Monterey Bay Region Equity Resources

How do we do a better job to create a region that works for all our residents? How can we hold up a mirror that is a reflection of our region in a positive way that inspires change? As a “triple bottom line” organization, these are questions that MBEP thinks about a lot. Our board chair, Dr. Eduardo Ochoa, President of CSU Monterey Bay shares an open letter below that iterates the importance of equity in MBEP’s work.

As part of our summer series on racial equity, last week we hosted our second virtual Member Mixer, which was led by Dr. Carissa Purnell, Executive Director for the Alisal Family Resource Centers. Dr. Purnell’s presentation was eye-opening and informative, and “posed insightful questions that were unfortunately difficult to answer,” to quote one of the participants (see presentation below).

Finally, as part of MBEP’s existing Data Insights, we track and update data relevant to our region on a regular basis — and more robust data can be accessed by our members on MBEP’s Regional Dashboard and Data Trackers. These include data points from every aspect of our region, from employment rates, to health indicators, to education that can be filtered by demographic data.

We don’t have the solutions, but we are working towards finding them by convening the right people around the table armed with data to make informed decisions. Now is the time to act and use the current crisis as a catalyst to effect systemic changes.

Open Letter on Race Equity from MBEP Leadership

Dear MBEP Members, Partners, and Supporters,

After the series of events that recently occurred in our country, I was dismayed and heartbroken and struggled to put into words a message to the university community that I lead that would be an adequate response. The callous disregard for the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor is just the latest in a long list of murders that are rooted in racial injustice. As our cities across the region and beyond experienced justified protests, as well as unfortunate rioting and chaos, I knew we must face this inescapable moment in time amidst the compounded crises of COVID-19 and the economic downturn. Click here to read the full letter.

Member Mixer Summer Series

We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our virtual Member Mixers. The most recent mixer looked at racial inequality impacts on our region’s Latinx residents, especially those essential workers that put food on our table. 

Dr. Carissa Purnell, Director of the Alisal Family Resource Center, facilitated a discussion about how race can be the biggest “underlying condition” as it relates to contracting and dying from COVID-19. As an educator, Dr. Purnell focuses on developing youth in underrepresented communities to find a voice, professional pathway, and establish their place at institutions of higher education. She is also part of the core team that is leading our Regions Rise Together initiative that is developing a comprehensive inclusive economic development plan for the Salinas Valley. Last week we learned that the James Irvine Foundation has committed to funding this important work. Click on the image below to view Carissa’s slides from the mixer.

Regions Rise Together – Salinas

MBEP is embarking on inclusive economic development work in conjunction with several grass-roots leaders in Salinas, and with the support of the James Irvine Foundation. Our “Regions Rise Together” team is putting racial equity at the center of this work. In conjunction with CA Forward MBEP is spearheading this project that has the potential to unlock current barriers to inclusive development by addressing their root causes. Stay tuned for more updates.

Photo: Shmuel Thaler
Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Photo: David Royal
Courtesy of the Monterey Herald.

Photo: Brandon Vallance
Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Photo: Shmuel Thaler
Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Photo: Nicholas Ibarra
Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.