February 1 2016

The 2016 Presidential race is heating up and by the end of this year there will be a new U.S. President. This election will be a process through which America will reflect and ask itself: Do we want to recede into a nation governed by the status quo and huge interests?  Or do we want to embrace our innovative spirit in pursuit of equity and justice?

If we take our pulse as Californians by looking at some of the high-profile issues we’ve recently been tackling, that have also been high-profile on the campaign trail, we can surmise the answer to the aforementioned question is a resounding “no!” to the status quo and an exuberant “yes!” towards a more equitable, healthy and just society for all.

Immigration has been ubiquitous and divisive in the race, while health care has been a lightning rod for debate. California is the biggest state in the union to double-down on Obamacare’s pledge to expand health coverage and begin pushing an agenda of #Health4All people, regardless of immigration status. California is pushing the nation to recognize this human right for what it is, a fundamental cornerstone of a modern society that brings us all closer to equity than we would be without it.

Every candidate behind a podium has had to take a stance on the critical issue of police accountability and public safety. California has taken a bold step towards transparency and accountability by banning secret grand juries in cases of violence involving law enforcement. Additionally, California is leading by example in dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline through efforts to make school discipline more equitable, and progressive legislation that keeps people out of jail for low-level offenses and funnels saved monies back into our schools. California is realizing incarceration is not a catch-all answer for crimes of poverty and addiction.

In California, we know change does not begin behind a desk or in the polls. Change begins in our communities when our young people ban together and push back against unfair and racist processes like expulsion for willful defiance, when our documented and undocumented people demand human rights for all, and when our legislators and representatives hear our cries and answer with more transparent policy.

In the year of resolution that is 2016, let’s not just hope for a Commander-In-Chief with an eye for equity, let’s continue to be the pace-setters we’ve been in the past and help make it a reality.