Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton Release Roadmap to Guide Transformative Change and Investments in African-American Community
Recommendations from community engagement process led by Human Rights Commission provides direct feedback from the African-American residents of San Francisco, which includes a need for funding for mental health, homelessness, education, youth development, and economic justice
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton today released a report from the Human Rights Commission with initial recommendations from the African-American community on reinvesting in the City’s African-American community. In June, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Walton announced their intention to redirect funding from the police department into the African-American community following the killing of George Floyd. A key part of this process involved hearing directly from community members, particularly those most impacted by systemic racism, through a process facilitated by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC).
Mayor Breed will announce the amount of funding being reinvested later this week as part of her proposed budget, which must be submitted by August 1st. In addition to investing in new programs, the Mayor has also prioritized maintaining and enhancing African-American serving organizations, despite the needs for broader cuts in this year’s budget to address the $1.5 billion deficit.
The report released today summarizes the findings of this initial community engagement and provides a framework for ongoing conversations and decisions to reinvest in San Francisco’s Black community. The report highlights recommendations, research and data raised through the community input process to prioritize resources to the Black community. Key issues by the community include the areas of mental health, homelessness, education, youth development, and economic justice, and more. The report also includes findings about significant concerns over the need for better systems accountability from the City to engage with and deliver services to the public. The report will serve as a guiding document about where and how City funding should be reinvested in the upcoming budget for Fiscal Years 2020-21 and 2021-22, as well as longer-term policy changes and budget investments.
“If we truly believe that Black Lives Matter, then we need to listen to Black voices, not tell Black people in this city and this country what is best for them. That includes listening to those who have long lost faith in City Hall to actually deliver on promises that are so often made, but not kept,” said Mayor Breed. “While protests have happened all over the world to support the movement to change the racist systems that have long plagued our country, it is time to do the hard work now and into the future. Over the past month we initiated a process to hear directly from residents so we can begin the move for real, tangible changes in addressing the systemic issues facing our community. This is only the first step in a long process to bring resources and accountability to our community that has for decades been underserved, underrepresented, and ignored.”
“The only way to address some of the systemic issues that have negatively affected Black people and have existed for decades in our city, is to make a sizable investment in the Black community that will lead to real change,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton. “Having Black voices take the lead on the process for reinvestment in our community, is key to developing strategies that lead to tangible outcomes. I’m excited to share what the Black community has identified as priorities, so that we as policy makers can make the resources available to achieve tangible results. With reparations, the redirection of SFPD resources and community truly taking the lead, this is only the beginning.”
“Our community engagement process captured a spectrum of participant sentiment, from disheartened community members who have gone through this before, only to be let down, to those with renewed hope that the historic moment we are living in will bring real change,” said HRC Director Sheryl Davis. “Racial equity becomes real when we appropriately meet community needs and racism no longer determines outcomes for our residents. It’s clear that Black people want and deserve better public service from their City and we have been falling short.”
“I think what is monumental about this moment is that Black leaders from across San Francisco, from religious leaders to policy professionals to grassroots frontline advocates to Transgender and Queer advocates, have banded together to ensure all of our communities and the realities we face are represented in the collective ask to defund police and create and support community led alternatives,” said Aria Sa’id, Founder and Executive Director of the Transgender District, and political strategist. “So often these solutions are prescribed for us by researchers or thought leaders who don’t live or have a connection to our city and our neighborhoods. We are mandating that solutions to the ever-present violence and marginalization we face be solved by our own lived experience, and that of the diverse Black community that remains here in San Francisco.”
“The Human Rights Commission facilitated safe, inclusive discussions that channeled my voice alongside so many others from the SF Black community,” said a Black resident who lives in the Mission, and who wished to remain anonymous. “For too long in SF, forces outside the Black community have dictated what we need to have homes, health, and happiness. These HRC discussions have finally given us a voice in what we need to best serve our community. I’m hopeful the forces outside the Black community will listen to what we have to say.”
Investing in San Francisco’s African American community is necessary to repair the legacy of systemic racism and resolving the disparate outcomes in economic opportunity, housing, and health indicators for African American and Black people in the City. African Americans in San Francisco experience significant structural inequalities that need to be addressed and remedied.
- African Americans have the lowest median household income in San Francisco, and the average income for a Black household is $31,000, as compared with $116,000 for white households.
- Black people have the highest mortality rate for nine of the top ten causes of death in San Francisco. African Americans have the lowest rate of homeownership in San Francisco at 31%.
- Black and African American individuals comprise 37% of the City’s unhoused population, despite making up less than 6% of the City’s population as a whole.
- About 45% of all San Francisco Police Department use-of-force cases involved Black people in 2019.
In order to make lasting, structural change in the City’s policies and budget investments, community engagement must be ongoing and sustainable. The Human Rights Commission documented emailed comments, hosted online meetings, and created a short survey for initial thoughts and feedback. More than 600 people participated in some capacity in the process. The report includes a recommended timeline for ongoing community engagement.
The Human Rights Commission will host two community meetings to gather additional feedback and recommendations to add to the report. In September, the HRC will launch monthly community meetings to review progress on recommendations and build out implementation plans with legislators through a working group. In October, the HRC will launch quarterly meetings to share updates with the public on the report.
For more information, go to https://sf-hrc.org/city-fund-reallocation.