Impassioned speeches against systemic racism were given Monday afternoon in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Members of the Black Caucus pleaded their cause to their colleagues, two days after a peaceful rally downtown turned violent.
Rep. Harold Love, D-Nashville, made it clear, that destruction and chaos were not the order of Saturday’s “I Will Breathe” rally. But, Love used his time on the House floor reminding his colleagues — most of them white — that the laws they pass need to benefit every citizen, including African Americans.
“You can’t just like black people,” Love said. “You have to also make policy that helps them and doesn’t lower their value.”
Love mentioned how the House has refused to remove the bust of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state Capitol.
Meanwhile, Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, asked House members to look at the killing of George Floyd through the lenses of those victimized. He said there is something different about Floyd’s death at the hands of police.
“And I truly believe that within the heart of the average citizen there’s a belief that a change must take place,” Hakeem said.
Hakeem says it all can start in the legislature — by passing criminal justice reform.