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A Letter of Thanks & Solidarity to This Week’s Social Justice Warrior: Dr. Oliva Kasirye

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Dr. Kasirye,

The late John Lewis said, “you must be bold, brave, and courageous and find a way... to get in the way.” We thank you for being bold, brave, and courageous. We applaud you for getting in the way of corruption and gross negligence in the manner CARES Act funds were spent in Sacramento County.

For decades, Sacramento County has routinely put public health at the bottom of its priority list, consistently underfunding your department even as other departments see increases in their budgets. We remember the hard years after the Great Recession when county executives cut public health funding by more than 60% and public health lost a third of its staff members. We remember last year how the county cut public health by $43 million to pay for a jail expansion and budget increase for the sheriff. We see today how during a public health pandemic the county still has not prioritized public health in its Coronavirus Relief Fund process, essentially setting your team up to fail and not taking care of the public.

Despite these barriers, you have kept the focus around public health priorities throughout the pandemic: community outreach, contract tracing and testing.

Your courage to speak to what our community needs right now is what we hope to see more within county leadership. Your voice during this crisis does not go unheard. We deeply appreciate your sense of accountability to put aside your bosses’ politics to speak up for the critical needs of our community in responding to our current public health crises.

It is not lost on us the risk you took in standing up for what is right. Please know that we stand with you and will not allow any retaliatory or retributive actions to go unchecked.

Thank you for being a Social Justice Warrior.

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