Creating a more equitable and just future for our community, together.
I envision this community as a leader in establishing new norms around affordable housing, mental healthcare, education, and further integrating sustainability into the foundation of our city. I believe that redistributing police funds into these vital programs that shape the health of our community will bring our city to even greater heights. Equity is fundamental to my campaign. I will work to ensure that Arcata community members do not face injustice based on any aspect of their identity.
Quality mental healthcare resources and services are essential to a thriving community. I believe that each person has a right to mental health resources, the same way healthcare needs to be valued as a human right in our society. Additionally, research 1 has found that increased healthcare services in a community is tied to a reduction in both violent and financially-motivated crimes. Expanding and implementing policies that ensure the people of Arcata have access to quality, timely, and culturally responsive mental health services is central to my platform. It is crucial to this effort that we end police involvement with mental health crisis response. Placing those who have extensive training and education to respond to such instances is vital to support individuals experiencing mental crises. A plan to redistribute funds from the Arcata Police Department is needed to enable additional mental health professionals and social workers in our community to deliver services that strengthen the collective mental health of our community.
1 Doleac, J. (2018, January 3). New evidence that access to health care reduces crime. Brookings.
I view affordable and accessible housing as a fundamental right for each and every person in Arcata. I plan to advocate for policies and organizations that centralize a Housing First model. A Housing First model proposes that individuals are more likely to respond to services if they have safe, secure housing. Thus securing housing is a vital first step of social services within our community. Expanding and further developing both short-term and long-term housing options with low barriers to entry is vital. Decriminalizing houselessness is another critical step as we move forward. Punishing an individual for having a lack of housing in no way helps that individual or betters the community. Supporting individuals through an expanded network of services is crucial. Any individual who desires housing should have it: any other option is unacceptable.
To me, education has two arms, the education system, and community education. Strengthening and supporting both are essential to a strong community and future. The young people in our community are our future leaders. Education in the schools sets a foundation for a community, fostering an understanding of shared history, paths for the future, and a team of incredible teachers, staff, and administration. Investing in teachers is central to my platform around education. Teachers shape our future leaders and our valuing of this work must be higher. I am also committed to ensuring that the curriculum in our schools reflects the histories, contexts, and identities of the students learning. I want to decolonize our school curriculums to reflect the true history of the land we occupy. When thinking of the second arm of education, community education, I want to look at the ways that local nonprofits and organizers provide indispensable information to our community on topics in all areas and how we can better fund, support, and elevate their messages. We cannot learn everything from a traditional school setting and not everyone has the means or desire to attend higher education. I believe in uplifting all forms of learning and value the important education that community groups provide.
The impact of climate change is undeniable, and the need to lessen our collective carbon footprint is urgent. Arcata has a wealth of environmentally conscious centered programs and initiatives, and I plan to build upon and expand projects and policies that weave environmentalism into the fabric of our town. I specifically plan to focus on environmental justice and create and support policies that take into account the inequitable ways in which climate change impacts marginalized communities. Climate Change is not an isolated issue and we must tie our environmental efforts to issues of poverty, income inequality and racial discrimination. I look to federal plans such as the Green New Deal “which calls on the federal government to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create high-paying jobs, ensure that clean air, clean water and healthy food are basic human rights, and end all forms of oppression”.2 These ideas are scalable to a local level and can be enacted in our own way here in Arcata.
2 Friedman, L. (2019, March 13). What Is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained.