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Black Lives Matter South Bend Proposes ‘Black People’s Budget’ Ahead Of City’s First Budget Hearings

Screenshot captured via Zoom

With the city of South Bend’s 2022 budget hearings set to start this week, local Black Lives Matter leaders released their own Black People’s Budget Tuesday.


The group’s plan offers ways to support the city’s Black community in several different categories: economic development, affordable housing, fair and representative government, community health and parks, education and public safety.


“Each and every one of these things addresses the problem holistically,” BLM-South Bend leader Regina Williams-Preston said. “All of these things affect, reinforce and –– if we do it right –– support each other. So it’s important that we take a holistic approach.”


The plan asks the city to spend at least $25 million over the next five years on upgrading parks in minority neighborhoods, and at least $15 million on recruiting and promoting minority healthcare professionals.


It also asks for a $40 million local investment in Black homeownership, home repairs and affordability over the next decade.


Beyond that, the plan doesn’t offer specific line items for the 2022 budget. BLM-South Bend co-founder Jorden Giger said the plan is a living document that’s meant to change as the city’s budget process ramps up.


“We know there’s nearly $60 million in American Rescue Plan money, but we don’t know exactly how much revenue is expected to come into the city over the course of this year that can be spent next year,” Giger said. “Once we get a deeper understanding of what the budget might look like for next year, we’ll set some specific goals.” 


Leaders said Tuesday they had sent the plan to South Bend Mayor James Mueller and met with various members of the common council about their priorities. 


“We’ve made a lot of good progress, but in order to really see a city of South Bend that serves Black people and other underserved populations –– like the Hispanic community and low-income folks –– there’s a lot of restructuring that needs to be done,” BLM-South Bend member Kemal Perdana said. “Especially in the areas of government that implement legislation.”


The city will give its first public overview of the 2022 budget at 6 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. The city will hold two other public meetings in addition to its eight regular budget meetings: 

  • 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, at the Pinhook Community Center
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, at the Howard Park event Center

Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.


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