DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Brown and Black Forum brought concerns from minority communities to eight Democratic presidential candidates. Moderators were tough on candidates as they pushed them to respond outside of rehearsed stump speeches, creating some tense moments throughout the event.
Pete Buttigieg was questioned heavily on systemic racism relating to the firing of a black police chief when he was mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
“I’m not going to get into all the details ... but when someone threatens to sue you, I want to talk to lawyers. I have had countless meetings with officers including officers of color in our community,” said Buttigieg.
Andrew Yang was pushed on the success of his non-profit organization Venture for America. Moderators said it did not provide job retention and was short of Yang’s goal of creating 100,000 jobs in the country.
“I’m incredibly proud of starting a nonprofit that created thousands of jobs in Detroit, Now Orleans, Cleveland, Baltimore, cities majority black,” said Yang.
Senator Amy Klobuchar was confronted by her apparent lack of connection to minority voters. She spent a majority of her time on stage filibustering with segments of previous stump speeches.
When pressed on the issue, she followed up with, “First of all, I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to walk into a maternity room pregnant with swollen hands and walk out of there without my baby because no one listened. I don’t know what it’s like to walk into a store and have someone follow behind me ... store security … I don’t know what it’s like to know that 30 percent of African American kids are living in poverty. I don’t pretend to live that life. What I do know is that it's not right.”
Not all the candidates experienced the same conflict throughout the forum. Both Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders seemed to draw the most positive feedback from the audience.