City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
Long Beach, CA - This week, the City of Long Beach announced plans for a “Framework for Reconciliation in Long Beach,” as unanimously approved by the City Council. Acknowledging the existence and long-standing impacts of systemic racism in Long Beach and the country, the initiative will provide a framework for engaging the public in a reconciliation process, internal process review and local action plan.
“Systemic racism exists in all public institutions, and that includes Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We have an opportunity to listen to the community that is demanding change and take action on solutions to address racial injustices and equity for all.”
The Framework for Reconciliation in Long Beach centers around four key steps:
Starting next week, Long Beach residents will have the opportunity to participate in a series of collaborative, focus-group style community listening sessions to engage in and provide ideas for creating meaningful change for all aspects of inequity and racial injustice. Over 10 sessions will be held over the next two weeks with top City management, connecting with a broad base of diverse stakeholders in the Black community, as well as the entire city of Long Beach.
The sessions will begin June 18 and continue through July. To comply with the City’s health orders and physical distancing measures, listening sessions will be held virtually at this time.
Additional details and registration information can be found on the City of Long Beach Office of Equity website. Community members are encouraged to complete a brief online survey, and can submit their questions, ideas and inquiries about how to get involved by emailing: EquityLB@longbeach.gov. All comments will be reviewed, organized into thematic areas, and shared with policy makers and the public.
Initial listening session topics, dates and times are as follows:
A team of diverse City staff from various departments, led by Interim Deputy City Manager Teresa Chandler in the City Manager’s Office, will then convene with local stakeholders to evaluate the feedback and help shape policy, budgetary and reform ideas for City Council consideration to implement structural reform in July and August.
“We understand that racism and community trauma is a serious problem,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “The pain we are seeing from our community is real. It needs light, it needs discussion, and it needs action. The time is now.”
For decades in the United States and Long Beach, a history of unfair laws and practices, including hiring discrimination, redlining and exclusionary zoning practices, and underfunded schools and insufficient investment in education, fostered racial inequities in health, wealth, and opportunity, and created many obstacles for people of color and low-income residents.
In Long Beach, the COVID-19 pandemic has especially impacted the Black community. Black residents make up 13% of the population, yet account for 23% of COVID-19 deaths. Black residents are also hospitalized for asthma 9.4 times more often than White residents. Air pollution and diesel exhaust from trucks, ships and trains pose extreme health hazards, and housing for Black people and low-income residents is typically adjacent to these problematic usage areas.
Eliminating racial inequities in income and wealth would benefit families, communities, and the local and regional economy. Today, average incomes for White workers in Long Beach are double those of Latinx workers and at least one and a half times those of Black, Asian or Pacific Islander and other communities of color.
Long Beach takes great pride in being one of the most diverse cities in the country, and the City is committed to implementing the community’s vision for ensuring that Long Beach continues to thrive and provide greater opportunities for all. City leadership has undergone a cultural shift from implementing isolated programs to taking a systemic and collaborative approach to addressing economic and health disparities throughout Long Beach.
The City has already taken important steps toward reaching these goals, including: investing in staff training, establishing the Office of Equity, becoming a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, and developing an Equity Toolkit. However, more needs to be done to comprehensively operationalize equity internally through all City decisions, policies, practices, programs and budgets to help ensure that all individuals are able to reach their highest level of health and potential for a successful life, regardless of their background and identity. The City remains committed to furthering these efforts to end systemic racism in Long Beach.
For more information, visit the City of Long Beach Office of Equity website.
About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep its residents safe, visit: longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.