For too long, public safety in Louisville has taken a police-centered approach and ignored the possibilities of publicly-resourced, community-led solutions. This initial $50M allocation will allow us to begin the process of addressing systemic racism in our community. “The compounding crises of structural inequality, plummeting economic mobility, mounting death tolls, and ongoing injustice and brutality have been raging for generations,“ and we are asking the city to join us in this moment to seize the opportunity to disrupt these crises.
We formally request an immediate rehearing of the budget committee for a reallocation request to be heard, approved, and included in the 2020-2021 Budget.
This first allocation will create comprehensive solutions around four integrated, high-need areas:
- Support for Small Businesses
The Black community across Louisville and in the West End, in particular, deserves the opportunity to create more jobs and wealth through business ownership. Existing businesses must be fully supported and new businesses must be encouraged to begin. This support and encouragement must come, first and foremost, in the form of funding and financing. Black people are not lacking in creative ideas or innovative ways to address market-based problems. We simply lack the funding needed to build businesses that respond to the economy that we participate in. We expect to create a fund, through a responsible entity of our choosing, that will provide flexible capital options — grants, loans, modest-return investments — that can be used for start-up costs, working capital, property acquisition, expansion expenses, and more. This should be Black-led and coupled with technical assistance and culturally appropriate mentorship from successful private sector leaders and entrepreneurs rather than government employees. This will help support our full participation in the for-profit arena.
As documented by the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, redlining (created by a partnership of government and private industry) in Louisville has robbed 22,000 Black families of an opportunity to be homeowners. We plan to restore what has been lost by changing the physical conditions in disinvested neighborhoods. This translates into reinvesting and recycling thousands of abandoned properties and vacant lots and preparing a pathway to Black ownership. Different, innovative, and radical approaches to creating Black wealth-building opportunities through homeownership is paramount. Leveraging our relationships with existing non-profit developers and housing-related organizations, we are already prepared and positioned to move forward so that this becomes a reality. We are absolutely opposed to any use of government or philanthropic funding in Black communities that does not lead to a pathway for Black ownership.
- Targeted Creative Educational Support
The average age of a west end Louisville resident is younger than that of his or her counterpart in other areas of Louisville. Therefore, we must invest in the education of our young people because they have the potential to change outcomes for generations. Providing wrap-around services, tutoring and other supplemental services for students will help to close the achievement gap and provide support necessary to not only graduate but enroll and complete higher education. We need coordinated, consistent, culturally competent, high-touch action combined with college-preparatory academics, technical training, and/or work experiences that speak to the interests and capabilities of our striving young residents. We can and will continue to work like EVOLVE502, Educational Justice and PlayCousins focused on educational achievement, changing broken systems and addressing structural failures to educate Black students.
- Integrated Trauma-Literate Care and Mental Support for Black People
The Black community of Louisville has repeatedly experienced collective traumatic events at the hands of individuals, corporations, and the government– at every level (local, state and federal) and branch (executive, judicial and legislative). Pre-COVID-19, Black people in Louisville were already struggling with the stress and trauma of redlining, disinvestment, and over-policing. Post-COVID-19 and amid the killings of Breonna Tayor, David McAtee, George Floyd, we know that the toll on Black minds and bodies is exceptionally high. We must ensure that everyone in our community has access to well-trained, certified, mental-health professionals and resources.
Collective trauma cannot be denied or ignored. We intend to build into every program access to mental health professionals (community health workers, social workers, and advocates of color) who understand race-based trauma.