We want to share information for the next EHRC meeting and a special highlight in commemoration of Black History Month! 
Equity and Human Relations Commission Meeting
The Mission of the Equity and Human Relations Commission is “to inspire and support social justice and equity in the City of Long Beach and foster mutual understanding and respect for all.”

This month, the Commission will discuss an advocacy plan for anti surveillance and facial recognition technology. They will also discuss the City process for sending the Commission's recommendations to City Council, and voting on adopting a 2023 roadmap. 

WHEN: Wednesday, March 1 at 6pm
WHERE: Civic Chambers, 411 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802
AGENDA: link

Effective Wednesday, March 1, legislative bodies (including City Council, Commissions, Boards, etc.) will no longer have the flexibility to apply "relaxed" rules for virtual or hybrid public meetings. To attend/participate in the EHRC meeting, members of the public should plan to meet in person. The EHRC meeting can also be viewed online from your computer, tablet, or smartphone via: https://longbeach.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=84
Black History Month:
Disability Rights
As Black History Month comes to an end, we hope you continue to celebrate, listen and learn about the work of Black trailblazers -- past and present. In the spirit of intersectionality, we have chosen to spotlight some of the Black activists involved in the disability rights movement.
Johnnie Lacy
Johnnie Lacy was born in 1937 in Huttig, Arkansas, but soon relocated with her family to Mcloud, California. Lacy was diagnosed with polio at the age of 19 and placed in an iron lung for weeks. Eventually, the polio left her paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.  
After rehab, Lacy went back to college and completed her degree, at a time when doing so meant overcoming discrimination based on her race, gender and disability. She helped found the Center for Independent Living at Berkeley and became the Director of the Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) in its early days from 1981 to 1994. During her time at CRIL, she engaged the community in groundbreaking and essential conversations about identity and the challenges that come with being a Black woman with a disability.  
Brad Lomax
In 1977, frustrated with the federal government’s failure to address disability discrimination, disability rights advocates participated in a 28-day protest at a federal building in San Francisco. These activists demanded that the government issue regulations for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and their efforts have now become known as the “504 Sit In”. Many of the activists — having disabilities of their own — lacked the necessary medical equipment, caretakers and medication to participate in the sit in.  
The “504 Sit In” has been widely written about, but the involvement of two Black disability activists, Brad Lomax and Chuck Jackson, has been largely overlooked. These two members of the Black Panther Party, Brad Lomax, and his assistant, Chuck Jackson, participated in the sit in. Lomax was an Oakland resident with multiple sclerosis which required him to use a wheelchair. Together, Lomax and Jackson worked with their community to cook and deliver hot meals to disability rights advocates during the 28-day protest.  
Ultimately, due to this unified advocacy effort, the government issued regulations for Section 504. These regulations would eventually lay the groundwork for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. According to disability rights activist Corbett O’Toole, these advocates “showed us what being an ally could be. We would never have succeeded without them. They are a critical part of disability history and yet their story is almost never told. ⁠” 
Bessie Blount
Bessie Blount(November 24, 1914–December 30, 2009) worked with wounded soldiers during World War II, which led her to invent an apparatus that enabled amputees to feed themselves. Her first electronic device delivered one mouthful of food at a time, but its size was impractical so she developed a portable version for which she received a patent in 1951. The U.S. Veterans Administration had no interest in manufacturing it and Blount turned over her patent rights to the French government for use in military hospitals. 
In addition to her medical career, Blount wrote columns published in African American newspapers and in the 1960s she began working in law enforcement as a forensic scientist detecting forged documents. She worked with the police departments in Vineland, New Jersey, and in Norfolk. In the 1970s she became the chief document examiner at the police department in neighboring Portsmouth. She trained and worked at Scotland Yard in 1977, reportedly the first African American woman to do so. Bessie Blount continued to operate as a forensic science consultant into her eighties, verifying the authenticity of documents related to slavery, the Civil War, and Native American treaties with the United States. 
Aaron Phillip
In 2018, Aaron Rose Phillip became the first black, transgender, and physically disabled model to ever be represented by a major modeling agency and has since modeled in several major high fashion photo shoots and campaigns. In 2021, Philip debuted as an exclusive for Moschino’s spring/summer 2022 fashion show - making her the first model using a wheelchair to walk for a major luxury fashion brand. 
Haben Girma
Haben Girma was born in Oakland, California in 1988 to an Eritrean immigrant family. Girma lost her vision and hearing as a result of an unknown progressive condition beginning in early childhood. She retains 1% of her sight.  
At the age of 15, Girma traveled to Mali to do volunteer work, building schools with buildOn. 
Girma attended Lewis & Clark College, where she successfully advocated for her legal rights to accommodations in the school cafeteria. She graduated from Lewis & Clark magna cum laude in 2010. She then became the first deafblind student to attend and graduate from Harvard Law School, earning her J.D. in 2013. 
Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c.March 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist and social activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 slaves, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. During the American Civil War, she served as an armed scout and spy for the Union Army. In her later years, Tubman was an activist in the movement for women's suffrage.
Lois Curtis
People with intellectual and mental disabilities can thank Lois Curtis for paving the way for them to live in the community receiving the services they need. 
In what was called “the most important decision for people with disabilities in history,” the Olmstead Decision justified the right for people with disabilities to live independently but would take four years to come in effect including being heard in the Supreme Court. 
At the center of the 1999 lawsuit that cited a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 were Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, two women with mental and intellectual disabilities. They were held in Georgia Regional Hospital for years after their treatment team determined they were able to live in the community because the state did not want to give them the funds they needed to live independently. 
While she was growing up, Curtis was diagnosed with intellectual and mental disabilities. As a result, she would get into trouble constantly – at home and at school. The police were called several times and they would take her to jail or to a mental hospital. 
However, at 11-years-old she was sent to live at Georgia Regional Hospital, a mental institution for people with disabilities. She would remain there until she was 29 years old. 
For many of the 1,199,743 black students (K-12) with disabilities in America today, the deck is stacked against them. Frequently “invisible disabilities” such as ADHD are not diagnosed and students do not get the supports they need to achieve. Frustrated, they can act out and become suspended. African American students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by suspension in schools, with more than one in four boys of color with disabilities — and nearly one in five girls of color with disabilities — receiving an out-of-school suspension.