Budget Demands & Call to Action!

Nashville’s Metro Council will vote on a new operating budget on June 20, 2023.

Our demands for the budget

1. No new funds for MNPD ($16 million proposed)

2. Dedicate that $16 million to a citywide Participatory Budgeting (PB) process for 2024

3. Give full control of the PB process to a department independent from the Mayor’s Office, such as the Metro Human Relations Commission


Call to Action

(1) Endorse our demands as an individual and/or as an organization.

(2) Join us to testify at the annual Budget Hearing on June 6, at 6:30 pm, City Hall to tell Council how fulfilling these demands will improve your life! (Gather outside council chambers at 6:00 pm.) Register here to let us know you’re coming!


Here are 5 reasons why we’re demanding no new funds for MNPD and $16 million for Participatory Budgeting

1. MNPD “calls for service” plummet year after year, yet MNPD funding continues to skyrocket. 

Nashvillians interact with police less than half as much as they did in 2016. Approximately 80% of all calls in 2022 were for non-criminal matters, while only 5% of all calls were for explicitly violent situations. Property offenses, which are direct manifestations of wealth inequality, accounted for 20% of all calls.

2. MNPD produces fewer tangible public safety outcomes every year, yet MNPD funding continues to skyrocket.

Police respond after a crime has already taken place. At least 75% of all calls for service in 2022 resulted in no tangible public safety outcome whatsoever. Only 2% of all calls for service resulted in citation or arrest.

3. MNPD currently has 137 funded and unfilled positions, totaling at least $13 million in excess funds.

Forty new officers are slated to join MNPD by August, but many positions will remain unfilled. The ongoing trend of officers resigning also promises to continue. Meanwhile, other departments providing crucial, life-sustaining goods and services are asked to make sacrifices year after year.

4. MNPD has received a total of $42 million in new funds over the last three years—more money than they can even use.

Even with an abundance of perpetually unfilled positions, plummeting calls for service, and diminishing returns on our “public safety” investment, MNPD receives millions in new funds each budget cycle, and millions more through supplemental allocations between budget cycles.

5. When well-executed, Participatory budgeting is a radically democratic way to reclaim public funds to make safe & thriving communities.

Metro’s current participatory budgeting (PB) process suffers from inadequate funding, inaccessibility, & burdensome control by the mayor. Control of the PB process must be transferred from the mayor to an independent, equity-focused department such as the Metro Human Relations Commission.

If you agree, (1) endorse our demands & (2) let us know you plan to testify at the budget hearing on June 6! 


If you plan to testify on June 6, please be sure to:

(1) lift up our demands & narrate in personal detail how meeting these demands will positively impact your life & your community

(2) write out & practice your remarks in advance as you will have only 2 min to speak.

The safest communities are not the ones with the most police but the ones with abundant public goods and resources.

Black, Indigenous, working class, and unhoused Nashvillians have been left behind for far too long. It’s past time to build a Nashville for all of us!

Participatory Budgeting | Radical Proposal Writing Party

We are hosting a virtual space on Wednesday, May 24, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. to develop and submit radical proposals for Nashville’s participatory budgeting (PB) process. Join us to learn more about the process and to help us further radicalize & democratize it by submitting proposals that benefit our communities! Bring a friend, bring a comrade, bring your organization! Register here.

What is participatory budgeting?

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a process in which community members democratically determine how to allocate public money. It originated in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989 as a socialist experiment in participatory democracy, and has since spread around the world and across the US.

After years of pressure, Metro Nashville has allocated nearly $10 million in one-time funds to a citywide PB process. Community members are proposing projects for potential funding and will vote on the top projects in December. The deadline for submitting proposals online is June 1. 

Why are we doing this?

PB is an inherently radical & democratic process. Unfortunately, Metro’s PB process suffers from inadequate funding, inaccessibility, & burdensome control by the mayor’s office. We are intervening in order to help build momentum toward a PB process true to its radical roots.

NPBC is committed to building a Nashville not just for developers and a wealthy few, but for all of us. When carried out in truly democratic ways, PB is one step toward making that a reality. Our virtual event is not a formal collaboration with Metro Nashville government. 

Register for our radical proposal writing event today and share with your people!

Finally, stay tuned for more information coming later this week about our demands for the budget process and upcoming actions in support of them!

General Interest Meetings!

The Nashville People’s Budget Coalition is now a member-based organization! We are holding interest meetings to share about our history, our present, and how you can contribute as a member to our shared future!

What does a member do? NPBC members will be equipped to build relationships and power in their neighborhood and council district by organizing neighbors around the challenges they face, all with the support of fellow members and leaders.

The goal is to build a safe and thriving Nashville for all, which requires an abundance of affordable housing, expansive transit, fully-funded education, living wages, violence prevention, non-police crisis response, health care, libraries, parks, and much more.

Endless funding for cops, courts, and cages inhibits our safety and wellbeing by looting funds that could otherwise resource our collective wellbeing through social goods, violence prevention, and effective crisis response. Instead, Nashville serves and protects a few at the expense of many. It doesn’t have to be this way.

How do we build a Nashville for all? By building neighborhood and district-based associations, assemblies, and other people-powered decision-making bodies that shift power to shape the budget and improve our material conditions.

Building a safer, more abundant Nashville for all starts with building relationships of solidarity in our own neighborhoods and with our own people. Join us on February 13 or 16 to learn more about how you can join in this critical community-building work! 

We are a multiracial collective striving to build multiracial people power for a world of safety and abundance beyond cops, courts, cages, and the racial capitalism they uphold. If you share our vision and purpose, join us!

Go here to register for our in-person (February 13) or virtual (February 16) meeting. Let’s build together!

Final Book Club Meetings. Join Us!

Our first three meetings of the Nashville People’s Book Club were full of generative conversation as we connected the dots between No More Police: A Case for Abolition and what we’re seeing with regards to policing in Nashville. Our final three meetings will be:

January 12, 6:30-8:00 p.m. (chapters 4-5)

January 19, 6:30-8:00 p.m. (chapters 6-7)

January 26, 6:30-8:00 p.m. (chapters 8)

We hope you will join us as we continue to explore the reading in relation to policing in Nashville and strategize action steps! 

Attendance at all meetings is not required. Come as you are and as you are able! A firm commitment to abolition is not required in order to attend! Reading the book is encouraged but not required. 

If you have not yet registered and would like to attend, you can register here. No need to register again if you have already registered.

In addition to our book club, stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about general interest meetings we’ll be holding in February where we’ll share about the opportunity to become a member of our organization! We’re excited about continuing to build people power to transform the status quo in Nashville and can’t wait for you to join us!

Nashville People’s Book Club!

Join us for the Nashville People’s Book Club!

We are reading the recently published book No More Police: A Case for Abolition by Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie. 

We had a great first gathering of the Nashville People’s Book Club and are excited about our second virtual gathering, Thursday, November 17, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

At our first gathering, we discussed the Foreword and Introduction. On November 17, we will be discussing Chapters 1-2.

Our plan is to read and discuss two chapters at each meeting. Including November 17, we will meet four more times between now and early January. Attendance at all meetings is not required. Come as you are and as you are able!

If you have not yet registered and would like to attend, you can register here. No need to register again if you have already registered.

This book club is a great opportunity to sharpen our analysis and add new strategies and tactics to our toolbox for organizing to build a safer Nashville where everyone has what they need to thrive. It is also an opportunity to learn more about ways to join in our work, starting in your neighborhood! 

A firm commitment to abolition is not required in order to attend! Reading the book is encouraged but not required. 

Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to join our work!

In solidarity,

Nashville People’s Budget Coalition

We’re Back & We’re Building! Join Us!

Greetings comrades and friends!

After taking a year to rest and regroup, the Nashville People’s Budget Coalition is back and preparing to pick up where we left off: building people power to divest public funds from police, jails, and courts that neither keep us safe nor help us thrive, and to invest abundantly in the public goods like housing, education, transit, and non-police emergency response that do. 

The chorus of Nashville residents fed up with mass displacement, rising unaffordability, and leaders that continually place profits before people is growing louder and louder everyday. The time for business as usual is running out. 

We have some exciting opportunities coming soon for you and your neighbors to join and grow our work of building toward a new Nashville for all, starting in your own neighborhood and council district. We hope you will join us!

Our first event on the calendar will be a virtual book club to help nourish our imaginations for what’s possible and build our analytical and strategic toolbox for getting there. We’re reading the recently published book No More Police: A Case for Abolition by Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie. Our first gathering will be November 1, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Future meeting dates and times will be announced soon. 

Register for our November 1 virtual gathering here. 

If you are curious about or already eager to join the movement to build a world of safety and abundance without police, jails, and prisons in Nashville, we hope you will join us! 

A firm commitment to abolition is not required in order to attend! Reading the book is encouraged but not required. Attendance at all book club meetings is also not required. Come as you are and as you are able!

We look forward to discussing and learning together through this important and highly accessible book, which was written specifically with organizers and non-experts in mind.

Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to join our work soon! Sign up for our email list here.

In solidarity,

Nashville People’s Budget Coalition

2022 Update & Statement

The Nashville People’s Budget Coalition is currently in a period of rest and regrouping. It is exhausting for a small group of unpaid organizers to attempt to change a system that is actively committed to maintaining a violent status quo. 

Over the last two years, we have educated thousands on the budget and the vast spending disparities that comprise it, and have mobilized thousands of residents to engage in what is an otherwise undemocratic budgeting process. 

Despite the impacts we have made as a coalition, including some very small wins that we and other organizations helped secure in recent budget cycles, we know that the work is only just beginning. 

Nashville is more inequitable, unaffordable, inaccessible, and anti-Black than it has ever been. 

This year’s proposed FY23 budget largely offers more of the same: a few crumbs for the things we need most, and a steady, increasing, and outsized stream of funds for violent and ineffective responses (cops & cages) to problems created by decades of racial and economic inequality.

As we pause and regroup, it is more clear than ever that Nashville will never establish the safety and thriving that all its residents deserve until we give residents the power to determine how our public dollars are spent, and until we dramatically divest from what fails to keep us safe and invest in what does.

We dream of a Nashville that has learned that true public safety is built not on cops and cages, but on accessible, affordable, and community-controlled public goods and non-police means of community safety. 

We dream of a Nashville for all, not just a few. And we will continue bringing more and more residents across the city together to make that dream a reality.

Stay tuned as we continue building in the months to come!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for our email list to stay involved.

In solidarity,

The Nashville People’s Budget Coalition

The Fight Continues. And We Will Win.

On Tuesday night, Metro Council celebrated loads of cash for cops and a few crumbs for our communities with a standing ovation. 

Yes, the substitute budget that council passed makes important investments in education, including teacher and support staff pay, and minuscule investments in affordable housing, transit, and violence interruption. These items were only included in the budget at all because we have joined impacted community members in amplifying the desperate need for increased funding for these resources for years. 

But nearly 3,000 Nashville residents living in all council districts and zip codes have already told us that this is not even close to enough! The budget we deserve and demand is a budget that meets our communities’ needs by fully funding the public goods that enable us all to thrive. 

Instead, we have a budget that maintains the violent status quo by devoting millions more to cops and cages while our communities suffer from crises of poverty, displacement, and violence that cops and cages by definition cannot fix, and often make worse. 

It does not have to be this way.

And that is why we stood in solidarity with illegally evicted renters and brought Tuesday’s council meeting to a grinding halt. Fed up with council’s swift rejection of the only amendment that would have divested from police and invested in our young people, its disregard of the voices of thousands of constituents calling for serious change, and its self-congratulation for maintaining the violent status quo, we were left with no choice but to disrupt business as usual. 

While some are painting our disruption as disrespect, we know it was actually the closest thing to democracy that happened Tuesday night. When the budget process does not include historically excluded residents in any meaningful way, we have no choice but to involve ourselves, whether the process allows it or not. As a result, renters and members of our coalition have the attention of the city, and we will continue to force the life or death issues our people are facing until change comes.

City leaders may be relieved that they pushed through millions more for cops and cages and a few crumbs to satiate us. But it will not be possible to ignore the growing chorus of thousands of Nashvillians for much longer. Years of organizing to disrupt the violent status quo in Nashville has shown us that history is on the side of people fighting tooth and nail to survive systems that do not serve and protect us, and to build new systems in their place.

The fight continues. And we will win. 

Sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date on ways you can get involved in our work to come.