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black lawmakers sit out of state of the union

February 5, 2020
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Was there a State of the Union yesterday?

Many Black and brown lawmakers sat it out, and frankly I don’t blame them. From recently banning Nigerian immigration to the United States to his constant attacks on Black women , nothing about Trump’s presidency is normal and we shouldn’t be acting like it is.

Instead, many Black lawmakers spent two days on Capitol Hill at the Congressional Black Caucus’ emergency summit. Here, their main agenda was twofold: electing a new president in 2020 by focusing on voting rights and the importance of Black folks getting counted in the 2020 Census. The census doesn’t always seem like a flashy issue, but it is used by the government to determine who is represented in our democracy and which communities get (or in the case of Black folks, don’t get) funding.

It isn’t a coincidence that the CBC’s event took place while Trump stood in front of the nation and made his loudest appeal yet to Black voters by lying about his record with Black citizens. But Black folks need more than inflated numbers, bombastic rhetoric and Super Bowl commercials bragging about his efforts. With sessions focused on important issues like voting rights, reparations, and addressing Black poverty, Black lawmakers at the CBC convening laid out the ways Trump failed our communities time and time again.

Shortly before his State of the Union address, Rep. Maxine Waters, one of the fiercest proponents of Trump’s impeachment, gathered a group of young people in the Capitol. Unapologetic and unafraid, Auntie Maine underscored the importance of staying vigilant.

“We’re going to continue to witness what is wrong with the presidency and why it’s important for us to resist and why it’s important to be involved in this impeachment…we believe the American public will know the difference come election time and that they’re going to vote him out of office.”

In a sit down with AFROPUNK, Rep. Karen Bass, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, underscored the power of young Black voters.

“It’s hard for me to say, strong enough how serious the election is,” Bass started. “It was young people that brought us Barack Obama. It was young people that brought us eight years of progress and forward movement. I’m worried that frankly, if we don’t turn out to vote in record numbers, I’m worried that the next two generations long after I’m gone, we’ll be set back in time in a time capsule. In 60 or 70 years, I don’t want to see the younger generation have to fight the struggles of the 1950s. And if we don’t correct this, if we don’t right this ship, the next generation is going to be fighting that battle.”


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