August 5, 2020
SAN PEDRO, Calif. – Tonight, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán hosted a virtual forum on justice in policing with Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass and Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The three leaders discussed the House’s recent passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, best practices in police reform, and recent issues on the ground in their communities. They talked about the current protests for justice, gave historical context, and explained why they are optimistic that positive change is coming.
“This is a discussion I wished we didn’t need to have, but I’m honored to have these two leaders join me to address police violence, an issue that has plagued our communities for far too long,” Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán said. “Together, we can shape and change the world. We must fight today so that tomorrow’s generation, and those that will follow, are unfamiliar with systemic and institutionalized racism and police brutality.”
“This issue impacts all of our communities, not just African Americans. It impacts the Latinx community, Asian and Pacific Islander, Native Americans and poor people in general have had a long history of dealing with police issues,” Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass said.
Chairwoman Bass said she is optimistic that, after decades of frustration, we will finally see real change.
“I think what’s different this time the murder of George Floyd is was just not up for dispute. When other people have been killed – even when running away – people would always raise the question of ‘what happened before the cameras were on.’ This time was so egregious that it really did move things,” she explained. “I think when George Floyd was killed, you could not debate it. People watched him be murdered on TV. And so, because of that, it led to hundreds of thousands of people in the street and that’s what made Congress move.”
President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Vanita Gupta was also hopeful that change is coming.
“All of us have a role to play in this moment of national reckoning. The voices of lawmakers and communities are imperative right now in holding the line on our demand for legislation that does not distort or distill a strong accountability framework — but instead ensures lasting accountability and protects communities of color from over-policing, police brutality, misconduct, and outright murder,” President Gupta said.
She continued: “Black people deserve real, meaningful change. Nothing less will do. It is time to reimagine public safety in a way that prioritizes upfront investments in community-led solutions and resources that center dignity and respect for everyone. That means not just changing policing practices and culture, but shrinking the footprint of the criminal legal system, including police, in Black and Brown people’s lives and investing in areas that truly make us safer.”
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.