Hillary Clinton met Friday with activists associated with the Black Lives Matter movement in Washington, where she reiterating her support for closing private prisons.
“Racism is America's original sin,” Clinton said in a personal tweet after the meeting. “To those I met with today, thank you for sharing your ideas.”
DeRay Mckesson, a prominent movement activist whom Clinton dubbed the “social media emperor,” said the meeting was productive. “We didn’t agree about all the issues, but in the end I think that we felt heard,” Mckesson told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts. The meeting also touched on transgender violence, which is pervasive problem within communities of color.
He added that Clinton told the group she would soon be rolling out a comprehensive racial and criminal justice platform, which a Clinton aide said would coming in about two weeks.
The meeting was a chance for Clinton and her team learn from the activists and to have their ideas inform her plan. It included Clinton policy adviser Maya Harris, political director Amanda Renteria and African American outreach coordinator Ladavia Drane, according to the aide.
During the meeting, Clinton reiterated her support ending private prisons to the activists. It’s a position she mentioned briefly two weeks ago on "The Tom Joyner Morning Show", but it was overshadowed then by a question about Donald Trump and her stance on prisons has received little notice since.
A Clinton spokesperson confirmed that the former secretary of state favors ending both private prisons and immigration detention centers. Her first major speech as a presidential campaign called for criminal justice reform, but her forthcoming policy will be more detailed.
Clinton also met informally with Black Lives Matters Activists in New Hampshire in August, and her staff has participated in conference calls with activists.
Private prisons have become a hot-button issue on the economic left and in communities of color, uniting both activists skeptical of corporate power and those focused on policing and racial justice. Clinton was heckled by an activist at a gala in Washington Thursday night over the issue.
The former secretary of state's top rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, both favor ending for-profit prisons, which house about 6% of state inmates and 16% of federal prisoners, according to the ACLU.
Sanders last month introduced a bill with Rep. Bobby Rush to ban for-profit prisons and make a number of other changes to criminal justice and immigration detention system. “We cannot fix our criminal justice system if corporations are allowed to profit from mass incarceration,” he said at the time.
After Clinton recently came out against the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Keystone Pipeline, both of which are opposed by Sanders, the senator has suggest he will make “consistency” an issue in next week’s first presidential debate.
“What's next? Will she call herself a democratic socialist?” said Sanders spokesperson Michael Briggs in an email.