Today, Washington Community Action Network (Washington CAN) released a report titled, “Facing Race: How Budget Cuts are Increasing Racial Disparities.” Community members, faith leaders, and members of the state legislature gathered in Seattle, Spokane, and Mt. Vernon for a press conferences. The one in Seattle took place at Greater Mt. Baker Baptist Church at 10 a.m.
Speakers at the event included:
— Gerald Hankerson, from Washington CAN
— Antoinette Angulo, preventative health services director for Sea Mar Community Health Centers
— Diane Narasaki, executive director of the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS)
— Rep. Luis Moscoso, from the Washington state legislature
— Rev. Baber, from Washington Christian Leadership Coalition
The report finds that the budget cuts made to the 2011-2013 biennial budget disproportionately impact communities of color and exacerbate already existing disparities in the areas of health care, education, human & social services, criminal justice and civil rights.
Among its findings:
— Washington state is ranked in the bottom five of all states in closing the racial and ethnic achievement gap for K–12 students. The report says that at the current pace, it will take 45 years or more to close the gap between students of color and their white counterparts.
— Families of color have fewer assets than white families, primarily due to less inter-generational transfers of wealth through inheritances, bequests, etc. In 2007, the median white family held $170,400 in assets, compared to $21,000 for Latinos and $17,000 for Blacks. Asian ethnic groups such as Hmong, Cambodian, Lao, and Bangladeshi Americans have assets similar or less than Latinos and Black Americans.
— Nationally, more communities of color are living in poverty. The report says that 10 percent of whites are living below the poverty line, compared to 11 percent of Asian Americans, 14 percent Pacific Islanders, 22 percent Latinos, 23 percent American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 25 percent Blacks.
For more information, or to view the report, visit www.washingtoncan.org.