(OPINION) – 2020 is an election year like no other. A deadly pandemic circling the globe has turned our lives upside down, forcing most of us to work and learn from home, while a grinding economic slowdown is shuttering businesses.

Tragic killings of black people at the hands of police and armed vigilantes has resulted in unprecedented civil unrest and a long overdue societal reckoning on police violence and racial injustice.

Meanwhile, baseless claims of voter fraud and planned intimidation at the polls are being promoted at the highest levels to discourage people from voting safely from home and in their communities. Both strategies are part of a national attempt to undermine our hard-fought right to fully participate in free and fair elections.

No question, this is an intense year. Voting has never seemed so consequential and we need to turn out in record numbers because the prosperity of our nation, communities and families depend on our doing so.

While many of us are rightly hyper aware of the vast differences between the choices for President, we must not let the need to focus on national concerns limit our focus on an opportunity to make Sacramento stronger, more equitable, and ready for a prosperous and inclusive future. This is the opportunity to vote yes on Sacramento Measure A.

Measure A will make real reforms in Sacramento that will lead to positive changes and investment in our neighborhoods and make the way we run our city more equitable, ethical, and accountable.

Measure A will make Sacramento more equitable by giving residents a stronger voice in charting the future of our city. It will establish a participatory neighborhood-based budget process that will require citizens’ input on spending priorities and require the City to set aside $40 million per year for inclusive economic development. This will turn promises made by those seeking elected office into mandates enshrined in the City’s governing charter. By taking this unprecedented step, we can help ensure youth from every neighborhood in the city will have an opportunity to gain the support they need to develop the skills necessary to compete for 21st century jobs.

Measure A will improve representation for neighborhoods on Sacramento’s City Council by creating a 9th council seat and making the City Council responsible for land use decisions. It will also require the Sacramento City Council to analyze and make public the racial, gender and equity impacts proposed spending plans will have before passing the budget each year.

Measure A will make Sacramento more ethical by increasing transparency and accountability in city government, adopting a Code of Ethics and Conduct for elected officials, imposing term limits for the Mayor of two four-year terms, and establishing a Fair Housing and Human Rights Commission.

And Measure A will make Sacramento’s city government more accountable and effective by ensuring that our elected city leaders can act with speed and efficiency during times of crisis and opportunity. With Measure A we will need to stay vigilant, but the structural changes will remove any excuse elected officials will have to justify underinvesting in our community. This will allow us to rightly hold our elected public officials accountable for policies that advance equity and economic progress in our city and for keeping their promises to our diverse and rapidly growing community.

We all know, there is no shortage of problems facing our city and our world. But voting, and voting yes on Measure A, are important steps we can take to make the city we proudly call home better.

Ballots are arriving in our mailboxes this week. Look for yours and make a plan to vote Yes on Measure A.

By Chet Hewitt and Cassandra Jennings

Chet P. Hewitt is co-founder of Build. Black. and Cassandra H. B. Jennings is President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League.