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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01)

Albuquerque, N.M. – Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), opened a community panel discussion on racial injustice, police reform, and voter suppression. During her address, Congresswoman Haaland discussed the need for improve our criminal justice system and the need for police accountability in our communities. Haaland also mentioned the necessity of clean air and water in communities of color. The community panel was organized by the New Mexico OUT Business Alliance and the African American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. 

Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Thank you, Theresa. 

And hello everyone. Thank you for inviting me to welcome all of you to today’s conference. Thank you to the New Mexico Out Business Alliance, and the African American Greater Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event.

Black lives matter. 

The conversations we have had recently about systemic racism, police brutality, and inequality needed to happen a long time ago, and they can no longer wait. 

Black Americans are 2.5 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police.

For far too long, police brutality and countless murders of Black lives have been stolen at the hands of police who lack racial consciousness, bystanders who do not disrupt excessive force, and those who abuse their power are rarely held accountable.

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have shined a light on the racial injustices still alive in our country. Breonna Taylor is a reminder that justice is still not served and that communities are still hurting.

Within the first seven months of 2020, the number of transgender people murdered or suspected of being murdered was more than the entirety of those killed in 2019. Violence against Black, transgender women is rampant.

Whether it be the abuse of power that poisons the air and water surrounding communities of color, taking away protections for undocumented young people, underfunding Tribes putting them at disproportionate risk during a pandemic, or police brutality that kills unarmed black people, we must untangle the racist webs that are woven into our laws and policies

This past June the House passed the Justice in Policing Act which seeks to transform the culture of policing in our country, hold power abusers accountable, get weapons of war off our streets, and promote justice across the country. This is a step in a long and intensive process — we must take action across the board to address institutional and systemic racism in our country.

Rachel Sams, Editor-In-Chief of Albuquerque Business First wrote a timely article on how business leaders can start conversations about racism.

Rachel quotes many prominent business leaders in New Mexico, but I want to mention the part where Theresa Carson says that we must, “foster an environment where all individuals are treated fairly, valued and respected. Ensuring that their workforce reflects the diversity of the New Mexico community.” I agree with this wholeheartedly. 

I spoke with local Black Lives Matter organizers back in June of this year, and Hosanna Scott said, “we are a movement, not a moment.” So I am very grateful you are continuing conversations about diversity today.

Fathers are pledging for justice, Mothers are still crying for their murdered children, and people of color are still dying while the system remains the same. 

We cannot remain stagnant; we cannot stay on the same course. We must demand change and we must be relentless in that demand. 

John Lewis said, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”

I will continue to do everything I can in Congress to promote equality, protect voting rights, and make sure our communities are safe. 

MIL OSI USA News