At a press conference for the unveiling of the “Justice in Policing Act,” Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., asked that the history of slavery in America be considered when writing and writing about the policing reform legislation.
JIM CLYBURN: Now, you've heard what's going to be in this legislation. I'm going to say two things. First, to those who are responsible for writing it and, secondly, to those who are responsible for writing about it. Let me say this.
With few exceptions, white people came to this country willingly in search of a new world full of liberty and justice for all. With a few exceptions, black people came to this country against their will, chained, shackled, and came to these shores enslaved and stayed that way for 244 years. Think about how long that is, how many generations that is.
It's a long time, eight minutes and 46 seconds. That's a long time to be on one knee. But for 244 years, there are plenty knees on the necks of blacks who came to this country.
And so as we write this legislation and as you write about this legislation, please keep those two divergent sets of experiences in mind. We are still in search of a more perfect union. We will always be in search of a more perfect union. We must not allow any force, in whatever office one may hold, to turn the clock back on that pursuit.