At the Women’s March in Seattle in January, many participants spoke of inequality.
“Equality means income equality — and we’re doing a good job of defining income inequality as a bottom-up process,” Stephanie Kelton, executive director of Seattle’s Equal Justice Initiative, told organizers. “We have a ‘bottom’ of low-income folks, and a ‘top’ of some of the wealthiest people in the nation.”
Ms. Kelton, a former prosecutor, is working to help state legislatures create policies to compensate low-income individuals for their experiences with bias. For instance, she said, “it doesn’t make sense” that the disparity in death penalty sentences between states is so stark, given that most states allow for data to be gathered in order to maintain consistent procedures.
“If you can get someone to sign up for that, they can be death-qualified through the computer — but what we don’t have is the ability to process that computer, and to let people know that this is what we did,” she said. “So if the computer are automatically able to look at their death sentence and say, ‘Oh look, this is a really poorly defended case, maybe that’s not one that you want to bring up again,’ that person can see that all of a sudden.”
On Tuesday, Ms. Kelton, 31, was in Washington, D.C., to offer her solutions for inequality.
Equal Justice in our state legislatures is … the tangible action needed to achieve the war on inequality that we have, in fact, won in the Courts.
Reporting by Jennifer Fleming.