Confronting Racism and Investing in Black and Brown Communities
Our black and brown communities still face discrimination and systemic racism in laws, policies, and institutions. This reality has led to over criminalization and over-incarceration and has excluded these communities from wealth, educational attainment, and true representative democracy. Our own city of Syracuse confronts some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the country and the highest levels of segregated communities. In order to continue to advance progress in our community and build a more caring, more equal, more just Central New York, we must acknowledge the past and work toward a better future.
First, when there are acts of overt racism, it’s critical for leaders to call out racisms and stand against it with our words and our deeds. Martin Luther King once said that – – “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who perpetrates it.” Leaders cannot remain silent.
Second, we have to fight for policies that will address the inequities and invest in the empowerment of our black and brown communities. Some of the areas I would like to focus on in Congress are:
Improving access to credit
- Create a federal fund that specifically focuses on investing in small businesses in low-income and minority communities
- Strengthen and encourage lending from community banks in our underserved communities to increase access to credit
- Ensure the federal government is playing its role as a watchdog against illegal and biased practices that have held back communities of color
- Spur large-scale federal investment in housing in our underrepresented communities and work to improve our housing stock and equalize homeownership
Criminal Justice Reform
- End mass incarceration that locks up too many non-violent offenders and invest resources into evidence and community-based programs that reduce crime and help build safe and healthy communities
- Support efforts to legalize marijuana because of the strain it puts on our criminal justice system (both financially and legally), as well as the explicit racial bias in sentencing marijuana cases
- Increase sensitivity training and police accountability for misconduct, so we give our law enforcement professionals the tools they need to best do their jobs, keep them safe, and serve our communities
- Increase investment in community policing programs to bring communities and the officers stationed in them closer together
- Expand Title I funding
- Increase wrap around support and access to mental health counseling
- Increase Career and Technical Education (CTE) investments
- Provide more support for students entering public service programs after school
- Invest increased funding in Federal Qualified Health Centers, like the Syracuse Community Health Center, that provide critical health care needs for our black and brown communities
- Protect and expand on the success of the Affordable Care Act with a public option
Help us grow our team and turn NY-24 blue this November!