What Elizabeth Warren Said About Black Lives Matter Is What Everyone Should Hear

On Sunday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren did something virtually no other political leader has managed to do: The Massachusetts Democrat gave a speech about Black Lives Matter that showed a nuanced understanding of protests against injustice and police brutality. It's essential listening for anyone who wants to be an ally to racial-justice activists. Democratic presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have struggled to connect current movements around the country to their own focus on economic inequality. Sanders was famously confronted at Netroots Nation, and Clinton was criticized for relying on the "All Lives Matter" trope when speaking to Black audiences. Both have honed their messages and plans since then, but Warren managed to tie economic issues and racial issues together in a way that no one actually running for president have been able to do. "Economic justice is not — and has never been — sufficient to ensure racial justice. Owning a home won’t stop someone from burning a cross on the front lawn. Admission to a school won’t prevent a beating on the sidewalk outside," Warren said, according to the Washington Post. "The tools of oppression were woven together, and the civil-rights struggle was fought against that oppression wherever it was found — against violence, against the denial of voting rights, and against economic injustice," she continued. In the speech, Warren called for body cameras for police officers and better training on de-escalating situations for officers. Warren rose to fame when she spoke out against economic policies that enriched corporate giants and multinational banks at the expense of poor Americans.
Activists in Ferguson, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and dozens of other cities where young Black men and women have died at the hands of the police have called for more than just changes to policing; they've called for an overhaul of policies that leave Black families impoverished and without access to quality education and economic stability. Six Baltimore police officers will stand trial on a host of charges connected to the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died while in police custody. The Baltimore Sun reports that one officer has said that Gray pleaded for help, but that other officers did not believe that his injuries were real.

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