DC Action Outlines
FY22 Budget Priorities:
We Must Move the District of Columbia Toward Equity for Children, Youth, and Families
In late April, Mayor Bowser will release her administration’s FY21 supplemental, FY22 budget, including plans for how incoming federal relief dollars. In the months to follow, as Mayor Bowser and the DC Council work together to pass a balanced budget, it is vital they keep their commitment to placing racial equity at the center of their decisions.
For years, our policy makers have pursued “color-blind” solutions to address policy failures, and as the data shows, we are still suffering deeply racist outcomes. For example, our efforts to raise family income looks like a success on paper because the average pay for families has increased, but when we break it down by race it’s clear that policy makers have failed to promote shared prosperity for everyone. The gains Black and brown families have seen in their incomes are dwarfed by the wide gap with white families’ incomes. And even those on reasonably stable financial footing are still more likely to experience poor outcomes in health and education. This last point should drive home the inescapable fact that racist policies cut across class. We will be unable to address any kind of inequality, without addressing racism. The effects of COVID exacerbate inequalities and amplifies the District’s fragmented response to serving our residents.
Innovative and equitable investments like universal early education, preventive health care homes, trauma-informed education and community-based services, mental health care, and safer communities resulting from more community social workers and less over-policing are all a part of the solution, and these investments need to be protected and sustained.
When evaluating this and next year’s funding, we urge Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to consider the racial equity implications of each and every one of their funding decisions.
In collective power,