Rep. Pressley: We Need Many Laws to ‘Affirm Once and for All that Black Lives Matter’

Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Craig Melvin Reports” that lawmaker’s work “to affirm once and for all that Black Lives Matter” must go beyond the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Pressley said, “Qualified immunity is an unjust doctrine that has been codified in statute after statute, that has allowed for law enforcement to operate with callous disregard for Black and brown bodies, with reckless impunity for our lives, without any consequences. George Floyd was brutally murdered. Why did that happen? It happened because we have to affirm the fact Black Lives Matter because our lives have not mattered. They have not been valued. There was no humanity, no grace extended or afforded to him. Black folks have been dehumanized.

“Consequently have been brutalized, surveyed, profiled, murdered, lynched,” she contended.. “So what would be the deterrent to that? We have much work to do beyond one bill.”

She continued, “There must be accountability, and we have to legislate that. We have got to keep the qualified immunity in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It has to be maintained. It should not be watered down. it is one of the strongest and most important provisions of this bill. It’s how we’ll get to healing, and policies are the only receipts that matter in this moment, not hashtags and likes. What maters in this moment, is budget change and policy change.”

Pressley added, “The work that we need to do of affirming the humanity of Black lives to think it wasn’t that long ago that saving Black Lives Matter was considered a controversial statement. If folks are tired of hearing it imagine how tired we are of having to say it. The fact is that Black Americans and other marginalized communities have experienced undue harm for centuries because of what I would characterize as policy violence, not naturally occurring, very precise policy. And so the path forward, if we are truly in the midst of a reckoning, which means that we are reconciling with who we have been and who we continue to be, then we will usher in transformative bold change. We will codify the value of Black lives in our policies and in our budgets, and that is not just one bill. So I hope that my colleagues have the political will, the courage and the stamina for the work that is really going to be necessary to assert and to affirm once and for all that Black Lives Matter and to give families the accountability and the healing that they deserve. I just want us to pass laws that are going to keep Black Americans and other marginalized communities alive, period. That is about making investments in communities to meet the most basic needs.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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