HOUSTON – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee wants criminal justice reform– and she wants justice for all!
“For as we are taught that the scales of justice are blind, we wonder whether or not it should be embracing?” Lee questioned during a town hall forum on criminal justice reform she hosted on Wednesday. “So, that if you come before her, your difference will be respected.”
The congresswoman believes the system is beyond broken and needs fixing across the board.
“The overhaul of the juvenile justice system we are beginning because ‘steps’ may not be enough,” Lee added. “It may have to be a race.”
Lee also brought in civil rights icon– Georgia Congressman John Lewis– who received a standing ovation as he spoke about the current climate of criminal justice in America.
“We cannot give up on anyone!” Lewis insisted. “We all are human! It doesn’t matter if we’re Black or White, Latino, Asian-American or Native American. We are one people!”
Statistics were shared showing African-American men were sentenced at a 20 percent higher rate than White men, and panelists spelled out areas needing reform.
“This is about making sure that justice is meted out with…really with parenting, on equal footing, and with mercy and with empathy,” Rev. Harvey Clemons, Jr., pastor for Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, declared.
“I think the greatest threat to democracy and our freedom is when we lose hope, and we stop believing in the American justice system,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “It is at the foundation of order in the country.”
And that’s something all Americans should care deeply about.