Candidates’ Forum Centers on Criminal Justice Reform

Marcus Goodwin (center) and Jeremiah Lowery (right), candidates for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council at a candidate.’s forum hosted by the ACLU and moderated by Denise Rolark Barnes (left), publisher of The Washington Informer, at the First Church of Christ in Northwest on May 30. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
Marcus Goodwin (center) and Jeremiah Lowery (right), candidates for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council at a candidate.’s forum hosted by the ACLU and moderated by Denise Rolark Barnes (left), publisher of The Washington Informer, at the First Church of Christ in Northwest on May 30. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

The D.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with nearly 20 other civil rights groups, pressed D.C. candidates on matters of criminal justice reform last week at a candidates’ forum.

The ACLU and members of HIPS, No Justice No Pride, Stop Police Terror Project, Black Lives Matter, Trans Fund United and other groups gathered Wednesday, May 30 at First Congregational United Church of Christ to address what they said is a tipping point in the city’s “broken criminal justice system.”

The #ReformDCJustice forum was inspired by recent events such as the police-related deaths of Jeffery Price and D’Quan Young and the use of force by Metro Transit Police on a young woman at the Fort Totten Metro station. The ACLU charged that discrimination, violence and racial disparities that created inequality existed within the District’s criminal justice system and challenged the candidates to prioritize reform of the system.

Phil Mendelson (right) and Ed Lazere (seated), candidates for D.C. Council chair, participate in a candidates' forum hosted by the ACLU and moderated by Denise Rolark Barnes (left), publisher of The Washington Informer, at the First Church of Christ in northwest D.C. on May 30. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
Phil Mendelson (right) and Ed Lazere (seated), candidates for D.C. Council chair, participate in a candidates’ forum hosted by the ACLU and moderated by Denise Rolark Barnes (left), publisher of The Washington Informer, at the First Church of Christ in northwest D.C. on May 30. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

Participating candidates included Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and challenger Ed Lazere, and Marcus Goodwin and Jerimiah Lowery, two contenders for the at-large council seat currently held by Anita Bonds, who was not present.

Candidates agreed on most issues, including decriminalizing fare evasion, decriminalizing sex work in the city, the need to address biased policing and preventing federal immigration agencies from having access to D.C. records that could indicate immigration status.

No candidate was endorsed at the forum.

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About Tatyana Hopkins – Washington Informer Contributing Writer 214 Articles
Tatyana Hopkins has always wanted to make the world a better place. Growing up she knew she wanted to be a journalist. To her there were too many issues in the world to pick a career that would force her to just tackle one. The recent Howard University graduate is thankful to have a job and enjoys the thrill she gets from chasing the story, meeting new people and adding new bits of obscure information to her knowledge base. Dubbed with the nickname “Fun Fact” by her friends, Tatyana seems to be full of seemingly “random and useless” facts. Meanwhile, the rising rents in D.C. have driven her to wonder about the length of the adverse possession statute of limitations (15 years?). Despite disliking public speaking, she remembers being scolded for talking in class or for holding up strangers in drawn-out conversations. Her need to understand the world and its various inhabitants frequently lands her in conversations on topics often deemed taboo: politics, religion and money. Tatyana avoided sports in high school she because the thought of a crowd watching her play freaked her out, but found herself studying Arabic, traveling to Egypt and eating a pigeon. She uses social media to scope out meaningful and interesting stories and has been calling attention to fake news on the Internet for years.

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