Tucson’s Move Towards Equity in CARES Act Funding Shows Value of Co-Governance…

On Behalf Of LUCHA Members,

Over 100,000 dead Americans, over 30 million Americans are unemployed, and we have nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, police brutality, and systemic racism. In Tucson, many small businesses, and many Tucsonans are struggling to stay above water. Now more than ever before we are in need of leadership that is attuned to the concerns and needs of our communities. Our Democracy is in chaos, and the best way to restore faith is through co-governance.

Cooperation between the community and our elected leaders will help bring the people who are closest to the problem to the decision-making table to find an equitable solution. Far too often, those making decisions on behalf of impacted populations come from special interest groups with no connection to the community. LUCHA’s vision for true Co-Governance will allow us to unlock the potential of our community by bringing new voices to the table, experts in their own right, committed to the work of creating new systems of safety and security that will allow all of us to thrive.

Restoring trust in our government should be a goal that our elected officials strive for. Faith in government is at an all-time low due to politicians that benefit from a movement to sow distrust in our institutions for political gain. At the same time, many have simply forgotten who helped elect them in the first place. As a result, constituents do not trust politicians to solve many of the pressing issues affecting society. From the streets of Tucson, 4th Avenue Jail in Phoenix, and the 1600 block of Washington, D.C., millions of our fellow Americans are putting their lives on the line to demand change.

Luckily, organizations like LUCHA and our partners have already been investing for the past decade in a new model of community-driven leadership, policymaking, and electing candidates who are most impacted by the issues they work on. In Tucson, Mayor Regina Romero and Councilwoman Lane Santa Cruz are shining examples of what community-driven leadership can mean for constituents when major policy decisions are on the table.

We saw this in action just two weeks ago. COVID-19 has been decimating city budgets across the country, and Tucson is no different. That’s why a $96m Federal CARES Act appropriation is so key to not only shoring up the City’s finances but ensuring that we are taking care of our most vulnerable populations first. While some on the Council believed the funds should be equally distributed across the City’s Wards, regardless of need, Councilwoman Santa Cruz stepped up and put forward a community-driven plan that will ensure these funds are distributed equitably to the community.

This is leadership LUCHA and its members can rally behind, and we encourage the Councilmembers who opposed this plan to reconsider their priorities, and for their constituents to take note of who puts people first moving forward.

What our communities need during this pandemic and economic turmoil is long term investment in black and brown communities, eviction prevention, utility support, financial support for black and brown business owners, and support for nonprofits working directly in struggling communities. If we are truly Tucson Strong put aside the differences and support an equitable framework for the city of Tucson.

Find more about Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) at luchaaz.org.

Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) is a nonprofit membership-led, grassroots organization that builds power with Arizona’s working families.