FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Long Beach People’s Budget Prioritizes Needs of Blacks, People of Color, and Marginalized Communities
The FY22 People’s Budget recognizes racism as a public health crisis and calls for significant divestment from the police department, with ongoing reinvestment into Black lives and communities of color who have suffered direly during the pandemic
Long Beach, CA-----June 22, 2021-----The People’s Budget Long Beach Coalition, a multi-cultural, multi-generational alliance, made public today its Fiscal Year 2022 “People’s Budget,” as a people-centered recovery plan in response to the ongoing public health crisis and racialized inequities exacerbated during the pandemic. The People’s Budget calls on Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, all nine City Councilmembers, and City Manager Tom Modica to: adopt the People’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 and structurally reform the City budget process to enable earlier and deeper participation from marginalized communities who are most impacted by budget decisions.
“This is a critical time to invest in the necessary healing needed in our city and our country. With millions of federal and state dollars coming into our city, we need a People’s Recovery plan that prioritizes and centers the lives of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and that reimagines community safety. Our youth and our future depends on this change,” describes Jenn Heng with the Invest in Youth campaign.
This year’s People’s Budget demands 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. The People’s Budget demands that City officials reinvest police funds and additional resources into a number of solutions, including reimagined community safety, renter protections and affordable housing, language access, job training, senior and youth programming, and universal legal representation for immigrants among others.
Specifically, the People’s Budget calls out nine areas of focus:
Reimagine community safety without police terror, grounded in transformative justice and Black Empowerment
Citywide Rental Housing Division
Right to Counsel for All Renters
Community Land Trusts
Older Adult Protections
Universal Legal Representation for Immigrants
“The City’s budget is a moral document that must reflect our city’s true values. This People’s Budget is a pathway to ending anti-Blackness and structural racism in our community. Now is the time to undo the historical disinvestment that has continued here for generations. Now is the time for us to center Black lives because all of our liberation is tied to one another,” said Audrena Redmond, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Long Beach.
“The generational impacts of the still-ongoing pandemic have only widened the existing racial wealth and health gaps. While we are clearly witnessing systemic oppressions driven by racism, capitalism, and white supremacy, we must work together to support our community's needs in ways that are Black-led in Black communities, with an emphasis on community care,” said Dawn Modkins of Black Agency.
Since 2018, the People’s Budget campaign has forced conversations and action for equity and justice in the Long Beach city budget. Because Black, Latinx, Cambodian, Filipino, White, and other members of the community came together, Long Beach started reversing persistent patterns of disinvesting in communities of color, and some financial wins have been made over the past three years. The People’s Budget coalition will continue to work with the community to match funding requests with each of the demands as the summer continues. See the People’s Budget demands at www.lbforward.org/peoplesbudget.
The mayor and city manager of Long Beach are expected to release a draft budget later this summer. The People’s Budget campaign is led by Black Lives Matter Long Beach, Black Agency, the Housing Justice Coalition, the Language Access Coalition, the Invest in Youth Campaign, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Long Beach Gray Panthers, LA Voice, and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). Nonprofit organizations like Long Beach Forward help to anchor the campaign.
About Long Beach Forward: Long Beach Forward builds community knowledge, leadership, and power with low-income communities of color to drive real change and to advance the vision that Long Beach can be a place where race and income do not determine one’s future—it can be a community where everyone is safe, connected, and healthy. Established in 2010, Long Beach Forward coordinated the efforts of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative in Long Beach. Currently, Long Beach Forward provides leadership, strategy, communications, and convening support to multiple coalitions; partners with numerous community-based organizations; and facilitates or participates in collaborative groups and campaigns, including the Best Start Central Long Beach network. www.lbforward.org
Social: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: @movelbforward #PeoplesBudgetLB
Melissa Morgan, Communications Director, Long Beach Forward, 515-999-6356, email@example.com