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Long Beach's Everyone In Summit Seeks Economic Equity

Release Date: 2018-05-14

A rising tide is supposed to lift all boats.

That doesn't seem to be the case with the current booming economy, though, and the Everyone In movement is trying to do something about that.

"It's all about economic inclusion," Vice Mayor and Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson said. Last November, Richardson convinced the City Council to support the initiative.

"It's all about how people connect to the economy," he said. "We're talking everyone; the young, the small businesses, the disabled, the disadvantaged… Just imagine how great it would be if north Long Beach was seeing the same kind of renaissance that happened in Bixby Knolls."

The culmination of six months of work will take place next Thursday, May 17, with the "Everyone In" Economic Equity Summit. The all-day event is free, but requires an RSVP (to bit.ly/everyoneinsummit).

Dr. Manuel Pastor, director of USC's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, is the morning keynote speaker. And Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Google's Head of Women and Black Community Engagement, will be the luncheon speaker.

Consultant Wilson & Associates will be presenting findings from its "Everyone In" Listening Tour — a series of focus groups made up of primarily under-represented communities. Policy Link, the same group that helped launch the local My Brother's Keeper program, will offer preliminary findings of its Economic Equity Profile, a study funded by City Community Development. The Profile is designed to serve as a basis for continued talks about economic challenges facing Long Beach communities.

There also will be panels and breakout groups with economic inclusion experts from around the country.

"We've conducted five roundtables, one a month, focusing on areas of inclusion," Richardson said. "First was home ownership — how do we get more people included in owning homes? Then it was how to support small businesses. How do you help them? That's where the jobs are."

Other areas of focus, Richardson said, are procurement or how to make competing for government work simpler and more inclusive; access to banking — "there still isn't a bank in the Ninth District;" and workforce development, including how to strengthen project labor agreements. All of those topics will be addressed at next week's summit.

"Economic inclusion is going to be the main priority," Richardson said. "For many financial institutions, it's going to be a very different conversation. There's going to be more community focus."

Wells Fargo and Farmers & Merchants Bank have been the institutions that are most involved so far, Richardson said. Wells Fargo is a summit sponsor, along with the city, Long Beach Transit, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the Port of Long Beach.

Results of the summit are expected to impact the city's Blueprint for Economic Development being developed now by the city's Department of Economic Development.

Original Article: www.gazettes.com