Cross-posted on BillMoyers.com
Following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, there has, understandably, been a sea of protests and cries for criminal justice reform. Few have turned to Congress for solutions, but despite abysmal approval ratings and some lobbying resistance to police reforms, there’s a glimmer of hope. This month, Congress passed a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to report information about the deaths of individuals in their custody. While not in direct response to the turmoil in Ferguson and New York, it represents a win for civil liberties advocates and sorely-needed leadership from Congress, which has paved the way for significant change throughout our nation’s history (the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act is a good reminder). As the 114th Congress begins, I’m hopeful that our nation’s legislative leaders will follow its own storied history and help us legislate our way to a better criminal justice system for all.