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Black Dems prod California’s elected officials to take Emmett Till pledge

Tanu Henry | California Black Media 

The California Democratic Party African American Caucus (CDPAAC) is calling on all elected officials in California at the local, state and national levels to take a firm stand against racism. 

By signing the Emmett Till Anti-Racism Pledge, the CDPAAC says politicians, who are the most important decision makers in California, can demonstrate in a public and symbolic way that they denounce racism and support a society for all Californians that is fair, just and safe.

“The Democratic party and the people of California must never forget about the murder of Emmett Till. It ignited the first civil rights movement. He was that generation's George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” said Taisha Brown, chair of the CDPAAC. 

Brown, who lives in San Diego and was elected last year to lead the statewide group that represents Black registered Democrats across California, said standing up against Racism in all of its forms is one of the top priorities of the caucus. 

“The Black Caucus continues to serve in its historic role as the conscious of the California Democratic Party,” Brown told California Black Media. “Many in this country and around the state of California are trying to find out what they can do to contribute to this historic time in our nation's history. The caucus wanted to assist individuals and elected officials in doing their part to fight against racism. It is a public health crisis.”

In California, about 73% of all likely Black Voters are registered Democrats, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. 

Named for the 14-year-old African American boy who was brutally lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a White woman, the Emmitt Till Pledge calls on elected officials to direct their “energies to combat bigotry and hate in our great state.”

“We are committed to standing up for equality, safety, and justice for ALL of the citizens of California,” the pledge continues, before asking the politicos to sign. “We pledge to take the bold and aggressive steps to combat bigotry and racism throughout our state to ensure that every individual is able to claim their ‘unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness’ as our Declaration of Independence states.” 

“The cruelness, barbarism, and brutality of his murder were heartbreaking,” a statement the CDPAAC released said of Till’s murder.

 In 2017, Till’s accuser, Carolyn Bryant Donham, told Timothy B. Tyson, an author and Duke University professor, that she lied when she reported that Till of assaulted her 65 years ago. 

After a five-day trial, a jury in Sumner, Miss., acquitted Till’s killers. 

The CDPAAC pledge asks elected officials to make seven affirmations, which include not allowing racist conversation in their presence; protecting all people who face discrimination; contracting with Black-owned businesses and vendors for campaign and government-related events; enacting policies that promote all Californians; among other positive actions. 

“The Black Caucus will work with the Democratic party to email the petition to elected officials and encourage our members to request that their elected representatives at all levels sign it,” said Brown.

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