Elizabeth Warren endorses Black Lives Matter. Why does that matter? | us news

Elizabeth Warren endorses Black Lives Matter. Why does that matter?

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Elizabeth Warren endorses Black Lives Matter. Why does that matter?.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren just further burnished her progressive credentials with a thorough and explicit telling of racial injustice in America, focusing on what she called three tools of oppression historically and currently used against African-Americans and concluding with a full-throated endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Violence, voting, economic justice,” Warren told the Edward M. Warren detailed what she described as the “dark underbelly” of “how America built a great middle class”: Entire legal structures were created to prevent African Americans from building economic security through home ownership. Warren proudly announced that she would be an ally to the movement. “I speak today with the full knowledge that I have not personally experienced and can never truly understand the fear, the oppression, and the pain that confronts African Americans every day,” she said. “But none of us can ignore what is happening in this country. Kennedy Institute. “To fight for their lives.” Warren’s remarks went further than the disparities in the criminal justice system, speaking to voting rights, economic inequality, housing discrimination, and predatory banking practices: Fifty years after John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out, violence against African Americans has not disappeared. But she did not mince words in describing the police brutality that has become a national topic of conversation. “We have seen sickening videos of unarmed, black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air — their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them,” she said. “Peaceful, unarmed protesters have been beaten.

Not when our black friends, family, neighbors literally fear dying in the streets.” Listen to the brave, powerful voices of today’s new generation of civil-rights leaders. She pointed to prominent police violence against black citizens, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act and voter ID laws, and the disparate impact of the housing crisis on African-Americans. “We have made important strides forward. The tools have changed, but black voters are still deliberately cut out of the political process. … Today, 90 percent of Americans see no real wage growth. Half a century later, we have made real progress, but we have not made enough progress.” Warren organized her speech around three key issues on race: police brutality, voting rights, and economic equality. Turning to today’s racial struggle, Warren credited the civil rights legislation of the 1960s with widely establishing the founding principle of the current protest movement. “The first civil rights battles were hard fought.

Ultimately, Warren called for various policies to help bring down these disparities — from police-worn body cameras that would help hold officers accountable to steps that would make voting simpler and easier, such as automatic voter registration and making Election Day a holiday. In his first speech on the floor of the Senate, just four months after his brother’s assassination, he stood up to support equal rights for all Americans. Fellow candidate Hillary Clinton took a closed-door meeting with several activists in August, and video released afterwards showed her defending policies created by her husband, President Bill Clinton, which the activists claimed perpetuated violence against the black community. If his life and death had a meaning, it was that we should not hate but love one another; we should use our powers not to create conditions of oppression that lead to violence, but conditions of freedom that lead to peace. “We should use our powers not to create conditions of oppression that lead to violence, but conditions of freedom that lead to peace.” That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

Warren, who made her name as an advocate of financial-services reform, linked economic injustice—systemic denial of home ownership and the shrinking black middle class, both caused by the “trickle down” economics of the Reagan era—to racial injustice, a link made by another civil-rights advocate: Economic justice is not—and has never been—sufficient to ensure racial justice. He told me that more than 50 years earlier — in May of 1961 — he had spent 11 hours in that same basement, along with hundreds of people, while a mob outside threatened to burn down the church because it was a sanctuary for civil rights workers. Still, housing discrimination, Warren reminded the audience, is “alive and well in 2015,” noting recent multi-million dollar settlements by banks who illegal charged a so-called “racial surtax” for home mortgages. Sanders, who gave up his rally stage in Seattle to BLM protesters, subsequently hired Symone Sanders – a young black criminal justice advocate – as his national press secretary.

In the 1960s and the 1970s, African-American men and women began to close the wage gap with white workers, giving millions of black families hope that they might build real wealth. Just as this country was taking the first steps toward economic justice, the Republicans pushed a theory that meant helping the richest people and the most powerful corporations get richer and more powerful. I’ll just do one statistic on this: From 1980 to 2012, GDP continued to rise, but how much of the income growth went to the 90% of America – everyone outside the top 10% – black, white, Latino? When Alabama Governor George Wallace stood before the nation and declared during his 1963 inaugural address that he would defend “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” he made clear that the state would stand with those who used violence.

While median family income in America was growing – for both white and African-American families – African-American incomes were only a fraction of white incomes. It’s a way to help the kids get through college, a safety net if someone gets really sick, and, if all goes well and Grandma and Grandpa can hang on to the house until they die, it’s a way to give the next generation a boost-extra money to move the family up the ladder.

Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson all called out the National Guard, and, in doing so, declared that everyone had a right to equal protection under the law, guaranteed by the Constitution. And economic opportunities opened up when Congress passed civil rights laws that protected equal access to employment, public accommodations, and housing. Because middle class black families’ wealth was disproportionately tied up in homeownership and not other forms of savings, these families were hit harder by the housing collapse.

Recently several big banks and other mortgage lenders paid hundreds of millions in fines, admitting that they illegally steered black and Latino borrowers into more expensive mortgages than white borrowers who had similar credit. We honor the bravery and sacrifice that our law enforcement officers show every day on the job – and the noble intentions of the vast majority of those who take up the difficult job of keeping us safe. The right to vote remains essential to protect all other rights, and no candidate for president or for any other elected office – Republican or Democrat – should be elected if they will not pledge to support full, meaningful voting rights. Our task will not be complete until we ensure that every family-regardless of race-has a fighting chance to build an economic future for themselves and their families.

And one more issue, dear to my heart: It’s time to come down hard on predatory practices that allow financial institutions to systematically strip wealth out of communities of color. One of the ugly consequences of bank deregulation was that there was no cop on the beat when too many financial institutions figured out that they could make great money by tricking, trapping, and defrauding targeted families. Now we have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and we need to make sure it stays strong and independent so that it can do its job and make credit markets work for black families, Latino families, white families – all families.

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