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Thank you to everyone who attended the EveryoneIn Economic Equity Summit last week in Long Beach. With over 200 people in attendance - from practitioners to community members to elected officials - the day was a huge success. We were proud to co-host such an important discussion around advancing economic inclusion strategies with Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and our partners at the City of Long Beach.
We started the morning with the renowned keynote speaker, Dr. Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and Director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC. His research shows that that regions that bake equity into their strategies and policies see more resilient economic growth for everyone. He argues that inequality stunts economic growth and that local economies will continue to see slow job growth, rising economic inequality, and sharp political polarization if they do not bake equity into their policies in order to lift up those that are the most economically marginalized in society.
John Keisler, Director of the Long Beach Economic Development Department, then took the stage to announce the launch of the City’s partnership with Kiva and LA LISC to make Long Beach a Kiva City. Kiva is a crowdfunding micro-lending platform that offers 0% no fee loans to underserved entrepreneurs across the country. LA LISC provides matching funds for all new and existing businesses that are working with our partners in the City of Long Beach and throughout LA County. Read more about the initiative here.
Next, the audience got a chance to learn about how economic inclusion policies and practices are being implemented in other cities from a panel discussion on national best practices. On the panel were Darlene Flynn (Director of the City of Oakland’s Office of Race & Equity), Dr Roxanne Franklin (Former Director of Equity Strategy in the City of New Orleans), James Alva (Senior Vice President of Citi Community Development) and Michael Owh (Chief Procurement Officer for the City of LA).
We heard from Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Tech Executive and Founder of Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network, and Jeffrey Wallace, President and CEO of Leaders Up, before we dispersed to sessions on using data to inform economic equity strategies, pathways to homeownership, cultivating diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners, transportation equity, workforce development, and developing the next generation of leaders.
LA LISC will continue the momentum gained from the Summit to help bring together the Everyone In Implementation Team, using the conversations from the Summit and the focus groups to create a strategy and an agenda around some of the City’s key policies and priorities.
“One of the key takeaways that we got from today, especially from our panelists, was that, in order to be able to make change, we first have to raise the profile and educate others about what these topics are, why they are important, and where we are as a city on a variety of topics. So we're looking at bringing together resources to be able to pull together policy briefs that give us a sense of where we are around issues of home ownership in Long Beach, employment opportunities and really tackling the racial wealth gap. We also talked about the idea of putting together score cards, so we know from year to year, quarter to quarter, whatever our metric is, how we're doing in these areas and how we're having an impact,” said Tunua as she closed out the evening.