The 2021 State of the City address will be unlike any other in the history of Long Beach as the COVID-19 pandemic forces the mayor’s annual speech online.
Mayor Robert Garcia’s annual update will come as city hospitals remain essentially full and county health officials announce thousands of new cases and hundreds of new deaths related to the coronavirus every day.
The address will still have the familiar performances from Musical Theatre West. It will also include opening remarks from Dr. Anissa Davis, the city’s health officer who has helped oversee the response to the pandemic.
However, it will lack the thousands of residents seated inside the Long Beach Convention Center’s Terrace Theatre. This year it will be streamed remotely as large gatherings are still prohibited under state and local health orders.
The presentation will likely focus on the pandemic and its expansive impact on the city and the local economy. An announcement says it will also touch on homelessness, climate change, racial justice and the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In a tweet Monday, Garcia hinted at some announcements, including two new guaranteed basic-income programs and other updates on COVID-19 and the city’s vaccine distribution plans.
With vaccine distribution underway city leaders are now pivoting to how the city will recover from the impacts of the virus.
A separate event hosted by a coalition of community groups that will react to the mayor’s message will air after the city’s program. It will feature representatives from Black Lives Matter Long Beach as well as housing and immigrant rights groups that have advocated for policy changes in the city for years.
“This is meant to be more conversation with our community to discuss the opportunities and challenges that the mayor will be presenting,” said James Suazo, executive director of Long Beach Forward.
Suazo, who will be moderating the community response livestream, added that it’s important that the city prioritize people in its plans for 2021, not just the economy.
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.