Congressional Black Caucus members look to tackle police brutality, reparations in the new year

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are gearing up for a new year and looking to tackle issues that their constituents value the most.

U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., told theGrio that he looks forward to “doing the work for the people of my district.”

“We’re going to continue to focus on fully funding public schools, dealing with the issue of economic inequality, uplifting the issue of reparations,” he said.

Sunrise at the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol prepares to hold its final meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“Fighting for universal health care, fighting for green, clean, renewable energy in our spaces, pushing back against the criminal justice system that targets Black and brown people,” he added.

U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, D-La., told theGrio, “Unfortunately many of the things of last year still remain undone.”

“Whether that’s the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act or the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, things that remained important to African Americans,” he said.

“Who would think that as we approach 2024 that these issues remain undone and whether it is Republican leadership or not, we will not stop pressing forward for those issues that are important to the [Black] community,” he added.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman,
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., listens to fellow speakers before President Joe Biden speaks on the debt limit during an event at SUNY Westchester Community College, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Valhalla, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., told theGrio that she is concerned “about our democracy” and is doing what she can to ensure that those who are “disenchanted” cast their ballots in the 2024 elections.

“Your ability to submit a bad Yelp, decide if you want to vote or not, love who you want to love, wear the kind of clothes you want to wear — that is all because we live in a democracy,” she said.

“That is something that many people in other countries would be killed for trying to access,” she added.

As a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, she has seen firsthand how U.S. policy has influenced leadership abroad and wants to ensure that everyone has access to the same “freedoms.”

Because of the abortion bans that have taken place in some of our states and because of the talk about a national abortion ban … abortion bans have popped up in places like Colombia, Kenya and in India,” she said.

The California lawmaker said as a result, these policies are placing millions of people and children at risk, both in the U.S. and abroad.

As a Black woman with a Black husband and Black kids, freedom is really important to me,” Kamlager-Dove said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson,
U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) arrives at a House Republican candidates forum where congressmen who are running for Speaker of the House will present their platforms in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 23, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Bowman told theGrio that he believes House Democrats could face challenges in the new year while trying to pass legislation due to House Speaker Mike Johnson’s ties with former President Donald Trump.

Trump has had his hand in pretty much everything that’s happened in the House over the last year,” he said.

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It took us 14 votes to get to [elect Rep. Johnson, R-La.],” following the ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., “because of Trump’s influence on the Freedom Caucus,” Bowman said.

That’s why we need to be scared to death of an extreme MAGA Republican agenda, not just in the House but, in the White House,” he said.

The New York congressman is encouraging everyone to vote in the 2024 elections and to “get involved at every level of government.”

“That’s the only way to really build sustainable power,” he said.

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The Congressional Black Caucus is preparing to tackle important issues such as fully funding public schools, economic inequality, reparations, universal healthcare, renewable energy, and criminal justice reform targeting Black and brown people. They are also focusing on crucial legislation such as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Members like Jamaal Bowman and Sydney Kamlager-Dove are advocating for the protection of democracy and reproductive rights, both in the U.S. and abroad. However, they are facing opposition from House Speaker Mike Johnson, who is tied to former President Trump and poses a threat to progressive initiatives. As a result, the caucus is calling for voter engagement in the 2024 elections and grassroots involvement in government to build sustainable power.

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