IBLC statement on Black Lives Matter protests: From protest to progress
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) today released the following statement in response to the Black Lives Matter protests happening across the country:
“Over the last couple of days, members of our community have been willing to risk their lives during a pandemic to protest empty promises of change. We have grown tired of hashtags and tired of waiting for progress. To articulate the exhaustion of the African American community, and the country, would be beyond a mere few paragraphs, but we are exhausted,” said State Representative Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), chair of the IBLC.
“During the last month alone, the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) has written multiple letters, statements and led discussions about the effects that the global pandemic has had on the African American community and condemning racism and the blatant disregard and lack of respect for Black and Brown people.
“We join our friends, colleagues, family members, and fellow Americans as the country mourns the loss of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Dreasjon Reed in our very own Indianapolis and many more. Whenever a Black person is murdered, our community mourns and angers as a collective group and today is no different. After speaking with our fellow legislators in Minnesota to offer our help, we offer this simple, non-exhaustive list:
- Support the charging and conviction of ALL officers involved in the very public execution of George Floyd
- Create civilian-led Use of Force Boards all across the country
- Create and support legislation that prevents this from happening in the future
“During our mourning, we encourage all who are participating in the demonstrations across the country to be safe and protect our community. We understand the pain, let us continue to use it to build bridges and advocate for change. We also recognize there is no quick and easy answer, politically or legally to eradicate years of oppression. Malcom X said it best when he stated, 'If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn't even begun to pull out the knife.'
“The IBLC will continue to create a sense of urgency to eliminate racism and reform our justice, healthcare, education, and economic systems. The road to progress is not easy or short, but we are committed to bettering our community and state.”
About the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus: The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC), comprised of the 13 African American legislators in the Indiana General Assembly, is working to overcome the wrongs of the past as we pursue the social and economic initiatives that make up our work at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. We hold fast to the following principles as we work to develop policies and pass laws that will positively impact minority communities throughout the state. Our Mission includes: (1) Greater economic, educational and social opportunities for all residents of Indiana; (2) Improved educational efforts to close the achievement gap that threatens to shut the doors to opportunity for minority students at all grade levels; (3) Enhanced public policies that will address the primary concerns of minority citizens in Indiana, including the need to reduce crime, gun violence and domestic violence within our communities; (4) Targeted assistance to address the needs of families struggling to obtain basic necessities such as housing, utilities, clothing and food; and (5) Access to adequate healthcare that will promote better health outcomes and discourage health disparities.