Texas lawmakers have called for a national day of mourning following the shooting of five black men in the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The shooting of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and Keith Lamont Scott has fueled a national conversation about race, violence and police brutality.
President Donald Trump has called for unity and a “recovery.”
But some lawmakers and civil rights leaders are calling for a moment of silence to honor the victims and their families.
The bill introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is a response to the deaths of five African-American men on Sunday in Baton Rouge.
The legislation calls for a public “day of mourning” for all who were murdered and calls on people to donate to the Victims of Police Memorial Fund.
It also calls for the removal of barriers to the justice system and the creation of an all-hands-on-deck task force to combat police brutality and violence.
Rep. Brady, who was born in Texas, told The Huffington Report that the legislation was not designed to address the specific events in Baton Rogue.
“I don’t want to take anything away from those who were killed, but I think we have to take it upon ourselves to look at what’s going on in our country,” he said.
“And what I think is important is we have got to do this together.
And this is not just about one event, it’s about the rest of our lives, and it’s not about one individual, but we have gotta take a moment, a day, a week or a month, or whatever it is to recognize what’s happening, and then work together to change it.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said that in addition to the bill being symbolic, it also called for the creation and strengthening of a national task force that would investigate and address systemic racism.
“This is a moment to make this happen,” he told The Hill.
“We have to look to where we are in this country, where we have systemic racism, and we have the problem of systemic racism that needs to be addressed.”
Brady’s bill would have created a task force led by the U.S. Department of Justice to examine the systemic racism facing minorities and racial minorities in the United States, and report back to Congress on progress.
The Texas bill also calls on the federal government to investigate police violence against minorities, as well as other communities of color.
“It’s about not allowing our police to continue to be used to harass and kill innocent people of color,” Rep. John Lewis (D) told The Associated Press.
“There are people of all races, genders and colors, and this is how we can change the system.”
Brady has long been one of the most outspoken members of Congress against police violence and racial injustice.
He was among the first members of the House to call for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, and has been outspoken about the racial justice movement.
“If we are going to have a system that protects us, it has to protect us from police officers,” he explained.
“Our goal is to have that system where it is respected, and our goal is that it is not used against us, but the people who are being used.”
“The more that we can create a better system, the better it will be for us all,” Brady said.