The PBP team has been working hard to expand awareness of participatory practices as a way for communities to have real decision-making power over budgeting, divest-invest, and recovery efforts.
Here are a few highlights from this past year!
Listen to the full playlist!
Seattle Cut its Police Budget. Now the Public Will Decide How To Spend The Money.
The Appeal - January 2021
We vastly expanded our advocacy support around budget justice and are currently supporting over 20 cities in their divest/invest efforts through 1:1 consultations, city-wide workshops and trainings, communications and materials support, strategy and education sessions, and more.
The largest instance of this work is in Seattle where their City Council voted to divest funds from the Seattle Police Department and move these funds into a larger pool of funds totaling $30 million for PB.
"Throughout the summer and fall of 2020, the groups called for a budget that divests from policing and uses participatory budgeting—a governance model with roots in Brazil—to invest in “priorities that can generate true public health and safety for all Seattle residents.”
“That really put forward a strong vision for the city that could then be strengthened and reiterated by folks who were marching and protesting, who were having meetings with their [elected officials] and seeking to hold folks accountable,” said Kristania De Leon, the director of partnerships and strategy at the Participatory Budgeting Project, a national organization that supports local campaigns."
– Manjeet Kaur
Read the full article in The Appeal.
Reimagining a Better World After George Floyd’s Death
Yes Magazine - May 2021
This special audio report from YES! and Public News Service explores the ways communities affected by police violence are organizing to keep each other safe, in Minneapolis and beyond. PBP's Co-Eds Kristania De Leon and Shari Davis spoke with the show's host, Anoa Changa, about what participatory budgeting is and how it can be used for re-imagining what public safety looks like.
"We know that folks that are interested in radical imagination, reimagining public safety, aren’t just thinking about what we dismantle or what we, where we offer disinvestments from our current budget, but are really focused on what are we building? What are we trying to replace these things with? Where are the gaps? How are we actually going to use this process to meet community needs, and so creating more transparency in the process, creating more community leadership, and really listening and following community guidance, around their demands, their agenda, their needs, is a way for participatory budgeting doesn’t just support in thinking about where we’re divesting from, but really how we’re investing and how the investment process is community-led and community-centered."
– Kristania De Leon
Listen to the episode above or visit Yes Magazine to read the full transcript.
What If You Could Decide How The Government Spends Public Funds?
Ted Radio Hour - July 2021
Public places don't always fully meet the needs of a community. PBP's Co-Ed, Shari Davis, explains how participatory budgeting can give us all a voice in creating safer and more equitable public spaces.
"...I think we have to recognize that so often, people want to be involved, and they don't have an avenue to do that. So where do we channel that energy for effective and smart decision-making? Well, PB is an opportunity for that. And I don't often have to convince people to do it, but I do have to explain that it will be real. And this is not about tokenized leadership. This is not, like, just for fun. This is powerful, and it allows us to do things that maybe we didn't think about before. And that makes the argument itself."
– Shari Davis
Listen to the episode above or visit TED Radio Hour to read the full transcript.
To Engage Marginalized Communities
To Build a Bridge - August 2021
PBP's Director of Democracy Beyond Elections, Elizabeth Crews, discusses best practices for engaging with underserved communities to increase civic engagement. Democracy Beyond Elections is a collaborative, national campaign dedicated to transformative democracy rooted in community led decision making.
"...The more that you share your power with your community that you're representing, the better the decision-making is. And when I say better, I mean the more likely it is to have an impact and serve the interests of that community."
– Elizabeth Crews
Listen to the episode above or on Spotify.