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San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton have announced efforts to redirect funding from the city’s police department to the African-American community in the city’s upcoming budget.
The announcement to reprioritize funding needs comes on the heels of nationwide protests over the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
According to Breed’s office, the city’s Human Rights Commission will lead the effort through a community process to help identify and prioritize funding needs.
“We have been pushing for reparations for black people here in San Francisco for decades. We have continued to see our organizations inequitably disregarded and disproportionately left out of receipt of vital resources.”Supervisor Shamann Walton
“While the events of the last week have been painful and traumatic for so many of us,” Breed said in a statement Friday, “they have brought forward the devastating impacts of police violence against African-Americans in this country.”
The city has made “substantial progress” on police reforms but there remain inequities that impact San Francisco’s African-American community, the mayor said.
“Since this pandemic began, we have seen how the type of work, schools, neighborhoods, homes, and support systems in our communities combine to put these groups at the greatest risk of suffering both disease and economic damage,” Breed said. “Reforms to any single system, such as the criminal justice system or the police department, must go hand-in-hand with closing the gaps and ending the disparities that we know exist.”
As the city’s black population continues to decline over the decades, African-Americans currently make up just 5 percent of the city’s residents, compared to 1970 when the figure peaked at 13.4 percent.
Through historical disinvestment and prejudice policies, the city’s African-American community has faced housing insecurity and poor health and economic outcomes, according to the mayor’s office.
Currently, the average income for black families is $31,000, compared with $110,000 for white families. Additionally, 19 percent of the city’s African-Americans live in poverty and blacks make up 35 percent of the city’s homeless.
“We have been pushing for reparations for black people here in San Francisco for decades. We have continued to see our organizations inequitably disregarded and disproportionately left out of receipt of vital resources,” Walton said.
“In these times of continued systemic and systematic oppression of black people, we have to be innovative and strong with our solutions. In order to change this dynamic and provide real opportunity for equity, we need to repurpose resources and give them to black-led organizations and communities in order to level the playing field and achieve successful outcomes,” he said.
Breed is expected to deliver the city’s budget for approval by the Board of Supervisors by Aug. 1.
Individuals wishing to be a part of the open meetings on reinvestment are being asked to email HRC_roundtable@sfgov.org.