Policy is Personal.
The power to shape, mold, and create policy is ours.
We demonstrate our power when we step into the voting booth, letting our vote speak for us. And throughout history, our vote has done just that.
The Black vote is pressure. It’s time we demand respect for our vote with the understanding that our political influence can change our systems and structures for the better.
When we speak up on the issues that matter to us, and that affect our lives and communities, we can create real change.
In this midterm election, Hip Hop Caucus is traveling across the country, meeting people where they are, centering the key issues, and equipping our communities with the tools they need to vote in the upcoming election in an informed way.
Our message: Black, Brown, and Indigenous Americans will no longer be a pawn of diversity politics. We can’t continue validating equity talking points in exchange for crumbs. We will speak up and ensure that the issues of our communities become the policies that change the world for the better.
This is what we want.
What We Want | We, the people, want our federal elected officials to support criminal justice reform measures including:
- Legalizing marijuana at the federal level. Congress must push forward the Cannabis Administration, and Opportunity Act would end federal cannabis prohibition by removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act; empower states to create their cannabis laws; ensure federal regulation protects public health and safety; and prioritize restorative and economic justice.
- Enforcing of the federal Deaths in Custody Reporting Act. Congress should enforce the Deaths in Custody Reporting Act, which requires states to report to the Attorney General information regarding the death of any person who is either; detained, under arrest, in the process of being arrested, en route to be incarcerated, or is incarcerated at a municipal or county jail, state prison, state-run boot camp prison, boot camp prison that is contracted out by the state, any state or local contract facility, or other local or state correctional facility (including any juvenile facility).
- Creating and passing federal gun control legislation. Hip Hop Caucus supports the reforms above and wants the US Senate to:
- Pass the Protecting Our Kids Act
- Enact federal laws that require gun training for concealed carry permits and require gun purchasers to be at least 21 years of age nationwide.
- Remove the immunity from the gun industry.
- Limit the number of rounds that guns can have.
- Execute President Biden’s Executive Orders banning the creation of ghost guns,
- Require new guns are equipped with microstamping technology that can help law enforcement investigators trace bullets to particular firearms.
- Pass federal safe storage laws requiring gun owners to keep all their weapons under lock and key when not in use.
- Ask the CDC to declare gun violence as a public health crisis.
- Find proactive ways of tackling the root causes of gun violence.
- Ending federal cash bail system. Congress must enact legislation to end the cash bail system. Ending the cash bail system will decriminalize poverty and bring truth to the American justice principle of innocent until proven guilty.
What We Want | We, the people, want our federal elected officials to support economic changes that:
- Provide reparations for Black Americans. Carrying out the equity initiatives outlined in the Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and passing H.R.40 - Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act will be a good way to start moving toward reparations and economic justice for Black Americans.
- Increase Black Americans’ access to financial capital. Access to capital is necessary for economic growth - and has historically been denied or difficult for Black Americans to obtain through the American banking system. When access to capital is available, it is usually Black banks that provide it for Black Americans; however, Black banks are struggling to exist. To do that, we need legislation to support the sustainability of Black banking institutions.
- Protect banks and financial institutions that service cannabis-related businesses. Cannabis-related businesses have had to resort to a cash-only model, which leaves them susceptible to theft, fraud, and violent crime. Legislation is needed to protect banks and financial institutions that service cannabis-related businesses within their state’s legal and regulatory frameworks.
- Provide affordable housing solutions. While there are no certified numbers on how many Americans are homeless, it is estimated that in January 2020, more than 580,000 people were homeless in the U.S. on a given night, with an estimated 226,000 of them sleeping outside, in cars, or in abandoned buildings. The homeless crisis is, in part, being driven by a lack of affordable housing.
- Cancel up to $50,000 per borrower of student loan debt. The NAACP reports student debt disproportionately impacts Black borrowers and their families. Across all racial groups, Black borrowers hold the most student loan debt despite being consistently underserved by postsecondary institutions.” Massive student loan debts have forced people to delay starting families, starting businesses, or owning their own homes. Canceling up to $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower will provide black borrowers with opportunities to pursue homeownership, develop economy-boosting discretionary income, fuel upward mobility in the Black community, and equitable efforts to close the racial wealth gap.
What We Want | We, the people, want our federal elected officials to support and enact educational policies that increase federal education funding to states to improve state education systems by:
- Providing funding to states for free universal pre-k programs, with intentionality around funding going to support disadvantaged students and families. Several studies and reports show that pre-k can improve academic achievement. Hip Hop Caucus supports universal pre-k because an early start has been shown to increase socialization, cognitive functioning, and student achievement. Additionally, quality early education programs reduce the need for special education programs at a later age and reduce the potential for the student to become incarcerated.
- Expanding funding for HBCU institutions. Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been the stepping stone for many Black Americans out of poverty. Throughout history, these institutions have been required to do more with less, jeopardizing their livelihoods, which will ultimately be a loss for everyone. Expanding funding in key areas, including increasing federal grants, infrastructure, and technology funding. Additionally, intentionally increasing funding for smaller HBCUs that provide continuing education and training programs.
- Providing funding to support the implementation of restorative justice policies and programming in schools. The racial inequity in school discipline policies, procedures, and practices has been documented. All the studies report the same thing - Black and Brown students are disproportionately affected by the current policies. Further, there is a demonstrated link between school suspensions, juvenile detention, and incarceration. Creating these policies from the restorative justice lens is reported to promote self-regulation; teach social skills; develop work and career-ready attitudes; minimize disruption, distraction, interpersonal friction, and bullying; improve relationships between and among students, teachers, staff, and administrators; hold wrong-doers accountable for the effects of their actions on others; help kids succeed according to standard measures, including test scores. Implementing restorative justice policies and programming would assist in improving the quality of the educational experience and overhauling the school-to-prison pipeline.
What We Want | We, the people, want our federal elected officials to center environmental policy on the belief that climate justice is racial justice, and through equity in climate justice, we can achieve racial justice. In action, this looks like:
Mandating, enforcing, and improving clean car standards. The transportation sector makes up the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions is key to improving air quality, the health of the environment and people, and slow climate change. Improving clean car standards by accelerating the electrification of trucks, buses, and other vehicles, will go a long way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
What We Want | We, the people, want our federal elected officials to provide federal healthcare protection that:
- Increases access to healthcare services for all people in the United States. Quality and accessible healthcare should be a birthright - but it’s not. In the richest, most powerful country, 31.6 million people are uninsured, leaving them without access to health care. This should not be. The Affordable Care Act has significantly improved our healthcare system, but it needs to go further. Hip Hop Caucus supports government-funded, universal healthcare for all, including a public healthcare insurance option added to the Affordable Care Act that can compete with private healthcare insurance companies to lower costs and a universal single-payer system.
- Provides abortion access to all in the United States. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating federal protection for abortion and returning the power to states to determine how abortion is handled. Almost immediately, states began to repeal the right to abortion or severely limit access. Additionally, the end of Roe created an opportunity for states to ban contraceptive methods, making it illegal in some states to have birth control options. Hip Hop Caucus believes Congress should enact legislation to protect once again the right to abortion and all associated birth control options.
What We Want | We, the people, want our federal elected officials to enact federal voting rights legislation to protect access to the ballot by:
- Making Election Day a federal holiday.
- Providing universal automatic voter registration and universal no excuse absentee ballot access.
- Restoring voting rights to returning citizens automatically upon completion of their sentence.
- Ensuring, through federal legislation, that incarcerated Americans are counted at their last address, not the place of their incarceration in the decennial Census.
- Enacting a 21st-century voting rights act that reinstates preclearance for states with a history of voter suppression and overturns Shelby County v. Holder.
- Offering alternative methods of voting (rank choice, proportional voting, etc.)