First Lady Allyson Scott, Pastor Shane Scott, Attorney General Kamala Harris (Courtesy Photos)
Criminal justice reform, public safety, and economic opportunity were the focus of discussion as California Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris attended church services at Macedonia Baptist Church and City of Refuge this weekend.
Harris was joined by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Assemblymember (Retired) Steven Bradford, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, State Senator Isadore Hall, Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, and former Ambassador Sidney Williams.
Speaking to the congregations of both churches, Harris discussed how she has worked to improve public safety by developing initiatives that reduce recidivism. Her Back on Track program at Pitchess Detention Center in LA County offers offenders counseling, academic and career training, child support services, and re-entry training. All of this, Harris said, is part of her “smart on crime” approach to criminal justice reform.
“The Bible tells us about this concept of redemption,” she said. “We will all make mistakes, and for some of us that mistake will rise to the level of being a crime. But once consequence and accountability have occurred, is it not the sign of a civil society that we afford that person an ability to come back and give them the opportunities and the resources to redeem themselves?”
Harris also talked about her work to secure $20 billion for California homeowners from big banks after the foreclosure crisis, and her commitment to making the minimum wage a living wage, universal pre-K, and ensuring that the cost of college doesn’t prevent students from attending.
At both services Harris was introduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who said the Attorney General’s record as a prosecutor and fighter for California families will help get things done in Washington.
“She’s focusing not only on crime prevention, but she’s got special programs she’s created in her office, the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” Waters said. “The United States Senate needs Kamala Harris. With our support, she is going to be elected, and she’ll go to the Senate and tell those guys up there how to get it done.”
At Macedonia Baptist Church, Head Pastor Shane Scott reminded the congregation that the primary election is just weeks away. He encouraged worshippers to drop their mail-in ballots off at the church, to ensure their votes are in before June 7.
“The Watts community is too important for us to sit this one out,” he said. “This election, we have the ability to decide who represents our best interests in LA County, in Sacramento, and in Washington, DC. Let’s make sure we choose wisely.”