A pledge from California philanthropic organizations:
The COVID–19 public health and economic crisis and the murders of Black Americans by police, have laid bare the deep inequities across our state. We need bold steps to ensure a future based on economic inclusion, racial equity, and compassionate humanity.
On behalf of philanthropic leaders and in solidarity with dozens of labor, community organizing, faith-based, policy, research, and academic leaders from across California, we stand together to urge the prioritization of critical issues—health, justice, workers, education and housing—as the state makes critical budget decisions. Supporting these basic needs for all Californians will require increasing resources.
Ultimately, how we spend public resources and what and who we prioritize is a statement of our morals and values. We share fundamental beliefs in meeting basic human needs, standing up for justice; developing an economy that can grow living wage jobs; building a caring economy; strengthening an education system that prepares youth with the skills to secure their (and our) futures; and solving the state’s ongoing challenges for those who are unhoused or struggling with the burdens of high rent and unemployment. Supporting basic human rights requires investing in Californians’ potential and divesting in prisons and the militarization of police forces.
Now is not the time to re-arrange the deck chairs. Our future is at risk. We need bold action that embraces a bold new economy—a California New Deal—to lead our state and be a beacon for our country. We need a comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck response. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the last recession where cuts to services dragged down the economic recovery of California and added to the structural inequities in the state. By investing now, we can rebuild equitably, and support the long-term sustainability of our people and our economy. We must divest in fear and hate, and invest in care. This includes:
1. Generating additional revenues through a combination of closing existing loopholes, capturing new and additional resources from those who have benefited the most from California’s economy and from the re-direction of funds from incarceration-focused arenas.
2. Ensuring racial equity and inclusion for all in California.
3. Allocating targeted resources to communities of color and other low-income people—those hardest hit—now and throughout the recovery process to accelerate their health, economic recovery and democratic participation.
4. We must recognize that all immigrants are part of the California community. We need to acknowledge the contributions of all immigrants, including the undocumented, and the critical role they play in our society and our economy. We must stand together and extend full California Residency with all its benefits, including access to safety-net programs and economic relief, benefits that immigrants already support through their taxes.
5. Making major investments to protect struggling tenants and landlords, stabilize precariously housed tenants, and rebuild our affordable housing supply.
6. Investments to support the health and safety of working Californians.
California has been leading the nation in resisting the drive to division, xenophobia and austerity. Now, we must show that we believe that we are a community, that ensuring the health and well-being of one another leads to a more resilient state. We must stand-up together for an inclusive and equitable future.