Everyone no matter what their skin color is, who they love, where they live, their gender, who they identify as, where they are from, or what they do should have justice in the United States. The dramatic increase in hate crimes and laws has been terrible and Gen Z will not stand for it. The United States needs to finally live up to its constitution and Gen Z is going to make that happen.
Gun Violence Prevention
Gun violence is not an isolated policy issue. Gun violence can come in many forms: mass shootings, street violence, police violence, domestic violence, suicide, hate crimes, and many other types of violence; therefore, we need to treat it as the complex and multifaceted issue that it is. Gun violence is the result of systemic injustices and failures of the United States dating back to the founding of our nation. If we are to truly find a solution to preventing gun violence, we must address the root causes of it in addition to enacting common-sense gun laws that 64% of college students support.
Establishing equal pay, protecting reproductive rights, ending the pink and tampon taxes, implementing paid family and medical leave, and combating all forms of violence against women are all essential to help put an end to the gender inequity existent in almost every aspect of our society. We must continue to fight to make sure that women are represented in all places where decisions are being made so we can ensure that we are promoting both a society and a government that treats everyone, regardless of gender, with dignity and respect.
Systemic racism is a part of our nation; it did not disappear after the abolition of slavery or the Civil Rights Movement. Whether it is combatting redlining, environmental racism, access to loans, racism in health care and medicine, racial profiling in education and policing, or racist voting laws—we need to actively be working to dismantle all institutions that continue to perpetuate racism. It is not enough to be not racist; we must be actively anti-racist and do all that we can to dismantle these institutions and to establish equitable institutions.
No one should be discriminated against for their sexuality, gender identity, or their gender expression. Gen Z yearns to live in a society where all people are allowed to be who they are and love who they love. In order to achieve this mission, we need to work to ensure everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community has the same rights and privileges as heterosexual and cisgender people.
Justice for Immigrants and Asylum Seekers
Immigrants are welcome here. No amount of hateful rhetoric will change the fact that the diversity of people and culture is what makes the United States what it is. We must provide the necessary funding to process these cases in a timely manner, and we need to establish a pathway to citizenship. We also need to end the abusive practices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prevent them from further terrorizing human beings seeking a better life in our nation.
Justice for Indigenous People
Gen Z believes in justice for indigenous people. The ACLU of New Mexico defines indigenous justice as “the freedom and ability of Indigenous people to exercise their rights and sovereignty over themselves, their people, and their land. This includes the freedom to engage in traditional ways of governing, being, healing, and knowing while also learning and celebrating culture, language, tradition, and heritage by ceremonies and other practices.” The United States has committed far too many atrocities against indigenous people, and this goal is the bare minimum we can do to begin to heal these deep wounds.
Police Accountability & Redefining Public Safety
Our current solution to public safety is not working. Despite the endless amounts of money that local, state, and federal governments invest in policing, it is not having the desired effect in reducing crime. We must invest in community-based solutions that address the root causes of crime instead of investing in over-policing. Additionally, we must institute better systems for holding police accountable. Their job is not easy, nor should these many responsibilities be placed on them, but they have to be held accountable if they fail to do their job or they abuse their position. Ultimately, we must rethink what the characteristics are of a world that would make us safer.
No More War
Young people are tired of being used as pawns in the endless and senseless wars of the military-industrial complex. Peace and diplomacy should always be the top priority of U.S. foreign policy, and war should be the very last option on the list. No one benefits from war, except the military contractors who profit from it, but we all benefit from peace and cooperation. If we want to tackle global problems like climate change, we need to have global cooperation in order to avoid impending disasters.
Ending the War on Drugs
Gen Z knows better than to continue to fall for a decades-long failed War on Drugs that disproportionately incarcerates Black and Brown Americans. In contrast, we now know that many of the drugs for which people have been imprisoned, like marijuana, can be beneficial for both medicinal and recreational use. 93% of college students believe that marijuana should be legal at least for medical use, and 68% believe it should be legal for recreational use as well. In addition, adult drug use should not be considered a crime the same way cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol are not considered a crime. The problem with all of these substances is addiction, and addiction needs to be treated as a medical issue, not a criminal justice issue. For those who are already victims of this immoral policy, we need to clear their records and let them have their lives back.
Implement a Restorative Justice System
Gen Z knows better than to continue to fall for a decades-long failed War on Drugs that disproportionately affects people of color. We need to fundamentally reevaluate the justice system. The goal of prison should not be to dehumanize and ruin the lives of all incarcerated people. Someday, many of these people are going to be released from prison and we need to ensure that all incarcerated people are ready to reenter society in a productive way. Recidivism rates in the United States are far too high and we must combat that with a new vision for incarceration. Other countries around the world have implemented restorative justice systems where inmates are treated like humans, and the punishment is solely that they are cut off from the outside world. A system like this would allow us to rehabilitate inmates, decrease recidivism, and help them improve their lives when they are released.
Abolish Cash Bail
If the “justice” system has policies or laws in place that have a monetary value tied to them, then those policies only apply to low-income people. No one should have to remain in prison for the duration of their case just because they do not have the financial means to pay their bail. Cash bail only harms low-income Americans and we need equal justice.
Ending Private Prisons
There absolutely cannot be a profit incentive to incarceration in the United States. Similar to the military-industrial complex, if we allow people to profit off the suffering of others, then they are going to do everything in their power to maximize it in order to maximize profits. About 25% of the world’s prison population is in the US, despite the fact that the US is less than 5% of the world’s population. If we are to begin to stop our mass incarceration problem, we must end the profit incentive.
Decriminalizing Sex Work
Sex work is work. The idea that “Criminalizing adult, voluntary, and consensual sex – including the commercial exchange of sexual services – is incompatible with the human right to personal autonomy and privacy. In short – a government should not be telling consenting adults who they can have sexual relations with and on what terms.” (Human Rights Watch).
If you’re interested in reading more, you can download the full Voters of Tomorrow Policy Platform.