Dear Congress: Pass police reform or prepare to be voted out

We can’t wait anymore. That’s what I thought about when I learned that there would be no deal on police reform between Democrats and Republicans.


The two sides had been talking for months about doing something to reign in the unchecked power of police. Something that would deal with the racism that makes Blacks three times as likely to be shot and killed by police as whites. Something that would bring closure to the grief, and give victory to the protests, and bring healing for the pain.


But there are many in Congress who either don’t know or don’t care what the average Black person feels when they’re stopped by the police. They don’t know what it is to wonder if you’ll make it home from a traffic stop. Or to look at the endless videos of Black victims and realize the next victim could be you. To ride through white communities and see Blue Lives Matter signs that really mean Black lives don’t.


We can’t wait for Congress to feel our pain, because most of them never will. So that means we must heal our own wounds. Raise our own ruckus. Solve our own problems by making our own demands.


That’s why I wrote my latest book—Ten Lives, Ten Demands—a primer on racial justice that I knew we would need once our politicians sold us out. We have to do more than get in the streets and wreck shop. We have to have an agenda once the uprising is over. We have to know exactly what we want. Because if we don’t, the politically powerful will claim they’re trying to change things when really they’re changing nothing.


We can’t wait anymore, Congress. Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, or pass out your resumes so you can get a job when we vote you out.
Photo: US Capitol Rotunda By. Cooper Gary

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