Building Healthy Communities Long Beach: August 2015
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In this edition of BHC News...
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Save the date!

September 13:
Long Beach QFilm Festival
September 18:
Alliance for Justice Training

September 19:
Prop 47 Clinic
Community Calendar   |   Partners   |   Jobs   |   Resources
Central and West Long Beach Residents Elect New Steering Committee Representatives
Steering committee election resultsCongratulations to our community leaders who were recently elected to the Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach Steering Committee at our recent summer gathering! After counting ballots from residents in West and Central Long Beach, two community residents and two organizations will join the eleven other representatives on the steering committee starting this August. Bryan Diaz and Martha Herrera were elected as resident representatives and the new organizational members are Californians for Justice and Latinos in Action. The BHCLB Steering Committee provides strategic direction and support for the Building Healthy Communities initiative and the implementation of our Community Action Plan. For more information, visit
Summer Gathering Showcases Art, Music, and Social Justice
Stand with Women Against Abuse campaignOn August 1st, more than 250 community members and 30 community-based organizations and artists came together to celebrate summer and explore the intersections between art and social justice with residents in the Washington Neighborhood. The Building Healthy Communities Summer Gathering was organized as an interactive art festival to connect residents to social justice campaigns for a more equitable Long Beach. Between Every Student Matters youth performing spoken word and art from groups such as the Language Access Coalition and the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, local residents had the opportunity to learn about the health disparities in the community and how they can work collaboratively to create positive social change. View photos from the event by clicking here
Groups Collaborate on Nutrition Workshops with Khmer Elders
Our summer intern, Sevly Snguon, collaborated with United Cambodian Community, Long Beach Fresh, and the Long Beach Time Exchange to put together a series of workshops on nutrition and healthy eating with Khmer elders in Cambodia Town. With the return of the collaborative program called BHC Fit, workshops offered in Khmer were focused on nutrition fundamentals, the differences between processed food and whole foods, and how to read nutrition labels. View photos from the workshops by clicking here.
Policy Changes Sought in Expanding Economic Opportunities for Residents
This summer's uptick in violent crime has many searching for solutions. The saying "nothing stops a bullet like a job" seems fitting as community groups organize around policies that would improve Long Beach residents' access to employment opportunities and higher wages.
Raising and Enforcing the Minimum Wage
On August 11th, residents packed the city council chambers and spilled out into the overflow room when a study on raising Long Beach's minimum wage was being considered. Those in favor of raising the wage shared the struggles faced by the nearly 40% of Long Beach workers who take home less than $15 an hour. Others pointed out that despite the concern Measure N--the ordinance approved by 64% of voters to raise the minimum wage for hotel workers--provoked prior to its passage in 2012, the hospitality industry continues to profit and grow in Long Beach.

Speakers from the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community and the Coalition to End Wage Theft said that in addition to raising the wage, proper payment also needs to be enforced. The Coalition to End Wage Theft has been working to build awareness about the realities of and solutions to wage theft. Workers not being paid properly or at all is a struggle many workers face. Restaurant workers, port-truck drivers, caregivers and others testified to this fact and asked council to build enforcement mechanisms into any wage increase.
After hearing many different perspectives in public comment, the council voted to move forward with the study to raise the minimum wage, which is expected to be complete in two months.
Prioritizing Residents in Job Placements
Last spring, due to the advocacy efforts of community-based organizations and faith leaders, the city council adopted an agreement with building-trade unions that targets 40% of work hours to be done by local residents and 10% by “disadvantaged workers” for city construction projects over $500,000. Advocates believe that this is an important step forward and continue to promote ways that the policy could be strengthened in order to ensure that the local-hire targets are met.
Up next for consideration by council is a first-source hiring policy that would create a job referral system to connect job applicants to employers with job openings. An "advance notice" window would create a period of time (such as 10 days to 2 weeks) during which Long Beach residents are prioritized in interviews and hiring. Employers would benefit from this policy due to streamlined recruitment and hiring processes and reductions in worker turnover, and our city would benefit from local residents' prioritization in hiring. The policy is slated to come before council on Tuesday, September 15th.

For more information about the economic justice campaigns listed, contact James at or follow the hashtags #OurCityOurJobs, #EndWageTheftLB, and #RaiseAndEnforce15.
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