BLM Long Beach Statement on Violence in our School District

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

October 1, 2021

On Monday September 27th, Manuela (Mona) Rodriquez, age 18, was shot by a Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) School Safety Officer (SSO) in the parking lot around the corner from Millikan High School. The incident was recorded by a student and broadcast by ABC Channel 7 News. The School Safety Officer was off-campus, and recklessly discharged his firearm into a car as it was driving away. Mona was critically injured in the backseat. She is now hospitalized and on life support.

In May 2020, after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, racial reckoning occurred across the country. We met on Zoom with our LBUSD superintendent Dr. Jill Baker and demanded that LBPD officers and SSOs be removed from schools, because they also carry guns that could be potentially harmful to students. Dr. Baker and the board of education responded by removing the 3 LBPD officers that were stationed at LB high schools. However, the SSOs are still on campus with punitive policies which allow for guns, batons, and other weapons to be used on students, are still in place.

And here we are one year later, with a young woman, 18 years old, near death at the hands of an SSO.

SSOs patrol many of the middle and high schools in Long Beach, armed with guns, batons and other weapons. According to the district, “SSO staff carry weapons and are allowed to use them on combative students”. Why would a school find it necessary to physically harm students with one of these weapons? Research gathered for BLMLBC Community Briefing, shows salaries of these campus officers for a combined total of $1,429,110. - $1,678,251. What would school safety look like if we reinvested some of these funds into school counselors and other forms of care that actually keep our students and schools safe?

The physical and psychological safety of over 68,000 LBUSD students are in clear jeopardy. Black and Latinx parents wonder if their child will come home safely at the end of each school day. They are attacked on public city buses on their way home from school, and harmed with weapons by School Safety Officers on or off campus. When will this insanity end? Black Lives Matter Long Beach, community members, and stakeholders in the city are demanding that LBUSD remove all weapons that harm and potentially kill a student, staff, teacher, or family member on campus. We want the district to implement a higher level of care to all students and their families.

Enough is enough and we are demanding systemic changes included but not limited to:

  1. All guns be removed from any campus employee.
  2. All weapons such as batons, clubs, pepper spray, etc., be removed from School Safety Officers.
  3. Additional training given to staff to deescalate a difficult situation.
  4. Review and remove all punitive punishment, and replace it with restorative practices such as: more counselors, social workers, nurses and opportunities for arts and cultural activities.
  5. Town Hall meetings instituted at each school site to hear from students and parents with action steps to follow.
  6. Mental health resources on every school website to be a resource for students, teachers, staff and parents/guardians.

It is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win.

Signed by: Black Lives Matter Long Beach & community stakeholders

Dr. Kim Tabari, LBUSD parent, Black Parents/Guardians Circle, LB Education Connection & BLMLB

Melissa Morgan, LBUSD parent & BLM Long Beach

Audrena Redmond, Co-Founder of BLM Long Beach

Dawn Modkins, Co-Founder of BLM Long Beach

Sheila Bates, BLM Long Beach

Kamilah Holmes, BLM Long Beach

James Mark, H.O.O.D Council & BLM Long Beach

Reena Hajat Carroll, MSW; Executive Director, California Conference for Equality and Justice

Marianne Drummond, Wilson High School Teacher

Jenn Stuart, Community member

Roean Stuart, Community member

Gaby Hernandez, Executive Director, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition

Christopher Covington, Statewide Lead Organizer (LB Organizer) Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network

Geoffrey Windor & Ginna Brelsford, Co-Executive Directors, Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network

Nicole Gon Ochi, Senior Attorney, Public Advocates

Mariela Salgado, Parks Commissioner, LBUSD Parent, & LB Education Connection

Martha Cota, Latinos In Action & LB Education Connection

Lilia Ocampo, LBUSD Parent & LB Education Connection

Michael Ball, Children’s Defense Fund-CA

Angelica Salazar, Children’s Defense Fund-CA

Jerlene Tatum, LBUSD Parent & Black Parents/Guardians Circle

Children’s Defense Fund-CA

The Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union

Omar Cardenas, Parent and Organizing Director (Long Beach), Californians for Justice

Long Beach Forward

Youth Leadership Institute

Jenny Chheang,LBUSD parent and community member.

Aarti Harper, LBUSD parent

Susan McKibben, LBUSD parent

Shelly Walther, LBUSD parent and alumni

Mary Ellen Mitchell, LB community member

Kayleigh Levitt, Volunteer CAT911LB

Alyssa Gutierrez, Chair, LB Human Relations Commission

Lian Cheun, Parent & KGA Executive Director

Daniel Castro, Democratic Socialist of America - LB Steering Committee

Kailee Caruso District 3 Parent at Lowell Elementary (PTA Board, School Site Council, DEI Committee)

Kenny Allen, Sunrise Movement Long Beach

Carlos Ovalle, People of Long Beach

Iyatunde Folayan, CAT911 Long Beach

Susana Sngiem, MSW, United Cambodian Community

Liz Ryan Murray, LBUSD, Parent

Bree Carlson, Community Member

Allister Baldwin, Community Member

Laverne Carlson, Community Member

Miles Murray, LBUSD Student

Marianna Clark-Igoudin, LBUSD Student

Daynna Rosales, LBUSD Student

Michael L. McCary, LBUSD Student

Burk Murray, LBUSD Parent

Ellen Hartwick, LBUSD Parent

Lily Gonzalez, LBUSD Student

Stephanie Park, LBUSD Parent

Jonathan Henry, LBUSD Parent

Viki Yamashida

Tu Quynh Tra, Educator

Ted Hollistor

Rev. Kyle Blake, Parent of LBUSD Student

Juan E. Ovalle, Community member

Showing Up for Racial Justice LB (SURJ)

Emilio Zapién, Youth Justice Coalition, South Central L.A.

Mau Trejo, Orange County Rapid Response Network (OCRRN)

Advancement Project California

Earthlodge Center for Transformation

Educated Men with Meaningful Messages

Filipino Migrant Center

Students for Quality Education Statewide

Emily Joelle, Community member and LBUSD staff member

Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles.

United Teachers of Los Angeles

Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition

Community Coalition

Brotherhood Crusade

Youth Justice Coalition

Social Justice Learning Institute

InnerCity Struggle

Khmer Girls in Action

East LA Weingart YMCA

Victor Leung, ACLU of Southern California

Student leaders, Youth Liberty Squad

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy

● For immediate contact please email Black Lives Matter Long Beach at [email protected] or visit our page at www.blmlbc.org

City Council Letter 7/13/21

July 13, 2021 Letter to City Council

TO: Mayor Robert Garcia, City of Long Beach City Council Members, and City Manager Tom Modica
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL ONLY
FROM: Black Lives Matter Long Beach, CA

DATE: July 13, 2021

RE: Long Beach Police Department Budget Allocations

Dear Mayor Garcia, City Council Members, and City Manager Modica:

This year you are rapidly moving millions of City dollars away from our community — which is deeply suffering from an intersection of public health crises of racism and COVID19   to fund new police department initiatives. 

We have spent years, and namely all of 2020, very clearly articulating that residents do not support additional funds being grossly thrown at poor policing programs. We do not support funding a department bystander intervention training, nor Facial Recognition Technology and license plates readers. Instead, we support funding the real work and people that actually provide care in our city: community psychologists, supportive service providers for housing, the City’s Health Department, community groups, youth organizations, and H.O.O.D. Councils who do the real work to prevent intercommunity violence and health risks. 

The people of Long Beach demand investment in our vision for a safer, healthier, happier city. The City’s budget reflects the values of our community, and we have spoken.

DIVEST FROM THE LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT

Defund the Long Beach Police Department to end their constant racist violence, abuse of our low-income residents, criminalization of youth and poverty, and separating families. Stop depleting our city budget with massive police surveillance tools that continue to harm our community under the false guise of Racial Reconciliation.  

The following list of LBPD funding requests that are supported by elected and other city leaders tell us that there is no genuine commitment to cure and end racial harm.

  1. License Plate Readers - criminalizing people for exercising their American rights to protest
  2. Facial Recognition Technology - countless studies have shown that FRT criminalizes Black people 
  3. Active Bystander for Law Enforcement (ABLE) - What happened with past tens of millions of dollars that LBPD received for training? This request is a testament to poor policing, mismanagement of resources, and the clear inability to adequately train.  NO more money under the false guise of “training”.
  4. Gun Violence - The shrill request by LBPD for more money to beef up the department absolutely ignores the predictable socio-economic impacts of COVID-19. Now is a time for mending and building better, not exacerbating societal ills. There are many Black-led cultural and community based organizations that can be sought out for resources to help people and communities be healthy and thriving. 

REINVEST IN BLACK LIVES AND IMPACTED COMMUNITIES

Honoring the recognition that racism is a public health crisis means you must immediately reallocate funds and direct additional resources to community-led initiatives on the front lines of responding to the impact racism has on our residents. 

INVEST IN THE PEOPLE OF LONG BEACH

  • Invest in community-led crisis response programs and the alternative emergency response teams called for in the City’s Racial Equity and Reconciliation Report.
  • Provide reparations to Black people as well as victims and their families of racial profiling and police violence prominent during the war on drugs era.
  • Prioritize Black business ownership in the cannabis industry, including but not limited to cultivation, production, and distribution. Cannabis tax revenue dollars should be allocated directly to the Cannabis Social Equity Program and the Health Department, instead of to the General Fund. All funding from cannabis taxes must be redistributed toward the restoration of wealth opportunities stolen by the war on drugs and mass incarceration, and in turn, provided directly to impacted Long Beach families and communities.
  • Increase the Health Department budget specifically for family reunification and reentry programs, Black infant mortality, mental health, homelessness services, and other programs to address systemic needs beyond equity toward liberation.
  • Invest in Black community-led residential, commercial, and recreational spaces and programs to support stronger connections among neighbors and small businesses.

City of Long Beach, if you continue to increase funding and influence of the Long Beach Police Department, then you PROVE to the residents of our City - who plainly asked that you defund LBPD and invest in community care - that your claim of working towards reconciliation is indeed false.

The people of Long Beach imagine a future here together where we can all live long, satisfying, healthy, and meaningful lives. Divest from the Long Beach Police Department. Reinvest in Black lives and impacted communities. Invest in the people of Long Beach.

We demand that you adopt the People’s Budget Long Beach

Sincerely,

Black Lives Matter Long Beach