”People’s State of the City” Gives Residents a Chance to Discuss Where We’re At

peoplestateofcity

Former Councilmember Tonia Reyes Uranga addresses a packed house at last year’s People’s State of the City.

The City of Long Beach as a whole has one, as do some individual council districts. Downtown has its own, as does Bixby Knolls. And for the second year in a row, the People get one too, as the People’s State of the City will take place this Thursday, when, according to an event press release, “residents from across the city will gather to discuss matters affecting Long Beach, including jobs, housing, education, immigration, the environment, and the health and safety of our neighborhoods.”

People’s State of the City 2013 is being organized by over 20 community groups, including Building Healthy Communities (Long Beach), California Faculty Association (Long Beach), Clergy Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) South Bay, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Filipino Migrant Center, Green Long Beach!, Khmer Girls in Action, LB Area Peace Network, the LB Coalition for Good Jobs & a Healthy Community, LB Immigrant Rights Coalition, LB Time Exchange, Men Making a Change (MMAC) and The Center Long Beach.

“The positive response from the community at last year’s event was overwhelming,” says Porter Gilberg, administrative director for The Center Long Beach, noting that over 300 people came out for the inaugural People’s State of the City last year. “We look forward [at this year’s event] to sharing a number of victories achieved for working families over the past year and addressing issues that continue to impact Long Beach residents.”

{loadposition latestlife}One of those issues impacting residents is violent crime, which most residents perceive to be trending in the wrong direction, despite claims by the City to the contrary. During the presentation portion of the event, the concentration of shootings in Long Beach’s Downtown, Central and North areas will be highlighted, with breakout groups providing an opportunity for residents to discuss strategies for addressing violence, as well as other ways they can work toward improving the health and safety of their neighborhoods.

“I’m glad to have to opportunity to discuss the escalating levels of violence in our neighborhoods,” says MMAC’s Wynton Johnson. “I hope [getting] more people talking about this issue and bringing it to light [will lead to] “collaborative solutions.”

Other breakout groups will focus on jobs, education, environmental concerns, immigration and housing.

“It is important for all residents to be involved in their city, because that is where change begins and there is power in numbers,” says Joanna Concepcion, an organizer in Long Beach’s Filipino community. “Together we can shape the social, cultural, economic, and political landscape of Long Beach to reflect and serve the needs of all members of our community.”

People’s State of the City is one component of the Long Beach Rising! Civic Engagement Program, which is facilitated by the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs & a Healthy Community. Event organizers label the program as “a comprehensive approach to promoting civic participation, voter engagement, and community organizing among historically underrepresented communities.”

People’s State of the City 2013 takes place Thursday, April 11, at Grace United Methodist Church (2325 E. 3rd St., LB 90814). Doors open with a mixer (with light refreshments) at 5:30PM, with the program scheduled from 6PM to 7:30PM. Childwatch and Spanish and Khmer translations will be available. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

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