WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – Racial equity-based programs and initiatives around Washtenaw County will now be funded by the annual revenue made from marijuana taxes.
During a meeting on June 2, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners approved a budget amendment allocating the annual revenue to equity issues. Revenue from marijuana taxation is expected to generate more than $200,000 every year, according to officials.
“We recognize the disparate negative impact the War on Drugs continues to have on Black and Brown communities throughout our county and the country,” said Justin Hodge, District 5 Commissioner and Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, in a release. “We see it as fitting that these funds should be used to expand the work outlined in the County’s Racial Equity Policy and to further our work addressing the injustices and divestment that communities of color in our county continue to face.”
The board unanimously approved two other resolutions related to racial justice during the meeting.
The first of the two resolutions condemned racially restrictive covenants, including housing deeds of some Ann Arbor homes built between 1912-70. The deeds barred non-white households from buying specific properties.
“This is one example of how housing discrimination was not solely an act of prejudice but also a planned and intentional act of policy and programs throughout the 20th century. While no longer binding, many of these covenants still exist in thousands of deeds in Washtenaw County,” officials said.
The second unanimously passed resolution recognizes Juneteenth to “honor the physical freedom of enslaved people in the United States,” officials said.
The day commemorates when the last African American slaves in Texas were notified of their freedom in 1865. It is also known as Jubilee Day or Freedom Day.
Washtenaw County will now observe Juneteenth every June 19, or on the closest weekday if Juneteenth falls on a weekend.
At 9 a.m. on Friday, June 18, Juneteenth will be commemorated with a flag-raising ceremony and program in front of 22 N. Main St.
Those wanting more information about the ceremony should contact Latitia Sharp through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 734-881-7403.