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Ilhan Omar: We ‘Cannot Stop At Criminal Justice System,’ Must ‘Dismantle The Whole System’
ST PAUL, MN - JULY 07: U.S. Rep. Ihan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a press conference on July 7, 2020 in St. Paul, Minnesota. A press conference was held by the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous caucus to discuss work on the state and federal level to make systematic changes to address institutional racism.
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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) stated on Tuesday that Democrats “must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it,” which she suggested meant “our economy and political systems.”

Omar made the remarks during a press conference held by the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous caucus in St. Paul, Minnesota, which centered around racism.

“We can’t stop at criminal justice reform or policing reform for that matter,” Omar said. “We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system, we are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exists in housing, in education, in healthcare, in employment, in the air we breathe.”

“In America today, white families have 42% times more wealth than black families,” Omar continued. “When we say housing is a human right, we need to guarantee homes for all. When we are speaking to the fact that home ownership rates are nearly twice as high for white families as they are for black families. here in Minnesota it’s tripled and people of color are more likely to face eviction and homelessness.”

“When we introduce the zero waste act or a Green New Deal it is because we know that environmental racism is real whether it’s living near in [inaudible] in North Minneapolis, proximity to power plants and factories, higher exposure to emission from polluting, the disproportionate harm that disasters like Hurricane Katrina cost black communities, even access to basics like clean water, we are bearing the brunt of that environmental catastrophe,” Omar continued. “When we say healthcare is a human right and that every American deserves free health care, we are speaking to the fact that black Minnesotans are more than 50% more likely to be uninsured than white Minnesotans. when America gets a cold, black Americans get pneumonia, our communities are the ones that are bearing the burden of the coronavirus more than any other.”

“People of color make up this proportionate share of low-wage essential workers who have had to keep working in food production plants, grocery stores, and other workplaces despite the risk to their lives,” Omar continued. “We’ve also faced higher rates of joblessness – the rate – to the coronavirus crisis while also suffering racialized police brutality and militarization.”

“The mortality rate for black Minnesotans to COVID is twice as high as it is with other races and for me this is very personal because I lost my own father to the coronavirus,” Omar concluded before letting other guests speak. “I see the pain and havoc it’s wrecking on black communities in Minneapolis. We must recognize that these systems of oppression are linked. As long as our economy and political systems prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality. So we cannot stop at criminal justice system. We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”


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