In 2020, San Francisco announced it would defund its police department of $120 million to fund a racial equity program called the Dream Keeper Initiative — here’s how the money was spent. (Dolores Park).
In June 2020, a week-and-a-half after George Floyd was killed, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton announced the city would reallocate $120 million from its police department budget — around 17 percent — to “better support the African American community.” This would be the beginning of a tactical operation carried out by activist local officials who capitalized on post-Floyd hysteria to plunder city coffers and establish a self-evaluating funding program amounting to reparations in all but name: the Dream Keeper Initiative.
Breed and Walton’s first move was to task San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission (SF HRC) with facilitating a “multi-week community input process…centering Black voices and experiences” to determine how to spend the money. “This [reallocation] is a concrete, bold and immediate step towards true reparations for Black people,” said Supervisor Walton, who had previously introduced a resolution to create a city-wide reparations taskforce. A year later, the Dream Keeper Initiative (DKI), a grant-giving program “aim[ing] to ensure San Francisco’s diverse Black communities are experiencing joy, feelings of safety, advancing educationally and economically, are holistically healthy, and are thriving,” launched using the reallocated money.
Since then, DKI has gotten over $100 million1 in funding and established 30 new full-time city government jobs. The initiative’s goals range from concrete (“provide comprehensive support for 300 Black families struggling to meet basic needs due to systemic failures and [offer] educational activities for 500 youth”) to abstract (“through…culturally affirming spaces, as well as workforce and economic development programs…increase opportunities for the Black community to feel seen and valued”). It’s awarded hundreds of grants to a mix of nonprofits, government agencies, and individual small business owners, though the return on investment in many cases remains unclear. Grantees include a one-person-run media company with a tiny audience, a transgender storytelling project, and, strangely, the Human Rights Commission itself.
Among other things, the Dream Keeper Initiative funds:— Sanjana Friedman (@metaversehell) November 17, 2023
— $500,000, no-interest downpayment loans for black san franciscans.
— a web of non-profits with shady connections to the city’s mayor and supervisors.
— direct cash transfers to one-person-run “companies” with almost… pic.twitter.com/EL41l7zly6
After all the grift, the chickens came home to roost. They now need more money for a functioning police force. Of course, they’re asking the Feds.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors Rep. @HillaryRonen Begs for More Police After She Personally Worked to Defund Them in 2020— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) April 11, 2023
2020: “I believe strongly in defunding the police”
2023: “We’ve been begging for more officers”pic.twitter.com/VrrytnEuVh
Three years ago, San Francisco Mayor @LondonBreed announced a plan to defund the police. Now, with the city short 540 police officers, and a rapidly growing area controlled by violent drug dealers, the mayor is finally asking the federal government to help. pic.twitter.com/VOpcdwVsVZ— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) April 1, 2023