A Thriving Bay Area for Everyone: We Refuse to be Pitted Against Each Other
We all deserve to have our most basic needs met, plant roots in the cities we call home, and live with dignity. However, in the Bay Area, close to 50 percent of Black, Latinx, and Native American families are struggling to keep the lights on, a roof over their heads, and food on the table. We are facing inequities that have been highlighted and deepened by Covid but which are deeply rooted in our policies and racist history. As local and state governments continue to craft their budgets with historic funding from the federal government to build much-needed infrastructure and flow resources into disinvested and ignored communities, we have a unique opportunity to come together and create a future rooted in abundance and justice.
We are calling for policymakers not to repeat old dysfunctional patterns which lead to continued inequitable outcomes.
The Bay Area Recovery Dollars Tracker shows how local governments spent the $3 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) funds allocated to the region. It also shows an opportunity. More than $1 billion in funding is not yet allocated. Bay Area governments can spend these Covid recovery funds, as well as forthcoming federal funds, to intentionally address the immediate needs of communities of color and remove the systemic barriers that preceded the pandemic. We call on city and county leaders to:
- Allocate remaining resources to programs that support the Black and brown communities who continue to experience the lingering impacts of the pandemic.
- Make targeted, permanent investments to sustain the impact of these initial investments.
- Develop equitable decision-making and transparency in spending decisions.
- Evaluate the disbursal of SLFRF funds and programmatic impacts using an equity lens.
We know first-hand that budget processes often pit communities against each other. This only results in deep cuts to essential investments for the communities that need them the most and does nothing to advance us as a society.
Nobody should have to choose one basic necessity over another.
Our work to ensure a thriving Bay Area cannot be done in geographic or subject matter silos. Our issues are deeply interconnected. Those who need access to affordable child care are the same people who need affordable housing. They are the same people who live in neighborhoods with polluted air and water. They are the same people struggling with low wages and dangerous jobs.
The safest and healthiest communities ensure that affordable housing, access to child care, and protections for all working people are at the center of policy decisions. By addressing the needs of Black and brown communities harmed the most by the challenges we face today, we can set ourselves up for a better tomorrow. By addressing the systemic barriers that preceded the pandemic, we can have a future where nobody is left out or left behind. We need the will and courage to allocate resources equitably in all our communities so that everyone has access to safety, health, and opportunity where they live.
Together we can reshape the narrative and move beyond recovery to building lasting resilience.
Together we can develop a regional perspective that recognizes the depth of our connections to one another. Together we can create a better future for everyone, a Bay Area which is a place of abundance, equity, and joy.
Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition
Child Care Law Center
Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa
Jobs with Justice San Francisco (JWJSF)
The Maven Collaborative
Working Partnerships USA