Last week Long Beach community members who have been working on a citywide hotel worker living wage campaign got the word that their proposed initiative qualified for the November ballot. My response to the news, which came via text message: “Woohoo!”
In just six weeks, canvassers—many of whom have been volunteering for years to support Long Beach hotel workers in their quest for better working conditions and compensation—successfully gathered more than 30,000 signatures from Long Beach voters to get the initiative on the ballot. Having volunteered on the campaign myself, I know that those signatures represent a lot of miles walked, doors knocked and conversations had.
At the press conference outside of City Hall on the day we turned in the petitions for verification, chants of “Si se puede” erupted from the crowd. A friend turned to me and said, “Si se pudo”– “Yes, we did!” As we celebrated this important first step, I reflected on the overwhelming support this campaign has received from Long Beach community members—we wouldn’t have gathered so many signatures in such a short amount of time without it. Looking forward to November, I know it’ll be that community support that carries us through to a win!