Kimberly A. Lightford: In Illinois, hard-fought negotiation yielded police reform

Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, leads the Illinois Senate as lawmakers gaveled in for for session at the Illinois State Capitol on May 21 in Springfield, Ill.

Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP

By Kimberly A. Lightford

For generations, the Black community, other marginalized groups and allies have been fighting for social justice and civil rights for all Americans. Yet I’ve been hearing from people who act as if our efforts to eliminate inequities are new or surprising.

It’s 2021, and it’s past time to fix the broken systems that don’t allow Black Americans to reach their full potential and, in too many cases, even cost them their lives.

I’m a Black woman, mother and wife, and I’ll tell you, we are tired of waiting.

Black and Hispanic families in Black and Hispanic communities still see barricades keeping us out of places we want — and deserve — to go. Every generation, we see lives lost, people beaten, people shot, people humiliated for no reason other than the color of their skin: Emmett Till, Rodney King, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many more I couldn’t even try to name them all.

Given this history, it’s hard to maintain patience with those who want us to slow down. My friends and neighbors wonder what took so long.

During the final days of the 101st General Assembly at the Illinois State Capitol, we acted. We passed meaningful legislation, complete with negotiations and compromise. I don’t accept the complaints that we were rushing. We weren’t going to miss this opportunity.

Region: Metro East,Columns,Opinion,City: St. Louis, MO

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January 26, 2021 at 04:01PM

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