On Monday several black lawmakers made a demonstration by using the “Hands Up, don’t shoot” protest slogan on the floor of Congress. The only problem is that the very same lawmakers who were making this symbolic show of support for protesters also voted to preserve police militarization.
“Hands up, don’t shoot. It’s a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said to an empty House chamber. “In community, after community, after community, fed up with police violence in Ferguson, in Brooklyn, in Cleveland, in Oakland, in cities and counties and rural communities all across America.”
According to POLITICO, Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Al Green (D-Texas) were also a part of the “Hands Up” spectacle.
“This has become the new symbol, a new statement, a statement wherein people around the country now, are calling to the attention of those who don’t quite understand that this is a movement that will not dissipate, it will not evaporate. It is a movement that is going to continue,” Green blustered.
None of the Congressional Black Caucus members who were a part of this “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protest voted in favor of H.R. 4870, an amendment offered by Rep. Grayson (FL) to halt the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of military weapons and equipment to local police annually.
Jeffries, Jackson-Lee, Green and Clarke all opposed the amendment. Click here for the final vote.
It seems that symbolism is still more important than substance among many of our CBC members.
If you recall, the initial protests in Ferguson were met with militarized police who escalated confrontations with protesters and even arrested journalists.