On February 28, 2021, the People’s Budget LA Coalition sent the following letter to LA City Council President Nury Martinez:
February 28, 2021
The Honorable Nury Martinez
Los Angeles City Council President
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL ONLY
Dear Council President Martinez:
We are writing in response to the proposed Reinvestment of Funds from the Police Department to Impacted Communities (C.F. 20-0600-S83), Item 34 on the March 2, 2021 Council agenda. The directive given by Council in your February 22, 2021 letter makes explicit reference to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Black Lives Matter uprisings, and BLMLA’s People’s Budget presentation to Council. While your letter references “communities of color,” the “underserved,” and “marginalized,” the impetus for such a reallocation was the murder of Black people by police, and Black-specific uprising and advocacy. The recommended spending plan offered by the CLA and CAO, dated February 25, 2021, includes allocations to specific community-based partners, with very little funding directed to Black-led organizations. We are writing to request that remaining funds be designated to Black-led organizations and that resources prioritize Black Angelenos.
More specifically, we are encouraging the development of a City-wide program that:
1. Provides at least 1000 public sector jobs to Black people, as outlined by the Black Worker Center.
2. Offers support to Black-owned businesses – 41% of which have already shuttered as a result of the COVID-19 economic fallout.
3. A Universal Basic Income pilot program that prioritizes Black residents in Districts 8, 9, 10, 14, and the Watts area of 15.
We applaud the effort to support community-driven public safety and are requesting that all remaining funds to be used for this purpose and/or that a share of recommended allocations be provided to Black-led organizations, including:
1. 2nd Call (Skipp Townsend)
2. The Professional Community Intervention Training Institute (Aquil Basheer)
3. The Reverence Project (Aqeela Sherrills)
Additional Black-led intervention organizations include:
• Advocates for Peace and Urban Unity (Kevin Orange and Ben Owen)
• Affiliates and Offenders Recovery Program (Bernard Cooper)
• Community Reflections, Inc. (Winnetka Vaden)
• Developing Options (Big U and Bear Claw)
• Helper Foundation (Stan Muhammad)
• Reclaiming America’s Communities through Empowerment (Wiz and Moon)
• Rizilient (Baboo)
Similarly, remaining housing and supportive service resources should be granted to Los Angeles Community Action Network. Their highly celebrated EcoHoods pilot is the innovation needed to immediately house and support Black Angelenos crippled by state and structural violence.
Additional Black-led organizations that provide services and resources ranging from health services, to youth development, to support for battered women, can be found here.
While we recognize that this reinvestment is slated to be short-term, one-time money, we also know that it could be a model for the 2021-2022 Los Angeles budget. We look forward to working with Council to not just say Black Lives Matter, but make Black Lives Matter through these allocations, and to joining you for a presentation on the 2021-2022 People’s Budget proposal. Please feel free to reach out with any questions by replying to this email or calling me at [REDACTED]. We look forward to your prompt attention.
Melina Abdullah, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles
Co-Director, Black Lives Matter-Grassroots
Convener, People’s Budget LA
Cc: Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, District 8
Councilmember Curren Price, Jr., District 9
Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, District 10
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, District 13
Councilmember Kevin DeLeon, District 14