The City of Sacramento is currently working on an update to the 2040 General Plan. The General Plan is the city’s way of making sure that as a whole, we are all evolving our ways of living. This includes things like planning on where people will live, infrastructure, public transportation, jobs, etc.This update had a focus on environmental justice, a term that can mean so much more to someone than the next.

Students For Inclusive Communities hosted an Environmental Justice and PhotoVoice Training on Saturday, August 24th at the Fruitridge Community Collaborative. Many leaders from different organizations, including youth leaders, attended this training in hopes of getting a better understanding of environmental justice work in Sacramento and how we can include youth in this conversation while making sure that we are giving youth a voice.

 

The definition of environmental justice that the City of Sacramento’s website lists is defined by the California Environmental Justice Alliance. 

 

“The basic right of people to live, work, go to school, and pray in a healthy and clean environment-regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, ability, nationality, or income.”

 

 

During the training, everyone was asked to share what environmental justice means to them. “Low income communities have access to healthy food, we don’t have to fight for the will to live, resourced more than just police, urban gardens, applies to more than just humans”, were all listed on the whiteboard. Environmental justice had a different meaning to each individual, but the thing that everyone in that room on Saturday yearned for was freedom.

Students for Inclusive communities is carrying out with a project for youth to participate in this update, to make sure that the youth of Sacramento get a chance to participate in decision-making. Youth are often left behind when it comes to having a direct impact and say on what happens to things like their education, the renovations of their neighborhood park, or how much money gets funded into their extracurricular programs. This project will allow students to make change with a submission of 10 photos that share a message to their city.

Nailah Pope-Harden, a community leader and speaker at the event, shared stories of how she made immense change in her community. Nailah hopes to spread inspiration to our youth and keep community leaders in unity, rather than division.

The 10 photos must be high quality photos that convey one or two messages; “this has an opportunity to change” or “this is a strength in my community”.

For example, Sophie Vang, a youth member of Students for Inclusive Communities, was the cause of the beautifying and renovation of Nielsen Park. She documented photos of unsanitary and unsafe areas of the park and sent them to the City of Sacramento. 

 

The deadline for submitting 10 photos is October 4th. Selected youth will receive a certificate of completion and a recommendation letter.