“I am a firm believer in the need to guarantee and protect the civil and human rights of all individuals. Despite some of the progress we have made towards this goal, discrimination still exists in our society. Rather than seeking to divide us, our government and our leaders should be working to encourage greater tolerance and understanding. As your representative, I pledge to you that I will do my part.” –Barbara Lee
Our society has made significant progress in the last half century in terms of becoming a more just nation for all of its peoples. But we still have a long way to go. We must level the playing field and offer every individual an equal opportunity to realize his or her potential.
Attacks on the most vulnerable in our society undermine the sacrifices made in the struggles for freedom and independence that have become hallmarks of the American identity. Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a longtime champion for our most marginalized, including women, immigrants, veterans, youth, those living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBT community. In addition, she has been a vocal advocate for a transparent and accountable government that respects the privacy and First Amendment rights of its citizens.
Criminal Justice Reform
Inequality persists within our prison system, which disproportionately impacts communities of color. It doesn't have to be this way. Recidivism rates can be greatly reduced by providing the necessary tools for formerly incarcerated persons to successfully reenter the community. The Congresswoman has also stood against the use of torture in prisoner interrogation and voted for military interrogations to be videotaped to confirm humane treatment and reliable prisoner information.
LGBT Civil Rights
Congresswoman Lee is a founding member and a vice chair of Congressional LGBT Equality, and she is proud to stand with fellow members to continue the work of ensuring that every American is treated equally under the law no matter their race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her work in furthering the rights of those with HIV/AIDS.
Defending Women's Rights
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a woman's right to make fundamental decisions about her own body and reproductive health. Since that time, courts have consistently, if at times reluctantly, upheld a woman’s right to choose. Yet women’s reproductive rights are continually under assault.
Congresswoman Lee is a staunch defender of women’s fundamental reproductive rights, and has helped lead the fight to overturn the global gag rule and fully fund the United Nations Family Planning fund. For years she has been leading the fight to replace unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs with comprehensive sex education that teaches medically accurate information about both abstinence and contraception.
Examples of racism and racial discrimination continue to persist in every aspect of life. Congresswoman Lee maintains her vocal support for programs that seek to afford all Americans equal opportunities regardless of their ethnicity, including affirmative action in college admissions policies. She has worked to eliminate hate speech, hate crimes and racial profiling and institutional racism.
On Veteran Protections
As the daughter of a veteran, Congresswoman Lee is committed to ensuring that our veterans are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, and that our government honors their service and sacrifices not just in words, but in deeds.
She believes we must honor our moral obligation to our veterans and returning soldiers by providing the health care, pensions, benefits and economic opportunities that they deserve. She has consistently fought to make sure that veterans get the health care, disability benefits and spousal benefits and has worked to eliminate the back log of disability and other benefit claims that plague the system today.
Civil Rights of the Disabled
Congresswoman Lee is an advocate for the civil rights of people of all different physical and mental abilities. She is a member of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus (BDC) which helps to inform, educate and raise awareness on issues affecting people with disabilities. During her time in office, she has worked to improve transit access for the disabled community through organizations such as The Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. And, as the co-founder of a community mental health clinic herself, Congresswoman Lee has been a consistent leader in fighting to end stigma and discrimination against those who need mental health treatment.