House Democrats intend to go big in their coming legislation to tackle systemic racism and patterns of violence against African Americans — a package responding to the killing of an unarmed black man by Minneapolis police exactly two weeks ago.
The legislation, while centered around criminal justice reform, will seek to address racial disparities well outside the realm of law enforcement, delving into issues as varied as health care, education and environmental justice.
The strategy advances the notion that the plague of police violence against African Americans — as exposed in graphic fashion with the death of George Floyd last month — is a symptom of problems much more ingrained and ubiquitous than police reform can fix by itself.
As protesters have flooded streets in scores of cities around the country, Democrats see a unique opportunity to confront the systemic racial disparities that pervade virtually every swath of American life.
“We want to see this as a time where we can go forward in a very drastic way — not incrementally, but in an important way to redress those problems,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “We’re talking a long way back and a lot of injustice in it all.”