But each incident in its own way reminds us how much work is yet to be done. The struggle against racism and intolerance seems unending. It is, of course, clear to the vast majority of Americans that overt acts of violence and terrorism against the African American community cannot be tolerated. But standing against violence, and even achieving symbolic victories like taking down the Confederate flag, does not let us off the hook for addressing the daily struggles for equality in voting rights, non-discrimination in hiring and labor practices, reforms in criminal justice and policing, and confronting our own biases and experience of privilege.
Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples is an amazing victory, unbelievable just ten years ago. But much work still needs to be done across the country in combatting discrimination in hiring and housing; and ensuring safety from violence and harassment for the LGBT community. While Wisconsin has been in the forefront of legislation protecting the rights of gays and lesbians, much work still needs to be done to extend those protections to the transgender community.
Great relief accompanied SCOTUS’ ruling on the Affordable Care Act. This groundbreaking legislation brought affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. But it was never a perfect law. There is still much work to be done to address the shortfalls in the law. And here in Wisconsin, the failure of our state government to accept federal funding to expand BadgerCare is costing us millions of dollars and leaving thousands of Wisconsinites still uninsured. Ultimately, single payer has to be the way to go.
Wisconsin is facing grave problems beyond the BadgerCare issue. Our legislature has just passed possibly the most regressive budget ever seen. The assaults on education, health care, the environment, and low-income workers, contrasted with concessions to big business and special interests, will bring our state backward, not Forward!
Clearly, our work is cut out for us. Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice will continue in the year to come to raise the voice of the faith community, to keep you informed of the issues, to advocate for social and economic justice, and to provide avenues for our members to engage in our work with us.