Did you know that just like here in Oakland, Alameda County continues to grossly overfund policing while not doing enough to address our housing, mental health, and substance use disorder crises? We spoke with Tash Nguyen from the Care First Community Coalition about their work organizing to defund Alameda County’s jail and criminal legal system, so that we can build power towards resourcing life-affirming resources like permanent supportive housing, community-based mental health care, living wage jobs for care workers, and more.

“10 years ago our county spent 300 million dollars on a jail system that had about 4,000 people in it. And now we’re spending twice as much for half the amount of people. So our county is spending over 630 million dollars on locking our people up. And on top of that, they’re trying to build an 80 million dollar jail expansion.” -Tash Nguyen

“Most everyday people don’t know what a county does. It’s actually more on the county to provide housing than the cities. It is a collaborative process but counties have WAY more funding to do things.” -Tash Nguyen

“Budgets are representations of priorities and values. I want to emphasize the value part because people talk a lot about equity and then when you go into these budgets you do not see equity… There is no equity in trying to spend resources to lock our people up instead of giving them the health services and the support that they need to move and advance forward in healthy ways.”- Pecolia Manigo