Fighting for Justice and Combating the Coronavirus
Since I last updated you on my work in Ohio’s Third Congressional District and Congress, more than 110,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19 and over two million have contracted the virus. Our country is also facing another type of pandemic that is just as enduring and entrenched: unabashed racism against unarmed Black people as evidenced by the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless more Black men and women. Whether these deaths happen at the hands of law enforcement while doing routine things like driving or sleeping, or what amounts to modern day lynchings because they were simply jogging, the facts are indisputable, we must unite and act now to make sure that these acts are never repeated. The peaceful protests across the nation and around the world are a clarion call that our country should and must change to finally end the systemic racism and unequal treatment of Black people and other people of color that plagues our nation and thwarts our progress. That is why I support the efforts of Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce to declare that racism is a public health crisis as well as support the 80 recommendations laid out in the Community Safety Advisory Commission Report to improve and change policing in Columbus and those in the Matrix Report advising against the use of pepper spray on peaceful protesters. That is also why I am leading and supporting efforts in Congress so that we are confronting head-on the two pandemics that our country is facing: COVID-19 and systemic and structural racism. It will take all of us to end both.
As the Representative of Ohio’s Third Congressional District, I promise to do all I can on both fronts. To that effect, I want you to know that I have authored several pieces of legislation to protect the health, safety, and security of everyone. That starts with H.Res. 990, a measure recognizing racism as a national crisis and calling for a truth and reconciliation process. I also joined 165 of my Congressional colleagues and 35 Senators to introduce the Justice in Policing Act, H.R. 7120. This comprehensive, first-of-its-kind bill seeks to improve police accountability, change the culture of law enforcement, and build trust between law enforcement, communities of color, and the American people. More specifically, the Justice in Policing Act would ban chokeholds, no-knock warrants, mandate body cameras and dashboard cameras among law enforcement, and improve outcomes from the very people sworn to protect and serve all of us.
Continuing my work to combat COVID-19, as a reminder, I wrote bills to halt consumer debt collection, expand forgivable loans to nonprofits and the smallest businesses, and ‘ban the box’ on small business loans as well helped pass legislation to provide long-term flexibility in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for the small business community. Since the pandemic hit our nation’s shores, I have cosponsored an additional 56 COVID-19 response and recovery bills and signed on to 147 congressional letters to House and Senate Leadership, the Trump Administration and state and local leaders. For previous COVID-19 updates, please visit my Coronavirus Resource page.
The time is now to heal the wounds between law enforcement and the Black community, not to mention those caused by COVID-19. I believe we as a nation will come together—as we have throughout history—to meet the moment and move forward together. The alternative, inaction, is not an option.
In the meantime, stay healthy and stay safe.