BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — People’s Budget Bakersfield says it has launched a boycott of numerous prominent businesses they say have ties to Bakersfield City Council members.
The boycott was announced Wednesday night by the organization, which is comprised of Black Bakersfield residents fighting to end oppressive structures in the community. According to a press release, after the City Council voted to increase funding for the Bakersfield Police Department while not providing sufficient funding for public services, the group demanded to hold them accountable.
Last year, People’s Budget Bakersfield joined advocates nationwide asking for BPD funds to be reallocated to seven key areas including violence prevention (non-policing), youth development and education (including Black-Centered education), public and mental health, city racial equity policies and plans, affordable housing and homeless services, building Black economic equity programs and city reparations to Black and indigenous communities.
According to the release, “Defund BPD” would take money from the Bakersfield Police Department and redistribute it to programs and services that would make the community a safer place to live.
“For the second year in a row, the City Council had an opportunity to be on the right side of history and they blew it,” said Faheemah Salahud-Din-Floyd, co-founder of People’s Budget Bakersfield. “We have literally done all the work for them, all they had to do was listen to the residents of Bakersfield and adopt a budget that actually reflects the needs of the community.”
In response to the unanimous vote to increase funding for the Bakersfield Police Department without also increasing funding for public services, People’s Budget Bakersfield has called for Bakersfield residents to boycott six local businesses that they say “directly tie to Bakersfield City Council”:
● Cafe Smitten: Bob Smith
● Sage Equities: Bob Smith
● Hardaway Axume Weir CPAs, LLP: Ken Weir
● C&D Amusements: Chris Parlier
● DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen: Patty Gray
● Nixtamal Cafe: Andrae Gonzalez
In response, Councilmember Gonzales said “Nixtamal is part of a non-profit organization. It is not a for-profit, and I do not personally benefit from this. Nixtamal directly benefits the families and children in east Bakersfield.”
“Bakersfield City Council directly profits from continuing to vote for budgets that do not fund our public services,” said Daulton Jones, a co-founder of People’s Budget Bakersfield.
“They line their pockets by exploiting Black and Brown people. We will now showcase the failures of local businesses to actually support their communities. Businesses tied to oppressors on the Bakersfield City Council that refuse to support investing in our communities by defunding the over bloated police budget for an inherently racist and white supremacist agency are put on notice.”
The organization says a city budget should reflect the reflect the needs and desires of the community, though in this case, they say, the city has yet to implement one.