Dear Mayor Anzaldi and Councilmembers:
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a resident of [TOWN/NEIGHBORHOOD]. In light of the urgent movement for Black lives happening across our nation, I am writing to urge you to advocate for a meaningful reallocation of Clifton’s expenditures away from policing, and towards social programs that more effectively meet critical community needs.
On June 6th, 2020, the Clifton Police Department stated in a Facebook post that it “unequivocally condemns the actions (and inactions) of the officers involved in George Floyd's death.” In this statement, the Clifton Police Department expressed how they are willing to be part of the solution for a better future. Working towards a better future means investing in our communities, our children, and our health for the betterment of human life. It is insufficient to simply “be confident” that our world will be safer for Black lives without taking the concrete actions to safeguard that future.
In prior years and in this year’s proposed budget, the Police Department has consistently received significantly more money than any department. In the proposed 2020 budget, Police were allocated $21,393,150, consuming 17% of the total budget. Allocation to Human Services and Recreation, a department that seeks to “provide the community with a wide variety of youth, adult and family activities”, however, accounted for a mere 2.08%. Defunding may seem like a radical step, but the United States has been defunding education, science, housing, and food and agriculture departments, those with already miniscule budgets, for decades. These essential services provide more support and invest in the livelihoods of our Black and brown communities, rather than their incarceration and arrests.
Clifton’s population is 6.4% African American and 37.7% non-white Latinx. Given that racial inequities persist throughout the nation, and that police have proven to be a dire public health threat for Black Americans, it is unconscionable to continue to fund police at these disproportionate levels.
I urge you to advocate for a complete overhaul of Clifton's budget that directs at least $10 million away from policing each year. All over the country, concerned residents are calling for budgets that truly represent the people’s needs. In a global pandemic, it is all the more critical to invest funds in areas like education, recreation, health & human services, and public works. Defunding is only the first step to creating a better future. I urge you to revise the FY 2020 budget to reflect these demands, and show that Clifton is committed to true public safety for its Black population and all of its residents.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]