Building Healthy Communities Long Beach: June 2016
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August 13:
BHC Summer Gathering
Community Calendar   |   Partners   |   Jobs   |   Resources
Building a Supportive Environment at Franklin Middle School
While students, teachers, and staff typically spend their lunch time taking a break from class, many at Franklin Middle School have spent their lunch time in community-building circles and activities. These restorative-justice practices aim to build a safe and supportive school culture. With a 9.7% suspension rate in the 2013-2014 school year and a surrounding neighborhood that faces significant health disparities, building a positive school climate at Franklin Middle School is a challenge. Thanks to the collaboration of Franklin Principal Perrosio, school administrators, teachers, students, and the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ), positive and sustainable solutions are being implemented to give all students new opportunities to succeed in school. 

By starting with community building in the school, restorative justice uses a set of principles and practices to move beyond punishment for wrongdoing by directly addressing misbehavior, focusing on repairing harm, and preventing misbehavior from reoccurring. At Franklin, Restorative Justice Coordinator Pierre Davis brings the school community together to show how one person’s actions impacts the entire community. Through the use of lunchtime circles, support for students, art workshops, and staff development workshops, members of the school community get to see firsthand how they can build a positive school climate. 

For these reasons, expanding restorative justice practices to more middle and high schools in the Long Beach Unified School District continues to be a focus of the Every Student Matters campaign. As the school community at Franklin works to implement these practices, restorative justice continues to be used more and more by schools and educators across the country because it has shown to reduce suspensions, improve school environments for adults and students, and boost academic success. For more information about restorative justice, contact the California Conference for Equality and Justice at info@cacej.org
 
Eight Mini-Grants Awarded to Projects Improving Health in Central and West Long Beach
Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach is awarding community-based projects with small grants to improve the health and safety of neighborhoods in Central and West Long Beach. The BHCLB Steering Committee selected eight projects based off their immediate impact to our focus area and relevance to the Community Action Plan, which details the priorities and target changes of the BHCLB community. Over the past five year, BHCLB has funded 43 projects totaling $57,542. This year’s awardees include:
  • “Be Bold Teen Center” by Century Villages at Cabrillo
  • “Bike and Pedestrian Advocacy in Cambodia Town” by Walk Bike Long Beach
  • “Leadership Development Training Series” by Long Beach Residents Empowered
  • “Steps to Peace Program” by Latinos in Action
  • “Promotores Leadership Training” by el Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma
  • “Cooperative Learning Group” by el Radical Cooperatives Empowerment Project
  • “Salud Emocional Para Todos” by Emotional Health 4 All
  • “Viva La Mujer” by Comunidades con Poder para el Cambio
For more information about the winning projects and how you can get involved, email james@bhclongbeach.org
 
How a Party at the Polls Focused on Increasing Civic Engagement
Between the jumbo-sized Jenga blocks, food trucks, and the pop-up photo booth, the Long Beach Senior Center on Fourth Street looked more like a neighborhood block party than an average polling place on election day. Unlike a celebration just for entertainment, the event called “Place Make the Vote” targeted several historically low-voter-turnout neighborhoods with the hopes of bring more people out to the polls. The idea is simple: engage the community at their polling place with art, entertainment, furniture, food, and people to visually attract residents to the polling site. 

With positive initial reviews from coordinators and attendees alike, the next step for the collaboration will be creating a toolkit to replicate the “party at the polls” idea across the city in other lower-voter-turnout neighborhoods. Organizers include City Fabrick, Long Beach Rising, the Long Beach City Clerk’s Office, and the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder City Clerk as a way to increase voter turnout and learn how to replicate parties like these in future elections. For coverage of the event, visit Long Beach Post. For information about future “Place Make the Vote” events, email nicole@bhclongbeach.org
 
Change Your Record, Change Your Life
Since January 2015, thousands of Californians have received a second chance thanks to Proposition 47, which reclassified six nonviolent, low-level felonies as misdemeanors. Proposition 47 is also retroactive, meaning individuals who have felonies for these new misdemeanors can get their records changed to remove barriers to jobs, housing, and new opportunities to live productive, healthy lives. Now, that window is closing by November 2017 and hundreds of individuals are still eligible for these second chances. 

To help address this need, the Long Beach Coalition for Safety and Justice is collaborating to host outreach fairs, neighborhood canvassing, and reclassification clinics for those eligible in the community. The coalition launched a new webpage with updated information, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and news stories on Proposition 47 in Long Beach. Visit the website and learn how you can take action at www.bhclongbeach.org/prop47
 
Art, Social Justice, and Summertime in the LBC
On August 13th, join dozens of local artists and community organizations as we celebrate summer at our Building Healthy Communities Summer Gathering. The interactive event will be held at Martin Luther King Jr. Park and use art, music, theater, and more to connect Long Beach residents to local campaigns organizing for health equity and social justice. Join us as we build community and continue creating a healthier Long Beach for all. For more information or if you are interested in collaborating in an artistic way, email devante@bhclongbeach.org
 
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