"In spite of years of economic prosperity, Americans in districts across the country are still experiencing the ramifications of racial discrimination, low wages, poor education, and lack of humanity by those representing them"
TOGETHER, WE CAN BRING CHANGE
Congress should work to build a strong foundation for every American to succeed. That means re-evaluating and re-investing in our federal education system. Children and adults in this country, are far behind other developed nations when it comes to educational outcomes, access to quality STEM based programs, and preparedness for our ever-changing global economy.
"Expanding pre-K educational programs across the country will exponentially increase our educational outcomes."
Our educators lack the tools they need for success -- low pay, overcrowded classrooms, and limited access to technology, are all factors that have led many high-quality educators to leave the profession. For us to move forward as a nation, we must prioritize a deeper investment in our educators, on the job and community-based secondary education for adults, and quality Pre-K and K-12 programs for our children.
"Corporations and the wealthy have continued to reap a disproportionate share of our improving economy."
Americans are working harder and generating bigger profits for companies, and yet many households are struggling to pay their bills.
Low wages, decreased access to affordable housing, and high unemployment have caused the wealth gap in this country to grow exponentially over the last 11 years. Couple this with our country’s long history of racial and economic discrimination in our workplaces and financial systems -- and we are left with a system that disproportionately leaves Black and Latino communities in poverty.
It is past time for Congress to hold corporations accountable to their workforce -- enacting legislation that ensures working families are able to live comfortably without having to work two or three jobs.
Criminal Justice Reform
"Our criminal justice is working as it was designed - true reform begins when we begin to focus on rehabilitation and not punishment."
Racial discrimination in our criminal justice system has reached unsustainable levels. Our government must begin to replace our harsh system of punishment, with one that seeks to provide rehabilitation for offenders.
The first step is for Congress to recognize our decade long War on Drugs as a failure. In Congress, I will follow the lead of Representatives Barbara Lee and Sheila Jackson Lee in support of the Marijuana Justice Act -- three pieces of legislation that would legalize marijuana across the country, expunge the records of non-violent offenders with marijuana related charges, and establishes a fund to reinvest in communities devastated by the War on Drugs.
The next step is improving transparency and accountability in our criminal justice system. Congress must act to encourage states to form community accountability boards to work with police departments, examine disparities in sentencing and plea deals, and examine ways to reduce recidivism rates.
Reforming our criminal justice system will take a multi-prong approach that recognizes the racial discrimination in which our system was founded and still holds. This includes inviting new constituencies, and those most affected by the system, to the table to discuss solutions.
The immigration system in the United States is facing an existential humanitarian crisis. The current administration’s lack of compassion, and refusal to acknowledge our country’s role in many of the world’s conflicts, have led to an immigration system that locks children in cages, separates families, discriminates against visa applicants from predominantly Black nations, and unconstitutionally detains Black and Brown immigrants.
Congress has the ability to make sweeping reforms to our immigration system. We must examine the harsh, inhumane, and unconstitutional ways in which law enforcement and ICE interact with our communities, institute a diversity visa lottery to end the racial disparities in our visa system, and provide DREAMERS with a pathway to citizenship.