Civics

WV Black Pastors Present The Economic Justice, Fairness and Equity Movement

The Tuesday Morning Group requests allocation of American Rescue Plan Act Funds to support initiatives in West Virginia’s census tracts with poverty rates 20% or higher

BBG has obtained and is publishing with permission The Tuesday Morning Groups request to allocate American Rescue Plan Act Funds to support initiatives in West Virginia’s census tracts with poverty rates 20% or higher.

The letter was sent on Feb. 28, 2022 to the Governor Justice’s Deputy Chief Of Staff Ann Vincent Urling and The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs Executive Director Jill Upson.

Dear Ms. Urling and Ms. Upson:

Mr. Rick Martin and I would like to thank the two of you for meeting with us last Friday by Zoom. As we discussed, we look forward to reviewing the recommendations submitted to the Governor to improve the State’s workforce development system by the Governor’s Workforce Development Blue Ribbon Task Force. We plan to submit our comments to you after we have completed our review of the recommendations.

During our meeting, you shared the following:

1. That the state has received one half ($677 million dollars) of the $1.335 billion dollars allocated to the State under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

2. That roughly $400 million had been obligated, and that the remaining $277 million would be budgeted by the WV Legislature with input from the Governor’s Office.

3. That you had received over $2 billion dollars in requests from various groups.

4. That anyone could submit a proposal to the Governor’s Office to request ARPA funds.

In light of our recent conversation as outlined above, the Tuesday Morning Group is submitting the following proposal to the Governor’s Office under the banner of the Tuesday Morning Group’s Economic Justice, Fairness and Equity Movement Proposal. The TMG recommends that Governor Justice request that the legislature allocate funds to support initiatives in West Virginia’s census tracts with poverty rates 20% or higher as outlined below.

1. StateWide Youth Summer Work and Academic Enrichment Program

$10 million dollars to Workforce West Virginia to administer the program

2. Special Pilot Project to reconnect the 50,000 plus 16 – 24 years old youth and young adults who are not working and not in school to education, job training and employment.

$10 million dollars to Workforce West Virginia to administer the program

3. Neighborhood Housing and Economic Stabilization Program to use housing rehab, upgrades, construction, and weatherization as a job training employment and economic development driver in low- income neighbors across the state per the 2004-HB-2950.

$25 million dollars to the WV Housing Development Fund to administer the program

4. Special Community-Based Pilot Project to Improve Outcomes for at-Risk Youth per 2012-SB-611 and 2017-HB-2188. The project will be a partnership between WV DHHR, Workforce WV, Voc-Rehab, WV State School Superintendent’s office, WV Adult Basic Education and other State governmental, business, and community partners. The partners will create ten (10) satellite clearinghouses to coordinate social and workforce development services to the hard-to-reach populations and to those who experience barriers to education, job training and employment.

$10 million dollars to the WVDHHR and Workforce West Virginia to administer the program

5. WV Office of Minority Health - Funding to support the office’s efforts to develop, implement and execute a state-wide plan to address and reduce long-standing, well-documented racial health disparities and to create satellite Community and Population’s Health Centers in strategic locations.

$10 million dollars to the WV Office of Minority Health to administer the program

6. Minority Economic Development Fund – Provide funding so that WV Economic Development Authority can fulfill the intent of the 2004 SB-573 Minority Economic Development law to develop and implement a procedure to promote economic development in heavily-populated low-income and minority communities.

$10 million dollars to West Virginia Development Office to administer the program

7. Center for Rural Health Development and the WV Rural Health Association

$2 million divided equally to support the expansion of the work of these two organizations

The requests outlined above are consistent with the May 31 2020, letter that was submitted to the Governor’s Office by the WV State NAACP Conference of Branches and the Charleston Branch NAACP proposing the 20/20/20 Economic Justice and Equity Fund.

They are also consistent with the February 1, 2022, letter submitted to the Governor’s Office by the Tuesday Morning Group (TMG) outlining a legislative framework to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19. But, most importantly, they are consistent with the intent of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act which calls for funds to be invested to address challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, to mitigate the negative outcome of COVID-19 and to address challenges faced by those populations that are most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to underlying health and socioeconomic conditions. We believe these proposed projects are consistent with a just, fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 funds to the most distressed communities with the most vulnerable populations.

We believe that this is a clear intent of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act law. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you.

Kindest regards,

Rev.Matthew J. Watts

Mr. Ricardo Martin


On February 1, 2022 The Tuesday Morning Group submitted “A Legislative Framework to Mitigate the Negative Impact of Covid-19 in West Virginia”to Governor Jim Justice, Senate President Craig Blair, House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin and House Minority Leader Doug Skaff.

The letter outlined legislative laws that are already codified with the exception of Senate Bill 556 which should be passed. The Tuesday Morning Group letter highlights that bills/laws that were designed to create pilot projects to address disparities in the areas of health, housing, education, employment and economics were never funded, implemented or executed.

We encourage you to read Joe Serevino’s article for HD Media

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