PHILADELPHIA, PA — Eric Holder headlined the Democratic National Convention’s Black Caucus on Wednesday — and with good reason. He is the first Black man to serve as U.S. attorney general, and has tackled everything from the sentencing discrepancies between crack and cocaine to equal rights for gay couples. Though he left the Department of Justice in 2014, he still isn't satisfied.
"As I look at the things that we've done … I think we need to be forward-looking. We need to think about where we can go from here," he said in his July 27 address to the caucus.
The Black millennial women in the audience agreed.
In interviews after the caucus, Black millennial women echoed many of Holder's sentiments about the need for change. And they weren't shy about offering their own diverse ideas — including taking over from Holder's generation.
"I would like to see a lot more jobs [in politics] available for the younger generation," audience member Regina Arnold told Revelist. "Almost, move the older generation out, or allow them to continue that movement with the young people, by bringing us up with them now."
Other women said they just want the Democratic Party to recognize them.
"My most important issue is for the Democrats to accept diversity," audience member Jennifer Farmer told Revelist. "We as a [Black] people, we have consistently voted for the Democratic party, but I don't think we've seen the results we’d like to see, especially when it comes to economics and police brutality."
Holder also touched on the issue of police brutality, to thunderous applause.
He lectured millennials on how police violence has improved since the '50s and '60s, but also applauded them for their work in the Black Lives Matter movement.
"We in the African American community, we need the police," Holder said. "But we need to be treated fairly. We need to be treated with dignity. We need to be treated with value, by not just the police, but the criminal justice system as a whole."
Jennifer Willis, a young audience member, agreed completely.
"The single most important issue for me is Black Lives Matter," she told Revelist. "I think reproductive rights are also very important … but until we improve the relationship with police officers, we won't get anywhere with any rights."
But reproductive rights — and women's rights in general — were at the forefront of many Black women's mind.
Several women said the most important issue for them is equal pay; while others focused on reproductive freedoms. The nomination of the party's first female nominee hung auspiciously over their answers.
"If [Hillary Clinton] can do that, we can all do that," said Young Democrats member Akilah Ensely. "I think that's something very important for us to latch onto now, and also move forward."
"The best way to ensure the right to vote," he said, "is to exercise the right to vote."