The mayor of San Francisco announced that $3.75 million will be redirected from the city’s police budget and sheriff’s office to organizations supporting black small businesses.
Mayor London Breed issued a statement about the city’s Dream Keeper Initiative that will fund 17 “nonprofits that serve the black community.” The Initiative announced last year will reinvest $120 million from law enforcement budgets into the San Francisco’s black community.
“Across this country, and in our city, we’ve seen how the black community’s economic growth and prosperity has historically been disrupted and marginalized,” Breed said in the statement. “We have invested our resources in a way that lifts up and supports African American small business owners, entrepreneurs, and the entire community.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
As part of the initiative, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development awarded funds to 17 black-serving community organizations to provide services for African American businesses, entrepreneurs, and their communities in San Francisco.
Organizations awarded the funds include the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, and the Children’s Council of San Francisco.
The funds will be used to provide economic relief from the pandemic; help start, stabilize, or grow existing Black businesses by offering consultations and legal guidance; and support African American cultural preservation events. Funds will also be used to establish community hubs that stimulate cultural and business development and provide education and resources in historically African American neighborhoods such as Bayview-Hunters Point, Fillmore/Western Addition, Potrero Hill, and Visitacion Valley.
“This funding represents an investment in the community and addressing the wealth and opportunity gaps created by years of biased policies and approaches,” Sheryl Davis, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, said in a statement.
“There is tremendous talent and potential that has been stifled by our biased policies and strategies,” Davis said.
However, critics of the initiative noted the removal of $120 million from the SFPD budget over the next two years, including the nearly $4 million being reallocated on Wednesday, is coming at the worst possible time for the city, The California Globe reported.
“Crime rates are skyrocketing,” Dennis Chin, a San Francisco neighborhood watch leader, told the Globe. “Last year, because of the coronavirus, crime went down everywhere. But not here. Robberies were down everywhere else. But here? They rose 50%. Murder? Also went up. Assault? Up. Car theft? You might as well make car alarms the new anthem for the city they go off so much from break ins.”
“Speaking as a small business owner and the father of another small business owner, I’m all for helping small businesses. Our black neighbors here are struggling after the coronavirus, like everyone, and helping them get past the coronavirus loss hurdle helps us all. Helping businesses isn’t the problem.”
“The problem is that it’s taking away money from the police, which we need now more than ever. We don’t need to experiment with giving the police less funding, not with murders and robberies and rapes on the rise.”