Mayor Jorge Elorza ; “We know that $10 million is not enough. We can’t right all the wrongs of the past, but we can take an important first step.”
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has big plans for the city’s COVID funds, including using millions for reparations.
Is this how these funds were meant to be used? Did taxpayers agree to this?
WPRI News reports:
Providence finalizes plan to invest $124M in federal COVID money
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza signed a spending plan for $124 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding Friday, paving the way for the city to invest tens of millions of dollars into housing and infrastructure projects.
“It goes to support a bunch of different, really important initiatives,” Elorza told 12 News during a live interview just hours after signing the ordinance. “But the most important thing is the housing crisis, really the housing affordability crisis in the city.”
The budget allocates nearly $31 million to housing, including $17 million for affordable housing development…
The spending plan also earmarks $10 million for reparations through something called the “COVID-19 Equities Program.” A committee is currently reviewing how exactly to spend that money.
“Reparations can take a lot of different shapes,” Elorza said. “We know that $10 million is not enough. We can’t right all the wrongs of the past, but we can take an important first step.”
Elorza said it remains to be seen whether direct cash payments will be part of the plan, but said he thinks the most important way to invest the money is to help build up wealth for Black families and address historic discrimination in neighborhoods where Black homeowners might have been forced to sell or were prevented from buying homes in the past.
This is something Elorza has been working on for months, but now he has the cash to do it.
The Associated Press reported in February:
Providence mayor forms reparations commission
Providence’s mayor announced a city commission on reparations Monday as he and community leaders laid out their plans for the next phase in the Rhode Island capital city’s efforts to atone for its role in Black slavery, systemic racism and the mistreatment of Native Americans.
The executive order signed by Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza at the city’s Bethel AME Church creates the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission.
The 13-member panel is charged with examining reparation work being done in other cities, conducting community outreach and creating recommendations for ways the city can begin repairing harms. NAACP Providence President Jim Vincent is among those already tapped to serve on the board, Elorza said.
“While we know the city alone cannot repair the full scope of harm, today’s action brings us another step closer to addressing the disparities our African heritage and Indigenous residents continue to face,” the mayor said in a written statement.
Here he is signing the excutive order in 2020:
What does any of this have to do with COVID?
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