The city of Oakland, California announced it will start cutting $500 checks with no strings attached to eligible low-income families of color via a pool of money created by private philanthropists from Blue Meridian Partners. Poor whites won’t be eligible.
Why? The city says it’s because whites, on average, make three times the amount of money that families of color make, so whites are excluded, no matter how poor they are.
The Oakland Resilient Families program “is the latest trial of a ‘guaranteed income’ system of wealth distribution, where residents are given a set amount of money per month to supplement the existing social safety net,” according to CNN.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf seems excited to get $500 into the hands of poor families of color. “The poverty we all witness today is not a personal failure, it is a systems failure,” Schaaf said in a city press release announcing the program. “Guaranteed income is one of the most promising tools for systems change, racial equity and economic mobility we’ve seen in decades.”
The pilot program is set to last 18 months and will include 600 families. The city says this program is for black, indigenous and people of color with low incomes and at least one child under 18, “regardless of documentation status.” Families making $59,000 or lower are defined by the city as low income. Half of the program spots will go to families making about $30,000 a year.
Poor white families need not apply.
Poverty is not a personal failure, it’s a policy failure. Today in Oakland we launched a guaranteed income pilot for 600 low-income BIPOC families to receive $500 a month for 18 months, no strings. We want to change the narrative. pic.twitter.com/78fDjUj4G1
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) March 23, 2021