I’m proud to say I have taken the pledge to support the Green New Deal. I believe we need to change our dependence on fossil fuels in order to preserve our environment for generations to come. We must transition to clean energy solutions! Hamden was hit very hard last month by Tropical Storm Isaias and in 2018, a tornado left some people homeless and others without power. There needs to be legislative action at the state level that holds utility companies responsible for restoring outages in a timely manner, and addresses the issues that arise when power is lost.
Both my children are products of Hamden Public Schools and I can say with certainty that the Hamden Public School system urgently needs work done on their curricula. In January 2020, a young black child was cast as a slave in a school play. While the effect of this singular act on the psyche of many black and brown children across our state is irreparable, we can at least ensure these incidents don’t continue to happen. Additionally, the legislature needs to create pathways for more BIPOC to become teachers and work in school administration. Black and brown children deserve to see a person of color as their teacher. As a substitute teacher, I noticed the positive effect my presence had on young black girls. This should not be a rarity. The residents of Hamden deserve an equitable education system that meets the needs of ALL children.
I support tuition forgiveness for CT students. By collaborating with the federal government, Connecticut can work out a plan that offers tuition forgiveness based on a sliding scale. To keep costs from spiraling out of control for present and future students, remote learning should be further investigated. Additionally, we should also offer more college credit courses to students in high school. This would allow them to graduate high school with associate degrees, and would cut down on the overall time and money they spend on college.
Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and, unfortunately, our average mom-and-pop shops have taken the biggest hit during the Coronavirus pandemic. Black and brown owned businesses were also disproportionately affected by the change in economy. The state needs to demand more aid from the federal government, so that we can fund small businesses through forgivable financial assistance programs that allow for long term stability. In the meantime, a comprehensive plan set forth by the leaders of our town that ensures business owners and staff abide by the CDC’s guidance for opening and operating safely is needed.
Under the current healthcare system, factors such as education, employment, socioeconomic status, and environment can affect an individual’s access to health care. Several routes to expanded healthcare access need to be explored in Connecticut, and I pledge to use my time in the legislature to propose and pursue these solutions. For healthcare to be accessible, equitable, and affordable, all residents of the state should have the opportunity to purchase and buy into the healthcare plan available. Elderly immigrants who are residents and unable to work should also be allowed to qualify for state insurance.
I support the police accountability bill that was passed this past June in Connecticut. We need to capitalize on that success and set forth a bold agenda that continues to prioritize the needs of people of color in our state. As a representative, I will hold my colleagues accountable to this progress. As a town, we need to adapt and create task forces that propose real solutions to address disparities in all sectors: education, health, business, government. Racial discrimination has no place in our community.
As the Founder and Executive Director of Weruche Inspires inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and empowering immigrants in the Greater New Haven area, I have been working on behalf of immigrants for 15 years. To further this work, I’ve taken positions on the Hamden Human Rights and Relations Commission and on the Board of Directors of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS). As a representative, I will work to ensure our state remains a safe haven for immigrants.
The most pressing issues facing our state are the inequities and inequalities that exist within our own borders. In Connecticut, white women earn an average of 83 cents to a dollar that men make, while black women earn 57 cents, and Hispanic women earn 47 cents. As a Black woman, I have experienced this discrimination firsthand. We need legislation that combats this gender pay disparity. I pledge to engage stakeholders, community leaders, and members from across the aisle to address these issues by passing legislation that either prohibits or bans wage discrimination among in our state.
After getting on the ballot for August 26, I was asked by the establishment in Hamden to drop out of the race against the incumbent in my district. The fact that our political leaders neither seek nor welcome proportional representation is a reason I’ve stayed in this race. As a human rights advocate, who has spent years speaking up for the less privileged in different countries, I know it is imperative that those in power continue to elevate the needs and concerns of the people. This is a fight for all of us, and not some of us, regardless of whether we are politicians or not.
Stress produces mental health issues and stress produces brain changes. As it stands, COVID-19 has amplified the need for better mental health resources. We need to invest wisely.