The Black Lives Matter movement is far from a political issue. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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The DNC faces pressure to adopt the BREATHE Act

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors spoke at the DNC’s virtual party platform committee meeting Monday to push for a bold policy platform including the adoption of the BREATHE Act. 

“Without the sea changes our movement recommended for the 2020 Democratic platform, any claims of allyship and solidarity with our work to fight for Black liberation are for naught,” Cullors said during the virtual meeting. 

The BREATHE Act is a comprehensive bill that addresses police brutality and racial injustice by advocating for numerous reforms. The bill put forward by the Movement for Black Lives is split into four sections.

The first section details dramatically reducing federal spending and resources that are directed towards incarceration and policing practices. The second section includes investing in programs that support community safety by shrinking the use of the legal system in favor of protecting the lives of African Americans. The third section allocates money towards building more equitable communities as well as providing economic and environmental justice. The fourth section aims to require public officials to address harms to African American communities as well as secure voting rights for African Americans. 

House Democrats announced the bill in Congress on June 8, and while many Republicans are critical of general calls to defund the police, Republicans are yet to indicate their view of any aspects of the bill according to the New York Times. Champions of the bill include Ayanna Pressley, Democratic Representative of Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District and Rashida Tlaib, Democratic Representative of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. 

“Our communities in the 13th and I are committed to fully engaging with this legislation seriously and with a sense of urgency,” Tllaib said in a virtual unveiling of the BREATHE Act with the Movement For Black Lives. 

In the wake of outrage and protesting following the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, the issue of police reform is an inevitable issue that both political parties will have to address. As a result, Joe Biden and the Democratic party have faced pressure to make a firm decision about their policies. Biden has not spoken about the BREATHE ACT specifically, but he recently addressed police reform in an interview on the Daily Show. 

“I don’t believe the police should be defunded, but I think the conditions should be placed upon them where departments are having to make significant reforms,” Biden said. 

Cullors reported that the Movement for Black Lives spoke with Biden’s campaign in early July about the BREATHE Act according to Axios. 

“Without making the necessary recommitments and revisions, can any of you here truly stand up and say, ‘My party is the party of principles?” Cullors said, addressing the Democratic National Convention.