On the same night Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was calling for more police to “restore law and order” in minority neighborhoods, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was taking a much different approach.
Stein, speaking to a predominantly Black audience in north Minneapolis advocated for putting “communities back in control of their police rather than having police control their communities.”
Stein’s visit comes while the community is still stinging from the fatal police shooting of St. Paul Public Schools cafeteria supervisor Philando Castile. The aftermath of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook and prompted protests in Minnesota and around the country.
Stein is trying to build support for her long-shot presidential bid by attracting former supporters of Bernie Sanders. Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) organized this event and held a similar one earlier this year with Sanders. Hillary Clinton has also been invited to hold a similar event. NOC has not endorsed any of the presidential candidates.
At a press conference, Stein discusses developments in the Democratic party and her plan to forgive student loans. The loan is owned by the federal government. She suggest that the Federal Reserve buy the loans, a move that would not affect taxpayer burden. The total amount its about $1.3 trillion, which she says is a manageable amount given the Wall Street bailout of $17 trillion.
Video of the full event and press release from Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
A predominantly Black audience of over 200 community members packed the historic Capri theater in north Minneapolis for a forum on Black America with Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein tonight, demanding solutions to the pressing issues facing Black communities.
Tonight’s forum on Black America with Dr. Stein followed a similar community conversation Neighborhoods Organizing for Change hosted with Senator Bernie Sanders in February. The forum was a community conversation between Dr. Stein, NOC executive director Anthony Newby, a panel of six Black community members, and questions from the audience.
The crowd broke into cheers and applause repeatedly as Jill Stein explained her vision for reparations, independent political power outside the two-party system, and dismantling the existing policing system.
“The current model of policing, broken windows policing, is a totally failed model. It doesn’t work and it should be dismantled. We need to have communities control their police, rather than having police control their communities,” said Jill Stein. “I am just beginning to learn about alternative models, and I appreciate the work NOC has done to lift up alternative models. The system we have now is a complete failure, and we need a system that supports the community, and does not harass and destroy the community.”
Members of the panel and audience asked Stein questions about how to make sure her platform for jobs for all, a $15 minimum wage, environmental justice, and education would specifically benefit Black communities. Panelists expressed appreciation for the conversation while raising questions about the specificity of her platform and ability to deliver.
“I think we should make these sorts of forums a regular part of the political process, where we can connect with candidates in a more intimate way — sitting at tables with them, instead of them standing at a podium giving a stump speech — where we can more organically have a conversation. Which is what candidates don’t do with my community: have a conversation,” said Felicia Perry, a small business owner who asked a question about incinerators in communities of color. “However, I would have liked more details as to what these broader ideas really look like and how they would actually operate, and how she would actually be able to support them and make them happen from the executive level. But I’m sincerely grateful to her for coming here and having a conversation with us.”
The non-partisan forum was hosted by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, which has yet to endorse a presidential candidate.
“Dr. Stein articulated a vision for reparations and independent political power that clearly resonated with the room,” said NOC executive director Anthony Newby. “The question is, can the Green Party or other independent structures convert this type of energy into actual political power and structural influence?”
by Becky Dernbach