Being a Racial Economic Justice Voter
When we vote, we’re exercising our power to put into action the solutions we know our communities need: Food, safe and affordable housing, critical health care, & resources for our young people.
Yumhee Park & Alejandra Montoya-Boyer | Prosperity Now
As election day approaches, and as an Asian American woman and Latina, we remember that our communities weren’t always included in the democratic process. Only through the Immigration and Nationality Acts of 1952 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, was the right to vote extended to people like us. It is a sobering reality that our grandparents would likely not have been allowed to vote in this country. And in recent history, our right to vote continues to be chipped away. That’s why we’ll take every chance to vote for racial economic justice.
Whoever is elected to Congress, governorships and state legislatures in November will have the power to shape the economy. When we vote, we’re exercising our power to put into action the solutions we know our communities need: We need to be able to eat, have a safe and affordable place to live, take care of critical health needs and provide for our kids.
Here’s what it means to be a racial economic equity/justice voter.
We vote for ensuring people have the financial resources they need to care for themselves and their families. Policymakers should reinstate and make permanent the expanded Child Tax Credit and provide cash assistance through other tax credits and targeted guaranteed income programs. Through the expanded Child Tax Credit, not only were 3.7 million children kept out of poverty, but it also supported parents and caregivers to work by providing additional resources to pay for childcare and transportation. Moreover, the monthly CTC payments serve as proof of concept that a guaranteed income program can be implemented at the federal level—whether labeled as such or as an "expanded tax credit."
We vote for every single child in the U.S. to be set up to thrive. Wealth inequality has increased sharply over the past several decades, especially by race. Black and Latinx households have 10 and 12 cents respectively in wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by white households. Baby Bonds are an innovative solution that was designed specifically to address this racial wealth gap by providing a significant amount of money for children to invest in their future.
We vote for a future where all of us have rooves over our heads. Housing is a necessity, not a luxury, and we must elect policymakers that will invest in affordable housing, provide pathways to homeownership through downpayment assistance and tax credits, and break down barriers to perpetuate housing exclusion and segregation through zoning and land use reforms. Since the 1960s, increases in housing costs have consistently outpaced wages, and during the pandemic, housing values have skyrocketed and widened racial housing gaps. The national gap between Black and white homeownership rates in 2020 was worse than at any point in the 20th century.
We vote for the ability to make decisions about our bodies. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that secured our right to an abortion, the economic futures of millions came under threat – and that’s because our economic health and reproductive health are inextricably linked. Research shows that denying people access to abortion overwhelmingly limits their control over their economic future. When people are denied access to abortion, they face significantly worse economic and educational outcomes than those who can obtain one. Being denied access to abortion care leads to significant increases in debt, bankruptcy, and evictions. This is all firm evidence that restricting abortion undermines people’s ability to get to and stay on a pathway to prosperity. Those without wealth and most restricted from opportunity face the brunt of abortion restrictions, and this November, we’re voting for them.
We vote for a transformative economy. While no one issue can fully cover all of the necessary structural changes, when we step into the ballot box, we’re considering the intersecting issues around tax fairness and ensuring corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share, all people have access to quality jobs and living wages, investing in climate justice and the future of our planet, and securing a pathway for all people to have the financial resources for healthy, thriving, dignified lives.
We have the power to transform our economy through our vote. When we vote, we’re voting for folks to represent our interests – to work for us. And we need people who will shape our economy by turning the tax system right side up, investing in affordable housing and zoning reform, and committing to other measures that address the transformational changes needed to create a thriving, just economy free from structural racism.