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On the Issues: Equal Rights

Equal Protection Under the Law 

Qasim Rashid believes in the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings—regardless of faith, color, creed, sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • As a human rights attorney, Qasim stands firmly against all forms of violence, discrimination, and hate directed at the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Qasim advocates for protections against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, bullying in the work place, in housing, and in our education system, among others.
  • We need to pass the Equality Act. Passing this bill would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in a wide variety of areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. The bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

As Congressman, Qasim will continue to work to ensure equal protection under the law for all Virginians.

 

Equal Rights Amendment 

Qasim Rashid believes we must ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”). The ERA guarantees gender equality within our US Constitution. While Virginia has ratified the ERA, Qasim will fight in Congress to make sure it is added to the Constitution.

  • Qasim has championed women’s rights from his earliest days as a law student at the University of Richmond School of Law. As a student, and since graduating, he volunteered pro bono with the Virginia Poverty Law Center’s office of domestic and sexual violence to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Today, a decade later, Qasim continues to offer pro bono legal aid to help abused women. Earlier in his career Qasim was employed as the Director of Civil Rights for KARAMAH, a national women’s rights non-profit in Washington D.C.;  he supported women’s healthcare and education through the international NGO Humanity First, and advanced education for girls and girls of color through the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.
  • Government should not be able to make medical decisions for people.

Qasim’s life’s work demonstrates his commitment to gender equality.

 

Gerrymandering 

Qasim Rashid believes that Virginia’s election districts should be fair and free of partisan gerrymandering. Gerrymandered districts have long plagued the Commonwealth of Virginia, allowing power to be taken away from citizens at the ballot box. Instead of letting voters pick their representatives, the powerful pick their voters by designing districts that keep them in power. This must change.

  • Gerrymandering hurts our democracy. Communities that have similar interests and concerns are carved up, leading to split precincts and mis-assigned voters. Many voters don’t know which district they are in, which leads to lower voter turnout.
  • Legislators are less responsive to their constituents when they know their seats were built to be safe. Candidates often face no real competition in the general election and voters end up with no choice at all. This contributes to voter frustration and apathy, depressing voter turnout.
  • Gerrymandering is pushing representatives toward partisan extremes, contributing to partisan gridlock in the General Assembly and U.S. Congress.
  • According to a December 2018 poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, 78% of Virginia voters support changing the way redistricting is done.
  •  With computer technology making gerrymandering efforts more precise, the issue will only get worse if we don’t make a change now.

As your Congressman, Qasim will support legislation that keeps our communities together and prohibits partisan gerrymandering.

 

Justice for Indigenous People

Qasim is proud to run in the district home to both of Virginia’s Native reservations – those of the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi. These tribes deserve justice and recognition. Qasim will not look away from the injustices these people have suffered, but actively work to correct them. As Congressman, Qasim will work to stop the neglect of indigenous tribes and fight for systems of equity and justice. We need to: 

  • Obtain federal recognition for the Mattaponi tribe
  • Rename the federal holiday on October 12th to Indigenous Peoples’ Day
  • Ensure federal treaty obligations are met 
  • Provide economic justice for indigenous people. Poverty rates over the last ten years indicate that 1 in 4 indigenous Americans live in poverty. Qasim will fight for policies such as a livable wage and affordable healthcare to ensure that everyone has equitable access to a higher quality of life.