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Pressley “Black Lives Matter is a mandate from the people. It’s time. Pay us what you owe us”

During a fiery speech on the House floor, Rep. Ayanna Pressley concluded “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:

Ayanna Pressley:

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.

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