CRIMINAL Justice reform
When 40 percent of our prisoners are people of color, government is not serving its residents well. When people of color are pulled over for vague or petty reasons, their lives are interrupted and even put at risk. When police seize people's possessions as part of an "investigation" and don't give them back when they never even charge the person with a crime, they are unjustly violated.
We must establish civilian oversight of our police forces so no one who is persecuted or mistreated goes without the ability to file an official complaint in front of civilian peers. We must end so-called "broken window" offenses so people are not harassed by law enforcement and unjustly stopped. And we must decriminalize marijuana and drug addiction.
Most law enforcement officers are good, law-abiding public servants. They know well how a few officers with bad intentions can ruin a citizen's day, endanger members of the public generally, and give law enforcement a bad name. We need to empower officers to hold each other accountable, as well as to establish civilian review.
I am the only candidate for State Auditor who will work for our kids of color by partnering with students, families, and educators to bring about the changes we need. I will never defend the status quo because we have too much progress to make. I will fight for a Minnesota that works for all of us.
Minnesota has one of the largest achievement gaps in the country between kids of color and white kids. In fact, 8th graders in Minnesota who are Asian and Native American are below average in math and reading among 8th graders nationally who are Asian and Native American. 8th graders in Texas, Virginia, and Georgia are outpacing 8th graders in Minnesota who are Black. And high school graduation rates among Latinx/Hispanic students are the lowest in the country.
The first time I heard these stats, I refused to believe them. I refused to believe that Minnesota wasn't the best state for all people, including people of color. But refusing to believe our reality results in us not taking action to make this truly an amazing state that works for every Minnesotan. For my family and me, the status quo is simply unacceptable. Our DFL party and every single Minnesotan must have the same sense of urgency to solve these and other disparities.
Racial equity in education is about putting kids first. Too often, adults focus on our own problems, while those fighting for racial equity struggle to get our attention. We must understand the urgency around needed improvements for all systems that haven't served communities of color, especially kids of color, well. I believe the DFL Party should take up the call to improve upon the status quo and help implement solutions within each level of government that ensure every kid who walks through our doors succeeds. We do this by putting kids of color at the center of every policy discussion, by celebrating our amazing teachers and elevating the profession of teaching, by prioritizing resources to kids and communities that need the most, and by using objective evidence to bridge our academic opportunity and achievement gaps. We can do this if we do it together!
Housing, job, banking, and health injustice
We all must acknowledge the biases and prejudice that have pervaded our society for centuries. The many effects of our history very much exist today, and we have not fully reconciled with racist events and crimes. Nor do we readily admit to current racism at systemic, institutional, and personal levels.
We cannot truly be a land of the free until we deconstruct our oppressive systems, transform our institutions, and own our personal biases. We must lean into these conversations, not ignore them or pivot to other topics. We must face them head on together, listening to one another and practicing humility.
People of color do not have the same access as White people to housing, jobs, financing, healthcare, or other aspects of our communities. This leads to disparities in wealth, employment, income, opportunity, and more. We simply cannot afford as a society to continue as we are. We all suffer because of it.
As one of my political heroes, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, says, "We must always put the most marginalized at the center of every policy conversation – only then can we all truly prosper."