The Importance of the Oregon Cares Fund

Legislation | 07/15/2020

Toya Fick
Executive Director, Stand for Children Oregon

Beyond the disproportionate medical effects of COVID-19 within the Black community, Black Oregonians have long suffered disproportionate social harms ranging from education inequities to economic uncertainty. 

Because students cannot reach their potential unless they and their families are safe and able to thrive, this work has long been important to us.

To mitigate the risks posed to Black Oregonians in this pandemic, we believe targeted legislation is critical.

The Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency is a targeted investment in the Black community from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, providing the Black community with the resources it needs to weather the global health pandemic and consequent recession. The fund is a $62 million investment in Black individuals/families, Black-owned businesses, and Black-led non-profits. We are proud to see that it passed in the state legislature.

This stands to provide the momentum needed to shift things in Oregon for Black families. We are confident it will bring change because when we directly address issues, we see direct solutions. We have seen this first-hand most recently with Measure 98 and Student Success Act. When resources are centered around the immediate needs of the community, we see drastic change in everything from improvement of individual well-being, to graduation rates to the state’s economy. 

Five years ago, we put these beliefs into practice in our advocacy for the Black and African American Student Success Plan. We’re proud to see how that work has continued to advance us along the path towards equity and justice. Its success - built upon by Measure 98 and Student Success Act - demonstrates the importance and need of targeted legislation. 

We look forward to the day when targeted strategies for each problem our communities face are implemented and families and students can thrive. The passing of the Oregon Cares Fund gets us one step closer to a just world where this work is not so desperately needed.

We thank the members of the Oregon Emergency Board for passing this important legislation, and give special thanks to Representative Lawrence-Spence and Representative Bynum for their incredible efforts in seeing this through. Will you join us in thanking the members of the Emergency Board? Sharing our gratitude with our lawmakers is important because it helps them see what the community feels passionately about.


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