President Trump to come to Columbia to speak at HBCU forum on criminal justice reform

President Trump to come to Columbia to speak at HBCU forum on criminal justice reform
President Donald Trump will speak at the event, which also features the top Democratic candidates vying for his job. (Source: WTVA)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - President Donald Trump will soon be in the Palmetto State to discuss criminal justice reform.

Sources confirmed to WIS the president will attend the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum hosted by Benedict College on the weekend of Oct. 25 to 27.

In addition to the president, the forum, organized by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, will also feature many Democratic presidential candidates.

Confirmed to attend are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker and others.

All candidates will be asked to talk about their plans for criminal justice reform. After a short speech, each will face questions from the moderator and audience, event organizers said.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin will be one of the hosts, along with the National Black Police Association, African American Mayors Association and local and state officials and legislators with the National Black Caucus.

The event’s name draws from the passing of the First Step Act in 2018. That legislation passed with a rare bipartisan effort. It reduced mandatory minimums and freed thousands of people from federal prison who had been incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses.

Any HBCU student or staff member from a South Carolina school can attend the event for free, according to the event’s ticketing website. They will be invited to watch the event in an overflow room.

To listen to the president or any of the candidates and possibly get the chance to ask questions, people must purchase a separate ticket for each speaker. Click or tap here for more information.

The president of Benedict College, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, issued the following statement touting the bipartisan nature of the event:

"Benedict College is honored to have been selected by the 2020 Bipartisan Justice Center as the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to serve as the host site-location for the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum (PJF) events October 25-27, 2019. Allen University served as the 2015 HBCU host site-location.

We are excited for our students who will witness, first-hand, this historical bipartisan engagement. Most of all, the PJF Second Step Presidential Forum focused on Criminal Justice Reform, will serve as tangible evidence for our students of how diversity of thought and positive social action work together in the democracy of our country.

Most important, Columbia and Benedict College are positioned at the epi-center of the 2020 Presidential campaign engagements."

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