Last month, Zakiya Jackson of The Expectations Project gathered in Atlanta with other faith leaders for the Presidential Conversations Series, brought together by the Black Church PAC and Pastor Michael McBride.
At this event, we heard directly from five candidates running for president in 2020. While there, Zakiya joined Pastor Traci Blackmon in facilitating intimate roundtable conversations with the candidates. Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Cory Booker, Secretary Julián Castro, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg participated in these conversations; engaging with challenging questions and giving us a deeper look into the type of President they aspire to be.
In our work at TEP, we consistently push ourselves and other people of faith to dig into hard – often painful – questions about our society and how we treat children and marginalized communities. Why are we here, how did we get here, what will we do to change the material condition of our people?
The candidates had different ways of responding to these questions. One candidate paused for several seconds to contemplate the content they were being challenged with before responding humbly and compassionately. One candidate agreed with the injustice they were presented with, shared what they knew about it, and then offered a way forward. Another candidate seemed unsure of how to contend with some of the questions.
Hard questions elicit all sorts of responses, and we believe that it’s our responsibility as people of faith to keep pressing in, and to speak clearly and boldly what we see and believe.
Our questions need answers – good, strong, equitable answers. And those answers should inform our votes, donations of our money and our time, and our advice to those around us.
To see examples of these hard questions, and to read Zakiya’s reflections on the event, check out, ‘7 Hard Questions for the 2020 Presidential Candidates (and Ourselves).’