misconduct. We created a Civilian Oversight Commission to give the community direct input on how their community was policed.

For the first time, we created a minority recruitment unit. We armed officers with less-lethal defense tools.

We fought back on the damaging impact of racial bias in policing. We did it because our basic American compact says: people have a right to be safe, unafraid, and secure in their communities.

This was 10 years before Ferguson.

It was a battle. And I’m proud of what we did in Denver.

Candidates should be judged not just on their words today, but what they did yesterday.

In the end, our actions were a small wave in a big ocean.

As a country, we often just nod at injustice.

Today, we face a crisis of faith and division.

Dr. King called it “the fierce urgency of now.”

He said, “In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy and complacency.”

For every one of our neighbors who is attacked and vilified for the color of their skin — there is an urgency of now.

For those who wake up, not knowing if the gunshots that ring out every night will turn on them — there is an urgency of now.

From the assaults on communities of color to the nonstop demonization of immigrants, the rising tide of Anti-Semitism, and the terror and anxiety in our cities between police and neighbors that seems to go unchecked.

We must have a fierce urgency of now.

When it comes to empathy, there is such a thing as being too late.

The term “law and order” has never just been about fighting crime — going back to the days when loitering was declared a felony to deny black people the right to vote.

The criminal justice system has long been a tool to control people of color and limit their political power.

Today, millions of formerly-incarcerated people who have paid their dues are still denied the ability to participate in our democracy.

That is wrong.

In Colorado, we have this crazy idea that the more people who vote, the better our democracy. So we have same day registration and mail-in ballots, leading to some of the highest voting rates in the country.

We also believe in Colorado that people should not lose their right to vote or their very freedom because of a joint.

After we legalized recreational marijuana, we changed the focus of sentencing for drug use to rehabilitation and treatment, giving prosecutors and law enforcement the option of diversion instead of jail time.

We also granted clemency. We pardoned and commuted sentences for hundreds of people. Individuals like Eric Lightner and the Lee brothers, who were sentenced as young men to life in prison for homicide, even though the bullet didn’t match.

They weren’t perfect kids but they have become model inmates in prison. As Bryan Stevenson wrote in Just Mercy: “each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

Last year, I commuted their sentences. We need to give people like the Lee Brothers the chance to seal records as we’ve done in Colorado.

We need to end long-term solitary confinement, which is not only cruel and unusual punishment but makes it almost impossible for offenders to reenter society.

We banned solitary in Colorado for inmates with mental illnesses and ended the practice for longer than 15 days.

With these reforms, in just a few years we dropped solitary confinement from 700 to 18 inmates.

We should also just shutter some prisons altogether. We closed two of them in Colorado. And gutted one of them and turned it into a place of reinvention — a campus with wraparound services for the chronically homeless.

We need an intense focus on transitioning out of incarceration and we need to “ban the box” — to end discrimination in housing and employment.

When I hired people for my first restaurant, I didn’t require applicants to disclose criminal convictions. And we were more successful because of it.

A great country should acknowledge its mistakes. We were founded on the idea that we could be better — that our union could always be made more perfect.
Slavery is the nagging, unrelenting shame of America that continues to deny the true promise of the country to too many its citizens.

We must own our past and acknowledge the shame, the sin, the injustice, and the ongoing consequences of enslaving an entire race of people.

 We must apologize, and that apology must come from the Oval Office.  

As Representative Sheila Jackson Lee has proposed, Congress should convene a study on the best way to provide reparations.

“Equal opportunity for all” can no longer be just a cute politically correct phrase.

Our progress is measured by the growing freedom of conscience, mutual respect, and empathy toward others.

We have to find the time and temperament to listen, learn, and rebuild communities.

Dr. King said, “Life is a long, continual story of setting out to build a great temple and not being able to finish it.”

Our temple is justice. We are the humble workers whatever our circumstance of birth.

That was Dr. King’s dream: all of us working, arms linked, to build the temple. It’s not easy. But it is urgent — that we not lose faith in each other and never stop building.

Thank you again for this opportunity to listen, to learn, and to join you in building America’s temple.


Warren for President

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

As prepared for delivery at the National Action Network Convention, 04/05/2019

Thank you, Reverend Sharpton. Hello National Action Network!

Let me begin by saying what an honor it is to be with you again today. For decades, under the leadership of Rev. Sharpton, the National Action Network and the people in this room have been on the front lines of the fight for social, racial and economic justice.

You’ve challenged our leaders — Democrats and Republicans — to make this country live up to its best values and you’ve made real progress.

I’m here today because as we speak, Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are doing everything within their power to normalize hatred, racism and bigotry. Public conversation has gotten nastier. Voter suppression routinely targets people of color. Hate crimes are on the rise.

We come to this moment at a time when the stakes are beyond high, when the very soul of our nation is in jeopardy, when we face the fight of our lives. And with so much on the line, there’s no place I’d rather be than standing shoulder to shoulder with you.

For me this fight is personal.

I grew up out in Oklahoma on the ragged edges of the middle class. My family was a paycheck to paycheck family. My daddy ended up as a janitor. My momma worked a minimum wage job at Sears.

I have three older brothers who all headed off to the military. That was their ticket to America’s middle class.

Me? I was the late in life baby, the “surprise.”

I’ve had one dream — one dream since I was in second grade. I wanted to be a public-school teacher. Can we hear it for our public school teachers?

Like a lot of folks, I didn’t live my life on a straight line. My folks didn’t have money for college, but I got a scholarship. At 19, I fell in love and dropped out of school and got married. I took a job answering phones, like my mother. I thought this would be my life, that I wouldn’t get the chance to be a teacher. And then I found a commuter college that cost $50 a semester.

And I made it. Count me among the blessed. I’ve lived my dream. I became a special needs teacher.

I am filled with gratitude. I have lived opportunity. And I’m in this fight because I believe in opportunity, not just for those born into privilege. I believe in opportunity for every single one of our children.

And today I want to talk about how opportunity gets snuffed out, how it gets taken away — and how we — you and me — how we can expand opportunity for people all across this country. There’s a lot we can do, but I’m going to focus on just one part.

Teaching special needs kids is a calling. But I finished out the year visibly pregnant and didn’t get invited back. Those were the days.

So there I was, at home with a baby. And I got this idea that I could go to law school. I got it altogether, and weeks before classes started, I was ready.

I just needed one thing: Daycare. But hey, how hard could that be?

I searched everywhere. The places were wrong. Or the prices were high. Or the waiting list was a mile long.

Finally, less than a week before classes started, I found a good place we could afford. Only one problem: They only took children who were dependably potty trained. Hmm. I had only a few days to get a not-yet-two-year-old dependably potty trained.

And I stand before you today courtesy of three bags of M&Ms and a cooperative toddler.

But here’s the thing, child care never stopped being an issue. It was an ever-present weight I carried on my shoulders every day and it never let up.

Eventually, I graduated from law school, hugely pregnant with Baby Number Two — you may detect a pattern here. When I got my first real teaching job at a law school in Houston, I was beyond excited.

I loved teaching so I did whatever it took to make it work. Taking care of little ones, cooking and cleaning, doing laundry at 11:00 at night.

It was hard, but I could do hard. It was exhausting, but I could do exhausting.

The thing that eventually pulled me down? Yup. Child care.

One memory is still burned into my brain. Going in late in the afternoon to pick up Alex from daycare. There he was, dirty face and miserable in a soggy diaper. I tried to lay him down to change him, but he started kicking and screaming. Finally, I picked him up, along with his bag of stuff, and headed to the car. He kicked and screamed louder and louder, as I dropped things and got more and more upset. I stood there in the parking lot with baby snot and pee on my clothes, unable to get the car door open, completely overwhelmed.

In the previous few months we had tried it all. A baby sitter. A neighbor with kids. A daycare center. Another day care center. Everything had fallen apart.

One night, after I’d put both kids to bed, my 78-year-old Aunt Bee called long-distance from Oklahoma to see how I was doing. I said, “Fine.” Then, with no warning, I started to cry. I just couldn’t hold it together any longer. I blurted it out: I told Aunt Bee I was going to quit my job. I hadn’t thought about it, but everything came crashing down, and the words just fell out of my mouth.

I cried. I sobbed. I heaved. Finally, I blew my nose and got a drink of water. Then Aunt Bee said eleven words that changed my life forever. “I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday.” Two days later, she arrived at the airport with seven suitcases and a Pekingese named Buddy — and she stayed for 16 years.

That story tells a basic truth: Nobody makes it on their own.

And it tells another basic truth: Without child care, millions and millions of American families simply won’t make it at all.

Now, if every working mom in the country had an Aunt Bee, we’d be all be good. But that’s not the case. I know how lucky I was to have Aunt Bee save the day. But think about all the moms in America who don’t have an Aunt Bee.

Women working day and night constantly worried about their children. Are they safe? Are they happy? Are they getting first-rate educational chances that will give them a good start in school? Those questions gnaw on any mom, but they particularly gnaw on the moms who don’t have great child care.

High-quality child care is out of reach for way too many families in this country. But it’s even further out of reach for African American families struggling to make ends meet.

In more than half the states in America, one year of child care costs more than a year of in-state tuition at the public university.

On average, child care for one child costs the median African American household 22% of their income. Twenty-two percent. Try building a budget around that.

The numbers tell the story. Black women are more likely to be breadwinners for their families. They work more, get paid less, and are the least likely to afford decent child care.

This isn’t just an accident of statistics. It’s the legacy of decades of systemic discrimination against black women. Discrimination in pay. Discrimination in housing. Discrimination in finance. Discrimination in health care. Pile all that together, then make high quality child care expensive and hard to find, and it’s little wonder that child care — or the lack of good child care — holds back one generation after another in communities of color.

That is just plain wrong. We’re the richest country in the history of the planet. Access to high quality child care and education during the early stage of a child’s life shouldn’t be a privilege reserved for the children of the rich. It should be a right for every single child in America.

That’s why I am proposing a big structural change: Universal Child Care and early education.

Now I know Rev. Sharpton takes this platform very seriously. This is not the place for talk. This is the place for ACTION — a real plan that we could pass into law.

So here’s how my plan would work:

    * For starters, we’d expand our network of locally-licensed child care centers, preschool centers, and in-home child care options.
    * The federal government already provides child care for all military families, and we have 900,000 kids in top notch Head Start programs. So we build on that.
    * Right now, well-to-do parents are sending their 5 year olds, 4 year olds and 3 year olds to pre-school where they get ready for what’s coming. My proposal makes that same option available to EVERY child. Getting smarter shouldn’t be reserved just for children born into privilege.
    * Part 2, my plan pays child care workers like the professionals they are. More training, higher standards, and much better pay. These child care workers are disproportionately black and brown women , and they have been undervalued and underpaid for long enough.
    * Child care workers are educators, not babysitters. They deserve a livable wage.

My plan is not only possible, but it is free for millions of children and low cost for families with higher incomes.

Think about what this could mean for black families — and for America. People who today are paying more than a thousand dollars a month could get the highest quality care and pay nothing. That would be life-changing for millions of mothers — and fathers — around the country.

And here’s the fun part — we already know how to pay for it. All we have to do is make the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share. I call it the ultra-millionaire tax. It requires households with a net worth of $50 million or more to pay a 2% tax. That one change — one change — would bring in all the money we would need to completely cover the cost of this universal child care and early education plan — and have $2 trillion left over!

And to everyone who says it’s just too hard, here’s what I know for sure: yeah, it’s not easy to make big changes, but you don’t get what you don’t fight for.

And big, structural changes are worth fighting for. These are the kinds of big structural changes I would make as president, changes that would make opportunity in America available for everyone.

Last month in Memphis I met Latonya, a young mother who told about what it had been like when she was working and going to college. She struggled with child are over and over. She recalled the years in which she was often forced to choose between letting her young son babysit his even younger siblings or staying home from class and giving up her dream to build a future.

Like millions of Black women in America, Latonya faced the tough odds, made do with what she had and came out on top. Today she has an associates degree, a bachelors degree and a masters degree. But here’s the kicker. Even with all of her diplomas, all of the progress she has made, child care is still holding her back. Her youngest is five years old, and he loves his school, but it costs $400 a month. Latonya said she can’t afford it, and the cost still holds her back in taking on a better job.

How many women have this same story? How many parents are sidelined today because they can’t get decent care for their kids?
And how many kids weren’t ready for kindergarten? How many were parked in front of television sets for hours on end? How many got a worse start in school because their moms couldn’t afford pre-pre-K or couldn’t send them to the places with small classes and specialized teachers that all the wealthy folks send their kids to? How many of our kids didn’t make it because America wouldn’t invest in them?

And how many good, talented, dedicated pre-school teachers and child care workers gave up because the pay was worse than working at McDonald’s? Again, all because America wouldn’t invest in our kids.

Now it comes to us — and we can make change — big change — in this country. Change for ourselves, change for our children. Yes, we need universal child care.

But getting child care passed is a struggle because the people in Congress and the White House think they can ignore what the voters want. They plan to keep enough people away from the polls so that they can stay in power. They are working hard to shut down our democracy.

Just last year Republicans in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District threw enough votes in the trash to rig an election. Massive voter suppression prevented Stacey Abrams from becoming the rightful Governor of Georgia.

They’ll fight anyone who tries to stand up and push back. They’ll do whatever it takes to stop a full and fair count. Because they know that there’s more that unites us than divides us. They know that a durable majority of Americans believes in the promise of America. And they know that if all the votes are counted, we’ll win every time.

So what’s our job? We must fight back.

We need a constitutional amendment establishing a nationally-recognized right to vote — and a right to get that vote counted.

And I’ll tell you something else, too. I’m not running for President just to talk about making real, structural change. I’m serious about getting it done. And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate.

Last year the Senate passed a bill that would make lynching a federal crime. Last year. In 2018.

Do you know when the first bill to make lynching a federal crime was introduced? 1918.

One hundred years ago.

And it nearly became the law back then. It passed the House in 1922. But it got killed in the Senate — by a filibuster. And then it got killed again. And again. And again. More than 200 times. An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation from doing what was right.

For generations, the filibuster was used as a tool to block progress on racial justice. And in recent years, it’s been used by the far right as a tool to block progress on everything.

I’ve only served one term in the Senate — but I’ve seen what’s happening. We all saw what they did to President Obama. I’ve watched Republicans abuse the rules when they’re out of power, then turn around and blow off the rules when they’re in power.

We just saw it happen again this week. Republicans spent years — years — exploiting the rules to slow down or block President Obama’s mainstream judges and Executive nominees. But now that they’re in power, they’re unilaterally changing those rules to speed up and ram through President Trump’s extreme nominees.

So let me be as clear as I can. When Democrats next have power, we should be bold and clear: we’re done with two sets of rules — one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats.

And that means when Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama, and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster.

Add your name if you agree: it’s time to get rid of the filibuster if Senate Republicans abuse it to block the progress and change we need.

We can’t sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind. We can’t sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child’s fate in life still rests on the color of their skin.

Enough with that. When we win the election, we WILL make the change that we need in this country.

We come to this fight for child care — and for so much more. We come to this fight to build an America of our best values.

None of this will be easy. In fact, people will tell us to quit now, it’s just too hard. But you don’t get what you don’t fight for! Yes, we can tax the billionaires. Yes, we can provide universal child care and pre-K for all our babies. Yes, we can ensure that every citizen gets to vote and gets that vote counted. Yes, we can become an America where the government represents the will of the people — all the people.

Yes, it will be hard. But this is our moment in history. We’re called to make bold change. We’re called to dream big, fight hard and win.

Bernie 2020
April 5, 2019
Arianna Jones
Sarah Ford

Sanders' Prepared Remarks for National Action Network Convention

NEW YORK – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will deliver remarks at the National Action Network convention this morning. 

Here are the full remarks:

Let me begin by thanking the National Action Network (NAN) and Reverend Al for the great work that you do every single day.

Yesterday, as everyone here knows, was the 51st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - one of the great leaders in American history.

We are here today at a pivotal moment in the fight for racial justice and, as that struggle goes forward, there is both good news and bad news.

The very good news is that, despite enormous opposition, we have made real progress in many areas -- including the political arena. Despite those who said it couldn’t happen, we elected Barack Obama, America’s first black president in 2008, and reelected him in 2012. After the 2018 election, the Congressional Black Caucus now has the largest number of members in its entire history. And in that same election year we saw Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum and Ben Jealous run great campaigns for governor in Georgia, Florida and Maryland. And while they lost, we saw Mandela Barnes and Garlin Gilchrist become the first elected black lieutenant governors in Wisconsin and Michigan.

So, have we made progress in civil rights in this country? No question about it. But do we still have a very long way to go to end the institutional racism which permeates almost every aspect of our society? Absolutely -- and that’s the bad news that keeps us up at night.

It gives me no pleasure to say this but today we have a president who is a racist, sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot. The job of an American president is to try and bring us together - black and white, Latino, Native American, Asian American. But, tragically, we now have a president who tries to win votes by dividing us up - and, together, we are going to put an end to that.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, we’ve seen a sharp rise in hate crimes -- and that rise comes as this country continues to be plagued by institutional racism and racial inequality.

As many of you know, my campaign for president is about taking on the handful of extraordinarily wealthy and powerful people in this country who have unbelievable power over the economic and political life of this country. It makes no sense to me that, at a time when millions of Americans are working two or three jobs just to survive, the three wealthiest people in our country own more wealth than the bottom half of Americans and the top 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 92 percent. It makes no sense to me that at a time when hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and when millions are leaving school deeply in debt, 46% of all new income goes to the top 1%.

So, as your president, there will be nothing more important to me than taking on the incredible level of economic and wealth disparity we see in this country, a disparity which is now worse than anytime since the 1920s.

But this is what we also know: that we must take on the disparity within the disparity, the racial disparities which exist in this country which are also growing wider and wider.

Today, the infant mortality rate in black communities is more than double the rate for white communities, and the death rates from cancer and many other diseases is far higher for blacks. Black women are more than three times more likely to die from pregnancy than white women.

So when we talk about disparity, we are talking about the need for more black doctors, more black dentists, more black nurses, more black psychologists. We are talking about guaranteeing healthcare to all as a right, but at the same time ending the long-standing disparities which exist within the health care system.

When we talk about disparities, we are talking about black children who face harsher punishment in schools than other students and school districts in predominantly non-white communities that receive $23 billion less in funding than white school districts.

We are talking about black men who are sentenced to 19 percent more jail time for committing the exact same crime as white men, and African Americans who are jailed at more than 5 times the rate of whites. Our job, together, is to end disparities in education and to bring fundamental reform to a broken criminal justice system.

Today, studies show African American job applicants receive far fewer job callbacks than other job applicants -- and we still see the same levels of hiring discrimination that we saw 30 years ago. Together, we must end the disparities and racism that exist in employment practices.

Today, African Americans often face higher interest rates on loans and mortgages than others with a similar credit score, and black small businesses are unable to get the affordable credit they need to grow and expand. Together, we will end redlining in the financial services industry.

Today, at a time when women in this country earn about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, black women earn all of 61 cents for every dollar white men make. That is unacceptable. We believe in equal pay for equal work, whether you're a man or a woman, man, black, white, Latino or whatever.

Today, on the 400th anniversary of the first Africans being brought to this country in slavery, the average black family now has one tenth the wealth of the average white family. The truth is that this racial wealth gap exists because slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and predatory lending stole wealth from African Americans. That racial wealth gap must be repaired, and institutional racism must be rooted out wherever it exists.

Like many of you here, I have been fighting for economic, social and racial justice. As this presidential campaign begins, I believe that is the defining difference between President Trump and me.

Donald Trump is a man who has said he believes Nazis and white supremacists are “very fine people.”

I am the son of an immigrant whose family was murdered by the Nazis – and so, from a very young age, I knew that we must stand up to bigotry wherever it exists.

When the Trump family’s real estate empire was discriminating against black people here in New York, I and others in the civil rights movement were protesting that kind of housing discrimination at the University of Chicago, and marching on Washington with Dr. King.

When Donald Trump was stoking racial resentments in the 1980s by claiming African Americans get too many privileges, and then by demanding the death penalty for black teenagers who were wrongly accused in the Central Park 5 murder, we in Burlington, Vermont were pressuring South Africa to end apartheid and I was helping Jesse Jackson challenge the establishment in his historic campaign for president.

When Donald Trump was promoting the racist so-called birther conspiracy theory against President Obama, I was campaigning for President Obama’s reelection.

When Donald Trump and his Republican allies were trying to suppress the black vote in the 2016 general election, I was campaigning for Hillary Clinton, and pressing for automatic voter registration to expand the vote.

When Donald Trump was cheering on the possibility of a housing crisis that led to the financial crisis, and then later rolled back financial and predatory lending regulations, I was working to regulate Wall Street and break up the banks to prevent another financial crisis and recession that ended up reducing the typical black family’s wealth by almost $100,000.

When Donald Trump was appointing an Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, with a long history of racist “tough on crime” policies, I was working with all of you to push for criminal justice reform initiatives to end the war on drugs and end the cash bail system that disproportionately harms African Americans.

And when Trump has been boosting private prisons and defunding schools, I have been campaigning for jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration.

Brothers and sisters: We are now building a grassroots movement to, not just win the Democratic nomination, not just defeat Donald Trump, but to transform this country and create a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent. And I am proud to tell you that movement now has over 1 million volunteers on board in every state in the country. That's historic.

What our campaign also recognizes is that no president, no matter how well intentioned, can do it alone. We must be in this together. So let me very briefly tell you what some of our agenda is about.

When we are in the White House, we are finally going to create a Medicare for All single payer system that guarantees healthcare to every man, woman and child in this country, and substantially reduces the cost of prescription drugs. Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege.

When we are in the White House we are not going to cut Social Security, as many Republicans want to do. We are going to expand Social Security. Every American deserves to live out their retirement years with dignity.

When we are in the White House, we are going to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour – which would provide a raise to tens of millions of Americans and more than 1 in 3 African American workers.

When we are in the White House, we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free. We are also going to invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which have been a critical gateway for black students to get advanced degrees.

When we are in the White House we are going to end the absurdity of large corporations like Amazon making billions in profits, owned by the wealthiest person in his country, paying nothing in federal income taxes. Instead of giving a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the 1 percent and large corporations, as Trump did, we're going to make hem pay their fair share of taxes.

When we are in the White House, we are going to end the disgusting Republican efforts to suppress the vote. If you are 18 in this country, you have the right to vote. End of discussion. We are going to make it easier for people to vote, not harder.

And when we are in the White House, we aren’t going to consider rolling back anti-discrimination rules, we are not going to reduce enforcement of civil rights laws, and we are not going to intensify the war on drugs, as Donald Trump has tried to do.

We are going to protect those rules. We are going to strengthen that enforcement. We are going to have a zero-tolerance policy for police brutality. And we are going to fundamentally reform a criminal justice system that gives bailouts to bankers and jail sentences to non-violent drug offenders.

Brothers and sisters: We have an enormous amount of work in front of us and the path forward will not be easy. But whether it is a broken criminal justice system, or massive disparities in the availability of financial services, or health disparities, or environmental disparities, or educational disparities - our job is, and we will, to create a nation in which all people are treated equally. That is what we must do, and that is what we will do.

If we don't allow Trump and his friends to divide us up. If we stand together, urban and rural, north, south, east and west.

If we understand that there really is no such thing as a red state or a blue state - but that we are a nation in which in every state the majority of working people are struggling hard to provide a decent life for their kids.

If we stand together, believing in justice and human dignity. If we believe in love and compassion. The truth is that there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Let us go forward together.

Friends of John Delaney
Thursday, April 4, 2019
CONTACT: Michael Starr Hopkins

Delaney Announces Commitment to Black America Policy Plan

Delaney speaking at National Action Network 2019 Convention Thursday
FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS, MD – John Delaney releases Thursday his Commitment to Black America policy package ahead of his remarks at the 2019 National Action Network convention in New York. Delaney’s Commitment to Black America is designed to address stark disparities in economics, criminal justice, education, and health care.
“We need to make sure that the American Dream is available to everyone,” said Delaney. “Millions of African Americans haven’t received a fair shot and have had to face an economic and criminal justice system that is unjust, unfair, and often racist. We need to close the racial wealth gap, the education gap, the health care gap. My Commitment to Black America is to fight every day for a more just America.”

Commitment to Black America
The U.S. has a long and difficult history when it comes to the treatment of African American and other minority communities. While we have taken meaningful steps to update our laws and regulations to address racial discrimination, we have still not ended systemic racism. In addition, economic data continues to show stark racial inequality. In 2017, the median income of black households was nearly $28,000 lower than the median income for white households, and black Americans lived in poverty at more than double the rate of white Americans. The lack of upward economic mobility persists as a major issue for black families. Black households are more likely to be at the bottom of the income distribution, and more than half of black children born in the lowest-income households remain at the bottom as adults. For white households in the same position, two thirds of children will rise to higher income quintiles as adults. In order to level the playing field and create a country that works for all Americans, there are clear racial disparities that must, and can, be addressed.
1. Access to Capital and Investment Disparity: 6.5% of American households are unbanked, meaning that no one in the household has either a checking or a savings account. For black households, that rate is 16.9%.
a. Delaney has proposed legislation to create nonprofit banks to increase access to banking services in distressed communities. Banks don’t currently serve these communities. To solve this problem, we need to allow for philanthropic, non-profit banks, specifically to serve these distressed communities
b. Ensure minority entrepreneurs have access to capital (an example is to create a new SBIC program to encourage entrepreneurship and focus venture capital investment to distressed communities)
c. Restore CFPB’s focus on anti-discrimination regulations in financial services to ensure people aren’t discriminated against
d. Invest targeted infrastructure funding in minority communities to address issues including inadequate water systems and expanding public transportation
e. Create a federal grant program to fund startup incubators and accelerators at HBCUs
f. Institute a tax credit to promote venture capital investments in minority-owned businesses

2. Criminal Justice Disparity: Our criminal justice system has a demonstrated clear bias against people of color. Black people, who are approximately 13% of the US population, make up 40% of the incarcerated population. A Delaney administration will work to:
a. End or limit the use of money bail in the federal criminal justice system and encourage states to pursue similar reforms. Cash bail is excessive, discriminatory, and costly for taxpayers and communities
b. End for-profit prisons
c. Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences
d. Increase funding for public defenders
e. End the death penalty
f. Increase funding for police body cameras
g. Promote “ban the box” policies
h. Provide federal funding for training and support of police officers designed to prevent racial profiling and generally encourage de-escalation
i. Reemphasize Obama era DOJ oversight authorities of law enforcement practices that demonstrate a pattern of abuse or misconduct
j. Remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and create strong federal guidelines and taxation policies to support decisions at the state level
k. Increase federal support for recidivism reduction programs that have proven to be effective
l. Increase funding for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to increase community policing
m. Increase funding for programs to ensure police departments and first responders are well funded, particularly in areas suffering from high crime rates

3. Education Disparity: Education is the great equalizer. All students, however, don’t have access to the same quality education. Since public schools are funded primarily through property taxes, schools in lower-income areas receive fewer resources to prepare their students for the future. In 2016, the funding gap between predominantly white and predominantly black school districts was $23 billion. Additionally, the graduation rate at U.S. public high schools is 69% for black students versus 86% for white students.
a. Increase funds to low-income schools through increases to Title I funding
b. Expand universal education to include Prek-14 (includes two-year community college or technical training)
c. Expand 0-3 childcare availability for low-income families
d. Expand federal grants for community-based programs focused on supporting and mentoring struggling students like the non-profit organization, Thread, located in Baltimore, MD
e. Expand programs that help low-income urban families achieve financial stability through education and job training

4. Health Care Disparity: There are vivid and unacceptable racial disparities in U.S. health outcomes, especially in the maternal mortality rate. During 2011-2014, the pregnancy-related mortality ratio for black women was 40.0 deaths per 100,000 live births, while for white women it was only 12.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. Additionally, life expectancy for black Americans is 74.7 years, nearly four years lower than the average for white Americans, and the cancer mortality rate for black Americans is 16% higher than for white people. We must do better.
a. Delaney’s universal health care plan will eliminate a clear barrier to accessing care and medical services
b. Implement Pay For Success programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership program in South Carolina to improve health outcomes during the first two years of a child’s life