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Building A Community-Centered Clean Economy Event Materials

On February 13, 2023, Valley Vision hosted Building A Community-Centered Clean Economy, a hybrid event that acted as both the second Climate, Justice, and Jobs Summit as well as the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) kick-off event.

The event featured a video from CJJ’s Community First Listening Series and a live Community Panel discussion that shared perspectives on effective community engagement and ways to remove barriers to accessing jobs. Our Keynote Speaker, Stewart Knox, Secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, kicked-off the CERF program by sharing the state’s vision for high road careers in a low-carbon economy and some of the strategies our region can utilize as we begin the planning process. His session concluded with a brief Q&A moderated by Valley Vision’s CEO, Evan Schmidt and transitioned into her presentation on next steps and upcoming opportunities for our region’s CERF efforts.

View the Recording & Slides

Want to follow along with the slides? Please download the event slides here.

Community First Listening Sessions Highlight Video

During the event, a video was shared of previously held Community First Listening sessions across Sacramento, Yolo and Placer counties. The video was a great way to show off the work of the Climate, Justice, and Jobs program as well as set the tone for the community panel that followed.

Community Panel Main Takeaways

Panel members expressed a clear need to meet people where they are. From youth to experienced adults, panel members discussed a lack of understanding of clean economy careers.  Targeted outreach, engagement and education strategies need to be developed with specific populations in mind considering verbiage choice and modality of communication.  Examples given included youth primarily using online platforms to access resources and information, and older adults benefitting from clearing houses to help them navigate the same.  Another description of this disconnect was the lack of education and training provided to incarcerated individuals in the clean economy and other viable industries to prepare them for immediate, gainful employment post-release. 

Another clear imperative of the panel was to support organizations already doing the work. Nonprofit and grassroots organizations on the ground, in neighborhoods and working with specific, high barrier populations can reach these individuals more effectively. Additionally, these organizations frequently provide more holistic services, meeting basic needs including housing, transportation and other supports to enable historically underserved community members to take advantage of training and employment opportunities.

The community panel described feeling fatigued and disconnected from making a real impact on decision making.  When describing the communities they represented, several panel members used the word resilient.  As clarified by Executive Director Kiara Reed of Civic Thread and the panel moderator, “When we say something is resilient, we also have to acknowledge that it has been knocked down and that it’s not sustainable.”  The panel gave another clear mandate, to have a genuine seat at the table and influence when decisions are being made that affect them.  They do not only want their voices to be heard, but also have them meaningfully considered and result in action. 

Acknowledging this fatigue, we are incredibly grateful to our panelists who offered their honest thoughts with us once again.

Panelist Bios

(from left to right in recording/photo appearance):

Farmer Alfred Melbourne is owner and operator of Three Sisters Gardens and a longtime resident of West Sacramento. Their mission is to teach at-risk youth how to grow, harvest, and distribute organic vegetables and get the community involved in supporting the at-risk youth population in Yolo County.

Roy Ballard is an Advocacy Fellow at the Center for Employment Opportunities, where he dedicates himself to finding employment and ministry opportunities for individuals impacted by the justice system. He developed a passion for serving others during his incarceration, where he spent 10 years volunteering in faith-based prison recovery programs.

Richard Falcon is a talented local artist who established Teatro Nagual, a group of artists that promote civic engagement utilizing various forms of art. He values community involvement and expresses it through his role as Lead Organizer at United Latinos and has been recognized as one of Sacramento’s Top 25 Latino Change Makers.

James Mayle is a retired law enforcement professional who was born and raised in Sacramento. As a lifelong resident, James is dedicated to encouraging young people to get involved in their communities and become informed citizens.

Janie Rankins-Mayle is also a retired law enforcement professional who was born and raised in Sacramento. Throughout her career, Janie has been actively involved with the local school district and has consistently demonstrated a commitment to being an active member of their community.

Tommy DeLuna is a Life Coach for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, a nonprofit that supports formerly incarcerated individuals and advocates for criminal justice reform. Tommy also has experience working in construction. He is dedicated to raising the level of success with each employer and employee that he works for.

Anna Maria Thomas is a student at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento and is part of the Zero Carbon Champion Program, a youth-led climate ambassador program. Leveraging her passion for building a better community by promoting legislation that addresses the needs of our environment, Anna Maria is actively involved in Student Government and Environmental Club, in addition to other clubs at her high school.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to Kiara Reed who facilitated the panel. Kiara is the Executive Director for Civic Thread, a nonprofit planning and advocacy organization focused on achieving health equity in the built environment. Kiara brings over eight years of community engagement and leadership experience and has strong community connections and a vast network across multiple sectors. She leverages her own lived experiences as she works to build equitable outcomes by empowering marginalized voices and championing community-led solutions.

Live Polling Results

As part of the event, Valley Vision used a live polling website called mentimeter in order to gauge perspectives on two important questions to help establish a common vision as we enter the CERF planning process. Highlights from the two questions are below and the full results are available here.

What does it look like to be community-centered?

  • Organized and transparent decision-making that allows time for people to understand and the issue and voice their opinions
  • Meeting people where they are because each community has varied needs
  • When the visible development of a neighborhood reflects the desires, needs, and identity of the people that live and work there

What do you envision for our region when you think about a clean economy?

  • Economy focused on and using renewable resources where employees earn livable wages, healthy working conditions, and have opportunities for growth
  • Looking throughout the region for reliable long-term solutions. This includes understanding existing partnerships
  • Reduced climate impacts with a particular focus on communities and individuals most vulnerable to these impacts

What Comes Next?

We’re looking forward to continuing this work through the Community Economic Resilience Fund. If you are already a part of the coalition, keep an eye out for information as we begin to convene our subregional roundtables. If you haven’t but are interested, please fill out our CERF Interest Form. We also plan to release multiple RFPs to bring in additional partners over the coming months, including:

  • Data & Research Lead
  • Community Engagement & Tribal Leads
  • Capacity Building Lead
  • Business and Labor Engagement Leads
  • Communications Lead