SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Nexstar) — California’s Legislative Black Caucus is speaking out as nationwide protests continue.
“It’s not enough to say you’re no longer a racist,” State Senator Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, said. “It’s time to prove it.”
The caucus is urging their non-black colleagues and communities for their support.
“We know the solution lies in the changing of this nation and for those who don’t look like us to for once take the banner and fight the battle that is so essential,” Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, said.
Lawmakers on Tuesday presented their priority legislation, which includes several bills to boost education on black history and that aim to address equity issues, as well as put more oversight on law enforcement. The Black Caucus acknowledges even if bills like these pass, they likely face more obstacles.
“We fight to get the bills passed, we fight to get them signed by the law, and then the court challenges come,” State Senator Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, said.
After nearly two years worth of negotiations, the California Legislature enacted a new police use of force standard that changed language in the law requiring them to use force only “when necessary,” instead of the old language: “when reasonable.”
With more proposals on the table, Black Caucus leaders say they didn’t think their relationship has improved with the state’s powerful police groups.
“People have become more solemn about it and realized this is serious,” Weber said. “It’s like a cheating husband who buys you a present and says he’s sorry. How long does that last?”
California law enforcement lobby groups have said they are sickened by George Floyd’s death and say the tragedy can lead to a positive discussion on a national standard of police training and use of force.