Issues identified by communities organically rather than dictated offer more personalization of activism. The personal is political and the political, personal; when citizens take ownership of their conditions by influencing the systems that most often contribute to disenfranchisement and exploitation, they are empowered. Once the ability to influence their surroundings becomes evident, change is inevitable.
Therefore, MPACT is built on a model of interdependent community coordination. . One of the early steps in that process is engaging in government. To do that, however, requires first identifying areas of attention, namely, issues.
While specific issues may differ from community to community, many systemic problems affects us all:
MPACT supports efforts to provide meaningful opportunities for children and schools across communities. We support community led activity that addresses persisting issues in education access and funding. We also believe in equitable funding for early childhood opportunities. We cannot apply one size fits all approaches and look forward to working with local communities and organizations. In addition, we support efforts to address college affordability.
Beyond saying the words Black Lives Matter, we need meaningful action to address continued disparities in policing and the criminal justice system as a whole. MPACT is committed to working with activists and communities to address these issues where they arise at the state and local level. There is excellent work being done in this area across the country and we hope to further those efforts through our local organizing teams.
These are just a few of the areas where MPACT organizers and teams could possibly lend support.
Law Enforcement Operations, Engagement, and Oversight
As an organization we support community led efforts to address issues in policing, accountability, and oversight. Any plan to address issues in this area must be centered with a meaningful civilian authority that is independent of the relevant law enforcement agency. Police officers cannot simultaneously be “in service” to the public and above the law. Furthermore, we must have a concerted effort toward demilitarizing police departments.
MPACT supports efforts to “raise the age” which extends the age of juvenile jurisdiction.
Drug Sentencing/War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a failed strategy that has exacerbated conditions in our communities. We need a strategy that addresses the root causes of drug trade and provides alternatives. We also need to remove marijuana from the Schedule of Controlled Substances and decriminalization of non-violent drug crimes. Dismantling the prison industrial complex is key. In addition, we need increased access to:
Legal System Support
We support community efforts to address the issues in funding and staffing of public defenders as well as the election/appointment of prosecutors. Public defenders provide a needed service to those navigating the criminal justice system. In order to have access to meaningful assistance of counsel, we need to make sure public defender offices are properly funded and staffed. Additional support could be provided for efforts to address inequities in the bail system as well.
MPACT recognizes the ongoing struggle to address issues of economic justice in our communities. We will support efforts such as the Fight for 15 and secure scheduling, pay equity, financial industry reform, creating sustainable affordable housing opportunities, and more. MPACT will work to oppose legislative efforts that restrict the rights of groups to organize and advocate on behalf of workers. Community economic development and planning should be inclusive conversations with an express commitment to preserving communities not displacing them. MPACT will stand with communities where necessary. We further support adoption of H.R. 40, Congressman John Conyers’ bill for a detailed study into reparations.
A clean and safe environment is fundamental to the way of life of all people. MPACT supports efforts that center issues of environmental justice and racism. Clean air and water are basic human rights. Instances of environmental injustice occur far too often in communities of color and underrepresented rural areas. The Flint, MI water issue is case in point. It falls on the shoulders of government to protect citizens and provide a healthy infrastructure for all people. Among other things, MPACT supports community led efforts to address chemical, toxic, and hazardous waste exposure. We must also have strategies to address affects on our communities from climate change and have stronger citizen participation in permitting processes.
Healthcare is a human right. Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and privatize Medicare and Medicaid are a threat to the vibrancy and viability of our families and communities. MPACT support national efforts to protect the ACA while recognizing the continued fight for health care access that will address the disparities in health care treatment and costs in our communities.
Defend the rights and privileges of all immigrants, especially those who are denied a voice. All people deserve to be treated fairly and to live a life free of unjust targeting and fear. That’s why diverse multiracial movements have united to raise the voices of immigrant families. The struggle for immigrant justice should not – and cannot – be separate from the broader struggle for racial justice. The injustice that immigrants’ face is part and parcel of much larger challenges that threaten us all.
The political party system in America presents opportunities to communities in poverty and of color. The way the Democratic Party is structured makes it possible to change the membership and leadership, and then change its direction. The influence of the Sanders for President campaign on the Democratic Party shows that is possible, but there is more work to be done.