There are just 15 women in the entire California State Senate. I would be the first ever woman of color to represent the district, and the first Indigenous woman elected to the legislature. The needs of women and other marginalized genders have not been adequately addressed by lawmakers, because too few lawmakers understand our basic needs and fiercest challenges. Our material conditions will not improve until more of us are elected to public office.
As State Senator, I will fight to:
Provide no-cost emergency contraception (Plan B), and ensure pharmacies are properly educated and held accountable for illegal age discrimination and barriers to access. Emergency contraception (EC), better known by the brand name Plan B, has been shown to be safe and effective for adolescents and adults and is approved by the FDA for sale over-the-counter without age or identification restrictions. EC efficacy is extremely time-sensitive, but prices are exorbitant, and pharmacies across the state continue to discriminate against adolescents or impose illegal barriers to access. I plan to pass statewide single-payer with free access to EC, as well as robust education for pharmacies about EC access and fines for pharmacies that unlawfully discriminate or gatekeep.
Protect patients seeking reproductive healthcare from harassment. Reproductive healthcare patients seeking services at clinics like Planned Parenthood are routinely harassed and bullied by dedicated anti-choice protesters. Some counties including San Francisco have passed “Buffer zone” laws requiring protesters to stay at least 35 feet away, but loopholes enable protesters to occupy space within existing zones. In July 2020, 8 foot “Bubble Zones” further restricting entry into clinics were upheld by the Supreme Court. In order to ensure patients aren’t alienated from healthcare due to harassment, we must pass legislation enabling local governments to transfer ownership of sidewalks and roads within 35 feet of clinic entries, transforming these areas into private clinic property.
Ensure adequate access to menstrual hygiene supplies in schools, public restrooms, homeless shelters, supportive housing, government buildings, and other facilities receiving public funding. Whereas hygiene supplies like toilet paper, running water, and soap are considered necessary for all restrooms, individuals who menstruate are not provided equal access to necessary supplies. This unequal treatment of marginalized genders is both a public health and Civil Rights issue, contributes to missed school days and workplace inequality, and failure to stock school restrooms with menstrual hygiene supplies is an arguable violation of Title IX. Studies show that adequately providing menstrual hygiene supplies is inexpensive, and states like Illinois and New York, as well as countries like Scotland, have made great advances on the issue of Menstrual Hygiene Equity. Unfortunately, existing models fail to account for trans and GNC people who menstruate, as well as BIPOC children who often achieve menarche earlier than white children. In order to redress menstruation discrimination, we must ensure:
- any restrooms of any facility receiving public funds and serving adults of any gender must be stocked with no-cost sanitary napkins ("pads") and tampons
- any restroom serving children grades 3 and above must be stocked with sanitary napkins
- any restroom serving children grades 9 and above must be stocked with sanitary napkins and tampons
- multi-stall restrooms gendered for Men or Boys must stock menstrual hygiene supplies within private toilet stalls.
End the commercial sexual exploitation of BIPOC children and transitional-aged-youth. Commercially sexually exploited children and youth (CSECY) make up at least 39% of all human trafficking cases in San Francisco, though instances are likely undercounted due to widespread misunderstanding about the nature of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). More than 45% of identified CSECY are Black, despite a citywide Black population of just 5%, and fully 91% are BIPOC. An overwhelming majority of identified survivors were born in the Bay Area, predominantly San Francisco. Of identified survivors over the age of 18, most were first trafficked as children. Nationwide, the average age for entry into CSE is 12-14 years old. In order to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth we must:
- appropriately educate government agencies and service providers engaging with at-risk demographics about the nature and warning-signs of CSE
- address risk-factors including inadequate support for foster, housing-insecure, justice-involved, low-income, and BIPOC youth
- fund culturally competent, long-term supportive housing for CSECY survivors
- fully-decriminalize sex work to end the criminalization of and discrimination against both CSECY and consensual adult sex workers.
Reduce rates of domestic and sexual violence and ensure better treatment of and services for survivors. DV and SV affects people of all demographics, and women and LGBTQ+ people experience disparitely high rates. These rates become more extreme for specific demographics including BIPOC, unhoused, disabled, undocumented, mentally ill, and economically marginalized individuals. One consequence of both the homelessness and COVID crises has been increased rates of violence. In order to solve these crises and ensure safety for all survivors of domestic and sexual violence, we must:
- Expand and fund emergency shelter and supportive housing for DV survivors, including expanded support for non-women
- Increase the number of shelter and supportive housing beds for unhoused people, with specific emphasis on underserved genders like women, trans, and GNC people as well as those with disabilities and mental health needs
- End the practice of confiscating survival gear such as tents, which provide necessary barriers to epidemic violence
- End neglect, hostility, and misconduct from law enforcement by ensuring greater accountability and redirecting funds and certain duties to appropriately trained service providers (see more), increasing access to advocacy, and expanding programs like SHARP statewide to ensure data-driven policies meeting survivor needs
- Create regional task forces to align patchworks of service providers across counties, and identify and close gaps in service
- Invest in expanded staffing and paid training periods for peer staffers
- Ensure representation of survivors and advocates from underserved groups serving on relevant boards, task forces, and commissions
- Commit to survivor-centered policy with inclusion from survivors, advocates, and experts at all steps of policy-development
Reduce the rates of infant and maternal mortality in the Black community by dismantling implicit bias in healthcare. California and San Francisco in particular have staggeringly disproportionate rates of infant and maternal mortality in the Black community. A wide set of data suggest that these disparities are due to preventable medical error caused by implicit bias. Preventable medical error has been found to be a leading cause of death in the United States. Studies show that Black patients receive lower quality healthcare as a result of implicit bias and racial empathy gaps. Further studies show that women and other marginalized genders of all races also receive lower quality healthcare than cis-men due to implicit bias. Black mothers occupy an intersection of medically marginalized demographics, and our district’s predominantly implicit form of racism and anti-Black bias accounts for San Francisco’s extreme disparities. Existing measures to combat this crisis are good steps, but in order to broadly dismantle disparities we must directly address implicit bias in healthcare. In addition to passing single-payer healthcare, we much invest in an independent Anti-Bias in Healthcare Task Force to:
- develop more robust and effective ongoing implicit bias training programs for healthcare providers
- gather and analyze data on healthcare outcomes for disadvantaged demographics including women, trans and gender nonconforming people, BIPOC, undocumented people, and monolingual people
- design a multi-lingual Patient Advocacy program for patients at-risk for bias and/or poor outcomes
- explore and fund auxiliary support for underserved patients such as, but not limited to, Doula care.
Prevent displacement and invest in affordable housing. Women and marginalized genders are disproportionately vulnerable to displacement and remain among the hardest hit by inadequate access to affordable housing. My California Homes for All plan calls for expanded anti-displacement protections, a $100B Housing Emergency Fund to acquire and develop new affordable housing, and zoning changes to encourage affordable housing development in wealthy enclaves.
Save and improve our public schools. California ranks in the bottom of the nation of per pupil spending. Women remain disproportionately responsible for childcare, and education disinvestment continues to adversely impact women and families. My education plan has been endorsed by the California Teachers Association, United Educators of San Francisco, California Federation of Teachers, California Faculty Association, and American Federation of Teachers 2121.
Ensure equitable COVID-19 recovery. Women and marginalized genders have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. My COVID-19 recovery plan emphasizes fair economic recovery and public health policy for everyday people.
Transform our criminal justice system. Mass incarceration not only directly impacts women and other marginalized genders, but indirectly disadvantages relatives and partners -- predominantly women -- who take on bail debt, childcare, and re-entry support for justice-involved loved ones. My criminal justice plan shifts away from destructive and ineffective hyper-carceral policies in favor of data driven solutions to restore health and harmony for whole communities.