San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed announced the granting of $3.75 million to serve San Francisco’s Black and African American small business community.
The funding is part of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) Dream Keeper Initiative, which is reinvesting $120 million from law enforcement into 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,” said Mayor Breed.
“This funding is part our efforts to undo the harm of generations of disinvestment and economic inequities. As we work to recover and make San Francisco a better place to live, work, and do business, we have to invest our resources in a way that lifts up and supports African American small businesses owners, entrepreneurs, and the entire community.”
The defunding of police forces has been a divisive topic for the country, but cities that have pledged to defund their law enforcement offices, have found significant ways to improve their communities.
In July 2020, Breed revealed the $120 million plan during a press conference. Breed pledged to funnel 60% of the funds to mental health, wellness and homelessness initiatives in the Black community. The mayor also promised that 35% would support education, youth development and economic opportunities. The remaining 5% would go toward developing a plan to replace police officers with social workers as the primary responders to noncriminal calls concerning the homeless and mentally ill.
“It’s important that we listen to Black voices. It’s important that we allow Black people to lead this movement,” she said at the time. “We have to listen to the people in the community. We have to listen to the people who have seen and lived the devastation resulting from decades of disinvestment.”
According to the press release, The Dream Keeper Initiative, OEWD has already awarded 17 Black-serving community organizations with funding. The funds are being used to improve economic development outcomes for African American businesses, entrepreneurs, and the African American and Black communities in San Francisco more broadly.