Oakland City Council Declares Local Health Emergency for Black Residents Affected by COVID-19
Councilmembers McElhaney, Gallo, Taylor and Vice Mayor Reid of the Oakland City Council Equity Caucus unveil new, equity driven advocacy for Oakland’s Flatland Communities
Tuesday, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed a resolution, put forth by the Oakland City Council Equity Caucus, to declare a local health emergency for Oakland’s Black residents due to the spread of COVID-19 and its devastating and disparate impact on these communities. The authors of the resolution represent the districts that are most negatively impacted by the pandemic and struggle with persistent inequity.
The Resolution requires the City to:
– Develop a race and equity based plan to address COVID-19 impacts on Black and Brown residents
– Prioritize any COVID-19 funding received towards redressing the health disparities and economic impacts on Black and Brown communities and residents.
– Prioritize walk up or drive in testing sites with an emphasis on the most impacted zip codes
– Partner with the County to establish a robust Community Contact Tracing Training and Employment program.
The Resolution is in response to mounting community pressure to address how the pandemic is impacting Black and Brown communities. “In these last two months we have seen Black community leaders innovate and serve their community in a manner that would have made the Black Panthers proud,” said Councilmember McElhaney. ” If we are to have even a modicum of a chance to address these unjust racial inequities, the City Council must unite to support the leadership of those living the daily reality of these disparities.”
During this same council meeting, the Equity Caucus also earned unanimous support to establish a $2.5 million Small Business Fund to support small local minority-owned businesses and voted to extend protections for residential tenants and small businesses until August 31. This action falls in line with the State of California’s emergency rules to suspend evictions and judicial foreclosures until 90 days after the Governor declares that the COVID-19 health emergency has been lifted.
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