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Dem. Congresswoman: 'The Lives of Black Men and Women Are Not Accorded the Same Value as the Lives of White Americans


"The lives of black men and women are not accorded the same value as the lives of white Americans."

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) (AP)

The life of a black person is apparently worth less than the life of a white person, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), a member of the Congressional Black Causus (CBC), said Monday in response to the fury over the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

She added that the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is evidence blacks and whites are treated unequally in America.

"The tragic death of our young man, Trayvon Martin, followed by the acquittal of the man who pursued him and killed him, has reminded us that although it may seem as if African Americans and other minorities have achieved full equality in our civil society, we are still victims of racial profiling in violation of our laws and our morals," Rep. Clarke said on the House floor Monday night.

"The lives of black men and women are not accorded the same value as the lives of white Americans," she added. "This is a reality for far too many black Americans."

Rep. Clarke wasn’t the only CBC member to take to the floor of the House to express dissatisfaction with the Zimmerman verdict.

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) added his own thoughts: "I don't know why people shoot each other … But I know one thing — who doesn't shoot each other are young kids that are inspired, they got education, they got families, they got a country that's the wind behind their wings, they want to make a contribution to this great country.”

"They can walk anywhere, talk anywhere, and nobody's going to be following them, talking about, 'you look like someone that may hurt somebody,’” he added.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) added that the CBC would hold a summit on the issue of violence in black neighborhoods (especially in Chicago).

"We understand that," Rep. Jeffries said, referring to the problem. "It's our children who are dying."

A few CBC members argued that blacks and whites can commit the exact same drug offenses -- but blacks usually end up serving longer sentences.

"What are we to think when the scales of justice are even equally unbalanced?" Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) asked.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) added that the result of the Zimmerman trial "does not look right."

"And because it doesn't look right, we have to understand that although you can have a fair trial, you may not have justice as the outcome," he said.

"I believe that this trial was fair to Mr. Zimmerman. I don't believe it was fair to Trayvon Martin, and I don't believe that we can say that this was a just decision."

Other CBC members took the opportunity to vent against the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced unless Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require federal monitoring of elections.

"To the Supreme Court of the United States, this is still a problem," said CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).

"It's not just about race in America. It is about a system that should be just in creating and protecting the conditions for everyone to succeed, but instead it continues to favor some over others."



Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

(H/T: The Hill). Featured image Getty Images.

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