People’s State of the City lifts up our young people and community leaders. This year the event was emceed by two brilliant young leaders from the Youth Committee, Mac and Noah, with the keynote powerfully delivered by Dawn and Crystal, activists from Black Lives Matter Long Beach and Housing Long Beach.
For the 8th year in a row, the Long Beach community lifted up the inequities and indignities faced by our residents and workers and presented an electrifying vision in its People’s State of the City event. Organized as a juxtaposition to Long Beach Mayor’s State of the City event, the People’s State of the City asks Do ALL our students have opportunity to thrive in a school district that regularly touts its ranking as one of the nation’s best districts? Is there a harsh underbelly to the staggering economic profits from Long Beach’s Port? (Answer: Yes! Exploited port truck drivers and choking air pollution). What happens when you have massive development to build gleaming new buildings to feed Long Beach’s tourism, luxury housing, and big business appetite, with zero rent protections for its residents?
From my perspective, the main clarion call and response from speakers to audience participants was “No Displacement!” The diversity of our communities is what gives Long Beach its value and flair, and so we need to protect our neighborhoods from housing displacement, and an environment of over policing especially our brown, black, immigrant and low-income residents.
If you want to know a City’s values, follow where the money goes. People’s State of the City presented that recently the Long Beach Police Department issued a single payout of $9.8 million to a family of a loved one slain by LBPD. Compare that to the $2.3 million per year allocated to the entire Long Beach Health Department which receives a measly 1% of the City’s General Fund!
Here’s where People’s State of the City wants money to go to: Invest in Youth!! Invest in all our young people so they can learn, grow, be safe and thrive! The event announced a potential 2020 city ballot initiative to establish continued youth funding. Last year, after much community pressure, the City established a Youth Fund, a wonderful achievement but without dedicated continued dollars. “A bank account is nothing without direct deposit!” said keynote speaker Dawn Modkins.
The People’s State of the City also highlighted major wins by community including:
- Voters approve Measure WW, which overhauls Long Beach hotel employee working conditions to include panic buttons, and set square footage limits for housekeepers in a single shift
- Long Beach Unified Schools District legal settlement mandates LBUSD create additional social, emotional, and academic supports for high needs students and their families, after the finding that School District misspent $24 million originally designate for high-needs students
People’s State of the City inspires me as a Long Beach community member and parent to stay involved, stay connected, and use my power to create a place where we all can thrive.
Congratulations and a heartfelt THANK YOU to the many groups and organizers who make People’s State of the City happen, and to all those who organize throughout the year who dream, fight, and come together to make a city that reflects all the People!