With COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations declining, and vaccines becoming more available for Californians, there are signs of hope as we pass the pandemic’s one-year mark. Still, state leaders must not lose sight of the past year’s immense public health toll, and the data and stories from Californians that repeatedly showed us how communities of color experienced higher rates of illness, death and overall hardship due to the virus. Sadly, many Californians of color won’t see their health and economic well-being improve for years, or perhaps even during their lifetimes.
California children and families will receive much-needed money to buy food, pay for housing or child care, and other urgent needs thanks to the American Rescue Plan approved in early March by Congress and signed by President Biden.
And the number of children and families who will benefit from assistance through an expanded Child Tax Credit is remarkable — 7.9 million to 9 million California children, according to estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and ITEP, respectively.
As California and our country move forward to tackle the challenges facing our communities and make life better for our families and neighbors, the California Budget & Policy Center continues our commitment to advancing public policies that improve the lives of Californians who have been blocked from sharing in the state’s prosperity. We recognize a healthy and vibrant democracy and economy, and brighter California is possible when we remove the policy barriers blocking Californians in low- and middle-income households, as well as Asian, Black, Latinx, and Pacific-Islander Californians and other Californians of color from fully participating in the state’s economic, social, and political life.
Californians are casting their votes and making important choices about revenue for local communities, ending the ban on affirmative action, restoring justice for families and selecting our next elected leaders. The ballot decisions and questions come down to: What California do we want for our families and communities? For California women the stakes are particularly high. Women, especially Black, Latinx and Native American women, make significant contributions to the social and economic well-being of our communities, the state’s economy and our own households. Yet, our own well-being is suffering.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession have forced Californians and San Diegans to grapple with a new reality. Daily ways of life – sending kids off to school, being able to safely go to work, and seeing and caring for aging family members – all looks very different these days. All this change also brings opportunities to make choices about how we govern our schools, create better access to health, housing, and child care, who we elect to represent us at City Hall and in Sacramento, and how we raise revenue to better support our communities. We are coming together to make these decisions on our ballots ahead of the Nov. 3 election.