Black Lives Matter activists want more support from Congressional Black Caucus
January 18, 2016 at 5:09 am
Activists are on the streets fighting for Black justice and, on the other side, the same battle is happening at the legislative level. Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are both champions for progress within the Black community. Same mission, but a possible divide. Could it be a generational gap?
Depends on who you ask.
Young activists could make a case for the disconnect, often asking how Black lawmakers are contributing to the discussion of progress. Kwame Rose, the Baltimore activist who made headlines for his sparring of words with Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera, says he was unfamiliar with the CBC’s national reach and unaware that it was “actually a group in Congress.”
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the chairman of the caucus tells The Huffington Post, that age and relevance shouldn’t be a factor.
“I don’t want to accept the argument of the generational gap between the Congressional Black Caucus and our young leaders — and if there is one, we need to remove it,” Butterfield said. “Many of us are products of the [civil rights] movement. When you are a product of that, it’s in your DNA. It’s what you believe about and fight for every day. We want millennials and Black Lives Matter to understand we are engaged at a different level.”
While the Black Lives Matter movement has experienced swift progress with a shift in America’s attitude on wanting to give Blacks more equality to birthing a hashtag with real action. You can call it in your face politics, but where is the change in legislation? That’s where millennial activists say the CBC is missing the mark.
CBC’s website notes, “For more than 40 years, the CBC has consistently served as the voice for people of color and vulnerable communities in Congress and has been committed to utilizing the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the government of the United States of America to ensure that everyone in the United States has an opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
If there is indeed a disconnect, there are lawmakers working to bridge the gap. For instance, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) attended President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union with Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 8, 2016
While BLM supporters may have alternative methods for highlighting everyday injustices, CBC members like Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) said, say that the support is there but could be echoed a little louder.
“We are fighting every single day for the things they are talking about. We have been at it for years. We know how important this is. They’re our children. They’re our babies. They’re our grandchildren. They matter to us.”