Elizabeth Warren is well-known for her compassionate, yet hard-hitting speeches. Her speeches on why banks should be broken up got our attention. Her speeches on Republican obstructionism and sexism got our cheers. And her speeches on why the middle class deserve dignified, livable conditions won our admiration and support.
At the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, Senator Warren pledged her unwavering support for the movement, something Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton stumbled over during the summer.
We’ve seen sickening videos of unarmed, black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air—their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them. Peaceful, unarmed protesters have been beaten. Journalists have been jailed. And, in some cities, white vigilantes with weapons freely walk the streets.
And it’s not just about law enforcement either. Just look to the terrorism this summer at Emanuel A.M.E. Church. We must be honest: 50 years after John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out, violence against African-Americans has not disappeared.
Warren’s message was clear: the parallels between BLM and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s are too evident to ignore. But it’s not just police brutality and an unjust “justice” system with which Warren contended — it’s an economic issue.
More specifically, it’s a Reaganomics issue.
Trickle-down theory has devastated the black middle class, pushing this already marginalized group deeper and deeper into poverty:
Economic justice is not — and has never been—sufficient to ensure racial justice. Owning a home won’t stop someone from burning a cross on the front lawn. Admission to a school won’t prevent a beating on the sidewalk outside. But when Dr. King led hundreds of thousands of people to march on Washington, he talked about an end to violence, access to voting AND economic opportunity. As Dr. King once wrote, “The inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice.
Instead of pushing the Black Lives Matter activists aside because of white privilege (as many conservatives are doing), Warren admitted she could never fully understand the hardship of the black community, because she is, in fact, a privileged, upper class white American:
I speak today with the full knowledge that I have not personally experienced and can never truly understand the fear, the oppression, and the pain that confronts African-Americans every day. But none of us can ignore what is happening in this country. Not when our black friends, family, neighbors literally fear dying in the streets.
For Warren to admit her privilege, yet still stand with those who are oppressed, speaks volumes.
Watch the amazing speech here, courtesy of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute:
Featured image via YouTube screen capture