All around the world, we’re still mourning the deaths of Philando Castille, George Floyd, and other Black Minnesotans who have been senselessly killed by police. These incidents of racist violence have become so commonplace that if we don’t act, it’s not a matter of if it will happen again, it’s a matter of when. That’s why Minnesotans have been calling for real criminal justice reform, and why our elected leaders must respond with urgency.
Since the death of George Floyd, progressives in the legislature have proposed several bold solutions to protect our communities. Conservatives, on the other hand, are still just standing in the way.
June special session
During the June 2020 special legislative session, House progressive legislators, led by the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus, voted to pass a sweeping criminal justice and police accountability package. The package of bills reclaims community oversight, reforms accountability, and re-imagines public safety.
But Senate conservatives blocked the reforms. Then they walked away from the special session having done nothing to begin to address the structural racism that has contributed to the deaths of Black Minnesotans. And Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has made it clear that he is in no rush to take action.
Senate Republicans have downplayed the racist violence that has devastated our communities. They’ve held zero hearinings on criminal justice reform and heard zero police reform bills authored by legislators of color. Instead of Black lives, they’ve focused their energies on protecting statues and property, but have gone out of their way to silence progressives who actually live in the areas affected by the protests.
What conservatives don’t seem to understand is that property can be replaced. Statues can be replaced. Windows and car tires don’t have families expecting them to come home safely, but George Floyd and Philando Castille did. Their lives can’t be replaced. That’s why we need conservatives to get their priorities straight.
What happens now?
A second special session is underway. Progressives are still fighting for criminal justice reform, but conservatives are still trying to water down their proposals. That’s why we need to work together to demand real changes, not just lip service. Conservatives are failing our communities of color, and they need to be held accountable. Will you join us?