Dr. Spaulding is committed to leading with Equity, Fighting for Justice and investing fully in Illinois' 1st
Illinois’ 1st is in a State of Emergency
In any emergency situation, responders address a hierarchy of needs by first stabilizing life, then preventing further harm from ensuing while finally attending to the root causes of harm. We must level the life opportunities for all residents of Illinois 1st District. One’s zip code, gender, racial or cultural background can no longer be the markers for access to sustainable living. As Congresswoman for IL-01, I will pursue equity for our District by prioritizing the intersectional and interconnected needs of constituents throughout our District.
Healthcare should be a right for all Americans, not just a privilege for some.
Our district has disproportionately high levels of uninsurance and preventable hospitalizations along racial lines. This is one of the drivers why the life expectancy of Black Chicagoans is 71 years, while their white and latino counterparts have 8-9 years of more expectancy.
I support Medicare for All. Members of Congress, their staff and other federal workers have access to the best health care options available. So should the American public. As a leading nation in the 21st Century, we must provide all that one needs to be a well human being–vision, dental, hearing mental wellness, substance use treatment, pre existing conditions, long-term coverage, reproductive planning, maternity care–full wellness coverage. Overall when people are well cared for, our nation thrives.
Cutting back essential health care services to women, children, veterans, rural and underserved communities in order to return favors to big donors is not morally responsible. I assure you I will be on the front lines of fighting for comprehensive, affordable, accessible health care for all people, not just for the privileged few.
A major part of disinvestment is painfully clear with our food deserts, particularly in the Southside of Chicago where gas stations, corner stores and Dollar Generals are the only source of food with little to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. With residents living in eight out of ten zip codes in Chicago most are without cars and would need to rely on public transportation to access healthy foods. In segregated poor Black communities most have to travel to three or four different neighborhoods to shop for food for their families. Additionally, communities experiencing poverty and the high rates of inflation continue to limit the spending power of families that experience food insecurity beyond geographical location to grocers.
As your next congresswoman I will immediately address this by:
- Championing in the House similar legislation to the Senate’s Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act, which would incentivize food providers to establish and renovate grocery stores, food banks and farmers markets in communities that traditionally lack affordable, healthy and convenient food options;
- Work to increase the threshold of SNAP benefits, expand Child Tax Credits, as well as increase other income earning opportunities while decreasing costs on health care (prescription drugs) thereby increasing the overall food spending power for working families.
Due to the impacts of redlining, our schools are severely hypersegregated. In Chicagoland, only approximately 21.2% of the bachelor’s degree holders are Black. Disinvestment in Black schools is also driving high unemployment rates within the Black community.
As a result of disinvestments in our school systems, we find ourselves with a higher crime rate, a continued cycle of poverty and a loss of hope for the next generation of Blacks throughout the 1st District. We know that much of the funding for schools is driven by property values, and as our neighborhoods decline we continue to see a cycle of underfunding. As your next Congresswoman, I will work to disrupt this cycle.
- I will work to push for more educational funding for Black communities that have been disproportionately underinvested in due to impacts of redlining.
- I will commit myself to oversight on equitable funding, which includes more wraparound services such as healthy food, clothing, access to mental wellness professionals that focus on addressing the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
- I will work to ensure job readiness and college prep in the school curriculum.
- I will ensure that we invest in teachers that include not only higher wages but also ongoing technological, physical and mental support to those who are on the front lines everyday.
- As a member of Congress I will support tuition free colleges, trade schools as well as eradicating student loan debt.
- I will support ending K-12 student lunch debt with healthy free lunches for all, because no child should go hungry in our school system or anywhere.
We must aim for implementing the goals of the Green New Deal, beginning with a ban on fracking on public lands. We must take back the public conversation and control from those who place record-breaking profits for their fossil fuel donors over the lives of the people they are elected to represent.
I will also push to develop an energy infrastructure that relies on balancing energy independence in the U.S. with comprehensive use of wind, solar, hydroelectric and developing technologies. Incorporating more renewables will help our country move towards energy-independence while creating good jobs and economic stability. In the past five years, the solar industry alone has created nearly 80,000 living-wage U.S. jobs.
Let us not forget – Energy is the forgotten cost of poverty
Affordable housing is a plus, but too many of us can’t afford to keep the lights on in our homes, nor heat our homes in severe Chicago winters; something I experienced too often in our working class household as a child.
As your next congresswoman I will push for subsidized programs to make sure we all have heating, cooling, weatherization and broadband internet access. According to 2020 census data, 17% of Illinoian households were without broadband access–cutting them off from critical digital access points. Thus, I will work to federally continue to fund and expand on programs like EBB (The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program) and LIHEAP
Growing up on the far Southside, I lived just minutes away from a city dumping site and the Sherwin-Williams paint factory, both which spewed toxins into the air and ground water. Poor Black and brown communities are disproportionately prone to urban and industrious pollutants due to the intersections of redlining, environmental degradation and racism. Consequently, ending environmental racism will be a top priority while in Congress.
Going to pick up hangers, baby wipes or whatever should not result in the loss of life or a ubiquitous sense of fear that violence is always around the corner. Nor should the lives of mothers walking their neighborhoods with the expressed commitment to keeping their children safe from gun violence be taken from that very evil.
Like most Americans, I am angry at the lack of courage from government officials who are in the pockets of the NRA and refuse to do what is right to end this epidemic. I am disgusted that mass shootings and death by gun violence has become so much a part of our society’s norm that folks can recycle the same tweets and posts from days prior with no thought of specificity. I am broken-hearted for the families and communities for which vacuous words don’t mean a thing right now as they will not give one more hug, kiss, moment to argue and reconcile, to be disappointed by and then overjoyed with the ones they love; our words will not refill the gaping holes that are now present by the loss of life. I am all these things right now.
And I’m also determined not to sit in the paralysis of fear allowing this very evil to win. I am determined to keep striving for the world and future we desire and deserve. I refuse to die inside and allow apathy to be my legacy. We must pass sensible gun safety legislation that includes universal background checks, closing loopholes on the possession of firearms by those deemed an extreme risk to themselves and others, and repelling the Dicky Amendment so we can effectively research the causes and impacts of gun violence across America.
I believe it’s time that we adopt a 21st Century Bill of Human Rights. One that respects the human dignity and decency of every person and community. My work as an organizer/activist emerges from a deep space of faith and commitment to the belief that not only are we capable of transforming the world, we are purposefully required to do the work. Since I was a youth, I’ve been actively involved in community transformation through one-on-one, communal, and institutional processes.
Human dignity is under attack. From dehumanizing immigration policies, threats to civil rights and racial justice, to demoralizing efforts to roll back gains in women’s reproductive justice and LGBTQ+ rights our humanity in civil society is at stake. I am committed to redressing the moral injuries that marginalized communities consistently face due to a lack of criminal justice reform, voter protection, immigration reform, income equality and protections against all forms of discrimination.
America is broken due to the deep seeded racism within our fabric of being. For too long we have ignored the calluses, medicated the pain and barely triaged wounds while the disease of racism metastasizes within us like an all-consuming cancer. But the scabs of the sores have burst open again and pus from the wound is running over. The most recent murders of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breona Taylor and George Floyd amid the global pandemic of COVID-19 brings to fore the disease of racism in America and we are forced to contend again with answering how much Black life in America matters.
Whether the killing is direct, literal and physical or structural and complicit manifested through willful ignorance, choosing silence, weaponizing racial constructs, or maintaining institutional barriers to equity, the persistence of America’s racial caste system will continue to choke the lives out of communities of color. Consequently, initiating a Federal Truth and Conciliation Commission for the United States of America will help us redress the harm deep within us. Consequently, I support H.R.40 and H.Con.Res.19 Urging the Establishment of a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation.
We must build a covenant of being through conciliation. We must craft together a sacred agreement if there will be any manifestations of healing.
History shows that America is strengthened, not weakened, by immigration. As President Biden stated in his recent State of the Union, America can both secure our borders while welcoming immigrants into this county. Below are my policies that enable us to do both equitably:
- Review existing immigration laws to address equity inconsistencies within them. For example, if one comes from Cuba and sets foot on US Soil he/she has a right to stay, which does not apply to Haitians under comparable circumstances. Policies like this are examples of systemic classism and racism that must be removed.
- Many people seek asylum in the US due to danger in their home country. These individuals should be provisionally admitted to this country and allowed to reside in this country while waiting for a hearing.
- Presently, many people seeking asylum and many children seeking refuge at the border of this country have to navigate the legal system without a right to counsel. Immigration law is one of the most complex bodies of law in this country for lawyers to navigate. It is absurd to believe most immigrants, especially children, can navigate this on their own. There should be an expanded right to counsel for all immigrants who are navigating the legal system.
- Regular immigration should be tied to known employment opportunities. Those who are legal residents, and do in fact pay billions in taxes, should have access to public services such as food stamps, public housing assistance, or unemployment compensation.
- Many immigrants wish to study in our schools and universities. We should open up these opportunities and allow those who complete their studies to establish legal residence and eligibility for citizenship.
- Dreamers who were brought to this country undocumented as children should be provided a pathway to citizenship.
- Entrepreneurs who wish to come to America to pursue their dreams and build companies here should be provided special VISAs to do so-they are choosing to build companies that will grow the American economy. It is in our interest to facilitate diverse economic growth for our nation.
“Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8)
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