The City of Long Beach is one of 21 cities across the nation pledging a 10-year commitment towards implementing policies, practices and operations to eliminate racial disparities for its residents. This announcement comes after Living Cities announced an expansion of the Closing the Gaps Network (Network), its signature initiative with city governments to eliminate racial disparities in income and wealth.
“Long Beach is proud to be part of the Living Cities Closing the Gaps Network and pledge our commitment towards institutional change,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “As a diverse city, it is critical that our policies reflect the needs of our community. Our Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative has made tremendous progress over the past year and will continue to help us create practices with an equity-first lens that will best serve our community.”
Closing the Gaps Network participants share a vision for what a racially equitable, just and prosperous society can look like. They have previously worked on initiatives focused on closing racial income and wealth gaps such as inclusive procurement, guaranteed income payments and sales taxes that support inclusive economic development. As members of the Network, they have access to cross-city learning opportunities as well as technical assistance providers, facilitators, resources, and connections to other networks of practitioners working to create equitable impact.
“This commitment aligns with our groundbreaking Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative and is just one of the many we are making to ensure Long Beach is a city where residents of all backgrounds, incomes and abilities can thrive,” said City Manager Tom Modica.
In this next phase, members of the Network will design equitable strategies to support the closing of income and wealth gaps in their cities. This will include establishing interventions that support the increase of homeownership rates among people of color, as well as entrepreneurship rates. The Network’s goals closely align with Goal 4 of the Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative to “improve health and wellness in the City by eliminating social and economic disparities in the communities most impacted by racism.” Some of the potential actions include advancing economic equity through geographically-based Economic Empowerment Zones, inclusive, neighborhood-based business navigation services, and improving access to local jobs for Black people and people of color. To advance safe, healthy, and affordable housing, Reconciliation uplifts strategies to create a sustainable loan program, down-payment assistance programs, silent second mortgage programs, and exploring investment in alternative forms of land/property ownership, such as a community land trust.
Long Beach appears alongside cities such as Sacramento, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The complete list of cities can be found on the Living Cities website. The Closing the Gaps Network is supported by Living Cities’ members, which are some of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions.
“The equitable strategies that the Closing the Gaps Network will implement have been shown to create billions of dollars in economic activity for city and regional economies,” said Joe Scantlebury, Living Cities President and CEO. “By applying a racial equity analysis to how their city operates across private, philanthropic and public sectors, the Closing the Gaps members will provide tangible benefits for residents of color while also improving economic opportunities for all.”