Our country is on fire. Tragedy and injustice are everywhere around us, from Covid to climate change to our unspeakably inept and destructive head of state. Among the many fronts we face in our battle for justice, the issue of racial equity looms large. Unjustified police violence, while not new, is gaining hold in our collective consciousness and we are beginning to stand up and speak out against it.

We are getting close to November 3rd, when we will choose which candidates we want to steer us into the future. To help navigate the many candidates and where they stand on the many issues important to voters, there are sites (e.g. Ballotpedia, Center For Social Inclusion) where you can look up candidates and see where they rank on these issues. The issue of racial justice or racial equity is not always addressed. Researchers at Prescott Indivisible have taken on the task of looking at where local and state candidates stand on racial equity and are sharing this research with you.

Racial equity, in contrast to racial equality, is defined as just and fair inclusion into a society in which all people can participate. Equal access and advantage is not the same as equality under the law. Citizens of all races have the right to vote here, but many low income minority voters in places like Atlanta and Phoenix are denied the ability to exercise this civic right by closing polling places., for instance. This is racial inequity.

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We are sharing our research on our state and local candidates’positions on racial equity, insofar as they have voted or addressed this issue directly. To begin with, here is what we have found on our candidates for federal office.

Candidates’ Positions

Mark Kelly, Democratic Candidate running for US Senate.   No response received from the Kelly Campaign when queried on his position on racial equity.

U. S. Senator Martha McSally -Republican Incumbent, Running for US Senate against Mark Kelly. Position on Racial Equity – No specific comments found, but her comments on the Black Lives Matter Protests and Police Reform give indications of her position. “Those protesting in cities across the nation have every right to do so, but looting, violence and chaos have no place in our communities or on our streets.” Said to AZ Central on May 29, 2020. “The Democratic Party is mainstreaming a dangerous idea as we speak: defunding the police. And they have already mainstreamed within their party the idea of defunding ICE. This is a dangerous platform that threatens the safety and security of every Arizonan. At the same time, the liberal mob wants to curtail your ability to defend your own home by taking away your Second Amendment rights, and will do their best to run you out of the public square if you dare offer a dissenting view to these reckless ideas. I fully support Arizona’s upstanding police forces and the individual officers who protect and serve our neighborhoods. Instead of defunding police, I am advocating to pass the Thin Blue Line Act to increase penalties for cop killing, along with increased funding for COPS and Byrne-JAG grants.” Source-campaign website: http://politicsthatwork.com/voting-record/

Senator McSally only supports racial equity 15.6% of the time. https://justfacts.votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/137299/martha-mcsally per the website rating on support of civil rights, with 0 being worst and 100% being best.

2018 -National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 13% 2017- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 10% 2016- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 28%

U. S. Representative Paul Gosar – Incumbent United States House of Representatives, District 4, running against Democratic candidate to be determined after primary Position on Racial Equity. Voted no on George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 Voted no on H.R.5084 – Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity According to MSNBC Journalist Vaughn Hillyard, on July 4th, 2020 Gosar was pictured with members of the Proud Boys & Oath Keeper (both are hate groups) at the Courthouse Square. Matt Grodsky, the spokesperson of the Arizona Democratic Party issued a statement on July 6, 2020, writing: “The country is reeling from two crises: racial injustice and COVID-19. Gosar managed to be on the wrong side of both of them in just one week. It is beyond embarrassing for Arizona to be represented by someone who disregards medical experts and poses for photos with members of hate groups.”

Stu Starky: Democratic Candidate for AZ CD4

Stu Starky Position on Racial Equity

Thank you for asking about my stance on the Black Lives Matter movement and on the issue of social justice.  I completely support the movement and the message and effort to bring about social justice and real change in our society which has been built on 200 plus years of embedded racism in government and policy. For example I ask could the situation in Flint MI have happened in a rich white neighborhood. 

This year as a school leader we have developed a social consciousness garden on campus to give our students a place to talk things out and heighten awareness of our community and the fight for equity. The first plaque in the garden is to highlight the incident to Mr. Floyd and the horrible act of violence committed against him. Students going forward will research and expand the garden. 

I am fully supportive of the movement and the young people that I hope will be empowered for years forward to demand and accomplish change. Change in our police departments that do act in an aggressive manner to African Americans while allowing an Anglo to be treated so differently. Change in government policy which allows poor neighborhoods to have fewer facilities, less access to health care and other services. Changes in our society which permit blatant acts of racism from one individual to another to go unpunished.

This is potentially a bright time for our country as we fight back against systemic racism and promoted racism by our President and other leaders. We cannot let this moment in time fade away and we must support it not only by joining with organizations such as yours but by supporting the people in the streets and by running in elections to bring dynamic change. I hope you will be able to see my recent interviews on social justice and see the depth of my convictions. My membership with groups such as Justice Democrats and Working Families Party and support for progressive candidates such as Bernie Sanders shows that my commitment has been a lifetime in establishing my core and will stay years beyond this election.

I am all in. Thank you

Delina DiSantos Democratic Candidate for AZ CD4

Delina DiSantos statement on racial equity

  As a country, we have been fighting for racial equality since the 1960s. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the nation’s premier civil rights legislation. The Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, required equal access to public places and employment, and enforced desegregation of schools and the right to vote. However, we still have individual and institutional racism to this day. To address this injustice, we must identify and eliminate the barriers for people of color. This is where Racial Equity needs to come to the forefront of our communications and policies to address fair treatment, access and opportunity for all people of color. 

  We must have leaders who are not afraid to bring everyone to the table who acknowledge racism exists. We need people of color who were hurt by our justice system, education, housing, jobs. We need community leaders who are engaged to policy and system changes. We need experienced people in communications, media, framing, messaging and social media. We need racial healing and racial justice organizations to bring strategies and approaches to attain the goal of racial equity. We need corporations to sit at the table also, so they will start to bring these policies back to their organizations. We also need to ensure we work hard to elect candidates up and down the ballot who will join in this movement. The U.S. Senate, currently, is sitting on pertinent legislation to protect people of color and other diverse groups. Democrats must get the majority in the U.S. Senate and we must keep and grow the U.S. House. 

  Until we all take responsibility and strongly advocate for people of color and take action, we will continue the prejudices and hatred growing rampantly in our state and our country. I know I will be one of these leaders in the U.S. Congress to bring all the groups together to have open discussion and frame policy and system change. I hope you are with me on this.