My life’s work has been fighting for a more equitable criminal justice system. Everyday, I witness how our state laws are unfairly implemented amongst the people in our community.
As a criminal defense and civil rights attorney, I have represented families in Texas who have been victims to a system that fails to deliver its promise of “Equal Justice Under the Law.” I’ve worked within a system where institutional and implicit biases led to the incarceration of people of color and low-income people. I’ve stood alongside the 17-year old young man who was facing life for a non-violent crime. I’ve held the hands of the mother whose son was murdered by the police. These are our battles in the courtroom, and it’s no longer enough to fight one injustice at a time. Having this unique perspective, I can bring real insight to the legislature, so that we can understand, and create effective change. We must work smarter towards a system that reduces violence, recidivism, and ends mass incarceration.
All across our diverse district, a common denominator seems to be the pressure of rising property taxes. Families who’ve owned their homes for generations, for the first time are now in fear of losing their homes. Our residents are experiencing gentrification at extraordinarily high rates. And while there are many factors that contribute to this, the main culprit is rising property taxes. There must be safeguards and laws in place to protect our residents from property taxes rising at exponential levels, leaving their homes unaffordable.
Throughout history, men and women fought to secure the right to vote for marginalized communities. But today, there are still systemic efforts to take away people’s right to participate in the democratic process. In May of 2019, the Republican party tried to pass Senate Bill 9, limiting assistance for voters who need it, pursuing harsher penalties for people who mistakenly vote and are not eligible.
Please look at my testimony against the bill.
There is undeniable evidence of racial and economic disparities throughout our criminal justice system, one crucial component being the bail bond process. Time and time again, people who have been arrested for non-violent and misdemeanor offenses, will sit in jail, simply because they do not have the money to make bail and be released. The consequences can be detrimental to a defendant’s life when they miss work or school. Wealth should not be the determining factor of whether people stay in jail or get released. I support and will fight for a bail system where equality and due process is the objective for every person who must go through the criminal justice system. I support a risk assessment bail system that eliminates racial and economic bias.
In our district, there are so many disparities in education across racial and socioeconomic lines. I believe that no matter what zip code you are born in, every person deserves a quality education and an opportunity to pursue their dreams. Public schools add value to our neighborhoods and I am committed to fighting for that access.
There have been great advancements by women historically, but until we reach true equality for women’s rights in their workplace, education, housing, medical decisions, the criminal justice system, the fight must continue. Disparities in these systems prevent women from true independence, limiting them from the same opportunities available to their male counterparts. I support equal pay for equal work, a woman’s right to choose, eliminating discimination in the legal system, and fighting for true systemic equality.
We will sincerely begin to address and attack poverty and addiction by taking into account the role that mental health plays in both of these issues. As a former board member of the MetroCare Board in Dallas County, I understand the needs and the funding necessary to make sure that people get the help they need. Right now the largest mental health provider is the jail system. I will fight and push for legislations and solutions that will allow people to access resources.
We’ve seen in our country, especially in our state how many lives we’ve lost due to gun violence. We need to start looking at gun violence as a public health issue and work towards common sense gun legislation that prevents murders in our country. I believe in responsible gun ownership by strengthening background checks, cross checking mental health record, closing the gun show loophole, and overall being proactive. We must fight this epidemic that is killing the people of our country and especially our state.
Domestic Violence comes in many forms and can affect anyone. No one deserves to live in fear or danger. I believe that all victims and survivors of domestic violence should have the legal, medical, and economical resources available to them and I will fight for those resources.
Environmental injustices are still disproportionately affecting poor neighborhoods and communities of color, burdening them with pollution that affects their housing, water, and air, which in turn leads to lead poisoning, asthma and other environmental harm. We can no longer ignore the signs of climate change and we must do our part as a state to protect our home. As state representative, I would support and fight for any legislation that would push for stricter regulations and enforcement against manufacturing companies that cause emissions leading to environmental injustice. I will fight against environmental discrimination and political neglect that hurts our communities.