WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) delivered powerful and emotional remarks on the Senate Floor today on the urgent need for comprehensive police reform in America. After first remembering the lives of “a loving son,” Ahmaud Arbery; “extraordinary” Breonna Taylor; and “gentle giant” George Floyd, Booker spoke movingly on his personal experience with racism as a black man in America. He spoke on the unprecedented and tragic times that we are facing as a nation. Finally, after explaining the countless injustices that black and brown communities face in our county, Booker called on his fellow colleagues in the Senate to end the senseless violence and pain visited upon communities of color by passing comprehensive policing reform legislation.
“The killings of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, of Ahmaud Arbery, are singular in their pain, are singular in their particular details and the anguish and the horror. But this is a terror that is familiar. It is a fear that is baked, now cemented into our culture for so many Americans, especially Black Americans. This has not just been a tough week, a tough few weeks. It's not just been an emotional time because of what we're seeing in protests all around the country. This has been a tough life. This is the story of day after day after day that punctuates our consciousness only when someone captures on videotape what is a regular part of the fabric of our country. We have a long and wretched and disturbing history in this country of black people being murdered by law enforcement [and] our systems of accountability, our systems of transparency, our ability to end this has proved impotent and feeble.”
“It's on us. The cries for justice in the street, it's on us. The pain being made manifest for all Americans to see, it's on us. Those who have been comfortable for too long, who are now pulled from their seats as they stare at a television that shows them a window into a nation that is not at rest. It’s on us in this body to do something to change the law. We can do that in the coming days. Senator Kamala Harris and I have partnered together on a comprehensive police reform proposal that takes into account the incredible work of congressional black caucus members,many of them who've been in this congressional body much longer than I have. They've been working on these issues much longer than I have. It takes the work of so many people in both of the bodies that make up our Congress and pulls them together.”
“Do you see me? I do not have your equal justice under law. Do you? Do you see me? I do not have justice for all. Do you see me? I matter? I matter. Black Lives Matter. Black bodies matter. America, I love you. Do you see me? Do you know my experiences? Do you see the failings of our ideals? The murder of a black man by multiple cops who knew what they were doing by filming in broad daylight. It is not the extent of the problem of racism in America. It is a final and deadly manifestation of that racism.”
“…right now hope is essential, but it's not enough. I confess to you right now, words of kindness and grace are essential to America, but they're not enough right now. I confess to you even something that's hard to admit that the spirit of courage and grit being shown by people on the streets, not in the comfortable hallways of the Senate, who in one of the most noble traditions of our nation are protesting or petitioning the government or peacefully gathering. I want to tell you right now that that is not enough. It is essential but it is not enough.”