“What I want to hear from former President Barack Obama if he’s going to use his vast platform for these conversations, what I want to hear from President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, is: what are you going to do?” Garza asked in an interview for Politico’s Women Rule Capstone event. “And that’s what we haven’t heard amid all this hoopla about ‘defund the police.’”
Democratic infighting broke out over “defund the police” and socialism after a lackluster performance in the House in November.
“You lost a big audience the minute you say it,” Obama said of the anti-police effort, adding that “snappy” slogans may draw attention but it “makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.”
“The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” Obama told Peter Hamby, host of Snapchat’s “Good Luck America.”
Biden has clarified that he does not support defunding the police, but has promised to increase police oversight and accountability. He’s promised to install a national police oversight commission in the first 100 days of his presidency.
“This movement, which really helped to push [Biden’s] campaign over the finish line, was used as a political football all throughout this election cycle and that was true in 2016 as well,” Garza said. “There’s a lot of valuable airspace that was used to be condescending to the very people who have opened the imagination of what this country can be — and how we can get closer to the promise that this country has offered to so many.”
Black Lives Matter activists organized thousands of protests that brought tens of millions to the streets in all 50 states over the summer following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Garza said she is looking for the Biden-Harris administration to put forth policy addressing police brutality and police accountability. She’s endorsed the BREATHE Act, which was introduced by Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
The act proposes eliminating life sentences, retroactively expunging drug crimes for non-violent criminals, shutting down and defunding multiple federal agencies and permanently closing prisons and immigration detention centers, among other agenda items.
The bill also seeks to end gang databases, establish pilot programs for a universal basic income, and afford voting rights and “lifetime education” to all undocumented immigrants and incarcerated individuals.
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