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The Group Hosts the African American Summit

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The newly adopted state budget, the Eastside Strategic Action Plan, community and faith-based partnerships, housing discrimination, homeownership in Riverside, and addressing the needs of a diverse student population, were all on the agenda for The African-American Summit, sponsored by The Group and held at Riverside Faith Temple last week.

Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge shared what he calls his “Three Directions” for the city. His focus during his last term in office will be Economic Development, Quality of Life, and Building a More Inclusive Community.
His economic plan includes: following an explicit economic plan, connecting the new economy to the city’s three universities and Riverside Community College, accelerating the revitalization of downtown, supporting technology, and helping small and medium size businesses compete in the global marketplace. In developing a better quality life for the residents and businesses of Riverside, Mayor Loveridge wants to see the city identified as a center for arts and culture in the Inland Empire, draw on the untapped benefits of the higher education community, increase homeownership to closer to the national average of 60%, support safe parks and streets, libraries, and K-12 schools. And finally, in building a more inclusive community, city hall, will be strengthening widespread participation on city boards, commissions, and task forces, providing information and help for youth and seniors, and drawing on the strengths of the city’s ethnic diversity.
Joining Loveridge on the panel was Riverside Councilmember Ameal Moore, Kevin Biggers, representing Governor Gray Davis, new Riverside City Manager George Caravalho, Riverside Unified School District board trustee Dana Kruckenburg, and Bob Meier of the Riverside Police Department, who spoke about the RPD’s compliance with Attorney General Bill Lockyear’s judgment.
The Summit’s theme was “community empowerment.” According to Councilmember Moore, “the community needs to take action,” and look to city hall for resources. Without the community taking the first step, he told attendees, elected officials cannot be effective.
City Manager George Caravalho joined Moore, “the police department and city hall cannot do it for you the community has to do it. We need community engagement because there is a sense of disengagement with the community and city hall. We have to change.”
The first panel was designed to provide foundational information on issues that affect the community at the state, regional, and local levels. The second panel “community in action” provided attendees with information on homebuying opportunities and how the faith community can partner with community organizations to help build better communities and neighborhoods.

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