Jun 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bobby Rush: Protests need concrete goals for police reform

Axios political editor Margaret Talev, left, and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.)

Photo: Axios screenshot

However long the momentum of the George Floyd protests continue, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) stressed at a virtual Axios event on Friday that lasting change for police reform must be achieved by clear goals from organizers.

What he's saying: "I think the anti-police or the police reform movement, the social justice movement is expressed today on the streets of our nation, in a righteous way. ... "You got to have organization. You can't have organization without an organization."

The big picture: Comparisons have been made between the George Floyd protests and the 1968 civil rights actions. Rush, a civil rights activist, pastor and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, noted some differences from the protests in the 1960s to today:

  • Many white people in the '60s were protesting the Vietnam War, while the African American community protested around voting rights in the South and police brutality, equal housing and education in the North.
  • Much of the protests regarding Floyd are from individuals deciding to come out against excessive use of force and extrajudicial killings by police rather than intentionally organized coalitions.

The bottom line, per Rush: "I see individuals coming together in beautiful ways, better ways. But I don’t see any organizational coalescing in these margins ..., and I think ultimately we have to get to a position where we are, actually, in order to have a sustained change in this society."

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