FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHMOND FUND FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH: GROUNDBREAKING BUDGET MEASURE MOVES TOWARD NOVEMBER BALLOT
We insist on a world where young people are safe, educated, and prepared for the future. Together with youth organizers, we’re building that world, and with over sixty-four hundred registered voter signatures of support, we are not alone.
In fact, nearly 14 thousand Richmond residents signed our petition requesting a ballot measure this November to institute the Richmond Fund for Children and Youth. This groundbreaking budget measure will simultaneously create transparency and accountability in the city budget while prioritizing a wise and just investment in lasting local youth development.
Join us this Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 7pm at Richmond’s City Council meeting as our coalition of youth, parents and community-based organizations encourage council members to consider the needs of the city’s youth. On behalf of a whopping 14 thousand signed residents, our coalition asks city council to return the Richmond Fund for Children and Youth as an item to their agenda after it was prematurely removed last week. Along with youth, community advocates, and other residents, we seek to secure the Richmond Fund for Children and Youth as an agenda item in order to secure a place for the measure on this November’s ballot.
To create a funding source dedicated to all children and youth, including those who are homeless, transitioning out of foster care or juvenile hall, or at risk of not graduating, shall 3% of Richmond’s unrestricted general fund be set aside for the Richmond Fund for Children and Youth, used for services including afterschool and summer programming, mental health, job training, education, recreation and arts and shall a resident Oversight Board be created for the fund?
For our coalition and the 14 thousand Richmond residents who signed in support of this ballot initiative, the answer is a resounding Yes.
County Supervisor John Gioia stated: “The voters of Richmond should have a chance to vote on this important charter amendment in this year’s general election since it has qualified for the ballot before the deadline for placing measures on the November election. Richmond voters expressed their strong intention, in the measure, to have the Kids First Initiative take effect in 2017. Delaying action is Democracy delayed.”
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, prevention and early intervention programs for youth are consistently found to have the greatest long-term economic impact through increased earnings and decreased involvement in the criminal-legal system. Supported by local and national data that similar funds demonstrate improvements in public safety, improved coordination of city services, better planning, and the leveraging of significant additional resources, the Richmond Fund for Children and Youth will help the city utilize its general budget with greater foresight without creating new taxes.
“Richmond Kids First is important to me because it stands as a voice to every little child or teen that has been affected by the things going on around them,” says Veronica Stevens, 16, who busted her shoe leather while doing outreach that supported the gathering of nearly 1,000 signatures throughout the city. “I see the possibility of every person having a better life; this makes me want to strive harder to see an actual change,” she said of the measure.
Help spread word about a people’s movement to care for Richmond’s next generation. Join us and meet Invest in Youth Coalition organizers and youth members like Veronica this Tuesday when they tell their stories to city council, explain why this fund is so important, and as non-voting aged youth, ask, “Who will vote for us?”
- Who: Invest in Youth coalition, youth, parents and community organizers
- What: Richmond City Council meeting public commentary
- Where: Richmond City Hall
- When: Tuesday, July 26, 6pm