In contemporary politics, it has become more en-vogue for the left, particularly white democrats, to talk about challenging racism. People have become far more willing to refer to mass incarceration or the war on drugs as explicitly racist in attempt to highlight historical inequality. While this rhetoric has certainly made for interesting conversations, this has not necessarily translated into public policy.
At a fundamental level, the democratic party relies on people of color for its power. Much of the public policy produced by the democratic party is produced by white people. Typically, the non-profit and foundation community in conjunction with government agencies are tasked with creating public policy solutions for Black people. They often echo the sentiments of the Democratic party, especially since the party is shifting more to the left.
What is often omitted from these conversations is the necessity of Black self-determination. Often problems that are faced by Black people are articulated as if outside forces are needed to give us the tools to fix our issues.Instead we should focus on strengthening the resources we have to empower ourselves. In the context of the MD Legislative Session, this is an opportunity for our people to craft laws that speak directly to issues in our community.
In light of the recent tragedies surrounding Black youth (ie. Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, etc) there is a national conversation surrounding structural racism. It is aimed particularly at discussing how racism is aimed at Black youth. What is tragic is that although there is a dialogue about youth being the targets of institutional racism, Maryland, a state that is a so-called “progressive state”, is having a hard time passing simple legislation that would address inequality.
At this point in the MD Legislative session, the bill is currently stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. In order for it to be voted on in the General Assembly, it would need vocal support from prominent delegates in the committee.
Delegate Kathleen Dumais (15th District, Montgomery County) is the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and has not been supportive of Christopher’s Law. According to anonymous sources in Annapolis, she has voiced opposition to the bill. It’s frustrating that someone as progressive as delegate Dumais, who is portrayed as someone is very progressive, has not championed a bill like Christopher’s Law, especially since she posits herself as a progressive liberal.