***Click Here for a Photo and Click Here for Video From the Event***
HENRICO, V.A. – Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06) held a virtual conversation with Central Virginia faith leaders, advocates, and community leaders to discuss recent actions taken in the U.S. House to address issues of racism, equity, and police reform.
During a Zoom event, Spanberger and Clyburn — the third ranking Democratic Member in the U.S. House of Representatives — heard from Seventh District advocates, faith leaders, NAACP officers, and community organizers about specific questions and concerns related to the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, inequities in areas like housing and infrastructure, and the racial divides in our healthcare system that have been brought to the fore by the COVID-19 pandemic. Clyburn serves as Chairman of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
Clyburn and Spanberger thanked local Seventh District leaders for their continued work in Central Virginia communities, and encouraged everyone — particularly young people — to find ways to engage in the political process, voice their opinions clearly, and get involved in the work for practical, legislative change.
“We know from COVID-19 that there are some fault lines that have developed or been exposed in our healthcare delivery system, and we’ve got to demonstrate the greatness of this country by repairing that fault line,” said Clyburn in his remarks. “A fault line has been exposed in our judicial system, and we know — as Representative Spanberger has highlighted — what this Justice in Policing Act will do…Our government has to depend on the commitment of all those who are keeping the faith, and I want to thank all of you who are participating here today. Thank you to Rep. Spanberger for inviting me to be with you.”
“Having an open dialogue with the leaders doing the work on the front lines of our communities is essential to building on the work of leaders like Representative Clyburn and advancing our goals of justice and equity for all Americans. Virginia’s Seventh District is home to many such leaders, who have worked for years in our churches, schools, community groups, and businesses to give our neighbors a seat at the table,” said Spanberger. “I look forward to continuing the discussion and gathering their feedback as I push to get the Justice in Policing Act to the President’s desk. Representative Clyburn brings decades of experience and courageous leadership to the House, and his lifelong commitment to justice has paved the way for much of the work that my colleagues and I are pursuing today. I thank him for joining our conversation today, and I thank the numerous local leaders who work every day to make sure that Black communities in Central Virginia are heard.”
To listen to a full recording of yesterday’s conversation, click here.
Last week, Spanberger cosponsored the Justice in Policing Act. The legislation, led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37), builds on numerous, longtime priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus and would:
- Ban chokeholds and carotid holds,
- Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling,
- Create a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers from moving to another jurisdiction without accountability,
- Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, and age,
- Establish public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities improve public safety,
- Limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement,
- Require state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras, and require federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras,
- Create law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations, as well as law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices, and
- Reform qualified immunity, so that Americans are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.