Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Stacey Abrams Talks to SiriusXM About Police Reform: ‘We Have to Have a Conversation About Our Resource Allocation’

stacey abrams

*Yesterday Stacey Abrams pre-recorded an interview on SiriusXM’s Signal Boost with co-hosts Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh, where she addressed the topics of voter suppression, identity politics, her own story of being scared by the presence of police officers, that the upcoming elections are a redo of both 2010 and 2016, and also today’s Supreme Court ruling.

On the 2020 elections and the notion of courting swing voters, Abrams said “Democrats win when people think we can see them. If everything you do is to convince the person who says, ‘I don’t really like you, or not enough to commit. If everything you do is to cater to their identity, by that very moment, you are exempting and excluding everyone else’s identities, and you can’t count on a small group of people for salvation, for a nation.”

Abrams also spoke about police reform, saying “we have to have a conversation about our resource allocation, because the reality is where you put your money is where you put your values and our values have to give primacy to education, to healthcare.”

Stacey Abrams: “There’s no way we’re eliminating voter suppression in 2020”

And so in this moment because of the grotesqueness of what happened in Georgia, people around the country are further demanding “make sure our vote by mail works.” And that was the impetus behind Fair Fight 2020, which is that we wanted to be in states that are the battleground states for the White  House, for the Senate, for the Congress, but also for down ballot races, including state legislatures. And that if we do this right, if we use the primaries to teach us what their weapons are, to show us what their intentions are, then we can prepare for it and fight back. But let’s be clear. There is no way we’re going to eliminate voter suppression in 2020. Not going to happen. But if we mitigate its harm…we’re trying to claw back against 78,000 people who voted the wrong way. But we had 6 million people who didn’t think their voices matter. And those are the folks I’m focused on. Those are the people we need because 6 million people doesn’t just win you 2016. It wins you 2010. And we’ve got to be clear that we’re running two elections, a redo of 2016 that is completely different, but we’re also running a 2010 election where the Obama legislative initiatives died on impact because we did not pay attention and we did not own the moment of a census year. If we get those two things done, we win the future.

Stacey Abrams on SCOTUS’ “unexpected” decision and the importance of identity politics

Here’s what identity politics is just summarily. It is “I see you. I understand the challenges you face to achieving the same opportunities that we say everyone should have. And those barriers are going to differ based on your identity.” If you are – I mean, just today, the Supreme Court unexpectedly did something good. Their decision to include gender identity and sexual orientation in Title Seven of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a matter of identity politics. And I said it earlier, identity matters because of who they are, they were denied access to laws that protected the civil rights of Americans. Politics matter. Because of voting, because of protest, we have a 1964 Voting Rights Act. But also progress matters. We have to make sure that the next time this question comes up, if we don’t vote in this upcoming election, the seventh vote, the eighth vote, the ninth vote could be different because of who gets elected to pick the people sitting in the Supreme Court.

Those identities differ, even in that narrative about what was going to come out, Aimee [Stephens] and Gerald Bostock, and I apologize for forgetting the third person’s name, but each of those people had a different life and the intersections of their issues came together in this moment because their identity mattered. The reason we have had two solid weeks of demonstrations is because George Floyd’s identity mattered. The reason Rayshard Brooks is being lionized and his memory is being defiled by those on the right, trying to justify his murder because he was drunk, is about identity. And so if we don’t acknowledge the role that identity plays in the policies we make, the laws we pass, and the way we adjudicate the legitimacy of either, then we are not doing our jobs. And Democrats win when people think we can see them. And that goes back to my swing voter. If everything you do is to convince the person who says, “I don’t really like you, or not enough to commit.” If everything you do is to cater to their identity, by that very moment, you are exempting and excluding everyone else’s identities, and you can’t count on a small group of people for salvation, for a nation.

Stacey Abrams on reforming America’s policing system

STACEY ABRAMS: Language does matter, and I understand the terseness of the demands because the minute you’re having a paragraph conversation, you’ve lost someone. But this is a moment where you don’t need words. You just need the image of a man kneeling, a person with authority, kneeling on a man’s neck, a man running a way being shot in the back because he stole a taser, a young man running, jogging in the spring who gets shot with a shotgun because he was hunted down by men who were allowed to go free for 74 days. And let’s not forget Brianna Taylor who was saving lives when she went home to rest and had her life taken. And so I understand the rallying cry intent, but I don’t want us to lose the fact that policy only changes when we have people who can deliver those policy changes. And so we need to know very clearly what we demand of them.

And one is that we have to change. We have to reform and change and alter what that authority grants a police officer to do. It begins with the most egregious examples of deadly force, but there’s also a degradation of black lives that happens with too many police encounters. There’s a fear that we should not feel when we are confronting people who are charged with our safety. I mean, I was the minority leader driving in South Georgia and a County that was majority white because I was down there helping with something. And I remember how I panicked when a law enforcement officer pulled up behind my car. It turns out he thought I was lost and wanted to help me, but I was the top Democrat in the state and the panic I felt was incommensurate with the moment I was in. And imagine if you have that every time. So we have to absolutely reform the behaviors and the practices that allow police brutality, police insensitivity, and policing to be used as a weapon against the public safety and not as the defense of the public safety, but at the exact same time, we have to have a conversation about our resource allocation, because the reality is where you put your money is where you put your values and our values have to give primacy to education, to healthcare.

 

source: SiriusXM’s Signal Boost with co-hosts Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh (weekdays from 7-9am ET on SiriusXM Progress channel 127).

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