The California Black Census & Redistricting Hub

About

The California Black Census and Redistricting Hub is a network of over 30 Black-led and Black-serving organizations across the state focused on maximizing participation in the upcoming census and redistricting process among hard to count Black communities. Using a mix of training, strategic communications, data, grassroots organizing and community engagement, the Hub will prepare its network of organizations to conduct targeted and tailored field outreach campaigns to educate, motivate and activate the voices of thousands of Black Californians throughout the census and redistricting process.

Why:

Recent surveys have found that African Americans and Black immigrants are among the highest groups at risk of a full and accurate count in California. 

California has the 5th largest Black population in the United States with 3,011,021 African Americans making up 8% of the state total. Gentrification has sparked waves of displacement and homelessness across California, disproportionately impacting Black communities, pushing many into the streets or out of urban centers like Oakland and Los Angeles, and into new regions, like East Contra Costa, Inland Empire and Central Valley, which often lack civic infrastructure and resources to support a full Census Count. Mass incarceration in Black communities has led to drastic overrepresentation of African Americans in California’s prison population, 29% compared to being only 6.5% of California’s total population. This not only makes group counts necessary, but also makes the engagement and education of newly returning community members key, who are more vulnerable to economic and housing and instability and a general lack of information about the Census.  

These factors combined with a growing distrust in government and limited access to the internet, particularly among seniors, require tailored outreach strategies to ensure a full count of Black Californians in the 2020 Census. 

The Hub will also engage in planning and advocacy in the Redistricting Process to ensure the voice and representation of Black Californians is strengthened.

The Black Census and Redistricting Hub is a project of California Calls, and builds off the 3 year African American Civic Engagement Project.

Who:

The Core Partners serve as a steering committee of institutional thought partners helping to guide the Hub’s strategic and operational direction and include California Calls, Advancement Project—California, Black PAC, PICO California, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church – Social Action Commission.

Black Hub Coalition Members are Black-led or Black-serving organizations that will conduct outreach to engage historically undercounted black communities in the census and redistricting process. Coalition Members are recruited based on their reach and influence within their communities as well as their direct work within key historically undercounted Black communities.

Sacramento:
Sacramento ACT, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Sacramento

Bay Area:
Building Blocks for Kids, Safe Return Project, Oakland Rising, RYSE, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Contra Costa, Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA)

Central Valley:
Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, Fresno Metro Black Chamber/Fresno County Complete Count Committee, Central Valley Urban Institute, Fresno Street Saints, African American Network of Kern County, Inc.

San Bernardino and Riverside:
Time for Change, BLU Educational Foundation, Starting Over, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE)

Los Angeles:
Long Beach Black Infant Health, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Black Women for Wellness, Kingdom Life Church, Los Angeles Community Action Network, A New Way of Life, The Community Action League, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), Community Coalition, Los Angeles Black Workers Center, Social Justice Learning Institute, Special Needs Network, AME Church – 5th District.

San Diego:
Pillars of the Community, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA), Alliance San Diego

Statewide:
California Black Women’s Health Project, Initiate Justice, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, AME Ministerial Alliance.

Get Involved

Check below to learn more about the California Black Census & Redistricting Hub and how you can get involved:

If you’re an organization interested in joining the Hub:

Kevin Cosney (kcosney@calicalls.org)

If you’re an elected official or other civic leader interested in supporting the Hub:

Kaci Patterson (kaci@socialgoodsolutions.com)

For communications or media inquiries: 

Lanae Norwood at press@myBlackCounts.org

Schools and Communities First Initiative Qualifies for November 2020 Ballot

On October 15, Schools and Communities First, a powerful statewide coalition of nearly 300 endorsing community organizations, labor unions, business leaders, philanthropic foundations and elected officials, announced the official qualification of the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act for the November 2020 ballot. This will be the first commercial property tax reform initiative to qualify for the ballot in 40 years since Prop 13 passed in 1978.

“Californians now have the opportunity to reform a 40-year injustice,” said Helen Hutchison, President of the League of Women Voters of California. “Representing organizations from every corner of the state, our grassroots coalition has made history. After five years of planning and strategizing, we have qualified a split roll initiative for the ballot–an achievement once thought impossible. In 2020, California voters can create a new future by investing in our people and our local communities.”

On August 14, simultaneous press conferences were held in 5 different cities across the state to announce the submission of 856,648 signatures in support of the measure, which needed 585,407 valid signatures to qualify. October 15 was the deadline for California’s 58 Counties to complete a random sample count, and today the Secretary of State announced qualification of the measure due to an exceptionally high verification rate.  Due to a large scale and sophisticated statewide volunteer signature gathering program expertly planned and executed by the coalition, the measure has qualified for the November 2020 general election via the random sample process instead of a full count. This is a significant achievement as more than 90 organizations and thousands of volunteers collaborated to ensure enough signatures were submitted to nearly guarantee qualification on the 2020 ballot in the most populous state in America.

Over the last 40 years, California has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, leading to chronic underfunding of schools, services, and local communities along with poor local land use decisions, and a spiraling housing crisis. Schools and Communities First is the first structural and equitable tax reform in four decades. It will reclaim over $11 billion for schools and local communities, shaping a new legacy of investment in the people of California.

If passed, the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act would close the millionaire and billionaire corporate tax loophole in Prop 13 by requiring all commercial and industrial properties to be assessed at fair market value, putting California on par with how the vast majority of the country assesses commercial property. The measure will reclaim $11 billion every year, roughly half allocated for K-12 schools and community colleges, and the remaining allocated to counties and cities according to current property tax guidelines. The measure maintains Prop 13’s current protections for homeowners, renters and agriculture, and includes small business tax relief and oversight and accountability.

The case for split roll reform has been bolstered recently with the publishing of a peer-reviewed study by Dr. Chris Benner of UC Santa Cruz. His research found that passing a split roll reform measure in California would strengthen the economy, debunking a faulty 2012 Pepperdine study that claimed Prop 13 reform would lead to job loss. In addition, major endorsements from elected officials like State Senator Connie Leyva, and a unanimous vote of support from the Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in California and second largest in the nation, have helped compound recent momentum around the initiative.

Now that the initiative has qualified early, the Schools and Communities First Coalition will spend the next two years expanding the coalition, building public support, and raising the needed resources to counter the opposition’s misinformation campaign, which has already begun.

LAUSD Votes Unanimously To Endorse Schools and Communities First

By a vote of 6-0, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously voted to endorse the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act, also referred to as “Schools and Communities First”, which will appear on the November 2020 Ballot. The initiative would reclaim over $11 billion annually for schools and communities statewide by reforming the commercial property tax loophole created by Proposition 13 in 1978. Los Angeles County schools would receive an estimated $1.4 billion for K-12 education and community colleges .

“This is historic and long overdue,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, President of United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA). “Students and teachers in the LAUSD have gone for many years with overcrowded classrooms and lack of access to nurses, counselors, and librarians. Teachers can’t afford to live in many neighborhoods and buy their own classroom supplies.  This measure will help students in school, and attract new, young educators to the field of K-12 education.”

The Schools and Communities First Coalition submitted over 870,000 signatures last month in order to qualify the initiative, popularly known as “Split Roll Reform” for the November 2020 election. This endorsement represents a significant milestone, as LAUSD is the largest public school system in California and the 2nd largest employer in Los Angeles County. Board Members Monica Garcia and Dr. Richard Vladovic jointly introduced the resolution to support the measure.

“California currently ranks  41st  in per-pupil spending putting a severe strain on students, families, and teachers of our K-12 schools and community colleges,” said Garcia, currently serving as President of the LAUSD Board. “This initiative will help to boost that funding,  especially in the poorest and most needy school districts. It will allow us to have smaller class sizes, and restore funding for programs that have been cut in the sciences, arts and music. We are grateful to the coalition of labor and community partners fighting to increase resources toward more adequacy and equity in California.

“As a recent graduate of LAUSD, I am excited to join the fight for more investment in education”, said Chelsea Rosales, who graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in El Sereno this year. “My friends and I see how hard our teachers and administrators work to prepare us for college and beyond, and more resources and funding would mean higher graduation and college acceptance rates for us. There is a wave of student activism happening across the country, and here in LAUSD we plan to make our voices heard in support of Schools and Communities First. All students deserve to feel like they can go to school and succeed.“

Since submitting over 870,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for the November 2020 ballot, Schools and Community First has very quickly picked up momentum garnering nearly 300 endorsements, including school boards, local officials, business leaders, philanthropic organizations, and community organizations.

The Schools and Communities First coalition unites every region, demographic and sector of California – from north to south, urban and rural, workers and business leaders, seniors and young people, teachers and students, homeowners and renters, and long-time residents and newcomers. Over the next 2 years, Schools and Communities First will continue to expand the coalition, engage in public education to strengthen the path to victory, and raise the needed resources through the existing broad bench of major funders and thousands of small donors. The aim will be to catalyze a conversation in California over the next two years about the need for Prop 13 reform, and build to significantly increase turnout among new and unlikely voters in 2020.