One Long Beach Calls for Action and Peace
One Long Beach Alliance for Better Communities and Schools presented a comprehensive plan for community safety at a press conference and rally on July 14 in front of City Hall. The alliance of church leaders, community organizations, educators, parents and youth initiated the proactive response to call attention to the need for unity and a commitment from City leadership to address the root causes of violence in our communities.
One Long Beach called upon Mayor Robert Garcia to take leadership of and make a commitment to a comprehensive violence reduction-youth development action plan. According to National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, “..one of the core principles that significantly enhances the efficacy of local gang prevention work is when the mayor and chief of police, together, lead.”
“That principle clearly calls out the importance of that leadership,” states Centro CHA Executive Director Jessica Quintana, “ It says we will not tolerate gangs but also that we will have a plan and that the city will be prepared do business in a different way.”
The press conference and rally comes nearly one year after another event, a march for peace in north Long Beach, also called for action. The recent spike in violence prompted a renewed effort to demand action for peace.
“Once again, we’re talking about the need for comprehensive strategies to reduce violence in our communities,” explained Reverend Leon Wood of Church One and a member of the Long Beach Minister’s Alliance, “What we need now is a commitment of action and the resources to implement those strategies.”
One of the speakers at the press conference and rally was long-time anti-violence advocate Dr. Lydia Hollie. Dr. Hollie knows full well the impact of violence. Her nephew was murdered in 2014.
Community members have been meeting to discuss positive responses and solutions to the long-term issue of violence and its root causes. That effort has taken on a new urgency with the recent uptick in violence and lack of access to safe environments for Central, West, and North Long Beach families during the summer months.
The One Long Beach Alliance presented four key proposals:
- Ongoing funding support to implement the Long Beach Be SAFE citywide violence prevention and youth development initiative
- Implementation of a year round school safe passages initiative
- Jobs: Implement economic opportunities
- Mayoral leadership on preventing violence
After the rally and press conference, the One Long Beach Alliance led a group of community members into the Council chambers to present their plan to the City Council.