BOOKER: Racism exists. And this is not just an issue that started yesterday. It's not just an issue that we hear a president that can't condemn white supremacy. We have systemic racism that is eroding our nation from health care to the criminal justice system. We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out, and having a plan to do something about it. If I am president of the United States, we will create an office in the White House to deal with the problem of white supremacy and hate crimes. And we will make sure that systemic racism is dealt with in substantive plans, from criminal justice reform to the disparities in health care to even one that we don't talk about enough, which is the racism that we see in environmental injustice in communities of color.
If 87 members of the United States Senate says that these sentences are way too long, and we changed it, but we didn't make it retroactive, we could literally point to the people that are in jail unjustly right now.
Everyone on this stage should say that we are going to give clemency to these 17,000 people. And I challenge you. Don't just say a big statement; back it up with details of the people in prison right now looking for one of the most sacrosanct ideals of this nation, which is liberty and freedom. We need to reform this system and we must do it now. Every day we wait is too long.
So much of this comes down to privilege. We have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent.
We can specifically and demonstrably now show that there are 17,000 people unjustly incarcerated in America, and all of us should come forward and say, when I am president of the United States, we will release them.
BOOKER: You know, if that was the attitude when Strom Thurmond had the longest filibuster ever on civil rights, if it was this idea that we can't get it done because of the situation in the Senate--
The #1 reason why governments are formed is to protect the citizenry. Think about this. We have had more people die due to gun violence in my lifetime than every single war in this country combined, from the Revolutionary War until now. This is not a side issue to me. It is a central issue to me.
We must awaken a more courageous empathy in this country so that we stand together and fight together and overwhelm those Republicans who are not even representing their constituency. Because the majority of Americans, the majority of gun-owners agree with me, not the corporate gun lobby. It is time for a movement on this issue, and I will lead it.
As a person who has an ideal, I know we cannot sacrifice progress on the altar of purity, because people in my community, they need help right now. They have high blood pressure right now. They have unaffordable insulin right now.
We as Democrats can begin to show that we cannot only stake and stand our ground, but find common ground. And we cannot lose it by the way we talk about each other or demonize and degrade each other. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. If I am the leader, I will work towards the ideal of health insurance, health coverage being a right for all Americans. But every single day, I'll join with other Democrats to make progress happen in our nation for the people that are struggling and suffering today.
The above quotations are from ABC News and Univision Democratic candidates debate.
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