People's state

The audience where given emojis as they wave them as hundreds of people gathered at the First Congregational Church for the annual People's State of the City last year.

Racial inequity, the housing crisis and immigrant rights will be among the social issues taking center stage at next month’s People’s State of the City, organizers for the event announced Wednesday, March 27.

The eighth annual gathering of activists will attempt to set a progressive agenda for which issues Long Beach officials and residents should address in the coming year. The event, scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, also will use art and performances to portray the stories of Long Beach’s working-class communities. In doing so, organizers said, they will push for more equitable schools and healthier living standards in the city.

“From grassroots community healing and building throughout Black Long Beach, winning rent strikes like the Cedar Resistance to winning protections for immigrants against all odds, people in Long Beach are proving that we can heal our communities and thrive through fighting for justice,” Dawn Modkins, a member of Black Lives Matter LBC who will speak at the event, said in a statement.

The annual tradition began in 2012 as a response to the mayor’s annual State of the City address.

Issues raised in previous years have had some success in getting City Hall’s attention. Last year, participants tried to galvanize support for policies that would protect hotel workers against sexual abuse and provide affordable housing to low-income families.

Those efforts were later rewarded, when voters approved a charter amendment in November requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to employees. The City Council later went a step further, expanding the ordinance and adding language protecting workers against retaliation if they needed to use the panic buttons.

City officials also took steps to create a policy that would require developers in Long Beach to provide more affordable housing.

This year, organizers said, they hope to once again set a progressive agenda for Long Beach.

“This year’s event,” Modkins said, “will illustrate how we can come together cross culturally, as we have in the past, to change the systems that harm our communities and imagine something different.”

Activities begin with a community fair at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 10. Speeches begin at 6: 30 p.m. The event is at First Congregational Church, 241 Cedar Ave., and there's no cost to attend.

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