A Baltimore councilman will propose a multi-million dollar anti-racism plan Monday as the city grapples with its racist past.
The plan is made up of two bills that will tackle “structural and institutional racism,” councilman Brandon Scott said.
The first bill would create an “equity assessment program” for agencies, pushing officials to establish “policies, practices and strategic investments” to stop the unequal treatment of people based on race, gender and income, the Baltimore Sun reported. The “equity assistance fund” would be required per the second bill to help bolster efforts to curb inequity based on race and other factors. It would be an annual fund with a price tag of roughly $15 million.
The proposal begs the questions of whether racism can be completely eliminated in Baltimore and if the $15 million plan will work to combat all discriminatory practices. It also could leave many Baltimore residents wondering how the city will further address its history of racial segregation.
It was just last year that a sizeable spending gap for capital improvements in White and Black neighborhoods came to light, the Sun reported. Predominantly White areas spent twice as much over the last five years as majority-Black areas, according to a city planning department analysis looking at $670 million of budgeted capital projects.
Under the new $15 million plan, money could go toward achieving parity in areas such as housing and education. Also, past disparities in capital projects could be addressed, as well as other sectors where structural racism is apparent.
The fund would receive money that totals about 3 percent of the Baltimore police department’s budget, the Sun reported.
If the council approves the plan, it would go before voters in November. It would have to be followed up with deeper-reaching, widespread measures to really fight racism.
“If we’re truly going to deal with inequity,” Scott said, “we can’t do it outside of city government until we deal with it inside city government.”