Long Beach, CA - More than 800 people have participated in 15 listening sessions and community town halls, totaling more than 30hours, hosted by the City of Long Beach, as part of its development of a Framework for Reconciliation. 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.
Beginning on June 12, the community also has been invited to provide more feedback to aid in the framework development via a community survey. So far, more than 280 people have responded to the survey, which is open through 5 p.m. Monday, July 20. The public also is encouraged to ask questions and offer additional input and recommendations by emailing EquityLB@longbeach.gov.
“This is a moment in our city and our country’s history that demands a recognition that systemic racism has had an impact on communities of color,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Myself and our City Council, along with our City Manager, have made equity and racial justice a priority, and we intend to deliver on this promise.” The Office of Equity—which was established by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services in 2017— recognizes the pressing need to pair the community listening feedback with institutional culture shifting and restructuring, thus prompting internal racial dialogues with Long Beach City Staff to determine how to build or shape systems that reflect the best interest of all of our community members.
“It is important that our leadership team really listens to and hears experiences of racial injustice and recommendations on how to address the persistent effects of government, economic and social systems that have structurally excluded Black and Indigenous people and people of color in Long Beach,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “The pain we are seeing from our community is real and needs to be heard and addressed with direct action.” The City is partnering with Dr. Amber Johnson from California State University, Long Beach, to analyze the information collected during the listening sessions and town halls. Dr. Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Science and has extensive experience in researching racial health inequities across the life span. The concerns and strategies put forward by the participants will inform the final policy, budgetary and programmatic recommendations. On June 23, 2020, the Long Beach City Council acknowledged racism as a public health crisis and adopted the Framework for Reconciliation, which includes the following four steps:
Since the City Council action, the Office of Equity and City leadership have begun two of the four framework steps: acknowledging and listening. The City will continue working towards convening stakeholders and developing a set of recommendations for consideration by the City Council in August.
- Acknowledging the existence and longstanding impacts of systemic racism in Long Beach, and more specifically anti-Black racism.
- Listening to community members’ accounts and experiences of inequity and harm caused by racial injustice.
- Convening stakeholders to evaluate the feedback from the listening process and shape policy, budgetary, charter, and programmatic reform ideas.
- Catalyzing action by presenting immediate, short-term, medium-term, and long-term recommendations for the City Council to consider.
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 and the Port of Long Beach. 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 and bike paths.
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