Demand | $100M in City COVID Relief Funding to Black Community
Take action to ensure the Seattle City Council invests at least $100M of American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funding into the local Black community, directly.
COVID-19 has laid bare once again the glaring implications of hundreds of years of anti-Black racism. That a global pandemic would widely, disproportionately harm Black community is not surprising. This country – it’s laws, it’s policies, it’s practices and customs, the ways in which it arbiters power – has critically under-resourced Black communities, predictably manifesting during this pandemic with increased deaths, health ailments, joblessness, poverty, worse educational outcomes, and higher evictions.
Against this harrowing backdrop, Black communities received virtually none of the federal relief funding. Specifically, the U.S. awarded $542 billion in aid to U.S. businesses and organizations to incentivize retaining employees and less than two percent of PPP relief aid reached Black-owned organizations!
Now, Seattle City Council will soon receive $239,000,000.00 through the ARPA, mandated with investing this money toward relief. More below.*
As a collective (“Collective”) of Black community organizations, businesses, leaders, elders and community members, we write to express:
our deep concern over the wholesale exclusion of the Black community from federal pandemic relief funding; and
the urgent, pressing need to invest at least $100M from Seattle’s ARPA, funding directly into the local Black community.
We note that there is zero Black representation on the City Council. And that City Council members, with their past and current decisions, are responsible for a City where Black wealth is near zero and ten times less than whites. This old normal is no longer acceptable. Accordingly, we have taken the time to compile a list of local Black projects that require immediate investment.
We expect City Council members to remedy anti-Black harm, and make the necessary investments that their predecessors systematically failed to make in the Black community. Use your voice in support. #EquityNow
*Background: The Resolution passed March 22, 2021 lays out Seattle City Council's priorities for spending $239 million in ARPA funding, half of which will be available in 2021. It's purported guiding principles are: “equity,” coordination, flexibility, and resilience. It's stated priorities are: food assistance, non-congregate shelter, rental assistance, acquisition of buildings for emergency or permanent housing.
We urge community to join the City Council’s Finance and Housing Committee Meeting on Wednesday (May 4, 2021) at 5:30pm. Register to speak/provide public comment two hours beforehand HERE.
Call-in: 253-215-8782. Meeting ID: 586 416 9164
Watch the live-stream here.
Online registration to speak begins at 3:30pm on 5/4/2021 - two hours before the 5:30p.m. meeting start time.
Request for Accommodations. Call (206) 684-8888; TTY Relay 7-1-1; or click here.
Help Invest $300M in the Black Community
Black community leaders, members, business owners, and elected officials addressed the State of Black Community in COVID-19 and presented the collective demand to invest federal American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funding equitably. Black community leaders are calling on the City of Seattle and Martin Luther King Jr. County to invest at least $300 million dollars from ARPA funding directly into the local Black community. Take action in support.
King County Equity Now Demands $300 Million In Direct Investments To Black Community
“Current, white-centric, non-community-based services do not work for a predominantly Black service population,” says Emijah Smith, Chief of Staff for King County Equity Now. The collective is advocating for $300 million of investment directly into the Black community for service and other holistic relief. Read the Seattle's Medium's piece to learn more about the collective, cross-sector demand.
Local Leaders Call for American Rescue Plan Act to Invest More in Black Community
“To prove that Black lives matter, local government will need to invest in those communities, said Isaac Joy, president of King County Equity Now (KCEN), on a May 17 call on the “State of the Black community in COVID.” Read on.