On Sunday, July 8th, The Latino Center of Art and Culture hosted the 5th annual ¡Fiesta De Frida! The event celebrated the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and consisted of Cumbia, food, local vendors, art, and a Frida Kahlo look-alike contest.
About Melissa Franco
Posts by Melissa Franco:
According to a report that was released by the Center for Disease Control last month, suicides in America are on the rise. The report shows the increase in suicides for Americans, which often seems to be a male-dominated tragedy in this country, had a 30% increase in the United States since 1999. When one looks at the mental well-being of this country, many issues people face often draw back to wealth. Could it be possible that there might be some sort of correlation between the wealth gap and the mental health of Americans living in poverty?
“The challenges that adults face are made more difficult if they are living in poverty,” a report by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states regarding the mental health of Americans below the poverty line in 2015. The report shows that adults 26 or older living below the poverty line were more likely to experience serious mental illnesses. When race and ethnicity are brought into play, the situation becomes even more disturbing.
Socioeconomic status plays a huge role in one’s ability to survive and when one looks at statistics in regards to who is affected by their status in this country, the correlation between wealth and happiness. In 2014, 39% of Black youth and 33% of Latino youth were below the poverty line as opposed to white youth whose percentage was 12, according to the American Psychological Association.
“Communities are often segregated by (socioeconomic status), race, and ethnicity,” says the APS. “These communities commonly share characteristics: low economic development; poor health conditions; low levels of educational attainment; Low SES has consistently been implicated as a risk factor for many of these problems that plague communities.”
Low-income neighborhoods that have little access to the opportunities found in wealthier communities, often do not have the ability to obtain healthy lifestyles or tend to their mental health because they are trying to escape poverty. The New York Times found that for every white family that holds $100, black families just hold $5.04.
Whites make up more than 70% of the U.S. population, yet, suicide rates among black youth are on the rise. African-American children are now twice as likely to commit suicide compared to white youth, according to the May article in the Washington Post.
What can society do to demolish the wealth gap and remove the minorities of this country from poverty? In 2009, the University of Michigan found that one in every three African American children and one in every four Latino children live in poverty in the U.S. That is twice the rate for white children in the United States. As a nation, how can we stay happy?
In this video, I show you clips of live performances taking place at a weekly open-mic at Luna’s Cafe and clips of Concerts in The Park, a free, reoccurring summer concert at Caesar Chavez Plaza. Two interviews play in the background by two anonymous people.
My name is Melissa Franco. I am a 19-year-old, South Sacramento native. After growing up with three siblings in a quite interesting household with my mother and step-dad, I’ve been shaped into a humble and creative person. I have two sisters, and a brother. My biological father exited my life very soon into my childhood, but later after finding out what interests and passions we share, I take pride in knowing that my talents and passions have very much to do with what lies in my blood.
I always did well in school. I started reading at the age of 4. Schools always tried to get me to move up a grade but my mother refused for reasons unknown and I discovered early on that I had a passion for filmmaking, apparently like my biological father who is also into filmmaking. I’d sit on my parents now-dinosaur of a computer and start off by creating slideshows on Windows Movie Maker. I was only in 5th grade when the news about my hobby spread around, and my principal had me create a video to show the entire auditorium for Teachers Appreciation Day.
After my grandmother passed away while I was in middle school, everything in my life changed quickly. From watching the death take a toll on my mother’s mental and physical health and the tearing apart of my family, to going through extreme phases of confusion and depression, I had experienced a roller coaster of emotions during my teen years.
While I was attending Capital City School during my junior year, an amazing woman named Mrs. Nawrocki, changed my life. She pushed me to go to college early, which I did, and helped me dive deeper into schooling and self-discipline. I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker but surrounding myself with older students who had the same passion helped me understand where my passions in film were specifically.
I graduated from John F. Kennedy High School last year, moved out of my parents right after to take a break from school and experience this wacky “real-world” on my own, left my grocery store job to be a full time activist as a fundraiser for amazing non profits, but quickly tired myself out from activism because of the way that I was doing it. I found that I should first, begin in my community, before fry my brain with stress from the injustices that this country faces, or the world.
I plan to make films that allow more representation of minorities in positive lights only and give women a place in film as characters who aren’t just seen as objects onto our screens, for the rest of my life, before and after earning a Ph.D.in Film Studies at UCSC. I also plan on creating a facility for the youth of Sacramento to have access to all tools for the process of creating all art forms. Lastly, I would love to start my own film program here in Sacramento for young minorities to make changes through film.