Legal-name: The California Conference for Equality and Justice
Address: 3605 Long Beach Blvd, Suite 100
City: Long Beach
Officer: Reena Hajat Carroll, Executive Director
ContactName: Jessy Needham
Title: Director of Development
GrantPurpose: The grant will enable CCEJ to offer online Conscious Classrooms workshops for free to low-income students during COVID-19 school closures.
Periodoftime: 12 months
Audienceserved: youth, predominantly from low-income families
Demoofaudience: Youth ages 11-18 from diverse racial backgrounds (Past CCEJ program youth demographics: 45% Latinx/Native American, 26% Black/African American, 14% Bi/Multi-Racial, 8% White/European American, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander and 2% Middle Eastern)
District: All Districts. CCEJ is located in District 8.
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? : CCEJ’s work is grounded in the values of justice and equity and a belief in the power of community connections. Although our communities are tested by this health crisis, CCEJ continues to provide services and programs to promote compassion and connection. We continue to provide case management for our Restorative Justice Youth Diversion program and respond to requests for community conflict resolution. We’ve been organizing meetings online with our Youth Leaders to continue the activities of our Building Bridges Club Alliance and Youth Council.
The youth which CCEJ works with have been dramatically impacted by the closure of schools and social distancing measures. Some of these impacts are:
• Students are facing increased isolation from their friends and supportive adults
• Students are disconnected from the intergenerational CCEJ community
• Students are facing challenges to safety from being home, especially students with LGBTQI+ identities
• Students are navigating increased incidents of bias. East Asian youth in particular are reporting anti-Asian racism fueled by media stories linking COVID-19 pandemic and East Asian people, often invoking long-standing racist and anti-immigrant narratives
• Students are facing challenges with their families around routinely accessing basic needs like groceries, medical care, and physical exercise and recreation
Just as many people all over the world are re-imagining what it means to be in relationship with one another, so too are we re-imagining what our services, programs and work will look like for the future. If there are continued restrictions on gatherings beyond Spring 2020, our programs will continue to operate fully online, in the form of workshops, webinar trainings, and other “virtual gatherings.” CCEJ will continue to work with schools to build youths’ skills for leadership and dialogue with others from different backgrounds while using online tools to promote equality and inclusion. We will continue to create spaces for adults and youth to have dialogue about addressing oppression and injustice, as well as build wellness and resiliency during uncertain times.
2. What additional services, above your standard operations, will be conducted with this grant funding? In response to “Safer At Home” orders, CCEJ has designed more than 20 different online workshops and training courses between April – June focused on anti-bias education and Restorative Justice for both youth and adults. With support from the LBCF Disaster Assistance Fund, CCEJ will be able to provide new, online interactive Conscious Classrooms workshops to low-income middle and high school students from Long Beach schools.
Conscious Classrooms is a school-based program for students in middle and high school which builds awareness, knowledge and skills for youth so they can develop socio-emotional awareness, promote mutual understanding, and advocate for social justice. CCEJ will offer the program as a curriculum supplement for students who are engaged in distance learning, so that teachers and administrators can continue to promote school climates of respect across differences in race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion and culture.
Each online workshop is 1 ½ hours. CCEJ staff have designed timely and relevant topics related to the pandemic and its effects on our communities:
From Bystander to Ally: This workshop will help students practice ways to challenge anti-bias actions in their spheres of influence now and after COVID-19 through interactive learning and dialogue. The workshop will focus on conflict resolution, building resilience through emotional literacy, and practicing choices to empower students to build kinder, more inclusive communities both on and offline.
Finding Joy and Care in Self: Through reflective practices, group experiential activities, community dialogue and exploration of self-care, this workshop will help students identify self-care and resiliency tools they can use in times of stress and anxiety, support them in navigating communication and conflict, and help them identify ways in which they can return to their own gifts and passions as resiliency practices.
Looking Back to Move Forward: This workshop will utilize knowledge of freedom fighters of the past as a way to identify practices that will help to ground us in uncertain times. Through experiential learning, discussion groups, and reflective practices, students will begin to identify ways that they can apply learnings from the past to live a stronger present and help build a better future.
Quarantining the “Other”: This workshop will explore ways in which historical moments of panic have created narratives that further marginalize our most vulnerable communities. Students in this workshop will work to connect the past to the present moment, and identify ways that we can practice solidarity and allyship as a way of protesting these problematic narratives.
3. What individuals (and/or organizations) will you assist? : CCEJ’s Conscious Classrooms online workshops will serve youth ages 11-18 in Long Beach who have experienced traumatic disruption to their usual support systems at school, through peer networks, and community organizations.
CCEJ has close partnerships with nearly every middle and high school in the Long Beach Unified School District. With support from this grant, CCEJ will waive workshop registration fees for students from schools whose funding has been impacted by COVID-19, enabling more than 500 students to access the workshops for free over the next 12 months. CCEJ has a pool of more than 30 trained volunteer facilitators who are able to scale up these services quickly if demand is high.
As a result of CCEJ’s assistance, youth will feel more closely connected to their school community, enhance their conflict resolution skills, develop awareness of self-care tools, and strengthen their leadership skills for social justice during a time of unprecedented change.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount?: CCEJ has not yet received any disaster recovery funds.
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for?: CCEJ has applied for the PPP loan from the federal CAREs act, our status is currently unknown.