Young black people have exploded in rebellion over the grotesque killing of George Floyd. We are now witnessing the broadest protest movement in American history. And yet the response of black elected officials has been cautious and uninspired.

The Congressional Black Caucus offered a familiar list of the kind of police reforms that have failed for decades to end police violence. After protesters vandalized CNN’s headquarters and set a police car on fire in Atlanta, the mayor, Keisha Bottoms, told them to “go home” because registering to vote “is the change we need.” President Barack Obama also argued in an essay that “real change” comes from both protest and voting.