The Black Panthers, VIP Records, and NAACP were all located within Eastside Long Beach. This region was predominantly occupied by Black residents due to restrictive covenants, redlining, and Proposition 14 of 1964. Black organizing called for refugee entry, which eventually led to the legislative pass of both the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975 and the Refugee Act of 1980. These laws were important in helping Cambodian refugees migrate and settle in Long Beach.
In 1968, Latino students from Polytechnic High School protested the lack of ethnic education in their curriculum. Many of these students continued their advocacy work at CSULB to help initiate the creation of one of the first Chicano Studies Departments in the United States.