Building Healthy Communities Long Beach: January 2015
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BHC partners, workgroups made health happen here in 2014
Citywide language access in Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog. Solar energy in Central Long Beach. Youth walking neighborhoods to pass Proposition 47 for prison reform. These are a few examples of how Building Healthy Communities is bringing community members together and supporting organizations to make health happen in Central and West Long Beach. As we wrap up our fourth year of a ten-year initiative, we’re proud of our partners, workgroups, and allies who have helped deliver positive, sustainable change to Long Beach. 

Here’s a taste of what we’ve accomplished together in 2014:

Civic Engagement: Leading up to 2014’s significant elections, members of Long Beach Rising and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice collaborated on a voter guide where candidates responded to questions on pressing community issues, including the health and safety of our neighborhoods; environmental health; the availability of quality, affordable housing; and policies impacting workers, immigrants, people who are LGBTQ, and youth development. These issues were also highlighted at Long Beach Rising’s third annual People’s State of the City in North Long Beach, drawing 300 attendees including many candidates for Long Beach’s city council and mayor’s races. Long Beach Rising also conducted non-partisan voter outreach in multiple languages and knocked on nearly 7,500 doors. Over 175 community members filled 360 volunteer shifts leading up to the April election. 

Following the June election, several BHC partners were appointed to Mayor Garcia’s transition team and a number of community members have been appointed to serve on the city’s boards and commissions. In November’s statewide election, members of the Community Safety Workgroup, Long Beach Rising, and the Youth Committee collaborated to help pass Proposition 47 to reform criminal sentencing and support healthier communities. Local canvassers, volunteers, and over 100 youth members talked to 6,006 voters and secured 4,601 commitments to vote “yes” on Proposition 47. 

Environmental Health: Members of the Environmental Health Workgroup continued the “Toxic Tour” including an adapted version for the Leadership Long Beach 2015 cohort. Collaborating with GRID Alternatives, members installed solar panels on the homes of two low-income families in Central Long Beach. In coordination with the Liberty Hill Foundation, the workgroup also introduced the concept of Green Zones to help envision how Long Beach can promote sustainability while reducing environmental hazards. 

Health Access: Through the combined efforts of groups including the Cambodian Coalition, Centro CHA, the Health and Human Services Department, Kingdom Causes Long Beach, the Filipino Migrant Center, and the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, residents from the diverse communities in Central and West Long Beach have been linked with access to affordable healthcare. With the introduction of My Health LA for undocumented residents and the WeConnect enrollment fair, more residents have been able to access healthcare than ever before. 

Language Access: Community members organized for two language access compliance hearings and collecting data about language services through phone calls and walk-ins, the Language Access Coalition secured $250,000 towards the funding of the Language Access Policy for the upcoming fiscal year. Now, city documents and services will begin to be available in Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog. 

Neighborhood Land Use: The Neighborhoods Workgroup engaged city staff to shape the citywide Healthy Communities Policy, a planning document that provides a vision for how health outcomes can be improved through the built environment, health and wellness, and health equity. 

Parent and Youth Organizing: Through the Every Student Matters campaign, youth mobilized to attend the Long Beach Unified School District’s final Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) meeting to present their own recommendations on supporting restorative justice in schools. Many parents came out to support the youth’s advocacy. BHC’s Schools Workgroup hosted a series of capacity-building trainings for parents to learn about schools advocacy and become leaders in their school communities. Several parents and youth also won election to their respective School Site Councils to play a direct role in the allocation of LCAP funds. 

With our fifth year of Building Healthy Communities underway, we want to thank everyone who has been involved with the progress so far. We look forward to working with you in 2015 to accomplish some very big goals to improve health in Central and West Long Beach for all. 
BHC community groups march in annual MLK parade
On January 17, BHC partner organizations and local community groups marched together in the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade, organized by Long Beach City Councilmember Dee Andrews. Organizations working on issues ranging from food access to housing participated to show their support for a healthy community in Central Long Beach. Thanks to all members and residents who joined us for the day! Click here to see photos from the event.
Neighbors United march and rally for renter's rights
Last Tuesday, local residents, students, clergy, health professionals, and business owners with Housing Long Beach took their support for renter’s rights to the streets and marched to City Hall. Before the start of the City Council meeting, renters and performers emphasized the urgent need for renter protections through a Rent Escrow Account Program. Read more about Housing Long Beach and their ongoing Neighbors United campaign in the Signal Tribune and Long Beach Post. Click here to see photos from the march and rally.
Join us: Trauma and Healing Symposium with Dr. Richard Mollica
Beginning January 27, community members, human service agencies, and survivors of trauma and violence will have the opportunity to come together and cultivate resiliency within our Long Beach community. On behalf of Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach, the Cambodian Coalition, The MAYE Center, and The California Endowment, all community members are invited to join Dr. Richard F. Mollica for a three-day symposium called “Trauma, Healing, and Resiliency: The Healing Fields” from January 27 to 29 at First Congregational Church. 

Kicking off the three-day symposium will be our BHC Breakfast and Learning Club on Healing Invisible Wounds, featuring author and keynote speaker Dr. Richard F. Mollica of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. Community members who have read Healing Invisible Wounds will have an opportunity to discuss the book and participate in an informal dialogue with Dr. Mollica. For more information on the Breakfast and Learning Club, please email

For more information on the three-day symposium or to RSVP for specific sessions, please visit or call 562-704-6778.  
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