WASHINGTON (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee processed protests in Wisconsin over the weekend and all around the country following George Floyd’s death.
Saturday, Barnes responded to nationwide unrest in a Twitter thread by explaining the country can’t reach solutions without adequately acknowledging the problem.
“What we’re all seeing across the country is the realization of injustices that have been taking place and taking route for so long in communities all across America,” said Barnes.
“It pains me, it hurts, to see cities on fire, to see cities burn, to see the destruction and chaos. But what hurts even more is whats been going on for so long. And in my mind, that’s the biggest problem.”
Barnes is the first African American person elected to the Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor’s office and Moore is the first African American congressperson elected from state. And while seeing another incident of an unarmed black person being killed by police was a heavy moment for them both to unpack, they feel it’s also an opportunity to reignite calls to action.
“This is our watch. We don’t get to make excuses. We don’t get to punt this off on other people. We have to spend each and everyday challenging this and fighting this,” said Rep. Moore. “This has given me a renewed inertia to push forward my initiative to force deescalated training or else lose some of that precious Byrne JAG federal money that local departments need to run their police departments I want to use the carrot and the stick from my perch to try force this on communities. And police departments who’ve adopted it say that it works.”
Rep. Moore’s future bill aimed at addressing police accountability could gain steam in the Democrat-controlled House, but it’s likely to hit a wall in the Senate and White House.
“As you know, the Justice Department under Donald Trump has really shut down its review of what happens with city police forces so it is really imperative that people connect this with the need to vote as people come to recognize the connection between their enfranchisement and their safety,” said Rep. Moore.
While Rep. Moore looks for legislative solutions on Capitol Hill, Barnes agrees with a column former Pres. Barack Obama penned on Monday that argues significant change starts at at a local level.
“I think that the response from a statewide perspective is one of accountability and there should be standards,” said Lt. Gov. Barnes. “The legislature should meet to pass bills aimed at creating better police-community relationships. And it requires legislators to take it seriously.”