CRC members, activists, bankers, organizers and supporters packed Lokels Only Cafe in Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 3 for CRC’s Southern California Equitable Futures Awards celebration.
After a two-year hiatus, the event returned — with a new name — to honor Chancela Al-Mansour, the California Public Banking Alliance, the SEIU California State Council, and Asm. Miguel Santiago (D-53) for their commitment to creating a more just and sustainable economy in California.
“It’s been two long years since we last gathered in Southern California to recognize the individuals, organizers and community-based organizations that are doing critical advocacy work,” said CRC Chief Executive Officer Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, addressing the crowd of nearly 150 people. “The pandemic and its economic impacts have highlighted the power of organizing and mobilizing to change systems of oppression, to build resilience and, more importantly, to save our communities. This evening’s honorees are doing just that — working to save our communities.”
The Equitable Futures Awards celebration recognizes the state’s top difference-makers and community leaders. The event is held twice: first in Northern California and again in Southern California. New this year are two categories of awards: the Equitable Futures Award and the Alan Fisher Economic Justice Award.
“I’m very, very proud of (my) organization, and I’m proud to even be slightly affiliated with all of you here this evening, and I thank (CRC) so much for this award,” said Al-Mansour, Executive Director of the Housing Rights Center and recipient of the Alan Fisher Economic Justice Award.
The Alan Fisher Economic Justice Award is the highest honor given by CRC. It is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime of advocacy work that embodies the justice-forward spirit of Alan Fisher, CRC’s founding executive director.
The California Public Banking Alliance, the SEIU California State Council, and Asm. Santiago were awarded Equitable Futures Awards for their tireless work in combating financial inequities and for fighting for alternatives to the current state of our extraction economy by helping pass AB 1177, the California Public Banking Option Act, which addresses the inequities in financial services by guaranteeing all Californians access to basic banking services without fees or penalties.
“We wanted to create a better banking system that works for people, and that’s what we set out to do with this coalition,” said Asm. Santiago. “It took a lot of courage at the time to stand up to the status quo. This was the only bill to have gotten through the legislature with no lobbyists’ support, only thousands of activists and leaders from across the state and the country.”
The 2022 Southern California Equitable Futures Awards were sponsored by Citi, Flagstar Bank, Mechanics Bank, Banc of California, California Bank & Trust, City National Bank, Clearinghouse CDFI, Community Economic Inc, East West Bank, IDEATE California, Momentus Capital, HSBC, PNC, CCEDA, the Bay Area Development Company, TELACU, EBHO and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.