THE PEOPLE’S STORIES

This is a “now” moment for our communities. We must educate ourselves, inspire each other through our stories of resilience, and advocate for one another by demanding policies that address immediate needs as well as long-term social, economic, education, and health disparities post the COVID-19 pandemic.

THE PEOPLE’S DEMANDS

On March 10, Community Coalition, InnerCity Struggle, SEIU 2015, and Brotherhood Crusade issued a demand to Los Angeles City leaders to adopt an equitable recovery plan that meets the needs of communities across Los Angeles. As the City of Los Angeles awaits  approximately $1.3 billion in funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, community leaders made it clear what an equitable spending plan would look like.
 
“The City must be intentional in directing this investment towards poor communities and working-class families across the city, which have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only through such intentional, substantial investment can we address the extremes that have widened over the past year, the closing of which will launch a bright future for all Angelenos,” said Alberto Retana, CEO & President of Community Coalition.
 
To meet this moment, the coalition partners say that LA’s leaders must invest in women, families and the community:
  1. Family Care for All
    Create a fund of no less than $250 million for child and elder care. The City should dedicate funds to provide free child care before school and after school until 8pm for families in need. Additionally, the City should dedicate funding to support the in-home care of our elders including: financial resources toward obtaining additional hours of care for In-Home Supportive Services] recipients who need more assistance than the maximum allowed by the County, and funding for home modifications for seniors and people with disabilities to ensure safety throughout the home.
  2. Racial Justice Equity Fund for Women
    Create an Equity Fund of no less than $100 million to support women for training, finding employment and supporting women owned small businesses and women led non-profit organizations. Include technical assistance to ensure that organizations led by and serving women of color have access.
  3. Housing Security: Rent, Mortgage,  Utilities Relief
    Expand investments to no less than $250 million to launch a comprehensive local housing stability program to cancel rent debt, and suspend rent payments for eligible tenants, strengthen mortgage protections and support vulnerable landlords. The funds should be used to establish a local fund to provide financial relief to certain qualifying landlords to mitigate the economic impact of rent cancellation and ensure housing stability.
  4. Year-Round Youth Employment and
    Leadership Opportunities
    Invest no less than $100 million in comprehensive and holistic employment programs focused on leadership development and life skills for high-need youth in South L.A., the Eastside of LA, McArthur Park, and the East San Fernando Valley. The City should also adopt the recommendations of the Executive Task Force on Youth Development to establish a Youth Development Department.
  5. Guaranteed Basic Income
    Dedicate at least $100 million to provide at least two years of guaranteed basic income of at least $1,500 a month to families in highest need. This should be done in collaboration with existing pilots, such as Councilmember Price’s Basic Income pilot. There should be no requirement around citizenship for eligibility.
  6. Community Driven Safety Fund
    We call on the City to increase investments of no less than $200 million to support Community Intervention Workers, the establishment of Healing Centers in communities that have fallen victims to police abuse, and establish a Reimagine Public Safety Innovation Fund to invest in community driven alternatives to policing.

     

    “In the wake of this pandemic, we must reinvest and reimagine what recovery means for communities of color hit hardest by COVID-19,” said Charisse Bremond Weaver, President & CEO of Brotherhood Crusade. “This is a unique opportunity to make our City reflective of the communities it represents and ensure a more equitable Los Angeles moving forward.”


    “While the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many inequalities, our rebuilding efforts coming out of this pandemic will shape our city for generations to come,” said April Verrett, President, SEIU Local 2015.


    “Investing in an economy that puts children and families at the forefront means investing in our future,” said Maria Brenes, Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle. “This fund will increase access to quality childcare, support women who have carried the burden of the pandemic, and help Angelino families get back to work.”

Our Representatives in Congress need to hear from us so we can get the rent and mortgage relief we need! Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters and the entire LA County Congressional Delegation has already taken important action to provide necessary relief, but we need to urge Congress to forgive all rent and mortgage payments, incentivize fair rental and lending practices by landlords and lenders, and transform distressed properties into permanently affordable housing for our communities, keeping them out of the hands of speculators.

OUR STORIES MATTER

From nurses to farmworkers — working people of California are doing our part to care for one another and to help us all get through this crisis. In these times of monumental crisis, people rely on our government to be there for us and prioritize our collective health and wellbeing. Californians are urging representatives and state leaders to not repeat the mistakes of the past by making the same decisions that left us vulnerable and unprepared for this crisis. Instead, leaders can have the courage to care and choose to invest in health, jobs and education now when we need these things the most.

THE PEOPLE’S RESPONSE

COVID-19 has brought America face-to-face with its pervasive inequities. What we see in the news about a flattening of the curve may be true for wealthier whites, but that is not the case in low-income and Black and Latinx communities. In Los Angeles, race, class, and place are strongly linked. Generations of racial and economic segregation have resulted in the concentration of low-income and people of color in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities that have been exposed to toxic chemicals and other unhealthy land uses, failing infrastructure, and lack of access to services. Advancement Project California recently released How Race, Class, and Place Fuel a Pandemic, an interactive policy brief that shows how COVID-19 has shifted geographically and taken hold in predominantly Black and Latinx communities in Los Angeles.

COVID-19 has exposed entrenched racial inequities and amplified xenophobic narratives. The gaping divide in our education system, barriers to healthcare, housing, employment, and technology, as well as the lack of a social safety net and voter suppression exacerbated by the pandemic speak to a broken system. To support communities of color throughout Los Angeles, CoCo engaged our community through two digital events (see videos below) in conjunction with our partners of base-building, faith, labor and advocacy organizations. Together we have drafted a comprehensive list of demands that must be implemented as we move forward in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Digital Community Forum: COVID-19 & The Black Community

The People’s Assembly: Race, Equity & COVID-19