Black and Puerto Rican Caucus Introduces Agenda for Equity

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On the steps of the state Capitol, members from Connecticut's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus introduced their "Agenda for Equity" Tuesday.

The announcement comes nearly a month after Gov. Ned Lamont called for members of the state's legislature to meet for a special session to discuss absentee ballots and police accountability after the death of George Floyd.

The B.P.R.C. introduced a list of demands for reforms including voting rights, police accountability, economic justice, housing equity, environmental justice, education equity.

"It's all doable and it's all doable now," said State Rep. Geraldo Reyes. "Our people are begging for it."

The caucus members said the coronavirus has presented a challenge for millions of voters and no one should have to risk their health and wellbeing to exercise their constitutional right during any election. The group is asking that special accommodations be made to allow residents to vote.

"Voting access has been a perennial issue for persons of color and low-income individuals throughout the country," said State Rep. Brandon McGee. "We should make it our mission to still provide them with the chance to exercise their right to vote."

Police accountability is already set to be discussed during the special session but the B.P.R.C is calling for more regulations.

"We have been fighting for many years on this particular especially no chokeholds, excessive force," said State Rep. McGee. "We really want the state to provide financial resources to establish an office that could have its own independent investigator who can investigate these types of misconduct."

The group is striving for economic equality for all by committing to a long-term plan to offer investments and opportunities for the low-income community.

"We need to commit to continued financial relief efforts for those most vulnerable," said State Rep. McGee.

State leaders said communities of color have struggled to sustain housing equity and maintain homeownership while also trying to escape from environmental issues like poor air quality and the opportunity of industrial pollution.

"The communities of color tend to be in more depressed areas and we're trying to level the playing field," said Reyes. "We are trying to improve the level of housing inside the state of Connecticut outlook when it comes to the housing stock."

As for education, state representatives say their mission is to fight to get all students the right tools to graduate.

"We must invest in our students based on their need and give them resources they need to succeed," said Rep. McGee. "We call these humanizing policies that will better the lives of those who have been left out."

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