For Immediate Release: July 8, 2021

Contact: Tia Oso,, 480-900-2456

Action Center on Race and the Economy: 

Public Safety Starts with Funding Communities, Not Police

Research Fact Sheet Reveals Lightfoots Plans to Spend ARP Funds on Cops and Banks

CHICAGO AND NATIONWIDE –   The Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) issued the following statement in support of local groups that are part of the Right To Recovery Coalition in demanding the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal stimulus is intended to go directly into communities suffering the most from the devastating economic and health effects of the pandemic — not to pay into police budgets and Wall Street banks’ profit margins. We support the coalition demands for Mayor Lightfoot to use ARP funds to address the root causes of gun violence in the city and not increase spending on police. 

The Action Center on Race and the Economy stands in support of the Right to Recovery Coalition and allied Alders in their demands that Chicago’s American Rescue Plan funds be investing in the well being of the communities hit hardest by the Covid-19 Pandemic and Recession. 

“The Biden Administration’s guidance to direct ARP funds to policing is a slap in the face to those hardest hit by the pandemic and suffering the worst impacts of gun violence. Biden and Lightfoot are using the pain of Black and Brown people as a talking point, while directing funds to policing that will cause direct harm and cost more lives than they will help” Said Saqib Bhatti, Co-Executive Director of ACRE. “This is basically Biden’s ‘Crime Bill 2.0”. 

“Federal guidance to use ARP funds for policing under the guise of Public Safety is a fear mongering tactic to detract from the power of the growing movement to Defund the Police. We know the police do not keep us safe. We must also understand police shootings as gun violence which can only be solved through completely reimagining public safety, and not by throwing even more money into police budgets.”  said Alyxandra Goodwin, Deputy Campaign Director Policing & Incarceration at ACRE.

ACRE’s Fact Sheet describes Mayor Lightfoot’s track record of prioritizing spending on the Chicago Police Department budget and Wall Street Banks over the needs of the people. She has proposed diverting $1 billion of the federal stimulus to Wall Street banks and investors to pay off bad bank deals, $465 million of that would go directly to JPMorgan Chase, a company which made over $1 billion in overdraft fees during the pandemic. She wants to use the rest to plug holes in her 2021 budget, which already prioritizes policing over community needs. While banks make billions, our communities are being left behind. 

Decades of grassroots organizing have successfully proven that the most effective strategies against gun violence is to invest in community based and led programs that address the root causes, provide supportive services and solutions.  We must demand policies and plans that divest from policing and incarceration and truly invest in public safety. We do that by giving resources to programs and services that have proven effective in intervening and actually preventing gun violence, that will truly save lives. 

The Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) is a campaign hub for organizations working at the intersection of racial justice and corporate accountability. 

The Right to Recovery Coalition includes: Action NOW, Albany Park Defense Network, Alliance for Community Services, Autonomous Tenants Union, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Chicago Teachers Union, Chicago Votes, Cook County College Teachers Union, Local 1600, Grassroots Collaborative, Illinois Nurses Association, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Lift the Ban, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), Northside Action for Justice, ONE Northside, Organized Communities Against Deportation, Parents for Teachers, Rizoma Collective , SEIU Healthcare, Southsiders Organized in Unity & Liberation (SOUL), Southeast Environmental Task Force / Coalition to Ban Petkoke, Southside Together Organizing for Power (SOUL), Sunrise Movement, The Chicago & Midwest Regional Joint Board, Workers United, United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, United Working Families, UWF 50th Ward, 12th Ward IPO, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, 33rd Ward Working Families