CONCORD – U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) unveiled her “Opportunity and Justice for All”
Agenda, which highlights legislation that she is supporting to address institutional racism and help create a more just society for all Americans. The agenda was drafted following the Congresswoman’s conversations and consultations with police and civil rights leaders in light of the tragic deaths of people of color at the hands of law enforcement.
“Our nation has a long, painful history of racial inequality and discrimination that touches nearly every aspect of our society,” said Rep. Kuster. “From health disparities and a lack of access to affordable housing to police brutality and disproportionate numbers of Black Americans killed at the hands of law enforcement — injustice is pervasive throughout our communities, and we must work to address it. My Opportunity and Justice for All Agenda includes bills that have been introduced in Congress to help our nation right some of the wrongs of our past, dismantle inequalities that permeate our culture, and create a more just society for all Americans. No single piece of legislation can erase the prejudice and oppression so many marginalized communities face or our nation’s complicated history surrounding race, but Congress must work to build a more perfect union that establishes opportunity and justice for all.”
Kuster’s agenda addresses several areas where our country must work to combat entrenched, institutionalized racism. Specifically, her agenda covers:
Criminal Justice and Police Reforms:
As America grieves for those killed by police brutality and racial injustice, we must reform and bring accountability to our public institutions to ensure public safety and equal treatment of every American.
Addressing Health Disparities:
The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting health disparities that have been entrenched in our system for far too long. Policymakers can do more to address the inequalities both inside and outside the delivery of health care that are driving health disparities in communities of color.
Economic Empowerment for All Americans:
If Black Americans are unable to earn as much as their white peers due to discrimination in the workplace, the wealth gap will persist. Congress must enact policies to help all Americans – but especially communities of color – build wealth.
Environmental Justice for Communities of Color:
As Congress works to encourage growth in the clean energy sector, it is important to note that this industry only fairs slightly better in employment diversity than oil and gas companies. All Americans regardless of color must be fully included in our clean energy future
Educational Opportunities for All Americans:
Formal school segregation ended in the United States more than 50 years ago, yet our education system is still mired with deep inequalities. Congress must provide more funding for education and work to ensure all our students and educators have the resources they need.
Supporting Indigenous People:
Poverty, lack of health care, poor education and horrific trends in crimes are all-too-common realities on reservations. Congress must empower tribal courts with the authority to hold non-native perpetrators accountable and work to ensure that survivors and their families are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
Protecting Fair Elections and Equal Access to the Polls:
The 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments, along with the Voting Rights Act, were supposed to protect the right to vote for All Americans. However, millions of US citizens are still unable to cast ballots. We must work to ensure all Americans can exercise their fundamental right to vote.
Recognizing History and Commemorating Americans: Congress must recognize Juneteenth – the day widely considered to be the end of slavery in the United States -as a national holiday.