Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund Co-Sponsors Express Outrage at Lack of Racial Justice Funding

United Against COVID Coalition volunteers

Sacramento, CA – The Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund Co-Sponsors (listed below) released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s May budget revision (FY 2022-2023).

“For the second year in a row, the Governor is ignoring calls from Black and Brown communities to support the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund. The Fund, included in the Senate budget priorities and supported by over 200 organizations in California, would advance health equity and racial justice by directly funding community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations to identify and develop solutions to the deepest injustices in their communities.

“Governor Newsom signaled he’d ‘confront California’s greatest existential threats.’ While we are glad to see strong investments in climate justice, health care coverage, reproductive access, housing, and more, why is racial justice left out? Racism is the most urgent and pressing public health crisis of our time, impacting every aspect of life in our great state.

“Inequities existed long before COVID-19, as our California communities of color faced segregation, redlining, evictions, job loss, higher rates of chronic and infectious disease and preventable maternal mortality, disproportionate policing and criminal justice enforcement, often due to institutional and systemic racism, all which are linked to preventable illness and death. These inequities are morally and financially costly, yet California continues to fail to make investments to support communities fighting to address health equity and racial injustices.

“Community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations know their neighbors, know their cultures and languages, and know what drives their local disparities. These organizations help people seek out and access resources, build community capacity, and make us all healthier by building healthier conditions in the neighborhoods they serve. Presently, we focus too much on treating symptoms and people once they are already sick; the Fund would keep people healthy by focusing on culturally-rooted prevention at a grassroots community level.

“For the Governor to leave racial justice out of his budget is a travesty of the highest order. The status quo is failing people of color. The top-down proposals in the May Revise must be complemented by direct investment in grassroots organizations to address structural racism. Otherwise California is once again destined to fail to respond to the needs of communities of color and to permanently close the gaps in health and well-being.

“We look forward to working with the Senate and Assembly, both of whom overwhelmingly support our Fund, and to ensure the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund is in the June budget.”

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