WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call with U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Civil Rights Leader Bishop Bobby Hilton from Cincinnati as they speak out in support of Ohioans fighting for racial justice in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and too many other Black Americans.

“The protests around our state and throughout our country are an expression of fear, and grief, and frustration, and anger,” said Brown. “Black communities led the nation in mourning the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor over the last week – and they are now leading calls for justice and long-term changes to dismantle racist systems that hold them back. We need to listen to their voices, demand justice for all Black lives lost to police brutality, stand with the people who built this country, and work with them to find long-term solutions.”

“The history and trauma of racism, beginning with slavery and subsequent practices to terrorize and marginalize Black people since, is not a memory of the past but a reality still today,” said Beatty. “This dark history is exacerbated by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices, ranging from loss of jobs, economic inequality and the ever-widened racial wealth gap, to mass incarceration and excessive police force, as well as the War on Drugs and COVID-19. The recent killings of unarmed George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor reinforce these facts and harken back to the painful memories of Emmett Till. That is why we must stand up together during this historic moment to demand change in protocol, processes, and policies to ensure justice for all people. It’s time for truth and reconciliation in our nation.” 

“We just witnessed the murder of another unarmed black man saying I CAN'T BREATHE and calling for his mama. There is a Table of Understanding we ALL must sit down at.  Until then, nothing will change,” said Bishop Hilton.

In the coming days, Brown is set to introduce a Senate resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, which has been recognized by communities throughout Ohio. Brown’s resolution will acknowledge that health care disparities have existed in America for more than 400 years, recognize how those disparities are being magnified and exacerbated today during the Coronavirus pandemic and acknowledge systemic barriers that people of color, especially African Americans, continue to face when seeking care, including implicit biases and overall access to the social determinants of health.

Brown has also cosponsored legislation, the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act, to better enforce equal protection laws and work to end racial profiling in the criminal justice system.  

Brown’s bill would: 

  • Increase training on racial profiling issues as part of Federal law enforcement training and collect data on all routine or spontaneous investigatory activities,
  • Ensure the receipt of federal law enforcement and other funds that go to state and local governments is conditioned on their adoption of effective policies that prohibit racial profiling,
  • Authorize the Justice Department to provide grants for the development and implementation of best policing practices, such as early warning systems, technology integration, and other management protocols that discourage profiling, and
  • Require the Attorney General to provide periodic reports to assess the nature of any ongoing discriminatory profiling practices.

Brown will join Rep. Beatty and Bishop Hilton to continue fighting for racial justice for Ohioans, including working for a fair criminal justice system, honoring the Dignity of Work by championing equal economic opportunity and equal access to housing, increasing access to voting and addressing racial disparities in healthcare and basic services, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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