August 5, 2009

Reference: Marisa Mariano, Chair, Babae-San Francisco

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $489 million from the state budget passed last week by the state legislature, cuts which were directed primarily towards the state’s health and human service programs. Filipina-American women of Babae, the San Francisco chapter of GABRIELA USA, are especially shocked and outraged at Schwarzenegger’s elimination of the entire state’s funding support for California’s crucial Domestic Violence Programs. Domestic violence shelters were already preparing for the 20% funding cut proposed by the state legislature, but will now be forced to close their doors entirely or scramble to seek new sources of funding. Affecting the most vulnerable citizens of the state, battered women and children will be left with no place to go as the $20.4 million in cuts affects 94 domestic violence shelters throughout California. These shelters not only offer a safe space for women and children escaping and seeking protection from their abusers, but also provide vital services to help rebuild their lives. Shelters across the state are now being forced to lay off staff and eliminate services including their emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy, and counseling programs, as well as those which serve the young victims of abuse, such as child  counseling  and support groups. It is equally important to remember that these broad cuts do not only affect these much needed shelters, but also affect the valuable domestic violence programs which focus on community education, advocacy, and prevention.

“We are already experiencing deep cuts for students, children, the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the working poor throughout California, but now, if Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts are allowed to stand, survivors of violence will not have a place to turn for help and lives will inevitably be lost,” said Marisa Mariano, Babae-San Francisco Chairperson. For many communities, the budget cut coincides with an increase in reported cases of domestic violence. The stress of job loss, foreclosures, and car repossessions stemming from the current economic crisis can raise tension in vulnerable homes, leading to domestic violence. The city of Fresno has seen a 30% rise in cases of domestic violence over the past four months. “Domestic violence has been and continues to be a problem in the Filipino community. We’ve lost Marisa Corpuz and Claire Joyce Tempongko in the last few years in the city of San Francisco alone, to domestic violence and without state support and culturally relevant resources, more Filipinas will fall victim to violence.”

Babae-San Francisco stands together with domestic violence shelters, organizations, and others throughout California to protest the governor’s action and call on the state legislature to do everything in its power to restore funding to domestic violence programs and other vital health services for the most vulnerable Californians.

We urge you to take action and:

1.) Call the Governor’s office at 916-445-2841 and express your concern.

2.) Use this easy action alert tool to send a message to the Governor and your state legislators: http://www.capwiz.com/sfvo/issues/alert/?alertid=13807706&type=ML

3.) Forward this message to your family and friends and urge them to call or write the Governer and their state legislators.

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