Pressley, mental health

Congresswomen Cori Bush And Ayanna Pressley Advance Bill To End Police Violence Against Black People In Crisis

Black women are getting it done…again. Congresswomen Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley have joined forces to reintroduce the People’s Response Act; a bill that grants funding to community-based organizations that provide alternatives to policing in incidents involving Black and Brown people in mental health crises.

In an effort to crack down on violent and often fatal interactions between those in need of help and law enforcement, the two lawmakers are hoping the federal government will intervene and make lasting change. “We cannot achieve safety by criminalizing mental health or criminalizing substance use and homelessness,” said Bush. “We cannot achieve safety by destroying lives instead of saving them.” Bush, who once worked as a nurse, has seen the devastating outcome of having police respond to more delicate issues surrounding mental health, as well as the impoverished, and believes it is part of her duty as a state representative to help “fix” the issue.

According to theGrio, the People’s Response Act was originally introduced in the House in 2021. If passed, it would spearhead the creation of a Division of Community Safety under the Department of Health and Human Services to promote public safety and, subsequently, help eradicate police violence against Black and Brown communities.

“For too long, policing and incarceration have destabilized families, ravaged our communities, robbing us of countless Black and brown lives”, Pressley said. “It is time we make serious investments and solutions that are rooted in community and care.”

The bill would assist organizations in ensuring communities are equipped with unarmed first responders for mental health crises, violence interruption programs, housing security programs, programs for youth and families, survivors of violence, and individuals leaving prison or criminal supervision, according to TheGrio.

[The bill] “is an ode to the thousands of people who’ve died at the hands of police and to the thousands of deaths and abuses we can prevent if Congress acts,” Bush said.

Before the People’s Response Act can be signed into law by President Biden, it must pass in both the House and the Senate.