While Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia introduced city problems and statistics in his January State of the City event, one thing was missing from the speech: live resident input.
“The people won’t be denied, the people won’t back down” are the first words of the People’s State of the City 2018 event description.
The People’s State of the City, unrelated to the mayor’s event, is a community-driven response and platform for marginalized groups to give their perspective on city government shortcomings.
The event will take place at the First Congregational Church in downtown Long Beach at 5 p.m. on March 1.
The seventh-annual event will be hosted by Long Beach Rising, a coalition of organizations that focus on civic engagement among marginalized groups.
“This is an event that talks about city challenges and progress from the perspective of working people, which is not really reflected in the actual State of the City,” said James Suazo, an organizer for Long Beach Rising.
According to the press release, the event will include free food and a Spanish and Khmer interpretation.
There will be 16 organizations involved with Long Beach Rising. Organizations that will be present at the event include the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, the Filipino Migrant Center and the California Faculty Association.
Before the presentations from different groups at 6 p.m., there will be a community fair hosted by the present organizations at 5 p.m.
Suazo said that the theme of the presentations will be based on how elected officials continually deny breaking down barriers to the success of marginalized groups, and how these groups can thrive by themselves. These demonstrations will include proposed solutions from different groups’ toward different city issues including the housing crisis and sexual abuse protections for hotel workers.
“We’ll be talking about how people within the community who are organizing building groups with their neighbors actually implement different efforts for social change and how they’re making that work with or without the elected officials,” Suazo said.
Second district councilmember Jeanine Pearce and seventh district councilmember Roberto Uranga are confirmed to be at the event. Several staff members from the mayor’s office are expected to attend as well, according to Suazo.
With the April city council elections around the corner, Suazo sees the PSOC for Long Beach residents as a chance to get to know their elected leaders.
“[We’re] not just talking about the challenges and the community solutions but also educate people about who their elected representatives are,” Suazo said. “We’re encouraging people to … get active in the community.”