Building Healthy Communities Long Beach: October 2016
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BHCLB releases Community Action Plan 3.0
The Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach Steering Committee recently approved an update to our Community Action Plan, which identifies key goals and strategies to guide our work for the next three years. In her latest Executive Director blog, Christine shares highlights of the update.
Check it out here.
“Untold Stories” report highlights need for equity and restorative practices in LBUSD schools
“Instead of asking if students need help, teachers just kick students out of their classrooms when things get tough,” says Sandy, a senior at Renaissance High School senior. Her words reflect the harsh discipline practices many students of color like herself face in LBUSD schools. A new collaborative report released today by the Children’s Defense Fund-California and Public Counsel describes this challenge in detail and offers inclusive policy solutions that would keep students in the school system and end the punitive factors that contribute to school pushout. 

The report entitled “Untold Stories Behind One of America’s Best Urban School Districts” is the culmination of a community-driven process that began with a comprehensive Public Records Act (PRA) request in 2015 from Public Counsel to LBUSD to review school climate policies and data. Authors also worked alongside youth, parents, teachers, and policy advocates to explore school-climate trends, analyze budget spending on policing and prevention strategies, and capture personal stories at events like the Voices and Visions town hall. From all the data and stories, four key findings are discussed in depth in the report.

Key findings discussed in the report include:
  • Black and special-education students in LBUSD are disproportionately suspended from school, well beyond the rate of any other subgroup of students. 
  • The district’s discipline policies are not tailored toward the unique situation of Long Beach students, do not provide schools with any guidance for implementing preventative school-climate strategies, and therefore, result in inconsistent treatment of students. 
  • Over the past four years, LBUSD invested 200 times more on law enforcement than on prevention-focused school-climate strategies that have been proven to support academic opportunities and outcomes for all students. 
  • Black and Latino students are disproportionately impacted by police involvement at school. 
Through the findings and recommendations, the report aims to encourage more district and community collaboration that supports student learning and a universal pathway to college and a career for all LBUSD students, and in particular high-need students. To read the full report from our online resource library, click here.
Making communities the center of the new Pedestrian Plan
Shaping planning decisions around community residents’ priorities may not seem groundbreaking, but it’s a new approach that is helping inform the drafting of a new Pedestrian Plan for Central and West Long Beach neighborhoods. Thanks to collaboration between BHC partner organizations City Fabrick and the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, the city’s document to guide walking improvements for the community will have a new perspective around safety, liability, and accessibility.

Beginning with initial community outreach in July 2013, members of the Healthy Active Long Beach program led the effort to hear from Central and West Long Beach residents about their experiences walking in the surrounding neighborhoods. Healthy Active Long Beach also sought input about what pedestrian projects should be prioritized over the next two to fifteen years. Some of the feedback from the community-driven process includes:
  • 30% of all residents surveyed identified safety as their top priority for walking in Long Beach.
  • The top three destinations for residents who walk are food stores, parks, and schools. 
  • The favorite pedestrian projects prioritized by residents include the West Long Beach Connectors project (within 2-4 years), The Poly High School Walking Loop and Green Terminal Island Freeway Removal (5-8 years), and the Pacific Coast Highway Complete Street project (8-15 years). 
Combined with efforts between the city and community organizations like City Fabrick, capturing community voice became an essential piece to guiding the policy and planning recommendations that will soon be considered for adoption. In September 2016, the collaborators wrapped up the last round of community workshops and hosted study sessions with both the Board of Health and Human Services and the Planning Commission. The draft plan is now available online and will be on the agenda for approval at the Planning Commission within the next month. 

For more information on the Pedestrian Plan, contact Brian at
Mobilizing marginalized communities to vote for change
Young people, formerly and currently incarcerated adults, and low-income families have at least one thing in common every election year: historically low voter turnout and a greater disparity when it comes to decision making through the ballot box. To turn this trend around, several nonprofits are organizing in Central, West, and North Long Beach to increase voter turnout and dismantle voting myths that often keep these communities out of the electoral process. Over the past month and continuing until election day, BHC partners are walking neighborhoods and giving visibility to the importance of voting for social change.

With a large amount of statewide and local ballot measures to be decided on, the need for equitable access to voting for communities most impacted by the ballot measures has become a major focus. Members of All of Us or None are currently organizing formerly incarcerated individuals to dispel the myth that people with felonies on their record cannot vote. In California, individuals with felonies who are not on probation are eligible to register and vote. In addition, All of Us or None organizers are currently working to make voting more accessible and the voting-rights of currently incarcerated individuals more transparent in jails.

The election cycle ultimately gives individuals the opportunity to find their voice and build long-term power. Youth and parent organizers with the Every Student Matters campaign are taking to the streets to empower their peers to vote for positive investment in schools and other youth-identified priorities. To join the efforts, Long Beach Rising is using October to continue their annual Leadership Training to educate residents about how to organize their community, culminating in non-partisan get-out-the-vote efforts prior to the election. 

A second round of efforts to “Place Make the Vote” are taking place through Election Day. Polling places at the 4th Street Senior Center, Houghton Park, Burnett Library, and MacArthur Park will feature non-partisan activities and attractions to activate the location and increase voter turnout thanks to a collaboration between City Fabrick, Long Beach Rising, Long Beach’s Office of the City Clerk, and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder that’s supported by the Knight Foundation. Additional Place Make the Vote polling locations will happen in locations throughout the city, including the Century Villages of Cabrillo, with the collaborative’s assistance. 

Altogether, the multiple strategies focused in Central, West, and North Long Beach aim to build a stronger culture of voting for positive change in our communities.
New resources and updates to our BHCLB website
In our ongoing efforts to increase collaboration, connection, and access to resources for change-makers in Long Beach, our Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach website continues to grow and evolve with the feedback and needs of the community. Over the past month, we’ve revamped and updated some of the most heavily used pages to better connect people to opportunities for health equity. New features include: 
  • BHCLB Blog: Our revamped blog is your source for health-equity news, campaign updates, and monthly perspectives like our Executive Director’s blog series. Visit for more. 
  • Leadership Page: This new page is a source for residents looking for active leadership training opportunities in the Long Beach community. Visit for more. 
  • Take Action for Health Equity: This updated page highlights ways you can get involved in our movement and our campaigns--whether you’re a resident, student, organizer, or anywhere in between. Visit for more. 
  • Partner Directory: One of the most heavily used resources, our partner directory has been updated to reflect the growing number of organizational partners who have become involved with the BHC collaborative. Visit for more. 
  • Resource Library: Our online resource library has been redesigned and updated to be more user friendly and accessible for all types of data and research related to health equity and the social determinants of health. Visit for more.
Have any feedback or suggestions for our website? Share your thoughts with James, our BHC Communications Manager, at
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