- Aug. 24, 2021
-- Delaware took a big step forward in its efforts to address systemic issues of racism in the community, the workforce, and our schools during the 2021 session of the General Assembly.
We are proud of the Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative (DRJC) and United Way of Delaware's efforts to mobilize organizations and leaders across the state to effect change in the highest levels of government by advocating for key policy changes in Criminal Justice Reform and Education. Eliminating the policies and practices that enable systemic racism in Delaware is DRJC'S. Established in 2015, our work caught fire in the wake of the George Floyd social justice movement last summer and continues to propel us forward. The DRJC is a diverse group of more than 200 individuals and leaders of organizations from across Delaware. Our voice was unified, organized, and powerful.
We were pleased to see passage of:
- HB 198, which requires school districts and charter schools to establish and implement a Black History curriculum by school year 2022-2023.
- SB 147, which codifies reasonableness as the objective standard for the use of non-lethal and lethal force, and establishes that state of mind is the justification as to what a reasonable person would have believed, rather than what the defendant believed. SB 147 also clarifies that chokeholds are considered deadly force.
- SB 148, which expands the responsibilities of the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust to include reviewing deadly use of force incidents by law enforcement, and to review use of force incidents that resulted in serious physical injury. Additionally, SB 148 requires that the Division release a public report on any incident involving the use of force, and that the report include the race of the law enforcement officer who used force, the race of the individual on whom force was used, and whether race was a relevant or motivating factor.
- HB 195, which requires that certain police officers and employees of the Department of Correction and Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families wear a body camera and record interactions with the public in accordance with regulations to be established by the Council on Police Training.
- SB 15, which increases the Delaware minimum wage to $15 over the course of four years, allowing hard working Delawareans to better support their families.
In summary, the DRJC made tremendous progress in this most recent legislative session. But much work remains if we are to effectively address systemic issues of racism in the workforce , and in our communities and schools. We invite you to join our work.