Buttigieg, Sharpton to discuss homophobia and agenda for black community in NYC
Scott Eisen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — For the second time this month, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will meet with Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City, as the rising Democratic presidential candidate seeks to gain the support of the influential civil rights leader in the African American community.
The two will have lunch at Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem on Monday to discuss “the need to confront homophobia in the faith community as well as the Mayor’s policy agenda for the black community in Indiana and around the country,” according to a statement from his campaign.
Rev. Sharpton has only hosted one other 2020 candidate for lunch at Sylvia’s so far this year — Sen. Kamala Harris, in February.
On April 4, Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, spoke at Sharpton’s National Action Network Conference, where he said five areas needed to be addressed to help the black community: Justice, entrepreneurship, education, health care and home ownership.
“It’s not enough to say we want home ownership for all when we know that it’s not automatic that that will make families of color better off,” Buttigieg said. “Families of color have been systematically excluded.”
At the conference, Sharpton complimented Buttigieg for offering “substance not sound bites” but had trouble saying his name, joking that he was still learning to pronounce it and said not to take it personally — it took him time to learn former President Barack Obama’s name in 2008. Sharpton endorsed Obama.
Buttigieg has not formally released any detailed policy proposals, but he’s thrown support behind some key agendas for black voters, including criminal justice reform, legalizing marijuana and approving a bill that would study reparations for descendants of slaves.
In the latest national ABC News/Washington Post poll, Buttigieg received 5 percent of support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, trailing only former Vice President Joe Biden, who polled at 17 percent, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, at 11 percent.
Next week, Buttigieg is scheduled to visit South Carolina, the first primary state in the South, where African Americans make up nearly 30 percent of the population.
Additionally, their largely Democratic voting base is expected to compose of 12.5 percent of the national electorate in 2020, according to Pew Research Center.
Buttigieg, who made his first trip to the state last month, will be in Charleston on May 5, according to his campaign, and hold a roundtable event at South Carolina State University, a historically black college, the following day.
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