25 Apr More Than 150 Community Members and Five City Councilmembers Attend MLAW TownHall
The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn devastated working-class families and children in high-need communities across the City of Los Angeles. On Saturday, April 22nd, The Make LA Whole Coalition convened community members to express their concerns and commitment to addressing equity within the City’s budget. The Make L.A. Whole Coalition was created to respond to the exacerbated socioeconomic inequities in a way that recognizes the need for meaningful budgetary investments to address houselessness, housing insecurity, the economic downturn, and the ongoing conditions created by decades of divestment in our communities.
Charisse Bremond Weaver’s Remarks
Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn devastated working-class families and children in high-need communities. The MLAW Coalition was built as a direct investment for women, children, and families, hardest hit during the pandemic, to respond to socioeconomic inequities in ways that recognize the need for meaningful budgetary investments. The Coalition came together to address houselessness, housing insecurity, the economic downturn, and the ongoing conditions created by decades of divestment in our communities. MLAW partners include Community Coalition, The Brotherhood Crusade, InnerCity Struggle, SEIU Local 2015, SEIU Local 99, Black Women for Wellness, and Catalyst California (formerly Advancement Project California).
“We applaud the mayor for stepping up to the moment by meeting the demands of everyday Angelenos through critical investments via the city’s budget to help communities still experiencing the hardships and challenges of the pandemic,” said Dr. Ryan Smith, Chief Strategy Officer at Community Coalition. “At the same time, we are very concerned with the Mayor’s proposal to put more police on the streets. We ask the Mayor to reallocate those funds into other public safety programs that reduce crime and violence.”
In a recent report by the LA Times, figures captured from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, since 2000 indicate that at least 1,002 people have been killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County. Of these killings, 80% were Black or Brown.
Black Women for Wellness’ Remarks
“Mayor Bass has an opportunity to disrupt the trajectory of violence suffered by Black and Brown communities by law enforcement via the Los Angeles City Budget. We must disrupt the disproportionate impact of violence from law enforcement on Black and Brown communities. We must continue to build a sustainable path that reverses the decades of neglect and disinvestment. Despite the overwhelming systemic challenges we face, Black Women, in particular, galvanized into a progressive powerhouse to elect the first mayor that reflected our image, we hit the pavement, made phone calls, and gave of our physical and financial resources. It is our hope that our commitment to this cause is met with a commitment to meet our needs. We invite the Mayor, City Council, and department leaders to invest in permanent resources for the people and communities most in need,” said Janette Robinson Flint. “That would be a step in the right direction in making Los Angeles the promising and vibrant city we are called to be.”
The budget that Mayor Karen Bass unveiled on Tuesday, March 18th, invested over $110MM in four key areas highlighted by MLAW priorities–rental, childcare, utility assistance, and increased funding for senior meals.
Based on the released budget, the MLAW Coalition’s 2023 current goals are to:
- Protect the investments in the Mayor’s proposed budget in four key areas: rental/tenant assistance, childcare, senior meals, and utility assistance,
- Demand more dollars allocated for utility assistance and child care subsidies,
- Demand no more funding for LAPD,
- Lay the groundwork for significant structural change focused on addressing poverty in high-need communities.
“Budgets are a reflection of our values. Instead of allocating additional funds to the police force, we should prioritize investments that meet the basic needs of historically divested and criminalized low-income communities of color,” said Jacky Guerrero, Director of Equity in Community Investments at Catalyst California (formerly Advancement Project California).
“For decades, poor and working-class communities have been neglected and left out of the budget allocation process. Now, the City Council has a moral obligation to support a budget that creates long-term, sustainable change by protecting and reinvesting in critical programs our communities need to thrive,” said Henry Perez, Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle.
“We are requesting that the Mayor create a Community Investment Fund to address our high-need communities which are on life support. We are using our collective vision and voice to call on the City of Los Angeles to prioritize and allocate the funding earmarked during the City” s last two fiscal years and place it in this new community investment fund which is urgently needed,” said Charisse Bremond Weaver, President and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade.”
The event was well-attended by more than 150 community members and five Los Angeles City Council members, who engaged in a listening session with Los Angeles residents. Here’s what the electeds heard:
Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez (District 1)
Councilmember Katy Young Yaroslavsky (District 5)
Councilmember Marqueece Harris Dawson (District 8)
Councilmember Heather Hutt (District 10)