On October 11th Rising Communities hosted its Policy Forum – Fantastic Futures at the California Science Center. The theme for the forum was inspired by Octavia’s Brood, a science fiction anthology with social justice themes. It included conversations on current and forward-thinking policies, such as reparations and guaranteed basic income (GBI). This event also served as the official launch of our Mothers Rising Fund for Guaranteed Basic Income benefiting mothers and children in South Los Angeles. This truly was a transformative event that brought together visionaries, thought leaders, and change makers from diverse communities and backgrounds. The event was FREE and inclusive of food, transportation, childcare, and translation services for all attendees.

Rising Communities Policy Forum

Our morning keynote speaker, Dolores Huerta, who has spent her life advocating for social justice, women’s rights, reproductive freedom, and LGBTQ civil rights, set the stage for the inspiring conversations that would take place throughout the day. She encouraged us to consider the issues causing poverty and reminded us that the people most affected by the problem know the solution.

Our opening panel centered on GBI and featured two of Rising Communities’ Regional Task Force Members – Sonia Salgado and Mrs. Hattie McFrazier- alongside two expert speakers Ysenia Bonilla, Communications Associate at Fund4Guaranteed Income (F4GI) and Abigail Marquez, General Manager at City of Los Angeles Community Investment for Families Department. Residents stressed how GBI significantly aids mothers in meeting basic needs like buying groceries or having a few moments to rest. Existing data highlights that many American families are not prepared to handle financial emergencies. During the panel, the consensus was that GBI plays a crucial role in supporting individuals and families during challenging times such as the pandemic and economic downturns. Panelists expressed a collective desire to see more GBI programs implemented as permanent policy to create an income floor.

In the afternoon, we heard from Reparations experts, including members of the California Reparations Task Force (CA RTF), the Los Angeles Reparations Advisory Committee, and Liberation Ventures, on the importance of achieving reparations as a means to construct a culture of repair, acknowledging historical injustices, and taking action to rectify them. Earlier this year, the California Reparations Task Force released its final report outlining harms to African Americans in California and presented over 100 recommendations for how the state can make amends. A challenge uplifted by the panel is the lack of information and awareness among the general public about the history of slavery in the State of California. The limited knowledge makes it difficult for people to weigh in and take a stance on something they don’t know about. Their hope is that the final reparations task force report can be used as a starting point to learn more about reparations. The panel also emphasized the importance of creating unity across cultures. The speakers emphasized that reparations advocates have learned from other groups, like the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, more specifically Japanese Americans and their journey for reparations in the United States. Speakers highlighted the need for collective unity and collaboration around reparations because this is not only a Black/African American issue.

Overall, the Fantastic Futures Policy Forum served as a platform for people to come together to envision the world they aspire to live in. A common theme across panels was the recognition that achieving these visions requires collaborative advocacy. Social movements are created and powered by people like you and me. As one speaker said, we are living in the age of consequence, we can look back and learn from history, but it is up to us to shape tomorrow.

With that in mind, if you’d like to stay involved and support our work, you can:

  • Donate to Mothers Rising 4 Guaranteed Basic Income here. By doing so, you will be supporting mothers with young children in South LA by helping us raise additional funds for our GBI program.
  • Join us at next year’s policy forum that will be hosted on Wednesday, November 6, 2024. Building on this year’s theme, next year we’ll take things a step further to discuss how we can create the world we want to live in.
  • Follow Rising Communities on Facebook and Instagram. Our organization provides updates on the work we are engaged in and how you can get involved too!