Some of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates took on criticism they’ve faced from the black community in remarks to the National Urban League Friday.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) addressed the civil rights organization at its conference in Indianapolis.
Buttigieg has faced criticism over his admitted failure to produce a diverse police force in South Bend. Buttigieg says he could have used more federal help.
“What we need is nationwide support for a culture that would not have police regarded as soldiers on a battlefield but as community problem solvers,” Buttigieg says.
Harris has taken criticism for her career as a prosecutor, with some arguing she can’t lead on criminal justice reform. But she says it was her experiences with racial bias that prompted her to become a prosecutor.
“Why do we only have to be on the outside, on bended knee or trying to break down the door?" Harris says. "Shouldn’t we also have a role on the inside, where the decisions are being made, in a way we can influence the change that must occur?”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also spoke.