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Senator Elizabeth Crowley: All Lives Matter

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Certainly Black lives matter to everybody, so do Brown lives, so do yellow lives, so do red lives,” said Senator Crowley. “There should be no discrimination, no matter what color you are. The Irish were white and look at them. They were slaves too, during the time that the African American was a slave. So even white people can be slaves. So all lives matter…”


On Wednesday evening Senator Elizabeth Crowley (Democrat, District 16, Central Falls) squared off against her two primary challengers, Jonathon Acosta and Leslie Estrada in a candidate forum on Zoom conducted by recent Central Falls High School graduate Janelie, and current Senior, Karen.

The forum was very enlightening. The first half was with the Senate candidates, the seond half was with Central Falls mayoral candidates Maria Rivera, Tia Ristaino-Siegel, and Joseph P Moran III. You can watch the entirety of the forum here.

Of particular interest was Crowley’s answer when asked, “Do you believe in redistributing funds from the police department to youth service or social service programs? Furthermore, what is your stance on the Black Lives Matter movement?”

“Certainly Black lives matter to everybody, so do Brown lives, so do yellow lives, so do red lives,” said Crowley. “There should be no discrimination, no matter what color you are. The Irish were white and look at them. They were slaves too, during the time that the African American was a slave. So even white people can be slaves. So all lives matter. What does not matter is looting and violence. I think we should all be able to protest, let it be heard, but looting and violence and stealing from your own people is not the way to go. With the police departments, I agree with [candidate Leslie Estrada]. We can’t defund them. I think we need to educate them. I think we should have stronger rules about when they should use lethal force – and in fact it should be almost never. But they also are people and we have to be concerned about them getting killed by somebody.

“So it’s a balance, right? I, as a law abiding citizen, when a police officer says to you, stop, Stop. Now, if that police officer takes it in his hand to shoot you well, then he should go to prison. I don’t believe in capital punishment, but he should go to prison for the rest of his life and the key should be thrown away. That’s how I feel about that. So defunding the police department is not the right answer because we’re a country of laws and we all need to abide by the law.”


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Senator Crowley gets many things wrong in her response. For instance, the Irish were not slaves.

For why the phrase “All Lives Matter” is inappropriate, see here.

Crowley talking about violence and looting is a canard. The vast majority of Black Lives Matter protests are entirely peaceful, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, who write:

The vast majority of demonstration events associated with the BLM movement are non-violent… In more than 93% of all demonstrations connected to the movement, demonstrators have not engaged in violence or destructive activity. Peaceful protests are reported in over 2,400 distinct locations around the country. Violent demonstrations, meanwhile, have been limited to fewer than 220 locations — under 10% of the areas that experienced peaceful protests. In many urban areas like Portland, Oregon, for example, which has seen sustained unrest since Floyd’s killing, violent demonstrations are largely confined to specific blocks, rather than dispersed throughout the city.

Crowley’s response can be seen at the 32m56s mark in the video below:

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com