Racial justice

From police brutality and health care inequities to addressing the racial wealth gap and ending disparities in maternal mortality rates, Congressman Kennedy has supported expansive efforts to dismantle structural, systemic racism and white supremacy. 

As the country marched for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and thousands of other Black and Brown people murdered because of the color of their skin, Kennedy stood with his colleagues to introduce the Justice in Policing Act and demand action at the federal, state and local levels. In the immediate aftermath, he introduced the Bend Toward Justice Act to tear down barriers to justice for anyone whose civil rights are violated by law enforcement. Because he believes that policing in this country must be fundamentally changed, he called for bans on chokeholds and Qualified Immunity, as well as the creation of independent civilian boards to hold officers accountable for abuse. 

From his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Kennedy has fought to confront stubborn racial inequities in the health care system that leave Black women nearly 400% more likely to die during child birth than white women, and lead to dramatically lower life expectancies for Black Americans. Along with Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, he introduced the Moms MATTER Act to increase access to maternal mental and behavioral health, particularly minority women. He is also a proud cosponsor of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All legislation that would ensure patients of color are no longer denied health care at higher rates than white patients.

Beyond battling inequities present in our health care system, he has been on the frontlines of the fight for environmental justice in Congress. Along with Congressman Donald McEachin and Chairman Raul Grijalva, he introduced the Environmental Justice For All Act to dismantle systemic racism woven throughout energy and environmental policies that leaves communities of color with higher rates of air pollution and environmental harms.

Kennedy supports broad criminal justice reform, including an overhaul of mandatory minimums, cash bail and punitive court fees that penalize poverty, as well as rectifying failed drug policies and expunging marijuana convictions. As a former civil legal aid volunteer, he has proposed the most progressive expansion of civil justice in the United States Congress and introduced legislation to root out systemic racism in the civil court system.

With the rights and dignity of communities of color under continued assault by the Trump Administration, he has joined Congressional efforts to block attacks on affordable housing, fair wages, public education and access to health care, all of which can disproportionately target Black and Brown families. He is the proud co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act, Vote by Mail Act and Automatic Voter Registration Act, which would counteract the ongoing campaign of voter suppression targeted at minority communities across the country. He has co-sponsored legislation to support minority-owned businesses, undo the legacy of redlining in housing, and study reparations for African-American families.