Dear Governor Gavin Newsom,
The California Legislature recommended funding the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund in the 2022-23 budget and 200+ organizations support this sustained investment in community driven initiatives.
California needs this Fund because the State’s response to health inequities and racial injustice continues to fail people of color. The pandemic revealed long standing health and social inequities for communities of color, including lack of access to healthy food, insufficient housing, and unstable employment. These factors have led to persistently higher rates of death for Californians of color from COVID-19, and from other largely preventable causes, such as heart disease and diabetes, that existed well before the pandemic.
The Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund provides a solution. The Fund would invest in community-based organizations (CBOs), including clinics and tribal organizations, to identify and develop effective strategies to address the most urgent inequities and injustices in their neighborhoods. CBOs are effective in advancing equity and justice due to their trusted relationships with community leaders, multi-lingual capacity, and deep knowledge about the causes of and solutions to inequities at the local level.
The top-down proposals in the May revise, with government prescribing both the issues and the solutions to health inequities, are not sufficient. They must be complemented by direct investment in CBOs, or the state is destined to fail, again, and leave Californians of color behind.
You have relied on community-based organizations like ours to help stem the impacts of COVID-19, and this strategy has worked. We need to keep up the fight for health equity and racial justice—and this time, we’re relying on you.