FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Black Lives Matter and Long Beach Coalition Release 5th People’s Budget Urging a Zero-Based Budget Process and Co-Governance with Marginalized Communities
The Fiscal Year 2023 People’s Budget proposal calls for divestment from the Long Beach Police Department and reinvestment in Black lives, communities of color, and marginalized communities
(Long Beach, CA —August 2, 2022) The People’s Budget Long Beach Coalition released its Fiscal Year 2023 People’s Budget proposal on Tuesday, August 2nd. In its fifth year, the proposal continues to center the Black community and expresses the baseline position that when the City government fully invests in Black lives (including investment in the healing and restoration of the Black community from generational, persistent systemic harms), everyone in the city will benefit. The People’s Budget calls on Mayor Robert Garcia, all nine City Council members, and City Manager Tom Modica to (a) adopt the People’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2023, (b) establish a zero-based budgeting process to fundamentally reprioritize spending, (c) structurally reform the city budget process so that it centers co-governance by marginalized communities. The coalition asserts that Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, youth, and older adults who are most impacted by budget decisions must co-lead and make decisions to shape the entire city budget and budgeting process.
Local community organizers, faith groups, grassroots and nonprofit organization leaders, and residents gathered Tuesday evening to rally for a healthier, safer Long Beach that they can imagine through the enactment of a People’s Budget. Two overarching People’s Budget strategies include that the City of Long Beach: 1) divest from the Long Beach Police Department and 2) reinvest in Black lives, communities of color, and marginalized communities. Against the backdrop of the ongoing public health pandemic, and the reality that since the murder of George Floyd, the City of Long Beach never defunded LBPD, activists and organizers decried the City’s misdirected funds given to police, instead of having invested them into communities in need.
The People’s Budget solution would reinvest police funds and additional resources into ten distinct areas:
Long Beach Black Reparations Fund and Black-Led Community Agency ($197,000,000)
Tenant Right to Counsel - Housing Element Program 6.5 ($3,000,000)
Rental Housing Division - Housing Element Program 7.2 ($3,600,000)
Community Land Trust (CLT) - Housing Element Program 6.8 ($5,000,000)
Ongoing Rental Assistance for Very Low & Low Income Households - Housing Element Program 3.1 ($10,000,000)
Older Adult Housing ($1,000,000)
Multi-Service Center Satellite Office to Serve Unhoused Community - Housing Element Program 4.1 ($3,000,000)
Language Justice ($2,825,000)
Long Beach Justice Fund - Universal Legal Representation for Immigrants ($1,000,000)
Climate Justice ($88,300,000)
“We love our city. For years we’ve been telling City officials what the people want and what works. Defunding the police is about community health and wellbeing. We believe our City government can do better by investing in proven sources of public safety — the kind of community solutions our People’s Budget proposes. These investments will improve overall wellbeing, health, and safety that our community wants and deserves,” described Kenny Allen, climate justice activist from The Sunrise Movement.
During the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the systemic violence of poverty and policing in Long Beach continues to evidence institutionalized oppression driven by racism, capitalism, and White supremacy—underscoring the need for the City to fundamentally reimagine community safety and wellness. The Coalition asserts that the City budget must serve as reparations to Black and Indigenous people and communities in Long Beach, with funds going directly to community-led safety and Black liberation.
Dawn Modkins from Black Agency shared, The investments we make can have deep, lasting impacts on our city in the most incredible way. Establishing a Long Beach Black Reparations Fund to seed a Black-led Community Agency will provide a pathway that will begin a restoration process from historic and ongoing systemic harms of state violence, the war on drugs, and carceral approaches that have failed. We are focused on healing, self determination, capacity building, and the many opportunities that are right in front of us. We can do this.”
Jamilet Ochoa with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition said, “We stand with the Black community because we know that our liberation is tied up with one another. Whether it’s about healing communities, access to resources, youth and senior issues, violence prevention and safety, housing, health, or keeping families together, we must build together across differences to dismantle each and every barrier that is in the way of justice here in Long Beach.”
“We are not deterred. We are still building power and practicing collective care in an ongoing pandemic. This is the 5th People’s Budget proposal, and we will not stop coming back to City decision makers year after year until our City budget is a real community care budget that reflects what we truly need and deserve,” expressed May Lin, People’s Budget Coalition member.
Anyone can learn about the City budget process, explore the People’s Budget demands, and submit a letter to the Mayor, Council, and City Manager in support of the People’s Budget Long Beach by visiting www.lbforward.org/peoplesbudget.
About the People’s Budget Long Beach Coalition:
Formed in 2018, the People’s Budget Coalition is a multiracial, multilingual, and multigenerational alliance that stands in solidarity with the Black and Indigenous communities and is committed to actively deepening that solidarity for the liberation of all peoples. The People’s Budget campaign is led by Black Lives Matter Long Beach, Black Agency, the Housing Justice Coalition, Long Beach Residents Empowered (LiBRE), the Language Justice Campaign, the Invest in Youth Coalition, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC), Long Beach Forward, Long Beach Gray Panthers, LA Voice, Long Beach Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), Democratic Socialists of America - Long Beach (DSA-LB), Sunrise Movement Long Beach, and Showing Up for Racial Justice - Long Beach (SURJ - LB).
Web Site: www.lbforward.org/peoplesbudget
Social: Facebook & Twitter: @movelbforward
Melissa Morgan, Communications Director, Long Beach Forward, 515-999-6356, firstname.lastname@example.org