People’s State Of The City Brings Top Issues To Light

May. 28, 2015 / By

It is the biggest meeting of Long Beach activists of the year. It was the 2015 People’s State of the City, attended by over 450 people Wednesday, organizers reported.

The 4th annual event, sponsored by more than a dozen organizations, under the coalition Long Beach Rising, tackled the seven top issues affecting Long Beach, including poverty, jobs, housing, education, the environment, community safety, and immigrant rights.

“The People’s State of the City is about the people. It’s about sharing what they feel about their community and what they think can make it better,” said Councilmember Roberto Uranga, who spoke at the event.

More notable focus was put on the plight of port truck drivers as well as local hotel workers, who, organizers said, face sexual harassment and arduous labor, often working long hours.

“Every single day, a hotel housekeeper is at risk whenever she goes to work. And that’s not right,” said Nikole Cababa to the audience.

The father of Claudia Sanchez, a local hotel worker now in a coma after working a 14-hour shift, spoke at the event. His brief speech, which asked for prayers for his daughter, brought tears to many.

The event was held purposefully at Stephens Middle School, located near where 15-year-old Keshawn Brooks was fatally stabbed on his way home from school earlier this year. Organizers found it appropriate to discuss community safety.

“Is the violence just happening in our neighborhood or is the violence being perpetuated by all of these external forces that are pushing down us?” said event speaker, Ernesto Rocha.

Attendees went away with learning more about the issues affecting their city. “It makes me want to look into who we elect as our leaders in the community,” said Beatriz Ortiz, whose son attends school in Long Beach.

“Get involved in your community. You are part of the solution,” Cababa said.

Above, watch clips from the event.

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Michael Lozano

Michael is an editor and multimedia journalist born to Mexican parents who started their own Domestic Violence counseling center in Southeast Los Angeles. His mentorship has provided youth opportunities to share their stories online on NPR, KCET, the Long Beach Post, and other national websites. His articles have been syndicated and translated into multiple languages via New America Media and ImpreMedia, the nation’s largest Spanish-language news publisher. He was a fellow with UCLA's Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies, and has recently been a Votebeat Reporter for CalMatters and the Long Beach Post. Michael graduated from CSULB in 2011 with research honors in Sociology and a Journalism minor. Follow his work @chicanochico on Twitter and @thechicanochicoreport on Instagram.