9 Powerful Quotes From Elizabeth Warren's Racial Injustice Speech That Everyone Needs To Read
Virtually every politician has weighed in on the Black Lives Matter movement and the prevailing racial climate that gave rise to it. However, none have aligned themselves as clearly and strongly with the movement as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who gave a speech on America's deep-seated racial injustice and the factors that continue to perpetuate inequality. Her statements on the issue were not only compelling, but also sharp-tongued and completely spot-on. If you study up on any politician's take on Black Lives Matter, then you should start with these quotes from Warren's speech, because they reflect some of the best insight you can read on the subject.
Warren took to the podium Sunday at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which was established by the namesake former Massachusetts senator. Warren tied the current racial tensions across America to the civil rights movement that unfolded during Kennedy's time. Of these civil rights laws, Warren stated:
These laws made three powerful declarations: Black lives matter. Black citizens matter. Black families matter.
However, in the last half-century, these values have not always been upheld. From the systematic "tools of oppression" historically used against black Americans to the current criminal justice system, which continues to discriminate against them, Warren's message was clear: "We have not made enough progress."
Read the nine most powerful quotes from Warren's Black Lives Matter speech, and try and not be moved.
America's "Great Middle Class" Is Not Inclusive
I have often spoken about how America built a great middle class ... But there's a dark underbelly to that story ... Coming out of the Great Depression, America built a middle class, but systematic discrimination kept most African-American families from being part of it.
"A Long And Spiteful List"
State-sanctioned discrimination wasn’t limited to homeownership. The government enforced discrimination in public accommodations, discrimination in schools, discrimination in credit — it was a long and spiteful list.
The Tools Have Changed, But Not The Oppression
Today, the specific tools of oppression have changed — voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and mass disfranchisement through a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates black citizens. The tools have changed, but black voters are still deliberately cut out of the political process.
Economic Justice Is Not Enough
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.
The Violence Is Far From Over
Fifty years later, violence against African Americans has not disappeared ... We've seen sickening videos of unarmed, black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air — their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them.
Invoking Those Who Have Died At The Hands Of Racism
Listen to them say: "If I die in police custody, know that I did not commit suicide." Watch them march through the streets, "hands up don't shoot" — not to incite a riot, but to fight for their lives. To fight for their lives.
End Voting Discrimination
The right to vote remains essential to protect all other rights, and no candidate for president or for any other elected office — Republican or Democrat — should be elected if they will not pledge to support full, meaningful voting rights.
Humility And Action
I speak today with the full knowledge that I have not personally experienced and can never truly understand the fear, the oppression, and the pain that confronts African Americans every day. But none of us can ignore what is happening in this country. Not when our black friends, family, neighbors literally fear dying in the streets.
Continuing The Work Of Civil Rights Activists
So it comes to us to continue the fight, to make, as John Lewis said, the "necessary trouble" until we can truly say that in America, every citizen enjoys the conditions of freedom.