We all have power. Not because we say we do or feel it, but because so many of us have spent decades building it in order to advance our values. That power is magnified when diverse coalitions of people with a vision come together across race, gender, language, class, and geography to fight for the world as it should be. During the height of the ongoing pandemic, those of us fighting for this better world relentlessly advocated for state policies that would make a meaningful impact on our communities. And the Legislature listened.

Now, the Washington State Supreme Court can reinforce our efforts and support our communities by upholding the capital gains excise tax that we helped pass.

The capital gains tax was one of two important 2021 tax policies that is being implemented this year in Washington state. The Working Families Tax Credit was the other tax policy win. Since it launched on February 1, more than 100,000 people in Washington have already filed for this tax credit, which is providing a much-needed cash boost to people who are working hard to make ends meet. And the capital gains tax will help fund early learning programs by ensuring that ultra-wealthy people in our state pay what they owe in taxes.

I’m proud that the organization I lead, OneAmerica, joined the coalitions that fought hard to pass these policies. We fought for these changes because we knew that together, the Working Families Tax Credit and capital gains tax would help make our state tax code–in which those earning the least are expected to pay the most–more equitable.

Immigrant families like mine and those who are members of OneAmerica are critical to our communities in Washington. We raise children, we work hard, and we dutifully pay our taxes, contributing to all sectors of life. Despite that, our communities are denigrated for speaking multiple languages, left out of key safety net programs, and used as a bargaining chip for politicians and political parties. Our organization advocates for immigrants across all areas, including making sure that immigrants and undocumented people are included in two vital programs: the state tax credit and access to affordable child care.

And the work is not yet done. While it’s great news that people could begin applying for the Working Families Tax Credit this year, it’s deeply disappointing that a small group of ultra-wealthy elites and special interests are fighting the capital gains tax in the courts, even asking the Supreme Court to wrongly overturn the tax. This feels especially wrong given that the majority of people in Washington want the richest people in this state to be responsible taxpayers like the rest of us.

The capital gains excise tax will allow for greater investments in education and early learning, which supports the common good and our shared future. No matter where we’re from or what languages we speak, we want the best for our own children and all the children in our lives. All families should have access to preschool and affordable child care, which is possible when the ultra-wealthiest people in Washington (just 0.2% of the population) pay what they owe in taxes.

This policy starts to ensure that the responsibility of paying taxes is shared equitably across all of Washington’s residents. This is an important move away from the current status quo, in which low-income communities, many of whom are immigrants and people of color who have long faced barriers to wealth and economic opportunity, bear the largest responsibility in our regressive tax system. Essentially, our tax code has been giving a special deal to ultra-wealthy (mostly white) people at the expense of everyone else. That’s one of the reasons why OneAmerica signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court asking the court to uphold the capital gains excise tax.

As we say in the amicus brief, centuries of institutional and economic racism have created vast racial wealth disparities for Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. But when the Legislature enacted the capital gains excise tax, it was a step toward remedying Washington’s inequitable tax code and ameliorating the lasting effects of racist policymaking. And it was a huge win for all those coalitions who have been fighting for a brighter future for all of us.

It will be an affront to the people of Washington–and the people who are advocating for the economic well-being of their communities–if it is overturned.

The court should listen to the power of the people and uphold equity in our tax system. The capital gains tax—which supports Washington’s kids—must stay in place.

Roxana Norouzi is OneAmerica’s Executive Director with 20 years of experience in organizing, advocacy and social justice work with immigrant and refugee populations. Roxana’s experience as a first generation American informs her passion and commitment to racial equity and immigrant justice.