Karen Bass is the first woman and Black woman elected mayor of the city of Los Angeles. Rex Richardson is the first Black person elected mayor of Long Beach.
We congratulate these elected officials who made history in Southern California, and we expect they will keep their promises to work with the Latino communities in their cities.
What is notable is that of the three U.S. cities with the largest numbers of Latino residents, New York, Los Angeles, Houston – will all have Black Mayors. Besides Bass in Los Angeles, Eric Adams is mayor of New York and Sylvester Turner is mayor of Houston.
In each of these cities there are more Latino than Black residents.
New York is around 29% Latino, 24% Black, 14% Asian and 32% non-Hispanic white.
Houston is 44.5% Latino, 23% Black, 7% Asian and 24% non-Hispanic white.
Los Angeles is 48% Latino, 9% Black, 12% Asian and 28.5% non-Hispanic white.
Long Beach is 43% Latino, 12.6% Black, 13% Asian and 28% non-Hispanic white.
What these numbers show is that the electorate is diverse and in order to win politicians have to build multi-racial coalitions.
Bass has a track-record dating back to 1990 as the founder of the Community Coalition working on community health issues specifically impacting Black and Brown communities. Her campaign was supported by Latino leaders including Dolores Huerta, U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, and U.S. Reps. Tony Cardenas, Jimmy Gomez, Raul Ruiz and outgoing U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal- Allard.
Richardson represented North Long Beach for two terms on the city council and is vice mayor. He had the endorsement of outgoing mayor, Robert Garcia, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and of Padilla, also newly elected to the U.S. Senate.
We expect the new mayors will advocate for issues most impacting Latinos.
Housing and Homelessness: The recent census of L.A.’s homeless population showed a rise in Latino homelessness by 26%, the largest increase of any demographic group. Latinos are now more than 45% of the unhoused population. We want the newly elected mayors to enact policies to create affordable housing and help solve the homeless crisis. We expect within a year to see the numbers of affordable homes built go up and homeless rates go down.
Immigrant Rights: Bass told CALÓ News she would enhance the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to promote and advance the economic well-being of immigrant workers. She committed to expand and tailor resources and services to ensure they are linguistically and culturally appropriate for different immigrant communities.
Richardson also promised to work with immigrant communities. He has committed to supporting immigrant street vendors and supporting the Long Beach Health Department and local health care clinics serving immigrant communities, regardless of status, with an emphasis on mental health support for immigrants.
We need both candidates to strongly advocate for the immigrant communities in their cities. We’d like to see specific plans and outcomes within a year.
Representation: We also expect the new mayors to appoint Latinos to high ranking positions within their cities. They should release the racial and ethnic data for city employees and department heads. Then in six months they should show us how they have increased representation for Latinos and all underrepresented groups.