EJA urges Gov. Cooper to create equitable economic recovery

On May 13, 2021 Virginia Knowlton Marcus, CEO of DRNC and Vice Chair of the Equal Justice Alliance (EJA), sent a letter to Governor Cooper about the American Rescue Plan, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package. The American Rescue Plan provides funding to states with the promise of equitable economic recovery.

Writing on behalf of the EJA, Knowlton Marcus puts forward a bold vision for what equitable economic recovery might look like in North Carolina. She outlines how this funding could address systemic inequities and injustices in our state to create a “new normal” of equality. Specifically, the letter recommends using funding to maximize impact to underserved communities.

EJA Recommendations

In this letter, EJA offers to support NC recovery through outreach and direct services provided by our member organizations. They also offer recommendations for concrete investments and guiding principles to help build better, more fair outcomes for communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A summary of some of the recommendations

  1. Guiding ideas for how to decide where to allocate funding.
    • In addition to fixing immediate hardships, to use this as an opportunity to invest in equitable systems that will lessen hardship over time in underserved populations – people living in poverty, incarceration, and/or with disabilities.
  2. Use community-based organizations to help get out info about the Child Tax Credit, and Economic Impact Payments.
  3. Make sure people with low-income have access to legal representation as these programs role out.
  4. Maximize investments that will directly benefit North Carolinians with low income, to enhance equity long-term in multiple areas. This list is long, but here are some highlights:
    • Invest in Broadband and clean water infrastructure projects in rural parts of the state
    • Subsidize high-speed internet for low-wealth communities
    • Invest in community-based mental health services and supports, supported housing and peer support specialists
    • Create additional affordable housing units
    • Increase wages of direct care workers for people with disabilities
    • Boost funding to high-poverty schools to help children catch up from lost learning

Read the full letter to Governor Cooper.

Learn more about the American Recovery Plan in this fact sheet.