My heart beats in Baltimore, where my mom Nancy Pelosi was born and my grandfather and uncle served the public. So the news of Freddie Gray's killing struck close to home and renewed my call to justice.
I've seen too many names; too many unarmed women and men of color killed at the hands of police officers empowered to protect them; too many families torn asunder by police brutality ... and yet not enough change in response. It's as if we don't know the roots of the problem or the tools to change it -- except we do: we know that we must move from mass incarceration to among investments in people, particularly in young people of color and their families.
So when I read about Freddie Gray, it brought the fight for change into focus. Yes, I can blog and tweet and march and hashtag -- and I will -- but as a political organizer by heart and habit, I believe my calling is to insist that the candidates I support take action to create jobs and justice.
So I connected with my Democratic National Committee leader Donna Brazile, who has led this fight so many times, as we talked about Baltimore. We talked about Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice and all the women and men killed since Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson and we put justice reform and demilitarizing police on the DNC agenda last August.
Here we were again -- sick and tired of the killings and profiling and media focus on the reactions to police brutality instead of on its root causes. And we wrote -- again -- about reform, justice, and investments in communities. We listened to the youth of Baltimore who, as Congressman Elijah Cummings said, want to know if anyone sees or hears them. And we responded - with I am proud to say the unanimous support of our DNC colleagues -- in the form of this resolution renewing our call to reform, justice and investing in our communities:
Resolution passed unanimously by the DNC Executive Committee at its meeting in San Francisco, on May 2, 2015:
Authored by:Donna Brazile, DNC Vice Chair/District of Columbia
Christine Pelosi, Member. California
Cosponsored by: DNC Executive Committee
"WHEREAS, we support the work of President Obama's March 2015 policing task force, many of which are common sense reforms we advocated after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson: ending all racial profiling by law enforcement; enhanced technology and data collection; more community policing; a better relationship between police officers and neighborhood institutions, particularly schools; increased civilian oversight of law enforcement agencies; more diversity within departments; and better officer training, including lessons in the "de-escalation" of tense situations; and,
WHEREAS, we know that unless we replace mass incarceration with making investments in people, particularly our youth, we risk losing a generation to poverty and despair,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the DNC sends our condolences to the family of Freddie Gray and our support to those working to build trust between police and communities enraged by the succession of young black people killed in officer involved shootings; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the DNC welcomes independent investigations of officer-involved shootings, and the involvement of United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to ensure the unbiased pursuit of justice and applauds the just-announced DOJ $20 million Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Partnership Program to respond to the immediate safety, transparency and accountability needs of local and tribal law enforcement organizations; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the DNC calls upon the Congress, state governments, our cities, counties and communities to increase the efforts devoted to providing our youth and their families with encouragement, resources, and opportunities resulting in meaningful education, jobs and livelihoods. We urge lawmakers to build on bipartisan calls for criminal justice reform and act definitively to end racial profiling, reduce mass incarceration, demilitarize police and invest in our young people and their families so that we may more swiftly realize the American promise of liberty and justice for ALL."
To each of you gentle readers I would ask: demand that candidates stand up for reform: end racial profiling, demilitarize police and move from mass incarceration to making investments in people. Demand that the elected officials pass legislation now to implement this agenda. Demand budgets that fund reform and create jobs. Demand that corporations hire people in poor communities of color. Ask the federal, state and local leaders -- "what can you do NOW for a summer jobs program? How many people can we put to work NOW when the spotlight is on? How many votes can we get to end mass incarceration NOW - not after the next election?"
As Donna and I wrote, we can "no longer endure the pain, heartbreak and destruction." So please join the call, help us build the political courage to act, and hold us ALL accountable. Now. Before the next tragedy hits home.
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