Our Vision for Participatory Budgeting

image of people sitting in a large space, raising hands as part of a voting process

Our goals for participatory budgeting

We see participatory budgeting as a tool for achieving racial and economic justice. To that end, our coalition envisions a participatory budgeting process that:  
  • Redistributes public money into Black and Brown neighborhoods, and other communities that have experienced historic disinvestment and neglect across Boston.
  • Gives power to people who don’t currently feel empowered by electoral politics and other existing democratic processes.
  • Creates opportunities for communities to learn about Boston’s $4 billion budget, and to build shared knowledge and analysis around the systems that impact their lives.
  • Centers the knowledge and expertise of people most impacted by systemic oppression.
  • Is designed, led, and facilitated by grassroots organizations and individuals fighting for justice in their neighborhoods and communities.

How do we do it?

In order for Boston’s participatory budgeting process to center justice and equity as core values, it must be designed and led by communities most directly impacted by systems of oppression.

Over the past several months, the Better Budget Alliance has worked with the City of Boston to design an ordinance that outlines the governance structures surrounding participatory budgeting. One of the most important aspects of this ordinance is the creation of a participatory budgeting oversight board, which is responsible for designing and overseeing the entire participatory budgeting process. This powerful board will determine how justice and equity are woven into the fabric of the participatory budgeting process. For this reason, we envision an oversight board that is led primarily by working-class BIPOC residents, as well as other individuals who have been most directly impacted by oppressive systems in our city. 

To realize this vision for an effective and diverse oversight board, it is important to pass a version of this ordinance that gives the board sufficient power over the participatory budgeting process. You can support this vision by telling your city councilor to support the BBA’s participatory budgeting ordinance, and by applying to join the oversight board in the Spring of 2023. You can contact us to get updates about both actions.

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