‘The voice of the people’: Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila runs for reelection

Cheryl Davila runs for re-election
Cheryl Davila/Courtesy

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Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila is seeking reelection for 2020 and hopes to “change business as usual.”

As the only Black woman on the Berkeley City Council, Davila led efforts to ban tear gas use by the Berkeley Police Department and declared racism to be a public health crisis. With a second term, Davila aims to “transform” policing by diverting 50% of its funding to mental health and substance abuse services.

“I raise the issues that need to be lifted up,” Davila said in an email. “Four years isn’t long enough to accomplish goals, especially with the bureaucracy in the equation.”

In 2018, Davila urged the city to declare a climate emergency. The resolution called on the city to work toward becoming a “carbon sink” in consultation with racial and environmental justice organizations.

According to Davila, the climate emergency declaration was the third of its kind in the United States.

“We must change business as usual and proceed in different ways,” Davila said in the email. “We can’t go back to polluting, being excessive, and capitalistic.”

Davila added that she thinks the city must work toward a tomorrow that is equitable, sustainable and just.

In 2019, Davila founded the Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force, a coalition of elected officials, activists and community members. The group seeks to educate the public about climate issues and create more “resilience hubs.”

Transparent budgeting and equitable economic recovery post-coronavirus are also at the top of Davila’s agenda.

“COVID 19 has documented and brought to the forefront the disparate treatment and consequences of the disparities on Black, Brown, Indigenous and people of color,” Davila said in the email. “The result of centuries and decades of environmental, institutional, structural and systemic racism. It’s mandatory to insure that history does not repeat itself.”

Lisa Gray-Garcia, poverty scholar and co-founder of POOR Magazine, called Davila a “conscious legislator” who is dedicated to inclusive decision-making.

“I’ve seen Cheryl consistently vote against criminalizing measures and measures that take land away from houseless folks,” Gray-Garcia said. “Cheryl is about walking the walk, not just talking.”

Davila has received endorsements from Councilmember Ben Bartlett, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, former Berkeley mayor Gus Newport and President of Berkeley NAACP Mansour Id-Deen, among others.

“Many tell me, I am the voice of the people,” Davila said in the email. “They depend on me to insure the voices of the marginalized, curbside communities, and what’s left of our Black, Brown, and people of color communities will be heard.”

Contact Victoria Stafford at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @VictoriaStaffrd.