After 3 months of videos, articles and adventures, thank you to all the viewers who shared this experience with me. It was a privilege to bring Sacramento’s community news to you. I look forward to hearing new stories from the upcoming team of Neighborhood News Correspondents at AccessLocal. Tv, and will always look back on these last three months as a time of learning, growth, and personal development.
About Adriana Gomez
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A symbol that predates the heart as the ultimate illustration of love and beauty, roses are an internationally favored flower. Not only are they England’s national flower, but they are also the provincial flower of Alberta, Canada. In addition, they are the emblems of numerous communist and socialist parties around the world. Expressing such a broad range of emotions and ideas is part of the reason that these lovely flowers make up the World Peace Rose Garden in Capital Park.
Established in 2003 by the International World Peace Rose Garden Organization, this Victorian-inspired garden in Capital Park offers over 600 roses with 153 varieties that vary from the spiritually named Love & Peace Rose and Desert Peace Rose, to the more eclectic, like the Rosie O’Donnell Rose. Together, this plethora of charming blooms expresses the importance of love, understanding, acceptance and peace throughout the world. In addition of the roses and several dedicated park benches, the garden also celebrates several children who were given the opportunity to express what peace means to them in a short poem or prosaic piece. This seems fitting, since the park was dedicated to women and children worldwide, however many of the sayings thought up by these young and creative minds speaks of hopes and dreams well beyond their years. The garden also honors veterans and their services to the United States, with many rose varieties named after different wars.
Capital rose garden also serves as a test garden for the All American Rose selections. This floral competition sees several new roses selected each year that embody everything American rose consumers want in their plants. Several different criteria include fragrance, manageability, and of course, overall aesthetic appearance. In addition to these tests gardens, the ADR (Allgemeine Deutsche Rosenneuheitenprüfung), based in Germany, also conducts a series of tests on the flowers to determine their overall heartiness. Those with the highest marks are given chosen as All-American Roses. The International World Peace Rose garden is one of a handful of gardens in the United States that have been selected for this very high honor.
If you are interested in the International World Peace Rose Garden, visit it at 15th and L street in Downtown Sacramento. Capital Park is also home to many veterans memorials and pieces of California history, making it both a beautiful and informative weekend stroll.
Music programs in schools have suffered since the 2008 recession. California schools were hit particularly hard, with over $109 million deviated from the state’s education budget and 50% of the state’s school music programs shutting down. However, despite these challenges, Sacramento students still work to fulfill their love of music by making their own and sharing the love with others.
In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The purpose of this statute was to provide affordable healthcare for all who need it in the United States, regardless of gender or pre-existing conditions. As of March 31st, 2014, 7 million people have taken advantage of the new legislation and are now receiving health care benefits. However, the benefits have not been extended to all those who call the United States home. Undocumented immigrants- which make up almost 5% of the US workforce- are unable to take advantage of the new “healthcare for all” mentality. The California Immigrant Policy Center is working hard to make the dream of basic health care a reality for every undocumented immigrant in our state, and they are making sure everyone knows about them and their cause with the “Health For All Undocu-CARE-van”.
A journey covering more than 500 miles, the caravan took health advocates, youth leaders and undocumented immigrants traveled from San Diego to Sacramento to propose a new health care act, the Health for All act, which would allow any and all undocumented immigrants in California to access the same health care benefits Americans receive through the new legislation. Senator Ricardo Lara, representing Huntington Park and Long Beach, is the author of this new legislation which will hopefully gather more support in the upcoming months. This Undocu-CARE-van was one of the first steps towards creating awareness. The caravan of advocates boarded a 12-seater van covered in colorful signs, large posters of band-aids, and Vapor Rub bottles with the words “Health4All” emblazoned on the sides. These large images were designed to illustrate that the undocumented citizens of California are tired of treating their loved ones with ineffective home remedies.
“Excluding people from access to are hurts the overall health of our communities, and does not reflect California values.” says Senator Ricardo Lara, the man behind the creation of the new health plan.
To read the complete bill, visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB1005.
Now that the weather is starting to warm up, farmers markets are preparing for the peach season. One of the many traditional American desserts is peach cobbler, particularly popular in the South. States like Georgia are well known for their delicious peach cobbler, but with a great peach season on the way, Sacramento might be another spot to find this sweet treat.
Many people would be shocked to know some of the health statistics surrounding African American women in the Sacramento community. According to a study done by the University of California at San Francisco, 15% have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. However, three women are working to improve that statistic and create a network of women of color within the area. Together, they make up the African American Women’s Health Legacy (AAWHL). Their goal is to educate women and their children about the importance of physical fitness and healthy eating habits.
In addition to health education, the AAWHL is working on a major project called the “AAWHL Mentoring and Empowerment Monthly Meet-Up”. In collaboration with Brickhouse Art Gallery’s director Barbara Range, the two organizations are hosting a series of get-togethers geared towards gathering women of color and encouraging them become advocates for the Sacramento community. At the events, vendors bring their wares and display them to the public while making conversation and sharing life experiences. Many different products are available for purchase at this event, and some can even be traded for. The idea is to to create a sense of community where women of color are more active.
“I see where we can create community, and this is really an opportunity for us create a “well” experience,” says Toni Colley Perry, a coordinator for AAWHL. She refers to the old tradition of women gathering to collect water from wells, while also expressing their opinions about their personal lives and their ideas for the community. “Because of our environment here, there’s no reason for us to gather in our existence as women. And this is an opportunity for people to come together and share who they are, what they have a passion to do, so we start out with the vendors there and then we all come together in a circle and we talk about life. The church environment would not allow us to come together as women, because there are so many woman from different churches. But through art, we can revive ourselves and get connected with who we were as girls. That creative side. It’s an opportunity for us to create a community. We are going to be creating an evening marketplace at the Brickhouse and it’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come and sell their wares.”
The Brickhouse Art Gallery, where the events are held monthly, is the perfect location to accomplish this; the museum has a rich tradition of displaying multicultural art that expresses an array of perspectives and ideas about what it means to live in Sacramento. In addition, it is a space that welcomes people of any and all backgrounds. These monthly meet-ups, however, are also a stepping stone to a much greater accomplishment that will affect the entire African American community in Sacramento.
“My goal in doing this idea is to help build the support that Barbara needed for the Brickhouse and the community things that she does and to help her with her ongoing goal to purchase the Brickhouse,” says Colley Perry. “Owning that building will give the African American community and the people of color who want to do art [the opportunity] to be a part of this whole collaborative community. It’s not a white or black thing. We are just participating in helping with that mission so that it can really become a corner where art in the community is happening. With everything that is going on on Broadway, the only real true community thing that is opening up to all ethnic groups is the Brickhouse. But we can’t get her the support if we don’t come. If we are not coming and we’re not helping she can’t do all that needs to be done there. It’s just not something that can be done without a true community coming together. We want to do some community advocacy about the light situation at 36th and Broadway, where the Brickhouse is. We’ve just recently contacted…WALKSacramento to talk about how can we advocate to get lighting and street protection for people who cross that intersection. So that is going to be one of the issues that we want to rally around and get women interested in advocacy.”
The AAWHL Mentoring and Empowerment Monthly Meet-ups are a great way for women of color to network while also sharing their perspectives with a group of invested listeners, but they are also a platform for women interested in becoming community advocates and rallying behind the creation of a community center specifically for people of color. The excitement around this project is infectious.
“The first time we got people together, I couldn’t sleep,” recalls Colley Perry. “I couldn’t because I had met so many wonderful, beautiful people in the evening who were sharing their goals and aspirations.”
For more information about how to get involved with the AAWHL, visit AAWHL.com.
On April 12th, 2014, local Sacramento environmental groups and plenty of volunteers joined forces at Creek Week to help pick up trash and remove invasive species from the Arcade Creek water system. One of the groups involved was the Arcade Creek Project, a scientific research initiative headed by teenagers at Mira Loma High School. Afterwards, all volunteers were rewarded with a free barbecue lunch and wonderful t-shirts to commemorate the event. Ultimately, Creek Week is designed to foster a sense of community surrounding our natural ecosystem while educating youth about the importance of preserving the environment.
Even though Sacramento is central to a region known internationally as a prosperous agricultural hub, many teenagers do not know if its significance nor the area’s impact on their lives. That is why HealthCorps, a national program founded by award winning heart surgeon and talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, has made it its mission to educate teens in the Sacramento region and throughout the country about nutrition and physical fitness. With a combination of school nutrition and after school programs, teachers at almost any school throughout the US can help foster a HealthCorps program to teach their students about the importance of living an active, healthy lifestyle.
“HealthCorps goal both in Sacramento and in all of our communities across the U.S. is to educate high school students on nutrition, physical fitness and mental resilience to empower them to become advocates for health in their own communities.” says Kaitlin MacGregor, the West Coast Communications Manager for HealthCorps. In the city of Sacramento alone, there are six fully operational programs to engage students. Some of these are at Hiram Johnson High School, Burbank High School, and Sacramento Charter High School. In total, there are 52 programs all over the United States. However, California is home to half of these.
“Sacramento is a center of agriculture in California, and yet some of our teens know next to nothing about the wholesome foods grown locally,” says MacGregor. “Many students grab sugary drinks and junk food on their way to school for breakfast and fast food for dinner, but we have found that with HealthCorps nutrition education and activities students are introduced to new foods and make healthier choices in their daily eating habits. HealthCorps also encourages students to learn more about physical fitness and find a type of fitness that they enjoy to keep themselves fit.”
Besides education, HealthCorps also works to advocate legislation that would implement nutrition and fitness courses in schools across America. For example, the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act (FIT Kids Act), which is designed to prioritize health education in school systems. Along with all of their efforts, HealthCorps and their inter-school programs have had a strong impact on the lives of the students involved. A study conducted at four participating schools concluded that 55% more students exercised 4 times a week or more, and 40% less students drank soda twice per day. With each of these victories, they are helping pave the way for children across the United States to live a more active lifestyle.
To get involved with HealthCorps, or to start a program at your local school, visit http://healthcorps.org/get-involved/ for more information.
Due to strict laws and regulations within Sacramento, urban gardens have often been difficult to create and maintain. California State Assemblymember Steven Bradford has taken a huge step toward eliminating the legal roadblocks many urban gardeners face with AB 2561, or the California Neighborhood Food Act (CNFA). If it is passed into law, it will allow local farmers to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for sale or personal use. Its passage would mean the production of more local produce in the city and small farming enterprises creating jobs in neighborhoods. In addition, the CNFA will allow food desert communities throughout the state to grow their own fresh produce.
The California Neighborhood For Act has social, economic and political implications that could affect hundreds of people in low-income communities. Removing zoning barriers and legalizing front and backyard gardens will allow people to supplement their incomes with the profits from their produce. Besides providing people with better quality food, Urban Agriculture is drought-friendly. If edible gardens are planted in place of grass, decorative plants, or even vacant lots, it means using less water overall for bigger food returns.
This bill, if passed, will still force growers to follow agricultural and environmental standards. It will also restrict homeowner’s associations from limiting edible gardens on private property and infrequent “on-site sales”. Tenants of rental properties will also be allowed to grow edible gardens as long as it does not interfere with any other tenant’s property and the landscape is restored to its original state once it is vacated.
“The Neighborhood Food Act is a bold step to making urban agriculture an option for people throughout California,” says Katie Valenzuela, Senior Program Manager at Ubuntu Green, a Sacramento based group that has worked hard to rally support for this bill. “It is so simple in that it only restricts cities, counties, and homeowners associations from prohibiting residents from growing food in their front yard, back yard, or communal space if they so choose. Really, this is government getting out of the way of residents who want to take ownership over their food. If it passes, it would be a very exciting step toward improving access to healthy, fresh, local food.”
Support for this bill means more fresh, local fruits and vegetables for your family. To sign the petition, visit http://www.theselc.org/neighborhood-food-act.
Mental Health America of Northern California (MHANCA), with help from the California Endowment, will host two LGBTQ Awareness Trainings for professionals in the Sacramento area. The first of these will be held on April 25th from 9am to 3pm. They are designed to create a safe space for asking questions and finding answers to any and all questions concerning the LGBTQ community. To register, contact Nicole Scanlan, LGBTQ Project Coordinator for MHANCA, at firstname.lastname@example.org.