Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reached out to Black voters last weekend in Republican-heavy Charleston, South Carolina in the hopes of drawing those voters “that provide the Democratic support in the early primary state,” reports Reuters.
The presidential candidate, leaning on his experience in civil rights, appealed to voters and vowed to end institutional racism.
“…we are going to transform and make changes in the criminal justice system that isn’t working,” he said to loud cheering from a crowd of about 3,100. “When a police officer breaks the law, that police officer must be held accountable. We need new rules on the use of force.”
He also mentioned the Charleston slayings, which authorities have called racially motivated.
“I’m not just talking about somebody who walked into a Bible study class, prayed with the people in that group and then took out a gun and killed nine people. I’m talking about the hundreds of hate groups that exist in this country today whose only function is fomenting of hatred of African Americans, gays, immigrants, Jews.”
Saturday was Sanders’ first visit to the state since he announced his candidacy in late April, challenging Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. He planned to visit South Carolina in June, but canceled the trip after nine church-goers were killed at Emanuel AME Church by a White supremacist.