BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — People's Budget Bako has responded to the Kern County Board of Supervisors' denial to secure a COVID-19 contract with the nonprofit, slated to provide grant money to help house the homeless and support the community here in kern, citing a disagreement in political views.
"In an unexpected turn, Supervisor Zach Scrivner said he would not support the contract based on what he said was a "political agenda" by the firms in support of defunding the Kern High School Police Department and the Bakersfield Police Department. Scrivner cited 10 Facebook posts he said were posted by the organization over June and July."
The nonprofit responded in part by saying:
"Last week the Kern County Board of Supervisors made a prejudiced decision that impacted the county’s most at-risk population by denying over a million dollars of state funding simply because they do not agree with the way we choose to fight for freedom and equity. Without knowing much about our work or why we seek to defund the police, they labeled us as having a radical political agenda, and in doing so criminalized our organizers and the groups who support us. They conveniently left out that our movement to defund the police was birthed from and cultivated in a history of white supremacy and systemic racism within Kern County and abroad. They forgot to mention that we had several listening sessions with the community and have created a communal city budget that invests money and resources back into traditionally marginalized communities. Our plan was and will always be to divest from the Police so that we can take that money and invest in our communities. We want peace just like anyone else, but for us, that peace comes free of murder and systemic racism.
By labeling us radical and political, the Kern County Board Of Supervisors joins the legacy of white supremacists (and the people of color who support them) that use fear mongering to discredit the work of Black and Brown organizers while erasing our very existence. Building Healthy Communities (BHC) South Kern took the heat but the truth is the campaign to Defund The Police here in Kern County was created and executed by our group: The People’s Budget Bako. By using BHC South Kern as a scapegoat, The Board Of Supervisors seeks to turn our groups against each other, which is another tool of white supremacy. All the BHC is guilty of is caring about the safety of our community. The same members of our community who the BOS ignores year after year. To claim that “The good people of Bakersfield oppose defunding the police” is to reduce our community a monolith and to erase a significant portion of the Bakersfield and Kern County community, who, contrary to popular belief, actually feel LESS safe in the presence of Police. It also serves as an apt reminder that the Kern BOS are not actually working towards the improvement and safety for all of us who reside within Kern’s boundaries, just those that think and look like them."
The full response can be found here.
23ABC has reached out to the county for their response, we have not heard back yet.