JOIN THE WNBA IN TAKING A STAND AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE

THE CAMPAIGNS

Education

The What

Today’s education system is falling terribly short. With more than a quarter of all students failing to graduate high school in four years and less than 25% of high school graduates being ready to attend a college or university, education is one of the foremost civil rights issues of our time.

The Why

Because of policy choices, young people are graduating college with an average of $29K in debt and entering a limited job market. The cost of a college education has skyrocketed over the past two decades – with millions of college graduates drowning in debt. Overcrowded schools, stagnant education spending, the school-to-prison pipeline and elected officials inability to enact deep systemic changes all contribute to meaningful educational reform from happening. 

The Opportunity

Elected officials – especially Governors – have considerably leverage over state, public institutions and the tuition that colleges and universities can charge. Federal lawmakers can set loan rates, pay back caps, and provide funding for other educational opportunities that don’t require 4-year degrees. AND local, elected school board members decide everything from budget to curriculum to whether or not you have law enforcement on your campus.

Gun Safety

The What

The human and financial toll of gun violence is immeasurable. Every single day, 34 people are murdered in the United States. 33,000 lives are claimed annually from gun violence and over 1.69 million children under the age of 18 are now living in households with loaded and unlocked firearms. The result is that 1 out of every 3 Americans now knows someone who has been shot. Today, there are more guns in the United States than people. 

The Why

Special interest groups, namely the NRA, have been instrumental in shutting down any form of movement on gun safety. Even in the face of mass shootings from Sandy Hook to the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, Congress, and many legislatures throughout the country, are unable – or unwilling – to pass gun safety legislation, including universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons. 

The Opportunity

Given the gridlock in Washington, cities are now the focal point of efforts to introduce and enact smart gun safety legislation. That’s why your vote and participation matters so much because local governments are leading the way in passing legislation to reduce gun violence. 

Mass Incarceration

The What

The United States incarcerates more people than any other nation on the planet. With 1 in every 4 adults – 65 million people – having a criminal record and prisons costs skyrocketing, mass incarceration has become mainstream. Everyone from Jay Z and John Legend to members of Congress are taking on this issue. Today, there are more jails and prisons in the U.S. than colleges and universities.

The Why

Violent crime is not responsible for the growth in the prison population. Incarceration rates have increased by 700% in the past 40 years despite crime rates falling. Instead, this unprecedented rise has been propelled by state-level policy changes such as zero tolerance laws, the drug war, and lengthening time in prison through mandatory minimum sentencing. 

The Opportunity

Every day, over 2.3 million people are incarcerated in federal, state, or local prisons and jails. Unfortunately most people believe that we could end mass incarceration by simply passing federal legislation but nothing could be further than the truth. The vast majority of people incarcerated in prison and jail cells are in state and local facilities. That’s why getting involved in local mobilizing efforts and voting down ballot (i.e. voting for everyone under the President, including State Representatives, Mayors, District Attorney’s, etc.) is critical to transforming the justice system.

Police Violence

The What

With the advent of camera phones, excessive and sometimes lethal force against Black Americans is being documented and presented to the public in new and horrifying ways.  Videos, such as those showing the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, and deaths in police custody, like that of Sandra Bland, have galvanized people across the country to demand accountability from elected officials, local District Attorney's as well as their elected and appointed law enforcement officials. 

The Why

A systemic lack of accountability and prosecution of those police officers who commit unwarranted shootings are further eroding the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement. Electing leaders – The President, Mayors, Prosecutors, Sheriffs and judges – who support police reform is crucial to our sense of safety and democracy.

The Opportunity

By registering to vote, and supporting existing grassroots movements calling for change with demonstrable political power – in the form of our votes – you can concretely demand action and accountability.

The Economy

The What

In 2009, America was in the worst recession since the Great Depression. Today, young people and their families are still have an extremely difficult time finding jobs.

The Why

In addition to the massive stimulus package that became known as the Recovery Act, there have been several attempts by the federal government to address the economic plight of working Americans – expanding overtime pay, bringing home care workers under FLSA protections, and lifting the minimum wage for government contractors. Several mayors around the country have followed suit but the United States still needs to invest in infrastructure, education and other avenues to ensure that we have the jobs available for a growing electorate. 

The Opportunity

Elected officials have a huge impact on who the economy works for an economy that works for some of us or an economy that works for all of us. Your civic participation, and in particular your vote, helps sets the agenda. 

LGBTQ & Equal Rights

The What

In 2015, a landmark Supreme Court ruling made marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states. But the tragic shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando and the ongoing fight over transgender bathroom access has proved that the nation’s battle for LGBT equality is far from over. For the estimated 9 million Americans that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in the U.S, the right for equality has come so far, but there is still a lot of work to do. There are still too many places where LGBTQ Americans are discriminated against or targeted for violence.

The Why

LGBT rights are some of the main issues driving the electorate to or from candidates in all levels of government in all political parties. Whether it’s to show support or to denounce changes, like the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, every elected official or candidate is expected to address LGBT rights at length.

The Opportunity

Times have changed, and advocating for gay rights is no longer met with dirty looks. Both Democrats, Republicans and Independents have tried to paint themselves as champions of the LGBT community but it’s our vote that will ensure that issues that affect LGBT Americans are addressed.

Immigration

The What

Today, 11 million undocumented immigrants are left without a pathway to citizenship. Reforming the US immigration system would reduce the federal deficit by $897 billion over 20 years and create 3.22 million jobs by 2024.

The Why

Politicians differ radically on how to fix the broken immigration system despite evidence that shows that reform would create millions of jobs, reduce the deficit, and keep families together. 

The Opportunity

Given the current political moment that includes the unending attacks on immigrants across the country, including the recent pardoning of Sheriff Arpaio, the Muslim Travel Ban, and the end of DACA that has put 800,000 young immigrants at risk of deportation, young people and their families have a historic opportunity to ensure that the federal government provides a pathway to citizenship for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.

Climate Change

The What

Global warming is real and happening. Climate change has been a pressing issue for decades and with the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, communities must do all that we can to tackle this critically important issue.

The Why

United Nations scientists estimate that in recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have died in extreme weather events related to global climate change - and that number stands to rise dramatically. The US Department of Defense calculates that depleting amounts of natural resources will be the primary cause of upcoming conflicts at home and abroad. 

The Opportunity

Elected leaders on the state and local level, in particular governors, mayors, and business leaders, have a significant opportunity to fill in the gaps by the United States withdrawing from the Paris Accords. However, without participation from more states, particularly those that are fossil-fuel heavy, the United States as a whole will still fall short of the Paris pledge.