Dear Governor Gavin Newsom and Legislature,
As a supporter of the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund, I am once again disappointed and dismayed that this funding directly to community-based organizations (CBOs), clinics, and tribal organizations was not included in the Governor’s proposed 2022-2023 budget.
The Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund is a bold and historic idea to fund the organizations that are working on the ground every day to advance equitable health outcomes and drive racial justice forward. Long before the pandemic, these organizations were working hard to meet local needs in areas including food security, restorative justice, community safety, and more. CBOs, clinics and tribes are fluent in every language spoken in California, understand their communities’ needs, and can tailor effective solutions to local conditions. They are essential members of California’s public health workforce.
These local organizations also advance racial justice by working to educate and empower their neighbors to create positive change by training people to participate in local government decision-making processes. Trainings include how to submit letters and call in to meetings to voice their opinions and participate in community budgeting processes to ensure local needs are represented. Other movements to advance racial justice include improving data systems and collection approaches to ensure all of California’s diverse communities are counted and recognized.
Supporters of the Fund represent every area of our state and come from every policy area including education, environmental justice, health care, labor, and business. We believe there needs to be an ongoing, direct source of funds towards health equity and racial justice innovation projects. These funds should support the CBOs, clinics, and tribal organizations that know their neighbors and their distinct, culturally and linguistically unique needs, and importantly, know how to implement productive solutions that work at the local level.
Last year the Legislature strongly supported investing in the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund. They recognized that we are all public health; we all have a role to play; and we work best, and reach the most people when CBOs, clinics, and tribal organizations are fully funded and working together with local partners. To put California at the forefront of this movement for justice, I urge you to include at least $100 million ongoing annual funding for the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund.