Recently, Black Lives Matter activists from fifty organizations published a very specific platform of policy changes that would start to resolve the hundreds of years of structural racism in the United States. You can read the platform here.
As a resident of Baltimore for the past thirty years, I have witnessed firsthand the oppression of black and brown people. It comes in the forms of hyper-segregation and redlining, racist policing and a racist criminal justice system, huge disparities in health care, disinvestment and growing poverty, to name a few. I have also witnessed acts of tremendous courage, sacrifice, artistic expression and love by activists in Baltimore who keep trying to change the failed systems that create and maintain this oppression. I applaud them.
Many proposals in the Black Lives Matter Vision are policies that I have worked on and support. For example, I have been organizing for the past decade for a health care system based on the principles of human rights, a national improved Medicare for all, and I have been organizing for the past five years to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other harmful international agreements. I have marched to expose and end police brutality and I have educated people about the new economy that includes support for worker-owned cooperatives, participatory budgeting and a basic income.
I believe that the vision put forth by the Black Lives Matter movement needs serious attention. I support it and I am willing to collaborate with the movement to make it a reality in Baltimore, in Maryland and across the country.
A memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was leaked yesterday which instructed Democrats and their staff on how to handle Black Lives Matter activists. The memo warned them: "Don't offer support for concrete policy decisions."
It made we wonder if similar memos ever go out about fossil fuel or health care industry lobbyists. Are Democrats ever warned not to support their proposals to pollute the planet or profit from health insurance at the expense of patients' health? I imagine that such warnings are not issued for lobbyists who donate to Congressional campaigns. They are probably only drafted for people like the Black Lives Matter activists who work to end exploitation and oppression.
I want to state again and very clearly. I do not serve the interests of the wealthy and Big Industry at the expense of protecting people and the planet. My senate office will be a place for the people where we will draft policies and reports that benefit the 99%.
I support the Black Lives Matter vision and I look forward to building a more just and peaceful world together.