The people who live in the 1st District deserve healthcare coverage regardless of their employment. Unfortunately, unexpected medical debt and the high cost of certain medications have forced many Americans to find a second job or fall into bankruptcy. When Dr. Ameena had cancer, she also didn’t have healthcare and appealed to her community to help her pay her bills. Dr. Ameena believes that nobody in this country – the wealthiest country in the world – should have to endure financial hardships for receiving the medical treatment they need. She believes no one should have to go through what she went through when she had cancer.
While this will help many people, Dr. Ameena understands that this is not enough to address inequality in healthcare. She knows that we also need to address the institutional failings in the healthcare system. Therefore, Dr. Ameena supports the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 and legislation that would allow U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare drugs. She also believes that significant healthcare investments should be made in communities lacking quality care access.
Dr. Ameena has also seen the COVID pandemic’s effect on her community. She has had COVID herself and will continue to fight for follow-up care for those who have been sick with the virus.
Criminal Justice Reform
Interrupting violence is at the heart of everything that Dr. Ameena does. She believes that the current system, in which over two million people are incarcerated, perpetuates the violence in our communities. This is particularly true in the 1st District, where that cycle continues to play out every day.
We need to do more than reforms that continue to invest in policing and prisons. After decades of mass incarceration, people don’t feel safer. Instead, we have over 2.2M people in prison. We spend almost $200 billion each year on the prison industrial complex. Over 10 million people, many of whom are children, have a family member who is incarcerated.
Dr. Ameena knows the effects of this too well – her father has been incarcerated for most of her life. And that impact is a large part of what has shaped the activist and interrupter she has become. Dr. Ameena believes we need to invest in people and neighborhoods instead of cages. To truly feel safe in our communities, we need to radically rethink criminal justice and instead focus on restorative justice practices. She will support legislation that will ensure humane treatment, including mental and physical healthcare, of men and women in the care of our jails and prisons. She will also advocate ending practices that criminalize communities like color, including the war on drugs and mandatory minimums.
When she gets to Congress, Dr. Ameena will also fight for a Prisoners Bill of Rights that will ensure that everyone incarcerated in the Federal system has basic human rights. This includes:
The current climate crisis was caused by over a hundred years of human activity. We have only a few years now to take the necessary steps to save ourselves. D.C. must enact climate-centered legislation with mitigation and adaptation in mind. And Dr. Ameena is committed to changing the course of climate change through immediate and effective action.
We believe in enacting one legislation with the environment in mind and forming every policy with sustainable values. That means investing in green energy, green jobs, and cleaning up communities that have suffered from pollution. When Dr. Ameena arrives in Washington, she will support the Green New Deal and End Polluter Welfare Act of 2021.
We believe in securing access to quality education at all levels of engagement. Dr. Ameena’s approach to education is a philosophy of lifelong learning. Her vision for education in the 1st District and the nation is to create safe and accessible spaces for every learner.
Dr. Ameena believes that the federal government can invest more in education and less in criminalization. That means supporting college debt relief and college for all. But it also includes investing in universal childcare and early learning for young kids.
Just as important, Dr. Ameena believes in ending the school-to-prison pipeline. These policies manifest themselves in the zero-tolerance policies where any undesirable behavior or minor infraction of school rules can result in punishment or removal in restraints. Many American schools have enacted other exclusionary policies, like having armed police inside the school. Instead of punishment, Dr. Ameena believes in understanding and meeting the emotional needs of our students. This means investing in trained counselors, nurses, and special education services. Dr. Ameena will fight so that all children have the chance to build healthy relationships, grow and develop in a safe environment, and learn without the constant threat of incarceration.
Social inequality in the United States can be seen most visibly by examining the demographic makeup of our neighborhoods. In many areas, the racial and economic circumstances differ from community to neighborhood due to the U.S.’s historically racist housing allocation policy.
For Dr. Ameena, protecting the rights of homebuyers and renters is crucial to combat these inequalities. She supports a housing policy whose goal is to perpetuate social mobility for our low-income Americans and create a more equitable economy overall. She will fight for the Housing is a Human Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.
Dr. Ameena believes that we should ensure immigrants are treated fairly, equally, and with dignity. She knows that no person should be considered “illegal”. Immigrant families should not be forced to live in fear of deportation of illegal and unfair apprehension by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In Congress, she will work to end inhumane and unsafe detention centers and systemic abuses within the immigration court and detention system.
Dr. Ameena will also make sure that all children have legal counsel for immigration hearings so that no child faces these systems alone. We must ensure that even the youngest immigrants and asylum seekers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Dr. Ameena believes that our disabled family members deserve access to Housing, education, and healthcare. She will advocate for equal pay for disabled people and greater accommodations in the workplace. The inability of local school districts, like the Chicago Public Schools, to provide essential services to disabled students shows that more Federal leadership is needed on this issue.
Dr. Ameena will also push for changes to SSI and Medicaid so that disabled people don’t have to choose between benefits and marriage. She will eliminate this “marriage penalty” that forces too many people to choose between the help they need to live and the partners they wish to marry. Likewise, she believes people should have the right to decide where they live. This means supporting the $400bn investment for home- and community-based services in the American Jobs Act. But it also means recognizing that Medicaid has limitations, particularly in red states, and that we need better Federal support for all families who benefit from such care.
Dr. Ameena believes we need to protect the rights of all people to housing, jobs, and healthcare, including our LGBTQIA family members. In addition, she believes we need to protect our trans brothers and sisters from violence and push back against the current wave of legislation that attacks trans teens.
To this end, Dr. Ameena will support the Equality Act, which will finally provide consistent, explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQIA people. She will fight for legislation included in this bill to protect our transgender children from local and state laws without medical care and basic rights. She will also support the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would prohibit any public child welfare agency receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against any potential foster or an adoptive family based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.