Health and Racial Justice Advocates Applaud Inclusion of Ongoing Equity Funding in Joint Budget Agreement

Author Details

Monika Lee

Senior Communications Manager
(858) 353-7271

Organization: California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund Coalition
For Immediate Release
June 1, 2021
Contact: Monika Lee, (858) 353-7271

Sacramento, CA — The Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund coalition released the following
statement in response to the California legislature’s budget agreement announced today.

This proposal is supported by: Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and
Leadership (APPEAL), Black Women for Wellness Action Project, California Black Health
Network, California Black Women’s Health Project, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice,
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Public Health
Advocates, Public Health Institute, Roots Community Health Center, and Roots of Change. It
builds on AB 1038 and accompanying budget ask proposed by Assemblymember Gipson that
passed in the Assembly today with bipartisan support.

“Our coalition thanks the Senate and Assembly for recognizing that racism is a public health
crisis, that health inequity is unacceptable, and for prioritizing health and racial equity in their
joint budget agreement. Our Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund is a bold and innovative
proposal to address both social determinants of health and structural racism. Our package aims
to both transform community conditions and institutional/government systems to promote health
equity and racial justice and reduce specific health and social disparities.

“In their budget proposal, the legislature has proposed ‘$115 million annually to support health
equity and racial justice interventions including $100 million for grants to community-based
organizations, clinics and tribal organizations to address health disparities and $15 million for
the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund’ on an ongoing basis. We appreciate the focus on
health disparities, and the dedication of significant and ongoing resources to health equity to
ensure communities also have the power and flexibility to address the root causes of disparities
that are critical to health–including housing, food security and community safety.

“The pandemic has underscored that racism is a public health crisis and that health inequity is
driven by racism. California’s Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander,
Asian American, LGBTQ+ communities, and low income communities continue to have worse
health outcomes and shorter life spans, higher rates of diabetes and asthma, and face barriers
that impact health like housing, transportation, education, and food security.

“We very much appreciate the proposed inclusion of our Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund,
and strongly encourage the legislature to consider deeper future investments. Our historic
budget surplus allows us the means to make equity a reality and to ensure California is truly a
place for all. We are elated that the legislature understands that investing in health and racial
equity is critical to address the root causes of the health disparities and inequities we saw this
past year and beyond. Now it is time for the Governor to support these targeted investments in
racial and health equity.

“We know the status quo is no longer an option. Racism is both deadly and costly and investing
in community-determined efforts to address inequities is one of the best solutions we have to
shift power and improve health outcomes.

“Our coalition of over 150 advocates urge the Governor to join the legislature in this bold and
necessary proposal to address structural racism and inequities in health outcomes. We look
forward to working with the Legislature and Governor in the weeks leading up to the budget