SA2020’s operations ended on March 28, 2024.
Our data, reports, and stories will remain online through September 2024. Read more about our decision to dissolve on our blog.
SA2020 | We’re Gonna Win | SA2020

We’re Gonna Win

Our team has been thinking a lot about winning these days. When your purpose is to drive progress toward a 10-year shared community vision, you know exactly what winning looks like in the long run. What does winning look and feel like day-to-day? And how are we making sure to embody our values in the process of winning?

Last week, during a budget work session, City executives and Mayor and Council discussed the portion of the fiscal year 2024 draft budget that affects SA2020’s work. The draft budget, released on August 10, recommends $128,000 to hire a new City employee that would be responsible, in part, for reporting on “key SA2020 metrics” under the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Office.

Page 97 of the Proposed Fiscal Year 2024 City of San Antonio Budget

This made little sense to us, so we attended the budget work session to learn more.

We learned that the City had changed its narrative.

After reading the proposed budget, we released a report assessing the use of data in the draft budget and sharing five calls to action, all of which called on the City to strengthen internal performance metrics. The report, released publicly, is what we have otherwise offered to the City informally for many years.

Three working days after we released the report, the City had adopted its language. During the budget work session, the director of the DEIA Office described the new proposed position as one that would “help align citywide performance measures” internally.

When the City responds to our call to action, we count it as a win.

One of SA2020’s core values is accountability. The community’s agenda is our agenda. We are transparent and intentional in our work, holding ourselves, institutions, and elected officials accountable to shared goals.

In March 2020, following a presentation by SA2020 to City Council, Mayor Nirenberg said it best, “SA2020 is an organization unto itself. It answers to the public that holds us accountable. It should take the guesswork out of policy priorities up here on the dais.”

After investing considerable time and money in SA2020 and the shared community vision for more than ten years, the City has defunded the organization, suddenly attacked the value of the partnership in statements to the press, and provided no answer as to how it will align investments and services to the 2030 community-defined shared goals. What does holding the City accountable to the community vision look like now? Answering this is what our work will turn to next, and we will soon ask for your help in answering it, too.

Backlash against community-based leaders and organizations happens when movement-building is successful and progress is being made. That’s why it’s so important to us to be people-powered when seeking the systems change necessary to achieve community results.

The past few weeks, champions of our work have written and called their councilmembers, joined us in attending budget town halls, volunteered their skills in grant writing and data analysis, donated, and amplified our messages across social media. Journalists and councilmembers alike reaffirmed that they use and trust SA2020’s research and data. The Express-News Editorial Board and two columnists called on the City to reinstate funding. These are all wins.

Achieving the shared community vision is a long game. We’re certain that it requires staying rooted in community, finding abundance where there is perceived scarcity, and strengthening our endurance. We’re ready, and it looks like y’all are, too.