Sanders’s campaign said he would hold “an ecumenical round-table to discuss issues directly impacting the African-American community." The Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant, pastor and founder of Empowerment Temple Church, will help lead the discussion at the Freddie Gray Empowerment Center, aides to Sanders said.
The Gray case has also figured prominently in the rival Democratic presidential bid of Martin O’Malley, a former Baltimore mayor who used the troubled city as a backdrop when he announced his candidacy in May. O’Malley’s legacy as mayor, which included aggressive policing tactics that critics said strained relations with some communities, came under scrutiny as he entered the Democratic contest.
Criminal justice issues, including police brutality, have become salient in the party’s race this year, with all candidates, including front-runner Hillary Clinton, putting forward policy proposals.
Sanders, a Vermont senator, represents a state that is about 95 percent white and has acknowledged his challenge in becoming better known among African Americans, a key constituency in the Democratic race once it moves beyond Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton holds lopsided leads among black voters in early states and nationally.
Late last month, Sanders met with Killer Mike, a well-known rapper, in Atlanta. The rapper, whose real name is Michael Render, also introduced Sanders at a rally in the city.
Cornel West, a prominent African American academic, has also been tapped to campaign on Sanders’s behalf.
Sanders’s campaign announced his plans for Baltimore while he was wrapping up two days of appearances in New Hampshire, the first primary state.
Aides said he planned to unveil a plan on climate change here. The plan, they said, aims to cut U.S. carbon pollution 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. It would also double the number of Americans working in clean-energy jobs, Sanders’s campaign said.