Stand for Equality and Justice
The U.S. has the highest prison population of any country in the world, including the largest percentage of women in prison. About one in three Black men will go to prison in their lifetimes. Poor people and Blacks spend more time detained than other groups while white collar criminals who defraud millions of people as financial executives are above the law. Race, gender, poverty and a lack of opportunity should never be a factor in charges or sentencing.
Incarceration has devastating effects on individuals and families. It should not be a business. Abolish private prisons, which incentivize inhumane conditions and high recidivism. Shut down the school to prison pipeline, which targets people of color. Replace punitive incarceration with a restorative justice system that focuses on rehabilitating people which studies show is the most effective criminal justice system in the world. Ban the practice of using arrest and incarceration quotas. Abolish the death penalty and restore felons rights, including the right to vote. Ban the felony checkbox on employment forms and help pave a path to jobs upon release
Demilitarize police by banning and reversing the transfer of military weapons to domestic police forces. Promote community policing and employ special prosecutors for all police killings. Legalize marijuana and end the drug war, which targets communities of color. End what amounts to slave labor at prisons, where inmates are forced to work for pennies an hour producing goods for large corporations. End mandatory minimum sentencing. Review all forced mandatory sentencing cases and release prisoners convicted of nonviolent minor drug charges.
Much of the wealth in this country was accumulated on the backs of slaves and continues to be built on the backs of people of color. Policies that were put in place to uplift the poor, such as federal housing policies during the depression, often excluded people of color and handicapped the ability of Blacks to climb out of dire poverty and pass on assets to the next generation. A history of racist policies has resulted in massive racial inequality. A recent study found that Black families in the Boston area have a net worth of only $8 compared to more than $200,000 for white families.
Blacks are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. Blacks and Latinos comprise well over half of all prisoners, even though Blacks and Latinos make up about one-quarter of the total U.S. population. We must end the private for-profit prison industry, which incarcerates young non-violent Black men at a disproportionate rate.
Put an end to discriminatory laws and the purging of minority-community names from voting rolls by restoring the Voting Rights Act. Demilitarize our police forces and create new laws for the allowable use of force. Eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between Black, Latino and White people. Take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs. Protect the health of neighborhoods of color by establishing and enforcing strict environmental laws. Ensure access to affordable childcare, Head Start programs and higher education through free public college tuition.
Equal Rights for Women
Despite the tremendous progress made in the struggle for gender equality, women continue to face violence, discrimination and institutional barriers to equal participation in society in all venues: home, college and work. Women make 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. Black women earn only 64 cents and Latinas only 54 cents for each dollar earned by white men.
More than twice as many elderly women live in poverty than men. Without Social Security, nearly half of all elderly women would be living in poverty. Expand Social Security benefits and increase cost-of-living-adjustments to keep up with rising medical and prescription drug costs. Over 65 percent of women work more than 40 hours a week and the U.S. is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee paid leave to workers. Require employers to provide twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave.
Require employers to provide paid vacation and sick leave so that women can stay home to take care of a sick child.
Women make up two-thirds of all minimum wage workers. Many more work in service and agriculture jobs exempted from the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and cannot collect overtime pay. Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour to help close the gender wage gap. Raise the tipped minimum wage from $2.13 an hour to $15 an hour. Support the Paycheck Fairness Act to end wage discrimination based on gender. Require overtime pay across the board and work against practices to circumvent overtime pay, such as averaging hours over longer pay periods.
Women have a fundamental right to control their own bodies. Fund non-governmental organizations and initiatives that assist with women’s health and family planning. Protect women’s access to contraception and the availability of a safe and legal abortion. End the practice of female genital mutilation, underage forced marriage and the abuse of sex workers. We are against any enforcement that does not take into account the dire circumstances under which many women make survival choices.
We advocate for free quality childcare and preschool programs, the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and an increase in Women Infants and Children (WIC) funding, which provides nutrition assistance to pregnant mothers, women and infants and is being undermined by the establishment parties. The U.S. should be a world leader in women’s rights.
The majority of Americans support laws and policies that reduce discrimination against those who identify as LGBTQIA. People across the country have come to understand the injustice and damage done to the social fabric of our nation by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, identification and expression.
However, it is still legal in most states to fire employees, deny housing or refuse service in a restaurant or other business simply because the patrons are gay or transgender. Though we still have a long way to go, the U.S. ended segregation by race decades ago. We must now abolish segregation by sexual orientation.
We defend against the rollback of achieved rights, including spousal benefits, and back the strengthening of laws against hate propaganda and hate crimes. We support public education and legal action to ensure that the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision is enforced and not eroded by measures designed to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and their children.
Honor Indigenous Rights
We recognize and oppose the injustices perpetrated against Indigenous people including the U.S. government’s blatant pattern of contempt and disregard for the rights of the First Nations and their sovereignty. We hold the U.S. government fully accountable for the targeted destruction and violence towards Native life and land. We support Native rights to challenge and reject the domination of colonial nation-states.
The U.S. government has failed to uphold and honor federal treaties with First Nations. We recognize the sovereignty of Native tribal governments and call upon the U.S. government to deal in good faith and honor treaty obligations.
We uphold the rights of Indigenous people to defend and protect their lives, natural resources, sacred sites and culture. We seek to follow and learn from the example of Native people who are consistently at the front lines of resistance for protecting water, air and land, even though it is everyone’s responsibility to so do.
We support the rights of Native people to defend their freedom and their lives. Native people face higher rates of shootings and murder by police and incarceration than any other racial group. We recognize the systemic failures and structural forces in American society which perpetuate this grim reality and seek to eradicate them.