Opinion

California’s young people of color and Proposition 15

Photo: Power California

Everywhere in California, young people are fighting for our lives, our families and our communities. We know it is up to us to fight for our future. We are asking you to fight for us, too.

We are young.  We are Black, brown, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans youth and youth of color from the Central Valley, Central Coast, Southern California, Inland Valley, Bay Area,  — every corner of the state.

We are facing a bleak future, inheriting the great debt of climate change, this pandemic and extreme economic hardship and systemic racism.

We are essential workers who have continued to work through this pandemic to support our families. We are students whose lives have been turned upside down and futures derailed. We are immigrants and children of immigrants whose parents risk their lives as farm workers and poultry workers to feed this nation. We are wildfire evacuees struggling to protect our communities.

We’re also powerful. We are protesters, marchers and defenders of Black lives. We have shut down youth prisons and detention centers. And unlike the prevailing narrative, we are voters, ready to use our power at the polls.

We are a courageous generation fighting for our lives and our future. We deserve a future with clean air, water, and existence on this planet. We deserve to be free and live with dignity and without discrimination. We deserve to have our most basic human needs met and to live full, prosperous lives.

We ask you  for the courage to stand with us. We ask you for the courage to reimagine our future together as a state.

We are facing a bleak future, inheriting the great debt of climate change, this pandemic and extreme economic hardship and systemic racism. Our future has never felt more bleak.

COVID-19 and climate-induced fires engulfing our state may be once in a century crises, but we have been suffering from systemic racism and inequality for too long.

In this pandemic, a third of young Californians of color have lost our jobs.  Half of us are struggling to make rent, and buy groceries and medicine. Many of us are still working, providing essential services that our communities rely on while risking our own health and lives. Medical bills, rent and school fees are piling up.

In the state with the most billionaires and the 6th largest economy in the world there IS enough wealth to care for all of us.

Do you know what else is piling up? The record profits of a handful of wealthy corporations and  billionaires as they barely pay us a liveable wage and deny us paid sick time or health care. Corporate landlords breathe down our necks with sky-high rents and evictions. Corporate billionaires refuse to pay their fair share of taxes leaving our schools and communities underfunded, especially in Black, brown and working class communities.

We know it doesn’t have to be this way. In the state with the most billionaires and the 6th largest economy in the world there IS enough wealth to care for all of us.

We know the future we are fighting for. It’s not to get back to normal or life before the pandemic.  It’s a future where no matter where we come from or the color of our skin, we all  have what we need to thrive and care for our families.

But, it will require decisive action from all of us, including you.  We need you to act with us so that our elected leaders put people and our planet over corporations and work to care for our essential human needs. We need YOU to vote with us.

We need you to  vote yes on Proposition 15. By voting yes on Proposition 15, we will reclaim $12 billion a year from our schools and communities that are stolen by corporate loopholes. It is supported by elected officials across the state at all levels. It is a concrete step toward undoing the racist policies of our past that have caused Black, brown and working class communities to be most harmed and left behind.

We ask you to fight for us and with us for the future we all deserve. Supporting Prop 15 is supporting possibility and potential for our futures. Failing Refusing to act is choosing that the future belongs to corporations.

Fight for us. Fight with us to  take on corporate greed and systemic racism. Our lives – and our collective future – depend on it.

Editor’s Note: The authors and their affiliations: Tyler Okeke, 19, of Los Angeles, Power California; Eugene Vang, 20, Merced, 99Rootz; Teresa Sanchez, 22, Oxnard, Future Leaders of America; Noe Gudino, 27, Richmond, Ryse Center. Original photo replaced by one from Power California.


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