Pastor Darrell Scott is CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. 

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Few celebrities have garnered more media coverage in the last 20 years than Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian West.

Yet, when the two reality TV stars — one former and one current — just worked together on a major issue impacting American communities, the mainstream media totally overlooked the real story: President Donald Trump is quickly becoming one of the greatest civil rights presidents in modern history.

His actions in the first 500 days of his presidency have included supporting prison reform to empower millions of Americans to have a better chance after their incarceration, moving away from Clinton-era “superpredator” policies that imprisoned low-level drug offenders, and overturning a 105-year-old mistake by pardoning Jack Johnson.

That’s why even a big Hillary Clinton supporter such as Kardashian West knew she could work with President Trump. Just one week after her visit to the Oval Office, the president commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a firsttime nonviolent drug offender.

Johnson asked the Obama administration on three separate occasions for clemency, but was rejected just days before Obama’s term ended.

And remember, numerous presidents refused to act on several resolutions from Congress asking them posthumously to pardon Jack Johnson, America’s first black heavyweight boxing champion who was imprisoned during the Jim Crow era using the Mann Act (intended to curb commercialized debauchery, prostitution, and human trafficking) for traveling with his white girlfriend.

These actions prove that President Trump is a man of action and a partner in reform for forgotten communities of Americans. But these pardons are just the beginning.

In January, I attended a meeting at the White House on prison reform with President Trump. The president was the biggest advocate for prison reform at the meeting, and his actions these last few weeks prove exactly why he has the guts to bring desperately needed change in our criminal justice system.

For me, overturning these failed Clinton-era policies is personal. In the mid-1990s, a close relative of mine had her life tragically altered by a law referred to as the “Clinton crime bill.” At the time, Hillary Clinton labeled young African-Americans as “superpredators” with “no conscience” and “no empathy” that the government had to “bring to heel.”

Millions of people like my family member ultimately had their lives destroyed because of these prejudiced and discriminatory policies put in place by a man considered “the first black president.” Laws like these are the reason that, while only five percent of the entire world’s population lives in the United States, we are responsible for 25 percent of the world’s prison population.

Instead of focusing on imprisoning the most dangerous and violent offenders, our criminal justice system too often traps nonviolent offenders in decades-long prison sentences — disproportionately African-American men — resulting in a cycle of poverty, unemployment, and imprisonment. 

This is a tragedy for these young people and their families, but it’s also bad for taxpayers. Operating all federal and state prisons and local jails costs American taxpayers about $80 billion a year.

President Trump believes this money would be better spent on rebuilding America’s infrastructure and communities. That’s why he has embraced bipartisan legislation such as the FIRST STEP Act (H.R. 5682), and worked with Democrats such as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York to pass the bill in the U.S. House last month.

The FIRST STEP Act is a total game-changer for prison and sentencing reform — curbing mass incarceration, empowering inmates to get their lives back on track, and saving taxpayers money.

This bill does so by helping individuals reintegrate back into their communities and expanding evidence-based re-entry programs, including drug treatment, job training, and counseling. Also, offering prisoners time credits for good behavior incentivizes them to do the right thing, speeds up the judicial process, saves taxpayer dollars, and, most importantly, gives people a second chance.

If you combine the FIRST STEP Act with President Trump’s vocal leadership on the national stage, his success lowering minority unemployment to record-setting lows, and his executive actions to right historical wrongs, no president in recent memory has been this ambitious to help communities impacted by mass incarceration.

If Kim Kardashian West can acknowledge President Trump’s willingness to help our community, we all should keep an open mind and embrace reforms that will improve the future for black communities nationwide. 

Pastor Darrell Scott is CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and a member of the Donald J. Trump for President Inc. advisory board. 

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