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Democrat Rep. Pressley: ‘Black Lives Matter Is A Mandate,’ ‘Pay Us What You Owe Us’

Democrat Rep. Pressley: ‘Black Lives Matter Is A Mandate,’ ‘Pay Us What You Owe Us’
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) said during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives that Black Lives Matter was a mandate from activists and that it was “time” for the American people to “pay us what you owe us.”
“Centuries of institutionalized oppression will not be undone overnight, for racism in America is as structural as the marble pillars of this very institution,” Pressley claimed. “With the power of the pen we must legislate accountability, dismantle these systems, and move in the direction of justice and healing. The Justice in Policing Act is a critical step forward and I applaud the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus.”
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 2: Ayanna Pressley speaks before the group at a program voicing support for those protesting against police brutality against Black Americans in Boston on June 2, 2020. Elected officials of color in Massachusetts government marched from the African Meeting House on Joy Street to the nearby Massachusetts State House to hold a press conference in the wake of protests calling for justice for George Floyd.
“But our work is unfinished. There is a rallying cry in communities across the nation,” Pressley continued. “Black Lives Matter is a mandate from the people. It’s time. Pay us what you owe us. Our Black skin is not a crime, it is the beautiful robe of nation builders.”
WATCH (transcript below):
PRESSLEY: Madam Speaker, I rise today on behalf of every Black family that has been robbed of a child. On behalf of every family member that has been forced to see their loved one lynched on national television. Driving while Black. Jogging while Black. Sleeping while Black. We have been criminalized for the very way we show up in the world. Under the harsh gaze of far too many, my Black body is seen as a threat, always considered armed.
Centuries of institutionalized oppression will not be undone overnight, for racism in America is as structural as the marble pillars of this very institution. With the power of the pen we must legislate accountability, dismantle these systems, and move in the direction of justice and healing. The Justice in Policing Act is a critical step forward and I applaud the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus.
But our work is unfinished. There is a rallying cry in communities across the nation. Black Lives Matter is a mandate from the people. It’s time. Pay us what you owe us. Our Black skin is not a crime, it is the beautiful robe of nation builders.
Thank you, I yield.
Pressley’s remarks come after Hawk Newsome, head of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, made waves during a Fox News interview on Wednesday that eventually caught the attention of President Donald Trump.
Newsome said, “If this country doesn’t give us what we want then we will burn down the system and replace it.”
Trump responded to the remark on Fox News by tweeting about it, writing: “Black Lives Matter leader states, ‘If U.S. doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it’. This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!”


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