Rep. Cori Bush Pens Touching Opinion in Support of Protestors on Colleges Across U.S.

by Xara Aziz
Instagram @coribush

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) is taking a stand in advocating for social movements and is pleading with the government to respond “with an ear, instead of a boot.”

In a riveting opinion piece for Teen Vogue, the Democratic Congresswoman penned about the responsibility of lawmakers to invest in empowering communities to ensure safety through initiatives like violence interruption, mental health crisis response, and summer jobs programs are a priority, shifting focus away from perpetual warfare.

“It’s time our president heeded the lessons of the past, including the anti-war and anti-apartheid protests he has lived through, instead of destroying the coalition that elected him and willfully clearing a path for a Donald Trump victory in November — an outcome no elected Democrat, including me, wants to see happen,” she wrote, adding: “We are indeed in a battle for the soul of the nation. These students represent the best of that soul. I stand with them.”

But before making a plea for leaders to step in, she relived the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. This year marks 10 years since he was fatally shot by a White police officer. He was 18.

“What happened on Canfield Drive that day sparked a nationwide movement to save Black lives, end police brutality, and make safety a reality for all people,”  she wrote. “As a registered nurse, pastor, and local activist, I spent over 400 days protesting alongside thousands of my fellow community members.”

She continued: “I will never forget the brutality we faced in response to our calls for humanity. Police used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, noise munitions, batons, shields, fists, and boots against us. The Missouri National Guard called us ‘enemy forces.’ Our government labeled us “Black identity extremists.” Many politicians condemned us. Those of us on the front lines were traumatized, but we knew that time would prove we were on the right side of history — and it did. Time will prove the same for the students currently protesting across the country.”

She further emphasized that trespassing, setting up tents, and carrying signs are non-violent forms of protest. Criticizing a government for actions that have resulted in the deaths of over 14,500 children in seven months and created a humanitarian disaster is not antisemitic. But using force, like beating, tackling, pepper spraying, and shooting rubber bullets at protesters is violent. The January 6 insurrection was violent, Bush added. Denying the humanity of Jewish people participating in protests is antisemitic, she continued.

But despite resistance from some who see the wave of protests across the country as unruly, “none of what protesters in Ferguson and at Columbia University have experienced is new — it’s happened hundreds of times throughout our history,” she wrote. She cited the protests in Boston in 1770, when people demonstrated in support of independence from the British.

She added: “It happened in Virginia in 1917, when protesters demanded equal rights for women. It happened in Selma in 1965, when protesters demanded civil rights for Black people. It happened in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and elsewhere in 1968, when protesters demanded an end to the Vietnam War. And it happened in Washington, DC, and in communities all across our country in 2020, when protesters demanded an end to police brutality.”

Bush concluded that Americans are currently in a battle for the soul of the nation. The students protesting represent the finest aspects of that soul, she ended, adding that she stands in solidarity with them.

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