Continuing his efforts to reach out to Black voters, Senator Bernie Sanders attended a town hall meeting last night to speak out on a variety of racial justice issues.
During the meeting, Sanders was immediately asked how his proposal to make public college tuition free would affect private HBCUs, referring to critics who say that Black students would have no incentive to attend Black universities if they could get a free education elsewhere. Sanders assured voters that he would make sure that the schools received the funding that they needed to retain its students.
“We must sustain and strengthen the historically Black colleges and universities who do a phenomenal job today educating a significant number of African-Americans,” Sanders said. “You have my word that we will not only sustain, we will substantially increase funding for historically Black colleges and universities.”
Sanders also used the opportunity to call out Republican politicians who have, in the past, questioned President Obama’s American citizenship. He plainly said that President Obama has had to face countless criticisms simply because of his race.
“[This is] a racist effort to try to delegitimize the president of the United States,” he said. “…Nobody has asked for my birth certificate. Maybe it is the color of my skin. I don’t know.”
Sanders has actively been trying to campaign for the Black vote. Last year, he unveiled a racial justice plan that would re-enact parts of the Voting Rights Act, eliminate for-profit prisons, retrain and de-militarize police departments and ban employers from asking about applicants’ criminal history.