The Democratic presidential candidates will hold two debates in January that will focus on black and minority affairs. Fusion
, a progressive cable network launched by ABC News and Univision in October 2013, will host a “Brown & Black Presidential Forum” with Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders on January 11.
Latino media personalities Jorge Ramos and Alicia Menendez will join comedian Akilah Hughes and New York magazine writer Rembert Browne to moderate questions with the three major Democratic candidates. Fusion.net is partnering with Facebook and YouTube to host the debeate
The last Democratic debate before the first primary will be hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus in Charleston, South Carolina on January 17. Charleston is at the heart of the Democratic strategy to unite black and other minority voters into their fold after the shooting of black Christians at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a 21-year-old white racist. Nine people were killed, including the church's senior pastor and a state senator on June 17, 2015.
Blacks have loyally voted for democrats for 50 years and the Democratic Party relies on votes in the black community to maintain their long-held power bases in America's inner-cities. As Obama recedes from office and no black presidential candidate is running in the Democratic Party, strategists worry that voter turn-out may harm the Democrats' chances in November. In 2012, blacks voted 96 percent for President Obama and outvoted whites in percentage for the first time.
Black Lives Matter
Since the August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a series of race protests have broken out in cities across the US as a response to perceived police injustices towards minorities. The organizations and organizers of these protests have become national figures, including Black Lives Matter and one of its founders, Deray McKesson
. These protests have raised the profile of race relations in the nation and Democrats have met with black activists to position themselves as candidates who will respond to their policy demands.
Michael Brown, shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014.
In October, Sanders met with McKesson and representatives of Black Lives Matter. After the hour-long meeting
, McKeeson released a statement
that he asked Sanders to make sure blacks are included in the emerging legal marijuana sales industry, fearing criminal drug possession convictions would lock them out. McKesson met with Hillary Clinton
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