May 24, 2021
Norman, OK - Grassroots community groups including Red Dirt Collective, Social Injustice League and Norman Collective for Racial Justice have formed a “People’s Budget Coalition” with demands on the City of Norman budget. 
Participants in the People’s Budget Coalition held a series of workshops in April and May 2021 to study and discuss Norman’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2022. Based on this community work, the People’s Budget Coalition is demanding the following be implemented for FY22:
UNARMED NON-POLICE CRISIS RESPONSE  -  Mobile Crisis Teams in this year’s budget to handle mental health, substance use calls, and homeless outreach
PRIORITIZE INCLUSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE - Municipal Broadband, Accessible Public Transportation
COMMIT TO PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING - Let the people decide what to do with American Rescue Plan money

Many members of the People’s Budget Coalition got engaged in municipal government issues through last summer’s protests demanding change at City Hall. During the June 2020 budget hearings, our community testified for many hours about the impacts police violence has had on their lives. We know that these harms have increased because the social services and supports that keep us safe by making sure basic needs are met have been systematically defunded for decades. We understand that a budget is a moral document, so we are demanding a city budget that reflects our true values and priorities. Our city money should fund a culture of care and compassion rather than systems of criminalization, violence, and exclusion. 
Social Injustice League said in a statement: “With more people becoming homeless because of Covid-19, we need to make sure that the city is looking to set aside money for increasing housing security, homeless services and an accessible homeless shelter. The City must listen to the people who took the time to tell their stories and answer the community’s call for mental health resources and crisis response teams. It is also essential that public transportation be made accessible for our entire community, including those with limited mobility and people who are non-verbal.”

Norman Collective for Racial Justice said in a statement: “NPD may have created a ‘Diversity & Equity’ committee, but that can’t magically erase the fact that their bargaining unit, the Fraternal Order of Police, endorsed a candidate who published photographs of himself using the white power hand symbol in front of the state capitol building. NPD’s own numbers show that these same patrol officers, represented by the FOP, are more than 3 times as likely to choose use of force on Black residents as white residents. Community policing is not the answer. The only way to keep our residents safe is to limit their contact with police as much as possible, and to fund the social services like unarmed crisis response teams that will create safety and security for all residents.”
Red Dirt Collective said in a statement: 
“At the beginning of the pandemic, before the people we called “essential” lost their jobs, before the enclaves of poverty scattered across Norman were emptied into the streets, in a rare moment of clarity we promised that we would make it through this together.  

Now as we near the end will we make good on any part of that promise?  As people drown in the waves of misery that swept through the neighborhoods of the poor, and did not recede with the pandemic, who will we choose to rescue with our “American Rescue Plan”? 

Rescue is for those in danger. It is nakedly cynical to throw the life raft elsewhere while the suffering disappear underneath the water. No -- Rescue the drowning. Give the poor and working people of Norman the opportunity to vote democratically on the allocation of their own rescue. Invest in infrastructure that supports the people in desperate need.

We form societies to escape cruelty, why are our only solutions now men with sticks, and guns, and ultimately cages? Why is the simple suggestion that we treat problems of mental health as health problems considered radical? We’re just humans, our bodies, minds, and wills break, and when they do we need compassionate trained help, not more brutality -- somehow the only thing we seem excited to fund.

Norman must live up to the promises we made when this all began.
Norman must invest in it’s poor and working people.
A better city for everyone is possible.”
The People’s Budget Coalition will hold a “Rally for a People’s Budget” at 5pm on Tuesday, May 25th in Andrews Park. Norman residents will be invited to hear more about the work of the member organizations of the People’s Budget Coalition and listen to a “Know Your Rights” presentation from the ACLU of OK. In case of adverse weather, the Coalition will update with a rain plan at


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