Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors on Friday penned an op-ed in Teen Vogue calling for the next president to back the BREATHE Act, something she calls "modern-day civil rights legislation." Of course, the major backers behind the legislation are Squad members Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Specifically, Cullors says there needs to be "holistic treatment" for things like drug dependency and mental health issues and an end to the cash bail system "that punishes people for being poor." The BLM leader takes issue with mandatory minimums and "over-policing."
"The BREATHE Act is a legislative love letter to Black people," she wrote of the legislation that has yet to be introduced in Congress.
Here's what she said the legislation does:
It starts by divesting federal resources from vehicles of harm and punishment like policing and incarceration. That means slashing enormous police budgets. That means decriminalizing drug use and repealing other federal laws that have for too long been used to disproportionately criminalize Black women, children, and families. BREATHE will put us on the road to police and prison abolition, letting our loved ones out of federal prison and immigration detention facilities and building nurturing reentry systems to welcome them home and put them on the path to success and citizenship.
... BREATHE will provide organizations rooted in their communities with the funds to create public safety systems uniquely tailored to their community’s needs and incentivize states to decarcerate and defund.
Finally, BREATHE seeks to address past wrongs. We want to radically reimagine public safety and take our communities in a new direction, but we cannot gloss over 400 years of harm. BREATHE will study and establish reparations programs, fulfill the federal government’s commitments to indigenous people, and build more accountability in our democracy by expanding the franchise and rooting out the ghosts of Jim Crow.
According to the proposal, the BREATHE Act would:
- Dramatically change policing by outlawing "tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper bullets, pepper spray, flash bangs, long range acoustic devices (LRADs), Stingrays, lasers, and any other 'less than lethal' forms of crowd control" as well as drones, body cameras, tasers and facial recognition software.
- Prohibit law enforcement agencies from having joint task forces (like drug enforcement, border enforcement and gang enforcement).
- No law enforcement officers on public or private schools, colleges and universities, medical facilities, courthouses at every level, Social Security offices or Congressional district offices.
- Reduce nationwide prison populations across the country by at least 50 percent in five years and "complete decarceration" within 10 years.
It sounds like "defund the police" is a movement that's here to stay.