At the June Regional Council meeting, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Board of Directors approved a Social & Racial Justice resolution. Board President Rex Richardson presented the 8-page document that included the proposed resolution as well as a letter from Kome Aijse, SCAG president. The letter was addressed to the Board and discussed how the murders of Black lives across America at the hands of law enforcement demands that policymakers take a stand for justice. The resolution calls for actions from the Board, including declaring racism a public health crisis and the need to establish an equity committee. As a part of the passage of the resolution, SCAG announced a partnership with the California Community Foundation to provide $1 million in funding for community-driven equitable economic recovery and fund equity strategies for housing.
The Safe Routes Partnership supports the resolution and the acknowledgement of how racist planning and land use decisions like redlining and environmental injustice have created public health disparities for Black communities. The resolution is a step in the right direction, as is the housing funding initiative, to help address historic barriers and systemic racism. We are looking forward to seeing how the resolution will be implemented in all SCAG’s planning and funding efforts, particularly long-range planning efforts like Connect SoCal. SCAG hosted a Twitter chat in early July, and we worked with partners to call on SCAG to prioritize funding efforts and targeted engagement from Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities in long term emergency resilience and COVID-19 recovery efforts.