ISSUES

We educate our peers, we encourage civic participation, we mobilize our audience, we shift the political debate, and we enact change.

Why It’s Important: Climate change is not on the way, it’s here. Wildfires on the West Coast burn twice as many acres as they did in 1970. Since 1980, the planet has had a 50 fold increase in the number of dangerous heat waves. Hurricanes, droughts, sea level rise, war and conflict, and diseases are all increasing in frequency and severity due to climate change.

Our Stance: We need a Green New Deal. What does this mean? Legislation that meets the moment. Science says we need bold, ambitious legislation to halve our emissions in the next decade. We believe we can do this in a way that uplifts everyone. A Green New Deal that improves our health, creates millions of good paying, union jobs, expands public transportation, and protects the planet is the best way forward.  

What We Advocate For:

    • End fracking.
    • Establish energy efficient, zero carbon housing.
    • Allocate resources to Indigenous communities to lead the effort of planting billions of trees, renewing our soils, etc. 
    • Establish distributed wind and solar power.
    • Expand public transportation.
    • Establish a clean, energy efficient electric grid.
    • Protect public lands.

Why It’s Important: The United States, despite being less than 5% of the world’s population, holds a quarter of the world’s incarcerated population. The War on Drugs led to a 500% increase in incarceration, but it doesn’t stop there. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to have overcrowded prisons. We had incarcerated people risking their lives to fight the California wildfires for virtually no pay. Prisons fail to provide appropriate treatment to those with a mental illness – more than half.

Our Stance: Gen-Z for Change firmly believes in restorative justice and will advocate for policies that reduce prisons and the prison system in the United States. 

What We Advocate For: 

  • Eliminate use of the Death Penalty nationwide.
  • End mass incarceration and the criminalization of homelessness, addiction, and more.
  • End for-profit prisons.
  • Eliminate the cash bail system.
  • Legalize marijuana and decriminalize all drugs. 
  • Allow incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizens to vote.
  • Abolish mandatory minimum sentencing.
  • End “three strikes” laws. 
  • Reallocate police funds and expand access to mental health resources.

Why It’s Important: For far too long, uplifting the disabled community has been swept under the rug. We must ensure that people living with a disability are given the same rights and freedoms as people living without one.

Our Stance: For far too long, uplifting the disabled community has been swept under the rug. We must ensure that people living with a disability are given the same rights and freedoms as people living without one.

What We Advocate For: 

  • Passage of the Disability Employment Incentive Act.
  • Transformation to the Competitive Integrated Employment Act.
  • Passage of the Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act of 2021.
  • Strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Why It’s Important: We are living in a country that values profit over people. Approximately two-thirds of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Wages have stagnated despite inflation and productivity gains while CEO-to-worker salary ratios soar.

Our Stance: We need people-first politics. Ensuring that we live in a country that prioritizes the everyday American does not hurt the economy, rather the opposite. Uplifting everyone is how we create a long-term, sustainable economy in which all people can thrive. This is not a matter of cost; this is a matter of what we choose to prioritize, and for far too long, this country has not prioritized the working class, the backbone of this country.  

What We Advocate For:

  • Raise the minimum wage to account for inflation and productivity gains over the last 50 years.
  • Establish a Federal Job Guarantee.
  • Increase and encourage unionization efforts.
  • Expand Social Security.
  • Expand Rent control.
  • Expand affordable housing.
  • Establish universal and free broadband for all.
  • Increase the corporate tax rate and establish a wealth tax on the ultra-rich to fund social programs across the country.

Why It’s Important: Our education system is broken. Schools from Pre-K to college are underfunded, unaffordable, and inaccessible. Teachers are severely underpaid. Parents (often mothers) are taking time off of work because of the financial burden of Pre-K. Racial discrimination and school segregation has intensified the racial inequality that we see in this country, from racially targeted disciplinary measures to white-washed history lessons. 

Our Stance: Your zip code, race, or income level should not determine the quality of your education. 

What We Advocate For:

  • Expand funding for public K-12 schools and redesign the public funding system such that property taxes aren’t the only contributor.
  • Establish free 2-year / 4-year public colleges and universities nation-wide.
  • Update K-12 curriculum to be historically accurate.
  • Provide universal free school meals year-round.
  • Increase teacher salaries nation-wide.
  • Safeguard affirmative action. 
  • Strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Why It’s Important: Interventionism has been a top priority of the United States since its inception. From the Vietnam and Iraq War to election interference across Latin America, history has shown that more often than not this country goes to war for resources and political agenda not for freedom or human rights. 

Our Stance: Gen-Z for Change is adamantly anti-imperialism and U.S. occupation in the Middle East and around the world. Further, we support an end to interference by the U.S. in the political processes of other countries. 

What We Advocate For:

  • Reallocate defense spending and fund People-First policies (see ‘Economic Security’ for more).
  • End the War on Terror and Islamophobia.
  • End ongoing U.S. influence in Latin American elections (e.g. Bolivia, Brazil).
  • End support of authoritarian regimes.

Why It’s Important: At a moment where millions of Gen-Z are becoming eligible to vote, states are passing a number of discriminatory laws to increase voter suppression. 

Our Stance: We must make voting accessible, simple, free, and fair. Simple as that.

What We Advocate For:

  • Passage of HR1, a.k.a For the People Act.
  • Overturn Citizens United and getting dark money and the money of multi-millionaires and billionaires out of our elections.
  • Abolish the filibuster.
  • Expansion of same-day registration, online voter registration, mail-in voting, and voter pre-registration.
  • Ban voter ID Laws.
  • End gerrymandering.

Why It’s Important: Rights for women and gender minorities have long been neglected in the United States, as several states are aiming to eliminate their bodily autonomy and politicize gender equality.

Our Stance: We must safeguard and bolster gender equality on all fronts, namely where it intersects with health and economic justice. This includes equalizing our spaces by ensuring the needs of menstruates, parents, and more.

What We Advocate For: 

  • Establish universal child care.
  • Expand paid parental leave.
  • Expand access to safe abortions.
  • Reauthorizatize the Violence Against Women Act. 
  • End the tampon tax.
  • Make menstrual products available in government funded areas (e.g. schools).

Why It’s Important: Gun violence is an epidemic that our country continues to endure. Over half of Americans support stricter gun laws, and yet Congress has failed to enact any substantial form of gun control in decades. 

Our Stance: A teenager with suicidal thoughts should not have such easy access to a gun. Children should not have to do shooter drills before they can read. Our most marginalized communities are hurting from a lack of action on gun reform.

What We Advocate For:

  • Expand and enforce universal background checks.
  • Provide universal mental health care.
  • Establish red flag laws.
  • Combat the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA) on elected officials by reversing Citizens United.
  • End gun show loopholes.

Why It’s Important: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the systemic flaws in our healthcare system. Over 30 million Americans — disproportionately Black and brown Americans —  are uninsured, and for those with insurance, costs are still so high that medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the country. 1 in 6 Americans have past-due medical debt.

Our Stance: No American should lack healthcare in the richest country in the world. No one should lose their healthcare because they are unable to work. Especially in a global health crisis.

What We Advocate For:

  • Establish Universal Health Care, single-payer healthcare, including affordable and accessible mental health services and substance abuse treatment.
  • Establish a cap on how much Americans pay for prescription drugs. 
  • End all outstanding medical debt.
  • Expand Medicaid and allow Medicare to negotiate drug pricing (while simultaneously advocating for a single-payer healthcare system).

Why It’s Important: This country’s mistreatment of immigrants did not start or end with the Trump Administration. Immigrants continue to face incredibly strenuous barriers to enter and thrive in the United States. Further, with the intensifying climate crisis, experts are projecting millions of climate refugees coming to the U.S. every year. 

Our Stance: Immigrants should be welcomed into this country and given the resources and opportunity needed for them to prosper. 

What We Advocate For:

  • Establishing a path to citizenship for DACA and all undocumented immigrants.
  • Ensuring refugees are given asylum.
  • Abolish ICE.
  • Reunite families separated during the Trump Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” Immigration policy. 
  • Dismantle deportation centers and programs.
  • Eliminate all barriers including cost to applying for green cards, asylum, etc.

Why It’s Important: Indigenous communities across the country have been abused and neglected since the founding of the United States.  Over 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and over half have experienced sexual violence. Despite Indigenous people disproportionately being the ones risking their safety to protect the land, water, and resources we all use, this country continues to ignore Native treaties for the sake of perpetual economic growth.

Our Stance: Supporting Indigenous peoples means looking inwards and seeing how American policy actively harms Indigenous communities, from honoring treaties to, more broadly, combating climate change in the most aggressive way possible. 

What We Advocate For:

  • End Line 3 and phase out all existing and future oil and natural gas projects. 
  • Ban fracking.
  • Honor Indigenous tribal treaty rights and sovereignty.
  • Reauthorize and expand the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Actually combat the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).
  • Devolve control of public lands to indigenous communities in the region.

Why It’s Important: More so than any previous generation, Gen-Z has a substantial population that identifies as LGBTQ+, a population that is likely to increase over time.

Our Stance: It is incredibly important to safeguard the civil rights and liberties of LGBTQ+ folks. We must implement legislation for issues that affect the community, which we must examine from an intersection lens. This includes equal access to quality healthcare free of discrimination, inclusive, gender-neutral bathrooms in public facilities, access to affordable housing, and more.

What We Advocate For: 

  • Passage of the Equality act and Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Provide affordable housing for all.
  • Abolish homelessness.
  • Reauthorizatize the Violence Against Women Act.

Why It’s Important: The effects of this country’s continuous efforts to oppress Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities is without a doubt present today. Racism is deeply rooted in our education system, health care system, policing and prison systems, electoral system, and our foreign affairs.

Our Stance: In order to truly eliminate the racism that is so embedded within our country, we must target the systems through which racism is so pervasive and work to repair the damages of slavery and reverse the damages caused by Jim Crow laws, redlining, the War and Drugs, and more. This means being critical of institutions that have historically and systemically harmed communities.

What We Advocate For: 

  • Reallocate local police budgets and funding social and health programs that have proven to deter crime.
  • End racial discrimination in finance, education, healthcare, and more.
  • End mass incarceration and the criminalization of homelessness, addiction, and more.
  • Legalize marijuana federally.
  • Ban voter ID laws.
  • End for-profit prisons.
  • End cash bail.
  • End anti-Asian (particularly anti-China_ narratives in the press, media, and the government.
  • Support HBCUs and HSIs.
  • End de-facto school segregation.
  • Safeguard affirmative action.