Santa Monica Black Agenda (SMBA) was created June 9, 2020, for the purpose of assisting the City of Santa Monica in addressing systemic barriers through the implementation of an informed, proactive platform of forthright, sustained, and credible actions. SMBA was formed as part of the City Council’s three-prong approach to addressing equity, which includes the development of a Black Agenda for Santa Monica, Public Safety Reform, and Equity and Inclusion Work in the City. Because Black Santa Monica residents have been disproportionately marginalized due to systematic racism in housing, employment, and education, SMBA uses a Social Justice lens, focusing on mental and physical health/wellness to create a comprehensive blueprint for authentic change across multiple areas from economics and affordable housing to civic engagement, and police reform.
SMBA is an evolving think-tank for community members to engage and cultivate change through various methodologies and projects including the arts and humanitarian efforts. to support projects that are part of the SMBA, Santa Monica Black Lives Association (SMBLA) (a 501c) was created from an approved, non-designated donation of $25,000 from the City’s We Are Santa Monica Fund, along with an approved additional $100,000 from the City Council’s non-discretionary funds. SMBLA is designed to promote the wellbeing of Black people who live, work, and visit the Santa Monica community, and to build a more equitable and just Santa Monica.
SMBA and its nonprofit successor, SMBLA, will work collaboratively with the Santa Monica City Council, hosting community engagement events and opportunities to provide education across the Santa Monica community regarding the history of the Black community in Santa Monica, implicit bias, and ways community members can join together to advance anti-racism in Santa Monica. This intentional approach includes a dynamic platform, where marginalized voices are not only heard but validated and included as a valued member of our city and society as a whole. SMBA is excited about the Belmar History + Art Project, the Art of Recovery Program, Community Connectedness through Restorative Justice, and looks to collaborate with the City on projects designed to bring about Social Justice and restoration through the arts, housing, employment, education, police reform, and civic engagement.