Long Beach, CA
The People’s State of the City drew a sizeable crowd last night. The event, put on for the 6th annual year by Long Beach Rising, a civic engagement program a part of Building Healthy Community’s various organizational groups here in Long Beach, was held at First Congregational Church on 3rd and Cedar in the Downtown area.
The indoor program began with community organizers staging a protest in front of the audience opposed to Republican President Donald Trump’s deportation policies, and although Donald Trump drew the most ire from the crowd, he was not the only United States current or past President mentioned. Former Democratic President Barack Obama was also brought into the immigration conversation. In the speaker’s rebuke of Donald Trump immigration stance, she said, “Now that he’s (Trump) in office, he’s going to come after my family… Obama left him a deportation machine and I’m sure he’s going to use it.”
During the Obama administration, it is estimated that over 2.8 million undocumented immigrants have been deported but, in 2012, Obama’s signed a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program executive action shielding “Dreamers” from deportation and granting work permits.
Throughout the evening, similar themes were mentioned including unfair treatment of young adults after incarceration, education equity for students of color, wage theft, ongoing racism and the Black Lives Matter movement, low income housing, more fair treatment for hotel workers, and a seemingly anti-police sentiment.
In the presentation, the City of Long Beach was criticized for allotting the amount of budget it does to fund the Long Beach Police Department, and a staged skit of a mother and son driving in a car to school gives an example of the motivation behind the Black Lives Matter movement.
In this staged skit, the son asks his mother if he can go to the park with his friend to practice for a basketball tornament. The mother disallows it saying “Look, I told you what can happen. We’ve had this conversation Jason about what is happening to boys like you. Remember what happened to that one kid.” Jason the son responds “Which one?” The mother responds, “The 12 year boy Tamir Rice. He was was just at the park playing and look what happened to him.” The son responds, “But we just want to play!” The mother responds, “and he was just playing and what happened, he was shot to death by a cop in just 2 seconds of them rolling up on him.” The son responds “I can never do anything.” The mother responds by saying, “Look I’m here to protect you, it is my job to protect you..,” and goes on to say, “especially when our young black boys are being murdered for just playing, whether it’s with a plastic toy gun, or a basketball, or walking down the street.”
In 2014, 12 year old boy Tamir Rice was shot by a rookie Police Officer Timothy Loehmann age 26, in Cleveland Ohio after reaching into his right waistband and pulling out a replica gun. Subsequently, Timothy Loehmann resigned from his post during the process of being fired according to the LA Times.
View the full video of People’s State of the City, here:
The program ended with a call to action, inviting audience members to join the Long Beach Rising training in the fall or attending the People’s Planning School at Drake Park this summer to help people get educated and mobilized. An action sheet and challenge was made to attend at least one of a variety of future events. Lastly, the Long Beach upcoming 2018 election was brought up and a call to action was made to get communities who traditionally do not vote to vote.