Fight Discrimination and Racism
What We're Up Against
When we fight each other, we lose. When we fight for each other, we win.
Blacks are just as likely to use and distribute drugs as whites, but six times as likely to go to prison. Your neighbor with disabilities is getting paid less for working the same job as you; he’s also paying more for public transportation. It is still legal in our state to fire someone, or deny them housing, because of whom they love. One of our elected officials joked about killing his kids if he learned they were gay. Women’s work is devalued; their heath care is legislated. A photo just surfaced of state employees, who have pledged to serve us, making a nazi salute. Thousands of us have watched a tiny Black woman being pummeled by the police officers meant to protect her.
It does not have to be this way.
To win justice on any front, we must fight for justice on all fronts.
- All state courthouses and police stations will be required to track rates of arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration, by race.
- All schools will be required to track rates of discipline, suspension, bullying, and preferential treatment, across various demographics.
- All state offices will be required to track hiring rates across various demographics.
Jurisdictions and agencies that demonstrate persistent bias will be given technical assistance to reverse those trends, and lose access to state funding if they fail to address it.
- Pass the strongest Employment & Housing Non-Discrimination Act (EHNDA) in America.
- Basic protections for LGBTQ+ West Virginians are long overdue and should extend to employment, housing, health insurance (including banning providers from refusing coverage based on gender), credit/lending, survivorship, foster care and second parent adoption, anti-bullying protections (including Safe Zone training in all schools), state and school ID designations and family leave.
- No worker should be able to claim a religious exemption for providing core job functions to someone based on their gender or sexual orientation.
- Ban conversion therapy, pass hate crime protections that include restorative justice models, end “panic defense,”.
- Pass the strongest Equal Pay, Menstrual Equity, Pregnancy Protection, Family Leave, and Earned Sick Days legislation in the country.
- Encourage the opening and expansion of health clinics and facilities that provide reproductive health care and health care for transgender people.
- End the practice of discriminatory transportation pricing and discriminatory wage laws for people with disabilities.
- Ensure protections for immigrants, refugees, and indigenous people.
- Establish a $10 million Civil Rights Fund to advance the interests of under-represented communities in West Virginia, investing in initiatives led and directed by marginalized groups.
- Create an Office of Representation, with real power in state government.
For hundreds of years, Black West Virginians have been robbed of land, fair pay, credit, housing, and freedom, usually with the aid of local, state, and federal governments. No one has paid for these crimes. The legacy of racism in America is pernicious and persistent. In partnership with the Office of Representation, a WV Truth and Reconciliation Commission would have the responsibility to propose on-going remedies for that racism, in addition to the remedies recommended above. This would include, but not be limited to:
- earmarked access to business and land grants, including the cannabis industry, with the goal of raising minority and Black businesses 5%,
- increased financial support to attend the state’s historically black colleges, and
- equitable resources given to families affected by the crack epidemic and opioid crisis.
No one politician or slate of candidates can win this plan alone. We need you.
If you have an idea for how to make this plan stronger, or if you would like to lend a hand to win it, contact our co-chair Stephen Smith at email@example.com.