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Eau Claire groups demand American Rescue Plan dollars go to BIPOC services

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Black and Brown Womyn Power Coalition sign

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - With the City of Eau Claire expecting to receive millions of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan, more than 70 organizations and individuals are demanding a seat at the table when it comes to how that money will be allocated.

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the City of Eau Claire will receive $13.5 million in funding.

Organizations like the Black and Brown Womyn Power Coalition, the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association and the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center sent city leaders a list of demands.

Some demands include directing funds to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ organizations that provide essential social services and directing funds to organizations that support BIPOC youth with access to jobs, internships and positive youth development programs.

But their top priority is establishing a clear community-led process before the money is even allocated or spent.

"This has to be a community-led process. It can't just be government staff and officials who have no lived experiences, who have not been impacted by the pandemic, who have not had to worry about where their next meal is coming from or if they're going to be able to pay their rent this month. We want those people (BIPOC) to have a say in how this money is going to be spent," said Pa Thao, the executive director of the Black and Brown Womyn Power Coalition.

City Council president Terry Weld said discussions on allocating the American Rescue Plan funds are not on Tuesday night's city council agenda, but it will be in the future.

They're also looking at how to best engage the public with the process.

Eau Claire County is also receiving federal dollars. The Power Coalition plans to send demands to the county board by this Friday or next Monday and speak during their public comment period next Tuesday.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

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