By Mihajla Milovanovic
SACRAMENTO, CA – Community Care First Coalition demanded this week at a news conference that the County of Sacramento create racial and health equality throughout the county budget process, centering “impacted voices and diminishing systemic harms.”
In the past months, the organization said it interviewed more than “100 community members, primarily individuals who are or have been incarcerated in Sacramento County jails and who are unhoused, to create informed budget demands that urge county decision-makers” to prioritize investments.
More specifically, the areas they believe the county budget should consider include access to primary, preventive, and behavioral health care, non-law enforcement emergency and crisis response, community connected care, social determinants of health, strengthening public defense and legal support and government accountability and transparency.
Within the outlined budget demands that can be found at the link they provided, there are various key points highlighted. The main ones involve immediate response centers for mental health, funding for public defense, and investments in publicly-owned housing.
The speakers at the conference included people from other organizations involving the legal system and other non-profit community organizations throughout Sacramento.
In regard to the incarceration system, one of the speakers, Lynn Berkley-Baskin from the Justice2Jobs Coalition, said, “Our hope is waning. There was hope with a Board that declared racism a public health crisis, a new CEO, a new Public Safety Deputy CEO and lawsuits holding the County accountable. Now, we’re seeing the truth—a return to supporting outdated approaches that produce harm to people and neighborhoods already impacted by racism and poverty.”
Keyan Bliss, from the Anti Police-Terror Project added, “We cannot afford to continue down the path of status quo budgeting in Sacramento County. Instead of pouring money into failed law enforcement and incarceration policies, our Board of Supervisors should prioritize access to preventative and community-based care, permanent housing, and desperately needed public defense and legal support.”
Other scheduled speakers included Tifanei Ressl-Moyer, Decarcerate Sacramento; Corrine McIntosh Sako, Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Community Mental Health Advocate; Henry Ortiz, Community Healers; Nia Moore Weathers, Youth Forward; and Gloria Wadud, Sacramento ACT Board Member.