Representative-elect Cori Bush made headlines when she ran and unseated a Missouri political dynasty to become the first Black woman to represent the Show Me State. Her story is a powerful and moving one, and the speech she gave in acceptance the day after the elections was appropriately inspiring. One of Bush’s main platforms is reforming law enforcement and promoting racial equality. Before heading to Washington, she told MSNBC host Joy Reid in a television interview that centrist Democrat gripes about progressive Black Lives Matter positions weren’t something she was going to give much time to: "I'm not trying to hurt anybody's district or (prevent) anybody from keeping their seats. I'm not looking at feelings though. I'm looking at life. I'm trying to save lives."
On Friday, Bush was in Washington experiencing the congressional orientation that newly elected officials receive. Bush wore a face mask with “Breonna Taylor” written across the front. Taylor was one of the most prominent Black Americans to have been killed by law enforcement this past year, setting off protests in the streets in most every place in America. According to Bush, her first day at orientation was a disappointing one. She tweeted: “A few of my Republican colleagues have called me Breonna, assuming that’s my name. It hurts. But I’m glad they’ll come to know her name & story because of my presence here. Breonna must be central to our work in Congress.” But Bush had more to say to reporters when asked about this experience.
The fact that Bush didn’t just start screaming and not stop screaming for the next few hours is a testament to her maturity—in comparison to myself. She told reporters in the most diplomatic way that the fact that any person coming into Congress would have no idea who Breonna Taylor was showed a shortsightedness that cannot be acceptable for our country’s lawmakers.
REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT CORI BUSH: We have to stretch ourselves and pay attention to other parts of the country. But this has been national news for a long time. People have protested in the streets, with this name [Taylor], and it just saddens me that people in leadership—that want to be in leadership—don’t know the struggles that are happening to Black people in this country. It’s disheartening and it was hurtful, absolutely hurtful. And I didn’t hear it once, I didn’t hear it twice, I heard it several times…
But it’s okay. Because we will educate, and make people know who is she is, what she stood for, and that she was an award-winning EMT in her community, that she is someone who deserves justice right now.
Nobody lost because of Black Lives Matter or “defund the police.” The only people who are losing are Black people living in a country that is unwilling to accept its sins and failures and continues to pretend that people of color are not created equal, “endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”