By Antonio Ruiz, Community Engagement Coordinator, VoiceWaves
Over the next week, I’ll be working with one of our Youth Journalists, Wendy Lopez, to edit and post community voices we recorded at yesterday’s historic People’s State of the City event in Long Beach. Several hundred (seemed more) people crowded into Antioch Church in Central Long Beach to listen to sobering statistics on the state of the city; the city of working and unemployed poor. Downtown, Central, West Side, North Long Beach. The optimism came in the breakout sessions where action was the rallying cry.
Unfortunately, I had to leave so today I went online to look up press accounts. I could find only one.
“People’s State of the City”: More Than Talk? by Greggory Moore, Long Beach Post
While no one who spoke at the “People’s State of the City” talked of Long Beach being on the right track, the dose of feel-good came in the form of the power the people have if they band together — particularly around the ballot box.
The open question is whether the 200 persons who congregated in Antioch Church will take the ideas exchanged and exhortations made Wednesday night back into their communities and rally their friends and neighbors, or if the evening was little more than a chance for a collection of like-minded folks to share their grievances (inequitable distribution of wealth, not enough green space, unsatisfactory policing, a run-down educational system) and daydream about how things could be different.