Testimony of Oussama Mokeddem, Director of State Policy with Public Health Advocates, in support of AB 2360

April 26, 2022


Good afternoon, my name is Oussama Mokeddem, Director of State Policy with Public Health Advocates. Together with Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula, we are proud to sponsor AB 2360, which will provide a strategy to plan, allocate, and execute the equitable distribution of future emergency funding.

COVID-19 Revealed Cracks in our Emergency Response Infrastructure

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, data reveals the pandemic has done immense harm, and has had an unequal impact on communities of color.

Like the impact of the pandemic, response and recovery efforts across the state have also been unequal. We knew going into the pandemic who would be impacted because we were aware of existing health and economic disparities. Unfortunately, our emergency response systems were not prepared to respond to the challenges that COVID-19 produced.

The pandemic highlighted the importance of emergency preparedness and response. The pandemic also revealed significant cracks in this critical system.

Why AB 2360 is the Solution

These lessons learned over the past two years have taught us that we need to prepare NOW for the next emergency. Our goal through AB 2360 is to bring together key state and local partners to develop tools and protocols for the allocation of future emergency funding, to reduce racial disparities in recovery, response, and repair efforts.

The workgroup created by AB 2360 will create a plan for allocating funding during emergencies that will come back to the legislature for approval. The plan will create the necessary infrastructure by…

  • Preparing NOW, for future crises with a race-conscious lens and community-driven approaches that put our most historically disinvested communities FIRST.
  • Building resilient communities by making SMART and sustainable investments based on the existing needs of our most vulnerable communities.
  • Establishing relationships with KEY BIPOC-led and serving organizations before emergencies happen.

Finally, I know people did the best they could to respond to the pandemic. This was an overwhelming task for all of our state and local systems. However, we have learned lessons from our successes and our failures. We must use these lessons to create an emergency funding strategy that better serves our most vulnerable communities in California.

If we fail to do so, each future emergency will create deeper disparities that will be even harder to address.

For these reasons, I strongly encourage an AYE vote. Thank you for your time!

Oussama Mokeddem
Director of State Policy
Public Health Advocates

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