We Are Emily Virtual Conference: Helping the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act - Yolanda Caraway
Emily’s List is an organization that supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office.
As Secretary of the Board of Directors, I was featured at the virtual 2021 We Are Emily annual conference. I interviewed my good friend, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), who is working diligently to get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed in the U.S. Senate.
I asked her about the legislation and what we, as citizens, can do to help.
“In the early 80’s when I first got started in national politics, the face of power was very different than it is now. It was pretty much dominated by white men, with a sprinkling of Black men, and very few women. We’ve seen that change over the last four decades, not just with more people of color, but more women as well. Women have been using their voices to speak up for their families, their communities, and critical issues of the day.”
“Congresswoman, you’ve been very busy working on this legislation and helping move it forward in the Senate. Can you tell us how it has been for you, where it is now and what we can do in our communities to help?”
She gave great insight into the history and what the next steps are to turning the act into law.
“This is an issue that people have become increasingly aware of. I think when the world witnessed George Floyd being tortured to death, that brought awareness to an issue that has existed for our community since the day we arrived on these shores.
“I remember when the video of the Rodney King beating was released 30 years ago, the issue of racism would get more attention. However, it was never acknowledged, and I think that women in general can relate to this because what we go through with sexism, that also wasn’t acknowledged until recently. But now we’re talking about death, murder and great bodily injury that was never acknowledged or admitted to before.
“So that groundswell of activity led to the momentum that we needed to introduce and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Now we’re working on it and we’re going to get it on President Biden’s desk. It’s currently in the Senate and bipartisan discussions surrounding the act are ongoing. I am very hopeful we will get it across the finish line.
So, what can we do with citizens to help get this bill on the President’s table?
“Well, citizens can always be involved. There are 50 Senators that should be called. We need the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so phone calls to Senators, emails to Senators, reaching out to people who are connected to members of the Senate, all of that would be extremely helpful. Also, people can be active on social media and raise this issue. We need to have it lifted up and so any level of activity like that is momentum — and that means a lot to members because we pay attention to those phone calls, emails, and letters. So all of that would be very helpful.”
Watch our full interview below.