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On Breonna Taylor’s birthday, Kentucky’s U.S. Senators hold America hostage to a painful past

June 5, 2020



Friday, June 5, 2020
On Breonna Taylor’s birthday, Kentucky’s U.S. Senators hold America hostage to a painful past
Breonna Taylor would have been 27 years old today. A bright, budding emergency responder, she had her whole life ahead of her. Yesterday, the first of three memorial services for George Floyd was held. He too, died a premature death.
Ahmaud Arbery’s killers were bound over for trial after a preliminary hearing in Georgia. While the facts surrounding their deaths may differ, the theme is still the same—deaths of unarmed black people by police (or those acting like police) is an all-too familiar reality in America.
Sen. Rand Paul has said he supports the bill to designate lynchings, as a federal hate crime but is holding it up because he says the bill is too broad. The junior Senator has imposed his perspective and will on a bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives and was well on its way to passage in the upper chamber.
Senator Rand Paul has intentionally interfered with this long overdue fix to the inaction of the government to punish killing by extrajudicial violence. What we do know is that lynching has moved beyond the racial terror by mobs.
The state of Kentucky itself recorded 186 lynchings between 1877 and 1934. However, Sen. Paul has again ignored the power of this moment to remedy a legacy of mob violence that now expresses itself often in police action.
Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, often touts his power as the leader of the Senate. He brags that nothing moves in the Senate unless he wants it to. Well, here is his moment.
Does McConnell want to make history for leading the upper chamber in advancing justice that is long overdue? Is he really the strong fisted-leader he claims to be? Or, is he paralyzed by ghosts of the past and party loyalties to force us to endure such an offense?
Strength in leadership is most often demonstrated when the stakes are high, and the need is great. This is such a time.
Today, we remember Breonna Taylor, and I hope that Kentucky’s senators would give her and us a posthumous birthday present—a Senate vote on the anti-lynching bill now on the floor. Mitch McConnell should move past Rand Paul’s obstructionism and pass this bill today. It is just. It is right, and it is time.
Media Contacts:
Chinta Strausberg
Alanna Ford
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.