Former Obama official and 2020 candidate Julián Castro participated in MoveOn.org’s “Big Ideas” forum in San Francisco Saturday and floated universal pre-k as a potential solution for “police brutality.”
He began by noting his recent stop in Charleston, South Carolina, mentioning his proximity to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“You may all remember that about four years ago, Dylann Roof walked into Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, and he murdered nine people while they were worshipping,” Castro said. “And then a couple of hours later, he was apprehended by police without incident.”
Castro said it made him think about the “others” like Eric Garner, Philando Castile and Pamela Turner.
“How many of these videos do we have to watch to understand that even though we have some great police officers, this is not a case of bad apple,” Castro said. “The system is broken.”
Castro promised to fix the system and announced his intention to unveil his plan to reform policing across the country.
On Monday we’re going to unveil a plan to reform policing in the United States to ensure that no matter who you are or what the color of your skin is, what neighborhood you live in, how much money you have or don’t have, what you’re doing in your life– walking down the block, hanging out at your house, having a BBQ in the park, going about your business– that you’re treated the same under the law.
Castro’s plan to fix the “broken” system is three-fold. It will involve ending over-aggressive policing, holding police departments accountable for excessive force, and working to heal the divide between communities and police.
He noted that we must “demilitarize” the police, “stop selling them [police] weapons of war,” and “end racial-profiling” in this country.
During the brief Q&A section following his remarks, EquisLabs Co-Founder Stephanie Valencia asked Castro how leaders can better address the policy brutality issue, as it’s “deeply, deeply rooted in hundreds of years of history in this country.”
“How do issues of race and other societal issues feed into this, and what are some of your other plans to address those?” Valencia asked.
“It’s much bigger than just police reform. It’s about reforming our criminal justice system. I believe we should do that– sentencing reform. Investing in public defenders. Cash bail reform,” Castro said.
However, he said, it goes far beyond those reforms alone.
“It’s making sure that we do things like universal pre-k for three and four-year-olds, so that everybody gets a strong start in their life with education, no matter who you are or what neighborhood you come from,” Castro explained.
“It’s making sure that everybody has health care in this country,” he continued. “It’s making sure that we have a 21st century safety net and that we do this with a critical eye toward the way that this affects communities of color.”
“You know that people are treated differently based on the color of their skin or where they come from in our healthcare system or education system, so we need to address that too,” he added.