A voice against economic and racial injustice and the militarization of police is the rarest of wonders on Sunday-morning corporate-media political talk shows in the United States, yet Congresswoman Omar aired these views Sunday on "This Week" on ABC News:
"People can't get that image of George Floyd having the life choked out of him by a police officer, who was supposed to protect and serve our community. But this also is a reminder that we are living in a country that has truly, for a long time, brutalized African-Americans, from slavery, to lynching, to Jim Crow, to mass incarceration, and now to police brutality. And, in Minneapolis, where we have of the worst racial disparities, people are also understanding that there has been severe social and economic neglect in our communities. And so we have real work to do to heal, to begin to rebuild, and to figure out a system that works for all of us."
But there's been an indictment! What more could be needed?
"[W]hat people are looking for is for just justice to take place, in regards to the charges for the officer that took the life of George Floyd. They also want to see charges for the other officers who stood by idly watching this life be taken. But, also, we need nationwide reforms. We also need to make sure that the kind of investment that we are making in our communities is a real one. What we are seeing, the unrest we are seeing in our nation, isn't just because of the life that was taken. It's also because so many people have experienced this, so many people have experienced injustices within our system, so many people know the social and economic neglect. We are living in a country that has a two-tiered justice system. And people are tired of the -- people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And we need to really step back and say to ourselves, where do we actually go from here? And that can't just be getting justice for George Floyd. It needs to be bigger than that."
Omar spoke up for justice and against destruction, even at the risk of facing opposition from new directions:
"[N]ot just here in the United States, but across the country -- across the world, when we see unrest takes place, it is often the people saying they have had enough, and they want bold and systematic change to take place, so that they can feel like their voices are heard. This is what happens when people are tired, just marching every single day, just to have their humanity be recognized. And what we also know to be true, not just here, but across the world, is that there are people who exploit the pain that communities are feeling and ignite violence. In Minneapolis, we have marched. We have protested. We have organized. And when we see people setting our buildings and our businesses ablaze, we know those are not people who are interested in protecting black lives. They might say they care about black lives, but they're not interested in protecting black lives, because, when you set a fire, you risk -- you risk the community that you are saying you are standing up for."
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Omar is also pressing for action by the U.S. Congress. She has introduced a resolution together with Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Karen Bass (CA-37), and Barbara Lee (CA-13), that would instruct the Department of Justice to investigate individual cases of police brutality, while also establishing independent all-civilian review boards.
According to USA Today, "Soon after the congresswomen announced their resolution, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced his committee would hold a hearing on police use of force, saying, they intend 'to call a wide variety of witnesses on the topics of better policing, addressing racial discrimination regarding the use of force, as well as building stronger bonds between communities and police.'"
Omar was quoted as saying, "The murder of George Floyd in my district is not a one-off event. We cannot fully right these wrongs until we admit we have a problem. As the People’s House, the House of Representatives must acknowledge these historical injustices and call for a comprehensive solution. There are many steps on the path to justice, but we must begin to take them."
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--- The RootsAction.org Team
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>> ABC News: 'This Week' Transcript 5-31-20: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Amb. Robert O'Brien
>> Resolution Text
>> USA Today: Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley introduce resolution condemning police brutality after George Floyd death