The Georgia state coordinator for Democrats for Life of America has called for renewed solidarity in the pro-life cause, following the death of George Floyd.
Rev. Harriet Bradley said Wednesday that national and international protests over Floyd’s death in recent weeks have the power to effect global change.
In video footage of Floyd’s May 25 arrest, an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department can be seen kneeling on his neck for several minutes after he was taken into custody. Floyd could be heard saying “I can’t breathe” several times. He died soon after. The arresting officers have now been charged over Floyd’s killing, which sparked mass demonstrations against racism and police brutality in cities in the U.S. and abroad.
Bradley, an African-American woman and a minister with the Progressive Christian Alliance who lives in Gwinnet County, Georgia, said that watching the footage of Floyd’s death “really shook me to my core,” as she too had suffered through instances of racial profiling.
“But I am still living,” Bradley said in a statement released through Democrats for Life of America, a group that works for the inclusion of a range of pro-life issues into the Democratic Party’s platform. And, Bradley said, the work of honoring the memory of Floyd has already begun.
“I believe the death of George Floyd will not be in vain. I have never [before] seen people display peaceful protest not only in the United States, but all over the world. The senseless murder of George Floyd has brought a change to the entire world,” she said.
Bradley also said she wants to help achieve is solidarity among pro-life causes and voices, including in her own political party.
“Democrats for Life of American stands in solidarity to see the lives of black men and women not be profiled simply for their color,” said Bradley. “But we also continue to fight for the life of the unborn, because their life matters and deserves the opportunity to be born safely!”
On Wednesday, Bradley told CNA that she wants to see her party become a voice for all human lives, and that she is familiar with the hard work of championing that cause.
“I make my voice known,” she said, mentioning that during Georgia’s efforts to pass a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, she encountered fierce resistance among her party collegues.
“I got up and made a statement talking about how we care about both lives [the child and mother],” she told CNA, and how respect for all life should be at the core of political debate.
Bradley’s statement linking the fight against racism to a broader pro-life agenda follows similar calls from other black pro-life leaders.
Louisiana state Senator Katrina Jackson told CNA last week that racial justice is a pro-life issue and it is “not enough” for pro-lifers to only oppose abortion. Racism, and the deaths of young black men, have been “plaguing our nation for years,” Jackson said.
“It has to stop, because it goes directly against the pro-life stance that every life has value.”
“Right now, the pro-life movement could be holding very diverse online townhall meetings to discuss this issue,” Jackson said, to “talk about life being important at every stage of life.”
On Wednesday, Bradley told CNA that she wants to see a fuller conversation about life in the Democratic party, saying that many voters who otherwise back of the party’s platform have been driven away by its entrenched support for abortion.
“They need to include us in the platform, because they have lost a lot of elections because of [shutting pro-life voters out],” she said. “There are people [for whom] the abortion issue was so important to them that they had left the party and gone to the Republican Party over one issue.”
She told CNA she calls this the “Trump effect,” and that President Donald Trump’s placing of pro-life issues at the forefront of his campaign had produced results.
Bradley said she would like to see a national election in which pro-life voices, including against abortion, can be heard clearly on both sides of the party divide, and that she remains committed to trying to make her party a home for pro-life voters.
“I definitely have wanted to get to the party leaders and say, you know, ‘you have to include us if you want to win, you have to be able to bring more balance on the abortion issue.’”