Oregon settles with Hispanic business owner who sued over Covid fund exclusive to Black residents

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This is the second suit that Oregon has decided regarding race-based pandemic aid

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A Hispanic business owner who sued Oregon for blocking her from the state’s COVID-19 relief fund exclusively for black business owners will finally get paid, as the state this week announced their race-based program. But agreed to settle the case.

Maria Garcia, who owns Revolusian Coffee House in Portland, sued Oregon last year over the Oregon CARES Fund, for which the state legislature dedicated $62 million from the federal CARES Act to grants that are only for Black Oregonians. were eligible. Garcia claims the fund is unconstitutional because it is based on race.

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Garcia wrote in a Facebook post at the time, “This lawsuit is not pro-Black or Latino, but a lesson to our elected officials that the state must be inclusive in all its decisions and provide equal opportunities to receive funding.” “

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NS Oregonian Reported Friday that the state deposited more than $46,000 in court in December following an initial injunction request from Garcia’s attorneys, and that amount was for the maximum amount Garcia would have been eligible for under the program if she were black.

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“Since there was no funding left in the program, there was nothing to do but settle the matter,” Garcia said in a statement to The Oregonian through the Center for Individual Rights. “We will challenge any future attempts by Oregon to divide its citizens by race, which, hopefully, now everyone understands are both unfair and illegal.”

This is the second settlement Oregon has made in a case challenging the Oregon Cares Fund.

The first was in March, when the state settled with the White owner of Great Northern Resources, a lumber salvage company, to which the state agreed to pay up to $230,000.

Edward Blum, representing the plaintiffs in the case, told Granthshala News ahead of the settlement, “If the state of Oregon wants to target adversely affected businesses, that’s fine,” Blum said. “But help Hispanic businesses, Asian American businesses, Native American businesses, and white businesses that have been impacted not only by blacks, but unconstitutionally.”

In response to the first settlement. Gov. Kate Brown, D, issued a statement defending Oregon’s race-based program.

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“As a state, we have a duty to assist those in need, especially Oregonians who are suffering from systemic racism and disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” Brown said. “The Oregon Cares Fund has been a huge success, and it has provided immediate relief to Black Oregonians, Black-led nonprofits and Black-owned businesses who are less likely to have access to federal aid.”

Brown’s office did not immediately respond to Granthshala News’ request for comment on Oregon’s deal with Garcia.


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