Upcoming Event

2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum

October 25-27, 2019
Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina
Who is hosting the forum?

20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center

Founded in March 2015 with an eye toward the 2016 presidential election, we began with twenty Black Republicans and twenty black Democrats – the 20/20 Leaders of America (“20/20” or “20/20 Club”). We have grown into an invitation-only, bipartisan group of over eighty African American mayors, city, county and state officials, prosecutors and defense attorneys, political strategists, community leaders, activists, police chiefs and other law enforcement executives.

In our first two years, we hosted listening sessions and public forums with the 2016 presidential candidates and national party representatives, inviting them to identify their proposed criminal justice reform platform with specific, measurable and articulable goals to be reached by the year 2020. This effort resulted in the first of its kind programming, some of which can be seen here. Since the 2016 election, we have expanded our activities to include research, local level reform, coalition building, advocacy and awareness at the federal, state and local level. In 2018, we became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization under our new name – the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center.

20/20 has a Republican Co-Chair, Rufus Montgomery, and a Democratic Co-Chair, Tishaura Jones. Please visit these pages for a full listing of our Executive Leadership Team and all of our members.

Our mission is to empower local leaders to implement innovative and practical solutions to problems in the criminal justice system. We use an approach that is bipartisan and includes all relevant stakeholders. We are the only nationwide coalition of Black Republicans, Democrats and Independents focused on criminal justice reform. By building bipartisan relationships and hosting solution focused conversations, we are uniquely positioned to be a convener for criminal justice reform, activating relevant stakeholders to create solutions to injustice at the local level.

Our official partners and co-hosts

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina 
National Black Police Association
African American Mayors Association
National Black Caucus, Local Elected Officials
National Black Caucus of State Legislators

Where does the forum take place?

Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

Founded in 1870, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution and a Historically Black College & University in the capital of South Carolina, an early primary state that is frequently visited by all Presidential candidates. Benedict College, originally Benedict Institute, was founded 148 years ago as a new school for the recently freed people of African descent. Benedict Institute, operating in a former slave master’s mansion, was established, in the words of its founder, to prepare men and women to be a “power for good in society.” Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, J.D., Ed.D is the 14th President and CEO of the College.  Dr. Artis is the first-female president of Benedict College.

What Presidential candidates are confirmed to attend?

Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Vice President Joe Biden. 

Who will be in the audience?

We will host over 300 African-American national, state and local elected officials and candidates, community leaders and activists, political strategists, movement leaders, law enforcement, attorneys and judges, business leaders, students and anyone that cares about criminal justice reform.  The Forum will also be live streamed on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

How do I purchase tickets?

Please purchase tickets here.

What is the format of the forum?

Each Presidential candidate will be given 10 minutes to speak to the audience and present their criminal justice reform platform with specific, measurable and articulable goals to be reached within his or her first term.  There will be 40 minutes dedicated to questions from the audience, and one-on-one with our Moderator.  This will allow each participant the opportunity to fully explain their platform, engage with the audience, and address any questions.  We have named this event the “Second Step Presidential Justice Forum,” asking each participant to focus on what’s next now that the First Step Act has been passed.

Additionally, while the movement for criminal justice reform has grown to address a multitude of problems, we have chosen to focus on these five issues, which are explored in depth on our website, 2020club.org:

The School to Prison Pipeline
The Criminalization of Poverty
The War on Drugs & Mass Incarceration
Police Officers & Use of Force
Barriers to Reentry for the Formerly Incarcerated

The three actors within the criminal justice system that exercise the most discretion (and thus can enact the most reform and change) in these areas are: 1) prosecutors 2) K-12 teachers, administrators & principals, 3) police chiefs and other law enforcement executives. Presidential candidates will not only be asked how they plan to address each of these policy areas, but how they will empower these actors with the most discretion to enact reform.

What is the “South Carolina HBCU Straw Poll?”

For the duration of the Forum, each registered Forum attendee will be allowed to vote in a partisan straw poll, choosing which candidate he or she believes presented the most effective criminal justice reform platform.  All voting will take place in the DHS Campus Center.  This is our “Drum Major for Justice Straw Poll that we also featured in our first Forum. There will be a ballot for Democratic Candidates, and a ballot for Republican candidates.

What is new is our South Carolina HBCU Straw Poll” – in the weeks leading up to and then after the Forum, all students and alumni of the eight HBCUs in South Carolina* will vote online for the presidential candidate that best addresses their concerns on all issues facing African-Americans, not solely limited to criminal justice reform. There will be a ballot for Democratic Candidates, and a ballot for Republican candidates.

*Claflin University, South Carolina State University, Clinton College, Denmark Technical College, Benedict College, Allen University, Vorhees College and Morris College.

Who should I contact with further questions?

Please contact our Executive Director Candice Petty at Candice@2020club.org