A coalition of Nashville’s community organizations and labor unions want Nashville Mayor John Cooper to spend possibly as much as $100 million in remaining COVID-19 relief money on projects that address “a moral and racial equity lens.”
Members of the organization, Stand Up Nashville, announced this in an email to followers this weekend.
“The past several months have been a time of great upheaval in Nashville. Before the tornado hit on March 3, our city was already facing an economic calamity and growing distrust of government (at all levels) from many communities. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the backdrop of a series of racially motivated injustices, the mistrust of government has grown past the reaches of just policing,” according to Stand Up Nashville’s email.
“Stand Up Nashville is calling on our elected officials and civil servants to fix the parts of the commonwealth that are broken. Yes, we as a city have many areas that need immediate attention, but none more pressing than fixing the lack of trust with Black community, immigrant communities, and all who are struggling to stay afloat due to the widespread economic downfall caused by the pandemic.”
Members of the group say that COVID-19 has caused more hardship among black Nashvillians versus white Nashvillians. This, they went on to say, “exposes the systemic inequity in Nashville.”
Members of Stand Up Nashville ask for, among other things:
• Housing assistance, including up to $1,400 in rental assistance and a one-time $300 homeowner assistance payment.
• A grant program for underserved neighborhoods and minority-owned businesses, specifically black-owned businesses and for owners with past criminal histories who may have previously had Small Business Administration loans denied
• Compensation for lost wages during the time spent completing these training programs
• Hazard pay for frontline workers
As The Tennessee Star previously reported, Cooper is directing $24 million in funding from the federal CARES Act to provide every public school student in Nashville-Davidson County with a laptop.
Additionally, students who need internet connectivity will get it.
“This investment is sufficient for Dell Computers to provide Metro Nashville with up to 90,000 laptops for the projected 84,740 students who will be enrolled in traditional and charter schools in the upcoming school year,” according to the announcement.
“The cost of each computer will be just above $200 per device, a significant reduction from their list price.”
Earlier this summer, MNPS surveyed families to determine how many families had access to the Internet. Fifteen percent of families who responded to the survey reported that they did not have internet access. Adjusting for no respondents, MNPS has estimated that 20 percent of their families lack internet access, the website said.
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