Equality and Civil Rights

Our Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  “Equal Justice Under Law” is engraved on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.  And our Constitution guarantees to ALL citizens “equal protection of the laws.”

Despite these pledges and guarantees, we continue to fall short in our efforts to treat our citizens fairly and equitably.  Women, minorities, the disabled, and LGBTQ folks receive neither equal protection nor equal opportunity under our current laws.  Minorities, particularly African-Americans, are consistently and systemically targeted with unfair criminal justice practices.  Those who can afford high-priced legal assistance avoid punishment, while those without the same resources become trapped in our oversized, outsourced prison system.

Our courts and prisons have become a revenue source for corporations and local governments rather than a means of ensuring civil order and protecting our citizens.  Our money-bail system leaves the most vulnerable stuck on an endless merry-go-round of jail and joblessness.

Meanwhile, “religious freedom” is being used as an excuse for discriminating against women and the LGBTQ community, from excluding birth control from insurance coverage for employees to denying services to LGBTQ Americans.  And employers continue to have the right to discriminate against various groups in their hiring practices.

In order to form a more perfect union, we must WANT to provide meaningful laws and policies that protect ALL citizens equally.  We must then ENFORCE those laws equally. All marginalized folks – women, LGBTQ, disabled, and non-white – must be empowered.  It is amazing to me that approximately 65-70% of folks fall in to one of these categories in our country.  How is it that the 30-35% who make up the remainder can stifle the majority?

It’s time to fix this mess.  It’s time to hold your elected officials accountable.  I am all in on this one.