Statement of Keshia Morris Desir, Common Cause Census & Mass Incarceration Project Manager
Every American deserves fair and impartial law enforcement, free of racial bias, but too many do not receive it. And too often racially biased law enforcement ends in tragedy. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is an important step in rooting out systemic racism in law enforcement and we commend the House for passing the legislation. More will need to be done, but we must first take this first important step to addressing a national disgrace.
Black lives matter. Black people deserve to thrive, not just survive. The same racism that permeates our voting system, sanctions police brutality. It is why we must continue to invest and build power within and between our communities to bring an end to the criminalization of minorities, an end to police brutality, and an end to white supremacy.
The people-led protests across the nation are a reflection of the pain felt by many, a response to the failure of America to reckon with its racist history, and a demand for an end to state-sanctioned violence against Black people.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and the Congressional Black Caucus deserve great credit for their leadership in passing this vitally important legislation. It is now up to the Senate to strengthen the House bill and pass meaningful police reform legislation. Local and state policy change is vital, but it is the responsibility of our federal government to set a standard for justice, policing, and safety in America. We have been through this too many times and our national leaders have dragged their feet on this for far too long. The time to act is NOW.