Tell Orange County, Florida Mayor Jerry Demings to Put the People First in our Budget!

All across Orange County, Florida, people have taken to the streets to protest systemic racism and police brutality, calling for elected officials to recognize racism as a public health crisis, reject increased funds to law enforcement, and reimagine public safety. 

Mayor Demings isn't listening. 

Despite the outcry, the Orange County Commission has recommended a $15 million INCREASE to the Sheriff's Department budget. We need to dismantle systems oppression and take bold actions to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter -- not double down on the same failed policies that have resulted in so much death and suffering. 

Join us! Add your name to the #OurBudgetOurBlock letter today, and demand  a budget that moves us towards a more equitable Orange County -- a County that works to achieve true freedom and liberation. 
Dear Mayor Jerry Demings,

In many ways you have led Orange County through some of our hardest days and great wins. We are now looking to you to relieve us in the most challenging of times. Everyday our system disparages the Black community -- one more hard day is one too many. As we continue to protest and demand the defunding of police because Black Lives Matter, we encourage you to join us and uplift the most marginalized communities in Orange County. Mayor Demings, even after weeks of protests, not only do we believe that you have dismissed our collective demands, we find that you are actively working to achieve the complete opposite.

Our community was not tear-gassed - our country is not speaking out - to stand by and watch our dollars pour into upholding systems of white supremacy. Nevertheless, we believe your request for a 15 million dollar increase for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, further disenfranchises the Black community and we call on you to meet our immediate demands to recognize, reject and reimagine.

Recognize and declare racism as a public health crisis. Systemic racism has always been, and continues to be, one of the greatest threats to Black lives. Black people are disproportionately impacted by health issues such as high infant and maternal mortality rates, hypertension, and heart disease. And on top of that, within the U.S. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by the police as White people. Racism causes disparate outcomes that negatively affect all areas of life including health, housing, employment, education, safety, and criminal justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this problem in our county, state, and nation. For Orange County to be a place where everyone can thrive, we must first recognize this crisis and act with the policymaking urgency the people of Orange County deserve. 

Reject $15 million for police. Redirect funds, give the people a raise. Orange County needs to defund the police, stop subsidizing corporations, and fund the community. Reject the proposed $15 million increase to the Sheriff's department budget. Instead, give us a $15 million raise for direct rental assistance, programs that nurture community. Universal received $130 million in county subsidies since December. We want that money back! We need community safety for all, not just some.

Reimagine an Orange County where safety is community-led.  Implement policy to ensure local programs incentivize decarceration and subsidize non-punitive, community-led approaches to public safety. A policy commitment to divesting from policing and incarceration in favor of community support

We request a virtual meeting with you to discuss these needs of our communities. We look forward to hearing back from you and your team re: options for a meeting date and time and answers to our three demands. 

We have an opportunity to be on the right side of history as we work towards a more equitable Orange County -- a County that works to achieve true freedom and liberation. We hope you can join us to protect our budget, moreover, our block.

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