Dear Mayor and Commissioners of Miami-Dade County,
My name is [NAME], I am a resident of Miami-Dade County. I am writing to demand that the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners adopt a budget that prioritizes community well-being, and redirects funding away from the police. I will not be content with “reform.” I am demanding that real change be made to the way this city allocates its resources. In recent weeks, your constituents have taken to the streets to join a national, and now global, outcry against systemic racism. A systemic problem requires systemic solutions.
For the current fiscal year, Miami-Dade County allocated $759,072,000 for police, including a $68,404,000 increase (9.9%) on the previous year's police operating budget and a staggering 35% of the General Fund. I demand that this be the year when the elected officials of Miami-Dade County begin to meaningfully defund the Miami-Dade Police Department and reallocate those funds to areas proven to more effectively promote a safe and equitable community: community-based mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, affordable housing programs, educational opportunities, arts programs, resilience and sustainability measures, and more. I demand a budget that reflects the actual needs of Miami-Dade County residents.
It is time we imagine how the needs of the community that the police purport to meet can be better met through a framework of care rather than a racialized framework of criminalization and punishment. For that reason I demand that the County begin on a path to invest in the nonviolent institutions, services, spaces, and functions of community that are better equipped to promote the safety and wellbeing of its residents. This will mean strengthening and expanding existing programs and departments, as well as working with, listening to, and learning from the community to break new ground. This is a long transition process but change starts with reallocating this funding!
It is your duty to represent your constituents. I urge you to revise the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and to fund care, not cops. Can I count on you to pass a budget that puts a focus on social service programs and the wellbeing of the community? Public opinion is with me.
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]