2021 People’s Budget calls for divestment from police and investment in marginalized communities

Myron Wollin, president of the Long Beach Gray Panthers, calls for investment in senior services, including a new senior center and a housing specialist for seniors at the release of the People’s Budget on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

By Emma DiMaggio, Signal Tribune

A coalition of Long Beach residents and organizations presented their annual People’s Budget today, calling for divestment from police and investment into marginalized communities. 

“The city is barely beginning the process to reverse the entrenched historic pattern of disinvesting from our communities that have suffered from inequity because of race and class,” said Dawn Modkins, a member of the multi-racial and multi-faith organizing group LA Voice. “Today, we are at a critical juncture in our city’s history and our nation’s history.”

The 2021 People’s Budget parallels many of the same asks from last year’s proposal: a reinvestment in youth and seniors, comprehensive language access, universal legal representation for immigrants and a right-to-counsel program for renters. 

“Budgets are moral documents and they must represent the priorities of our community,” said Jamilet Ochoa, a community organizer with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBRIC).

Many of the coalition’s demands come with renewed vigor in the face of a global health crisis that has exacerbated inequities across racial and socioeconomic lines. 

The budget has both multiracial and multigenerational support. Organizations like the Long Beach Gray Panthers, the Housing Justice Coalition, Black Lives Matter Long Beach and LBRIC threw their support behind the proposal during a press conference.

Residents rally in support at Long Beach City Hall for the proposal of the 2021 People’s Budget on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

Supporters of the budget stood beside speakers at Long Beach City Hall holding signs donning phrases like “Less Oppression More Resources,” “Care Not Cops” and “Together We Do Great Things.”

During the press conference, organizers demanded a “deep” investment in community land trusts—a form of housing that centers on community ownership—and a reallocation of cannabis tax revenue back into communities that have long suffered from the prior criminalization of cannabis. 

“We are demanding the righting of wrongs,” said Audrena Redmond, founder of the Long Beach chapter of Black Lives Matter. 

 

Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Long Beach Audrena Redmond calls for the Long Beach City Council to reallocate cannabis tax revenue back into communities affected by the War on Drugs at the 2021 People’s Budget proposal Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

Although funds like Measure US and Measure M have been allocated towards the coalition’s past goals, Redmond demanded the community-centered allocation of “growth dollars” like cannabis tax revenue, which brought in over $10 million last year.

“Whether it is police over criminalizing and committing direct violence against Black and brown bodies, or greedy developers gentrifying our neighborhood, our families, displacing them in our communities, it’s enough,” Modkins said. 

The Long Beach City Council will deliberate on the fiscal year 2022 budget later this year. 

The full text and list of demands from the 2021 People’s Budget can be found here

 

In Photos:

 

A senior resident sits atop a motorized scooter holding a sign that says “We Deserve Better!” at the unveiling of the 2021 People’s Budget on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

 

Evelyn Knight holds a poster donning the words “Health Opportunity Community Justice” at the unveiling of the 2021 People’s Budget on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

 

Supporters of the 2021 People’s Budget hold a poster resembling a check, encouraging the Long Beach City Council to invest in youth during its 2022 fiscal year budget deliberations. Investment in youth is just one of the many demands of the 2021 People’s Budget, which was released on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

 

Residents and coalition members gather at Long Beach City Hall for the proposal of the 2021 People’s Budget on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)
A member of Long Beach Forward live streams the unveiling of the 2021 People’s Budget at Long Beach City Hall on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

 

 

 

Patricia Marr, who is on the board of directors for LA Voice, talks about how the adoption of the 2021 People’s Budget will provide a pathway to equity at a press conference on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)
A resident holds a small poster donning the words “Defund the police!!,” one of the requests of the 2021 People’s Budget, which was released on Tuesday, June 22. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

Original Source: [https://sigtrib.com/2021-peoples-budget-calls-for-divestment-from-police-and-investment-in-marginalized-communities/]

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