Members of one organization said a shortage of cash and a surplus of anti-black policies generates poverty, and they want to prove that theory by handing out generous sums of money throughout North Nashville.
Members of that group, Moving Nashville Forward, said on their website that Nashville residents must reassess how they treat the destitute. They said they have raised more than $250,000 from Nashville residents and will use that money to create a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI).
Group members tweeted that in November they will distribute $1,000 per month to 25 families in the 37208 zip code, which includes Germantown.
“We’re starting in North Nashville because Nashville dead-ended it by building I-40 through its heart. Anti-Black policy and racist city planning created the conditions of poverty in North Nashville. Today, we can begin to heal this harm,” Moving Nashville Forward members said.
Anyone in the area who makes less than $40,000 a year may qualify, group members tweeted last week.
Metro Nashville Council member Freddie O’Connell tweeted Sunday that he has invested in the project.
Organizers said they got the idea from a similar program in Stockton, California.
“After the pilot, we will release a report to continue organizing support for a guaranteed income across Nashville and Tennessee. We know the impact that a #GBI can have from @StocktonDemo. Now we are bringing this home to Nashville and the South.”
According to stocktondemonstration.org, 125 chosen residents received a guaranteed income of $500 a month for 24 months, starting in 2019.
“This income is unconditional, meaning there are no strings attached and no work requirements,” according to the website for the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED).
“A hand up, rather than a hand out, SEED seeks to empower its recipients financially and to prove to supporters and skeptics alike that poverty results from a lack of cash, not character.”
Organizers tweeted that they plan to launch a second phase in 2022 to provide an income to 100 more families in North Nashville.
Jamel Campbell-Gooch co-founded Moving Nashville Forward, according to the group’s website.
Campbell-Gooch is the first vice-chair of the Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB), which reviews allegations of police misconduct, according to the COB’s website.
Several social justice advocates critical of law enforcement serve on the board. Campbell-Gooch has asserted that any police responses that challenge the COB are “a normal racist response to Black people.”
Campbell-Gooch suggested that sharply reducing police funding and making law enforcement officers subordinate to civilian oversight will stop riots.
Campbell-Gooch, speaking of a Metro Nashville Police (MNPD) budget increase, said in June that society founded the police “to catch slaves.”
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