I believe Louisville can be a more just city where we all thrive and where equity, fairness and justice are our way of life.
Showing up for racial justice means advocating for policies, practices and procedures that dismantle racism and promote equity. Institutional and systemic racism is found in education, healthcare, housing, financial institutions, transportation, etc. I have a history of putting my all into each of these issues, including police accountability.
It was 2014, when I first drove to Ferguson, Missouri with my closest friends to protest the murder of Michael Brown. We showed up in Ferguson at least three times that year.
In 2020, my daughter and I were teargassed and arrested on unlawful rioting charges as we protested police violence. The police initially claimed that I had attempted to firebomb a library -- a library in my own state house district. The charges were eventually dropped, but the harrowing experience left me with a renewed sense of urgency about the movement for racial justice.
I believe that transformational change is needed in order for racial justice to become a reality in every part of our lives.
We must hold police accountable at the Congressional level with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. No person deserves immunity from murder, which is why we must end qualified immunity and demand that officers who are murdering unarmed people are fired, arrested and charged with those murders.
We must ban no-knock warrants. I championed this legislation in the Kentucky General Assembly and supported Lexington in its successful efforts. I believe that neighborhoods, like the one where I live, do not need more policing, they need the social safety nets that exist for the wealthy -- access to mental health and addiction services, affordable housing, and financial security.
Our country’s racism, sexism, and classism permeates all of our institutions, and none more glaring than our healthcare system.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, communities of color faced higher rates of deadly infection and then were put to the back of the line in the vaccine rollout.
- Age requirements favored communities with longer life expectancies, and supply was often concentrated in wealthier communities which is why I fought to lower vaccine age requirements, and encouraged vaccine distribution in Black churches in the West End.
- The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating in the United States, not because our healthcare system failed at a crucial moment, but because our healthcare system was never designed to serve everyone. We live in a country where healthcare is tied to your employment, and so those most vulnerable are the least likely to have access to preventative care.
- In the United States, pregnant people die at a rate three times higher than those in the European Union, and if the pregnant person is Black, the rate is more than seven times higher – and that alarming gap holds true no matter the level of education or income.
We need transformational reform, which means passing Medicare for All, the Momnibus bill, and we need to connect the intersectionality of environmental, financial, mental, and physical health.
Environmental justice is not a lofty goal -- it’s a positive and palpable shift in everyday life.
- Louisville is already feeling the effects of climate change, whether it’s more intense heat waves, bigger storms and increased flooding.
- Jefferson County is projected to see one of the sharpest increases in extreme heat in the country, and by 2040 could see 40 days each year where the combined heat and humidity makes it too dangerous to work or play outside.
- Louisville is home to more than a dozen chemical plants that affect the city’s air and water, disproportionately harming Black, brown and working class communities.
- Noise pollution ordinances stop at the edge of the West End of Louisville, leaving students sleep deprived during the school year.
It’s clear that corporate vows to cut harmful emissions and governmental fines have not worked. I believe an existential crisis like the climate crisis demands a comprehensive solution which is why I introduced a legislative resolution to support the Green New Deal.
If we pass the Green New Deal:
- It would help create 30 million sustainable jobs, creating the income and tax revenue to pay for itself.
- All electricity would be from clean and renewable sources by 2035; and achieve zero net emissions by 2050.
- Upgrade all existing buildings for energy efficiency by 2030 to 100% net zero building standards.
A recent study found Kentucky the worst state in the United States when it comes to finding a job, and the overwhelming majority of my constituent calls this past session were about unemployment issues. Women in particular are bearing that burden -- for the first time in a long time, most unemployment insurance benefits are being requested by women in the district. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already tragic wealth inequality that exists in this country, and in our recovery we have the opportunity to restructure our economy in a way that uplifts everyone.
- I believe in fair pay, which is why I successfully passed a minimum wage increase while on the Louisville Metro Council and why I support increasing the federal minimum wage to at least $15/hour.
- I understand the gender discrepancy in childcare, and so I support universal pre-k so that we can get people back in the workforce.
- Green and sustainable union jobs are possible, if we invest in them as outlined by the Green New Deal.
There are many reasons why we should decriminalize and legalize marijuana:
- Far too many people are facing years in prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses
- Medical marijuana is needed by victims of debilitating disease and sickness
- Of course, the massive financial incentive of taxing the goods.
- And -- it’s the democratic thing to do.
In Kentucky, a majority of people support the legalization of medical marijuana. No matter why you support marijuana justice, I will lead on legalizing weed.
Every parent figure wants their children to have it better than they did, which is why so many of our parents drilled into our heads that college was the pathway to a better future. And they were right. My time at Knoxville College (an HBCU) was crucial to prepare me for the steps I would take next. But my fruitful college experience left me in debt -- a debt I am still paying off today.
Student loan debt disproportionately affects communities of color, and even further obstructs them from achieving social mobility. With our national student loan debt climbing by the day, we must do better by our next generations.
As a Black woman, I value my right to vote.
Every year, I facilitate a Juneteenth Voter Registration canvas in honor of my ancestors who never saw a Juneteenth and for Black folks today who cannot vote because their civil rights have yet to be restored. My brother, my cousin and my father have all been incarcerated. We had hoped that my children and I would be able to break that cycle.
When we restore voting rights, we are helping to restore the whole person. It’s why I fought so hard to pass the Ban the Box legislation, making Louisville the first city in the state to ban invasive questions of priors for public employees and vendors, ensuring that previous incarceration or charges are not front and center when folks are trying to secure employment.
We must end partisan gerrymandering and pass The John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
It is painfully clear that the United States cannot continue to engage in ongoing violent conflict and war. We are asking mostly young people to go to war in order to line the pockets of defense contractors. As veterans, they rightfully expect that we will provide services they need related to mental health, housing, and employment access. We should focus on providing robust humanitarian aid in places where it is needed the most.
We've seen it with the COVID-19 vaccine apartheid on an international level. It's time for a public-private partnership in response to this global health crisis so that no one is left without life-saving vaccine access. We must advance a foreign policy that aligns with our values of diplomacy, human rights, and peace; including confronting Islamophobia, supporting a humane immigration policy, and being a leader in global climate justice.
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