Building Healthy Communities Long Beach: May 2016
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Building Healthy Communities celebrates five years of organizing for health equity
In 2010, The California Endowment invited the Long Beach community to join thirteen other communities statewide in a ten-year exploration of how we can create healthier places for youth and adults to grow and thrive. Over the past two months, organizations and residents came together to celebrate our movement for health equity and look towards the remaining five years of our initiative and imagine the possibilities for change.

Since the early days of our planning in Long Beach, dedicated community residents who recognized the need for healthy and safe opportunities have driven the efforts in Central and West Long Beach. On March 23rd, community partners from our local hub attended our 5-Year Celebration to share the impact of BHC in our community, celebrate our organizing work, and look towards the future of our movement. Check out photos from the event and watch the mini-documentary we premiered (filmed and edited by Michael Lozano of VoiceWaves).  

From April 15th to the 17th, Long Beach partners and community members joined over 300 other organizers from across the BHC sites at the 5-Year Convening titled “Community. Power. Justice.” The conference featured guest speakers, panels about the collaborative work in BHC sites, and a march and rally outside LAX airport to #GetLoud for health equity as the U.S. Presidential candidates arrived into Los Angeles to campaign. Check out photos of our delegation from the weekend on our facebook page. 

In recognition of our five year mark, The California Endowment is sharing many resources about the progress in California and what they have learned along the way. Read the report “A New Power Grid: Building Healthy Communities at Year 5” online at www.calendow.org. To view the new video on why “Zipcode Matters” featuring narration by George Takei, visit www.buildinghealthycommunities.org.
Residents build power using civic engagement for neighborhoods and schools
Issues around budget priorities, school climate, justice reform, and police oversight are just a few of the issues that have engaged many community residents in Central and West Long Beach in this year’s municipal election cycle. Amid the noise of the presidential primaries nationally, educational opportunities around the local city council, school board, and ballot measure elections have been organized by residents and organizations in anticipation of the April and June elections. Regardless of their access to voting, community members have shed light on the importance of local elections and creating spaces to hold elected officials accountable to community health issues.

Immediately after the Long Beach Rising leadership training, the coalition of 16 organizations along with the community residents who graduated from the program organized the fifth annual People’s State of the City in late February to voice the issues and solutions in the community and call people to action for the April 12th election. Over 450 people attended the event at Franklin Middle School in the second district, which faces an election with an open seat for city council. If you missed the event, view the presentation and media from the event at www.bhclongbeach.org/lbrising

To engage parents and youth in the election of school board members in LBUSD, youth with the Every Student Matters campaign collaborated with the BHC Parent Organizing Workgroup to host a school culture and climate town hall and candidate’s forum titled “Voices and Visions” at McBride Park. Over 100 parents and youth in LBUSD offered their ideas and support to lead together with the school district to create positive school cultures where all people feel valued. After the town hall, attendees were able to interact with the candidates for school board and hear where they stood on issues of school climate and culture. Photos from the event can be viewed on the Every Student Matters facebook page

As many organizations continue to encourage voter participation into the June 7th election, civic engagement efforts are continuing to expand with the next steps of the Long Beach Rising boards and commissions trainings to prepare local residents for appointed positions on city commissions that advise city leaders. For more information on how to get involved with local civic engagement efforts, email nicole@bhclongbeach.org.
Improving health and opportunities through workforce development
In Long Beach, the unemployment rates vary significantly between demographic groups and geographic regions, and not coincidentally, the greatest burden of joblessness falls within the Latino, African American, Pacific Islander, and American Indian communities. Research has demonstrated that there are direct links between employment and our physical and mental health. BHC Long Beach has become invested in exploring these inequities and bringing community stakeholders together to analyze the landscape of workforce development and offer solutions for positive collaboration. 

Workforce development programs are a strategic method for providing the education and training needed for finding successful long-term job placement. There are many steps along the path toward employment which present opportunities for community participation. Examples include support systems for child care and transportation, and the development of social skills such as communication and professionalism. These essential pieces can make all the difference for someone seeking employment.

Some of the best practices for workforce development programs targeting marginalized communities like Central and West Long Beach include:
  • Committing to serving people with long-term careers versus single jobs;
  • Integrating casework into programs to address other social factors which impact employment;
  • Focusing on youth development to help give youth early exposure to work skills.
In late February, BHC Long Beach hosted a roundtable discussion involving 35 community organizations from across the city to discuss our research and identify gaps within the landscape of workforce development. BHC will continue to foster collaboration and resource sharing with this workforce development network to encourage a more cohesive and strategic approach to developing local workforce opportunities.
BHC Long Beach welcomes Nicole as our new organizer
Welcome, Nicole!Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach is excited to welcome Nicole Taylor as our new community organizer! Nicole is a recent graduate of the University of California, Irvine and is excited to be back in Long Beach to work with the community. Nicole is a 12-year resident of Long Beach and has been involved in community efforts around racial and social justice, including Blacks Lives Matter LBC and restorative justice projects with the California Conference for Equality and Justice. She also enjoys yoga, live music, cheesy jokes, and 90’s hip-hop dance off’s. Nicole will be working closely with BHC’s coalitions and partners on civic engagement and community organizing collaborations.
 
Thank you to all our interns for learning and growing with us!
Over the past several months, three amazing individuals have joined our collaborative team to help our partners learn more about health inequities and expand our outreach in the community. In turn, each of them have learned more about social change and our work to make Long Beach a safe and healthy community for all. Thank you to Valencia Simpson (Masters of Social Work candidate), Cynthia Howell (Masters of Public Health candidate), and Cyrus Sattarzadegan (Bachelors in Community Health Education) for all their knowledge and skills they brought to our community as interns! Their contributions have resulted in new research on workforce development in Long Beach, community outreach tools based on local health inequities, increased direct outreach efforts, and data collection for the Every Student Matters campaign. We wish them all the best of luck in the rest of their community work!
 
June 1: Long Beach Justice Resource Fair
Welcome, Nicole!Need free legal help with a Proposition 47 record change, DACA application, or ticket amnesty? Change your record and change your life at the upcoming Long Beach Justice Resource Fair and receive free legal help with record reclassifications, voter education, LiveScan services, and more. If someone has a felony on their record for drug possession or shoplifting, they may be eligible to have that felony be reduced to a misdemeanor through Proposition 47. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet candidates running for judge and ask them about their plans to improve the justice system. 

The Long Beach Justice Resource Fair will be on Wednesday, June 1st from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at the Long Beach Convention Center, Seaside Room, located at 300 East Ocean Boulevard 90802. Call (323) 563-3575 to register and find out what documents you need to bring. Visit the BHC community calendar for more information. 
 
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