Activists Push for “Our Fair Share” of $121 Million COVID-19 Funds

The Equity Alliance Founders: Tequila Johnson, left, and Charlane Oliver

By Cynthia Anderson

NASHVILLE, TN — Grassroots organization, The Equity Alliance, has launched the Our Fair Share initiative to ensure that minorities, small businesses and disadvantaged populations receive a fair share of aid money Nashville received due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June, Nashville formed an oversight committee to recommend how the city should spend its nearly $121 million in COVID-19 federal stimulus funds.

The Equity Alliance is urging community leaders to spend at least 30 percent of that money on assistance for multicultural communities–which have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.

The Our Fair Share Initiative kicked off July 23 with a survey to assess the needs of Nashville’s minorities and small businesses during the pandemic.  The survey is an effort to capture some of the emerging needs in the Nashville community and also forecast how those needs may evolve over the coming weeks and months.

The Equity Alliance will use the information from the anonymous survey to create a community needs assessment. The needs assessment will be presented to Mayor John Cooper’s office and will provide real-time data to inform the Metro Nashville COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee on how to allocate money for the needs of Nashville’s most vulnerable communities, said Lelann Evans, project manager of Our Fair Share.

“The Our Fair Share initiative will directly communicate the real needs related to COVID-19 to the decision makers so that people of color in Nashville are NOT left behind in Nashville’s response to the pandemic,” Evans said.  “We all agreed this was needed now and not later before all the money was gone.”

People of Color, immigrants and people who live in Nashville-area COVID-19 hotspots are urged to participate in the Our Fair Share Initiative by completing the online survey.

Our Fair Share has two surveys, one for residents (available in both English and Spanish) and a second survey for small businesses. Both can be located on the Our Fair Share Nashville website at https://ourfairsharenash.com

The survey for residents, which ask about needs such as food assistance, utilities assistance, rent assistance, translation assistance, internet access and child care; has 18 questions and takes an average of 2 to 3 minutes to complete.

The survey for small businesses has 33 questions and ask business owners about financial needs as well as needs in areas such as staffing, COVID-19 testing, bill payment and revenue generation.

“In cities like Nashville, our working class are our essential workers and they have been impacted the most. Our teachers, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and our hospitality workers have made this city the ‘It City’,” Evans said. “As we’ve seen from recent reports, Latino residents are making up a third of COVID-19 cases. And Black residents are a third of COVID-related deaths. In order to properly respond to the public health and economic crisis, The Equity Alliance needs your input to ensure we get our fair share of the CARES Act federal funding.”

Evans said everyone who has been impacted by COVID-19 is urged to complete the Our Fair Share Survey by Friday, August 7th. Results will be released in mid-August.

 “We know we’re stronger when we bring a collective voice for a collective impact,” Evans said. “Join me in filling out the survey at OurFairShareNash.com and let’s work together to ensure our families and loved ones and small businesses can recover from this pandemic.”

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