Caring Futures: County Board Edition
Updated: Oct 16
Our Caring Futures Campaign seeks to reignite belief in our ability to transform the world by taking local, collective action and exerting pressure on the 2024 city and county budgets. Working together, we must remind ourselves of what we can create.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s proposed 2024 county budget is now public and, over the course of the next two weeks, it will go to the Dane County board as a whole for debate, changes, and eventual approval. This is a crucial opportunity for lifting up the voices of those most vulnerable and making a passionate case for investing in resources that meet our community’s needs.
Please join us for Phase 2 of our campaign, where we’ll be trying to influence the Dane County board in two ways:
Giving public testimony before the Dane County Board.
On Wednesday, October 18, Dane County residents can provide public testimony on the county budget. For more info on that process, as well as a sample script, click here.
Emailing county board supervisors with these key messages.
Send written comments on the budget to firstname.lastname@example.org and your supervisor. You'll find a sample email containing both of these messages here.
1. We love the expansion of CARES to the county-level, but it’s not enough.
We were happy to learn that the County is investing in expanding CARES, the community alternative response to emergency services, county-wide. This measure will prevent harmful police contact and deliver help and safety to some of our community’s most vulnerable community members. This is undoubtedly the direction we want our community to move in.
And yet, investing in a program as popular as CARES does not mean that we have checked a box, or that we have done our due diligence in creating a community in which everyone can be safe and thrive.
The over-incarceration of Black people is still the primary driver of our jail population. If we want to undo decades of devastating statistics about our racist policing and incarceration, if we want to build a future in this community for everyone, we need our county board to consider every alternative to policing and the status quo (e.g., are cops really the best people to be running youth programs?). We really can and should do better.
2. We want investment in violence prevention models that center Black and brown folks and community organizations. And we want to invest in them on a much bigger scale.
As soon as we have a crisis, we as a community talk the good talk of violence prevention. Then we call for more policing. It’s time to break that cycle of reactivity for good. It’s time to seriously invest in evidence-based, proactive prevention. It’s time for measures that are community-responsive, community-embedded, and which do not result in increased police surveillance and incarceration.
We call on the Dane County board to substantially increase its public health and violence prevention dollars in Black and brown community organizations and in leaders with lived experience of being a person of color in Dane County. Local organizations such as Urban Triage and Freedom Inc are the experts on what their communities need.
As community leader Brandi Grayson said, in her response to the October 10 death of a 15 year-old girl by gun violence, “how we show value is how we allocate money.” Budgets are moral documents. And we have not been doing enough.