Long Beach and South Bay Update September 2021

Our People Our Port Coalition 

Long Beach faith leaders accompanying port truck drivers

CLUE has been working closely with the coalition, Our People Our Port, fighting for fair wages and protections for port truck drivers. We are currently advocating for three state bills (SB 700, SB 338, AB 794) to create consequences for law-breaking trucking companies and to fight against systemic misclassification. 

We are celebrating that these bills are going through the LAST VOTE in CA Senate/Assembly floors. If they pass, their next destination is Governor Newsom’s desk so that they can be signed into law. CLUE has gathered individual signatures of faith leaders as well as endorsements from congregations/organizations for these three state bills. 

CLUE has received about 80 signatures from faith leaders on our CLUE sign-on letter in support of these bills so far and hopes to collect at least 100 individual signatures on our letter to offer strong support for these bills.

Long Beach People’s Budget Coalition

CLUE in Long Beach has been working with the People’s Budget Coalition to advocate for the People’s Budget over the last two months. The People’s Budget is a people-centered recovery plan in response to the ongoing public health crisis and longstanding racialized inequities exacerbated during the pandemic. This was a campaign demanding an equitable budget for the fiscal year 2022 in the city. We advocated for the city to structurally reform the City budget process to enable earlier and deeper participation from marginalized communities most impacted by budget decisions. 

Second, we advocated for divestments from the Long Beach police department and reinvestments in communities of color and marginalized communities, including more funding to support seniors, renters, immigrants, youth, and low-income families.

CLUE clergy in Long Beach were active in organizing their congregations to send letters to the City Council and Mayor, visiting council members, attending community budget hearings, and showing up at City Council meetings to make public comments.

CLUE is grateful for all the faith leaders involved in this campaign, including Rev. Scott Fritz, Rev. Jane Gould, Rev. Sandie Richards, Ann Burdette, Clayton Heard, Rev. Michael Eagle, and Fr. Will Connor. The City Council and community members were impacted by the presence and the moral imperative of the faith leaders’ messages throughout the campaign. 

Of the nine focus areas in the People’s Budget for FY 22, the following gains were achieved:

  • $1 million for housing navigators to assist renters with information, resources, and housing rights;
  • $1 million for a community land trust to establish community-owned permanently affordable housing;
  • $1 million for the Measure US Youth Fund to support critical youth development programs;
  • $810,000 for the Tenant Right to Counsel program to provide legal services and resources to renters facing eviction;
  • $700,000 for the Language Access Policy to support residents with limited English proficiency to have equitable access to city meetings, documents, and services; and
  • $600,000 for the Long Beach Justice Fund to provide free universal legal representation to immigrant residents facing deportation.

However, the city also increased $16 million in the $285 million police budget. This shows us that we have a lot of work to do in advocating for equity and safety in the community. Therefore, the coalition decided to make this campaign a year-long campaign so that we can build more power by next year’s budget process. 

Public comment provided by faith leader , Ann Burdette

For the People’s Budget campaign, CLUE faith leaders were invested in this campaign and actively pursued meaningful ways to amplify the demands of the community. The conversation around defunding the police among most faith leaders has shifted from hesitancy to strong support over one year. Faith leaders were furious with the inequity in the city’s proposed budget and took every opportunity to voice out their questions and concerns with the city council and staff. 

Therefore, the coalition has also shifted from not prioritizing the voices of faith leaders to acknowledging and showing gratitude for the clergy’s presence and the power of their moral message in the campaign. Besides, faith leaders continuously gain influence with the City Council and are strategizing ideas to continue building community power to shift the city budget process next year. 

For more information, please contact Pastor Mary Duong, [email protected]