BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors-Brignac Explains Why You Should Support the Breathe Act
Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, advocates for the Breathe Act in a recent Instagram video, explaining what it is and how and why you should support it.
The name the “Breathe Act” is not only a tribute to Eric Garner and George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” but also a reference to the goal of the act: to allow Black individuals to finally “breathe freely” without fear of police terror.
“We created this bill because of the people on the ground, folks who chanted, protested, millions of us around the country and the globe who shouted that black lives matter,” says Cullors-Brignac in the video. “It is bold, it is courageous, it is transformative, and it is in honor of the lives stolen by police and state-sanctioned violence.”
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So *TODAY* I want to talk about The BREATHE Act! You may have seen this floating around social media and today, I am going to break it down for you. Why is it called the BREATHE Act? Yes, we are honoring #EricGarner and #GeorgeFlloyd ‘s last words. But this is also for the millions of us who want to breathe freely. This is also in honor of the lives of those stolen by police and state-sanctioned violence — Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Natasha McKenna, George Floyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Elijah McClain, Pearlie Golden, Kayla Moore, Freddie Gray, Atatiana Jefferson, Oscar Grant, and far too many more. Who created it? @mvmnt4blklives M4BL, founded in 2014, is a coalition of 150 abolitionist organizations Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley support the bill What does it propose? Radical transformation of our criminal-justice system To all those who have questioned defunding the police and transforming our system as realistic, THIS is how it happens.
A large portion of the Breathe Act focuses on defunding the police, which would close federal prisons and immigration detention centers, abolish ICE and the DEA, and ban police departments from using surveillance and military-grade weapons. Funds would be reallocated to social welfare, healthcare, education, and environmental programs. The Breathe Act also aims to abolish the DOD’s 1033 program, which allowed local law enforcement access to excess military equipment, in order to reallocate funds to public housing and Medicaid expansion. Go to breatheact.com to read a six-page summary of the act.
“Our goal and intention for the act is to move a conversation forward at the federal level that really looks at the ways in which our communities have been completely divested from,” says Cullors-Brignac. “This act is a pressure move. We want to pressure all of our elected officials to think bigger about what’s possible, about what our potential is as human beings and living here inside of this country.”
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“We are a generation that wants to make sure that the needs of all Black people are met,” Cullors said. “We believe the BREATHE Act is that legislation. It’s an act that is pushing us to look at the future of this country, an act that is mandating and demanding a new future and policies that are courageous and visionary.”
Although the bill hasn’t been introduced in Congress yet, Cullors-Brignac is confident that it will get there. Support the Breathe Act by visiting breatheact.com and sign on to be a co-sponsor of the act. Cullors-Brignac also encourages you to tell your community how to show up and speak about the act, make a video about the act, create town halls about the act, and to share her video to your social media. To ask questions or give your thoughts, you can text Cullors-Brignac at 818-210-4945.
Follow @osopepatrisse on Instagram for updates.