Students at Sacramento Charter High School take part in the nationwide walkout on March 14th, 2018.
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The largest expansion of youth voter access in American history will occur next year. A new bill, known as AB 1407, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, on February 26th, 2018, that will automatically pre-register all eligible sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote when they receive a California Driver’s License or California State ID. This bill will automatically pre-register approximately 200,000 sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote annually. AB 1407 was proposed by Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and was sponsored by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
AB 1407 updates the 2015 New Motor Voter Program, which allowed every eligible citizen, who requested a driver’s license or state ID, to be automatically registered to vote. This update will simply include automatic voter pre-registration for youth. Of course, young people have the option to opt out of pre-registration, if they wish.
“AB 1407 will increase voter engagement by removing the unnecessary step of pro-actively registering to vote, increasing the likelihood of a young person voting in future elections,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “We need more young people engaged in the political process and impacting issues like college access and affordability, climate change, healthcare, and housing. Voting is the first step to make a citizen an active part of the political process. This measure will make sure that all voices in California are heard.”
This bill is scheduled to take effect on January 1st, 2019.
Meanwhile, on March 5th, Sacramento County’s Department of Voter Registration and Elections hosted an open-house meeting where Sacramento residents were invited to learn about the California Voter’s Choice Act’s effects on available voting options and to experience the new voting system technology that will be implemented in the June 2018 Primary Election. The open-house meeting was hosted at the Department of Voter Registration and Elections building from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM.
As per the procedure of the California Voter’s Choice Act, all Vote Center locations will be open two weeks before Election Day so that voters may vote on a day that is convenient with their schedule. Voters can visit any Vote Center within the county and staff will be available to provide assistance in multiple languages, help voters with disabilities, and update voter registration information. Of course, rather than attending Vote Centers, voters will have the options to vote by returning their ballots through mail or by dropping it off in the nearest county drop-box.
In the era of “fake news”, youth media organizations from all over California came together for the 2018 Youth Media Statewide Conference to sharpen their skills in journalism. This event was held in Oakland between February 17th – 18th at the Waterfront Hotel and was hosted by Youth Radio, a nonprofit media production company, an institution that prepares young people for the 21st-century digital workplace. The conference consisted of speakers and their experiences as freelance journalists, workshops on topics concerning photojournalism techniques and social media management, and networking opportunities.
So why is it important for young reporters to learn skills about media literacy and journalism? In light of the 2016 election, many American consumers of digital news and social media are aware of fake news and many young reporters in California are working to combat that with training in media literacy and in the production of quality, reputable local news.
“I really enjoyed meeting other youth media programs at the conference,” said Jazmine Justice-Young, a fellow youth media reporter. “I think my team and I learned a lot from the workshops they had that we’ll be taking back with us.”
Various workshops were provided to train young reporters to create quality news content. Erika Aguilar, a Podcast Producer and Reporter of KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, and Laura Klivans, a Community Health Reporter of KQED Public Radio who is also stationed in San Francisco, gave lessons in podcasting – and what different formats they consist of in terms of the level of production – as well as some techniques to ensure maximum audio standards for the audience’s experience.
Noah Berger, a freelance photographer who works for national and international news outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times, did a presentation concerning his experiences, techniques, and ethics of photojournalism. He demonstrated hands-on lighting techniques and discussed the best approaches to covering protests and other potentially-risky assignments.
Annie Yu, an Audience Engagement Editor of the L.A. Times, taught strategies of using social media in journalism to be more engaging to the audience. The basics include making a social media plan for a story, leading crowdsourcing campaigns, and building an audience.
The 2018 Youth Media Conference was overall a success as many youth reporters learned from experienced journalists and the training and support provided by the conference helped to sharpen the skills needed to be a credible, self-sufficient journalist.
Recently, Hmong women converged on a Sacramento community center to discuss the issues they share and the ways to move forward with power.
On February 3rd, the Museum of Medical History of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society was open for the public during the 20th Annual Sacramento Museum Day. The museum showcases the progress in patent medicines, pharmacology, basic science, laboratory medicine, antibiotics, infectious diseases, medical diagnosis, therapy, surgical diagnosis, nursing, Asian medicine, radiology, and quackery since from the mid-1800’s. Some large artifacts were on display such as nurse uniforms, a doctor’s office cabinet, skeletons, a 20th-century iron lung, Civil War amputation kits, live leeches, examination tables, a 20th-century x-ray machine, and wheelchairs. The museum also holds an extensive library containing early medical textbooks and journals.
“Very interesting museum with lots to see,” said Zule Wimer, a tourist visiting the Museum of Medical History, “We loved it all! We kept going back to the same displays because there were so many details to read and learn about. Makes you grateful for modern medicine but also makes you wonder about what the future generations will say about our understanding of ‘modern medicine’.”
Before the arrival of settlers and pioneers of Northern California, the Sacramento Valley region was described as “… one of the most healthful territories on the continent.” However, during the peak of the Gold Rush, many Western settlers and miners arrived and brought diseases that caused numerous epidemics due to the lack of sanitation and hygiene. It was estimated that 6% of settlers died on their trip to California and 20% of the population lost their lives within 6 months all due to diseases.
Among the settlers and Sacramentans, unqualified practitioners, opportunists, and irregulars of medicine competed with doctors that which ultimately led to the founding of the Medico-Chirurgical Association in 1850 – the first medical organization in California – in order to decrease tensions between “regular” and “irregular” practitioners. The medical organization lasted for only six years until the Sacramento Medical Society was founded in 1855. The Sacramento Medical Society practiced organized medicine until it disbanded eight years later. Finally, in 1868, the Sacramento Society for Medical Improvement, today’s Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, was founded.
Under their guidance, the Sacramento Society for Medical Improvement was responsible for the second City Board of Health in the United States, the first prepaid hospital insurance plan in California, the first railroad hospital in California, the first successful appendectomy in California, the first weather bureau on the west coast, and the first building in California that was designed to function as a hospital.
The museum is free of charge and open to the public every Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (except for holidays). Note: the museum will be closed on February 19th, 2018 in observance of President’s Day.
For more information concerning the Museum of Medical History, call (916) 452-2671.
The City of Sacramento’s Neighborhood Services is hosting three community meetings on February 21st, February 22nd, and March 3rd at the Fruitridge Community Collaborative, Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course, and KVIE Community Room respectively and is inviting all associations, neighbors, communities, youth, organizations, businesses, and overall networks to partake in a discussion about the economic future of Sacramento.
Sacramento Neighborhood Services believes that the only way change and improvement can happen is if they hear from as many Sacramento residents, business owners and organizations as possible and that these meetings are critical to help develop the model that the City of Sacramento uses to create prosperous neighborhoods and thriving business corridors.
At each of these dates, an engaging discussion is to be held with group exercises, voting opportunities, and a chance to voice your concern on what you believe your neighborhood and City of Sacramento needs. Light refreshments will be provided by local businesses.
“I think civic engagement is critical and it looks like they’re doing a good job reaching out to the community. There’s plenty of notice and the three different options is convenient,” said Alex Dash, a concerned resident of the Sacramento county. “My big question is: what action has been taken from prior community meetings and how will they follow up on the input they receive from these upcoming meetings?”
RSVP at ProjectProsper.eventbrite.com.
For more information, you may call or e-mail the Interim Division Manager of Sacramento Neighborhood Services, Kriztina Palone, at (916) 808-2260 or email@example.com.
On January 10th, 2018, the American Journal of Public Health, a team of public health, nutrition, and policy researchers from New York University and Tufts University, published a paper to figure out how feasible it would be for the government to impose taxes on unhealthy foods. The researchers concluded that it’s definitely possible and they recommend putting a tax on junk food to encourage consumers to choose a healthier alternative. This tax doesn’t just make people pay more for junk food but rather it also discourages people from consuming them altogether.
The taxes derived from junk food would be invested in public health purposes, especially to help low-income citizens who may not have healthy food resources in their communities. The authors of this report were hopeful that this research could provide state and local governments with insights and frameworks of the public health benefits of taxing junk food. However, many people have noted that these taxes on junk food may need local support in order to bring awareness to the situation and to affect change.
Despite this feasible plan, many people doubt that the federal government will willingly support this due to the lack of political capital and the extensive lobbying that goes against it. A tax on junk food would negatively affect the food industry and the industry itself is known to be assertive when protecting their profits. Other than influential lobbying practices, the food industry was also known for promoting ‘industry-funded junk science’ that largely supported their position and interests.
“The food industry has a very strong lobbying component. They would join together and lobby against this,” said Jennifer Pomeranz, an Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy and Management at New York University. “Industry opposition to public health policies, in general, has been very successful.”
In 2015, Coca-Cola, stapled as “the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages”, promoted a science-based solution to solve obesity: a focus on exercise rather than worrying about the amount of what people eat or drink. Of course, health experts said that this message was misleading and also part of an effort by Coca-Cola to deflect criticism about the role of sugary drinks in contributing to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
A counter-march to the widely promoted MLK walk was held in Sacramento, hosted by Black Lives Matter and other groups who took issue with the people message behind the larger rally.
Martin Luther King Jr. was renowned for his achievements as a political activist in civil rights. But many people don’t know that just before he was assassinated, he strived to solve the problem of poverty in our nation. King wanted the government to eliminate poverty by providing every US citizen a guaranteed middle-class income and a job. He didn’t want to just alleviate poverty but to also raise the American society into the middle-class. King argued that the guaranteed income should be “pegged to the median of society” and it would, therefore, raise the standard of living for many people. He contended that his plan was feasible because he noted an estimate by John Kenneth Galbraith, an economist, that the government could create a guaranteed income with $20 billion dollars a year. As Mr. Galbraith said, King’s economic plan was “not much more than we will spend the next fiscal year to rescue freedom and democracy and religious liberty as these are defined by ‘experts’ in Vietnam.”
With that in mind, the third annual “Reclaim MLK: This Was Not The Dream!” march will be held on January 15th, 2018 between 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, starting at the Safeway market at 1025 Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento. This march is hosted by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, SURJ Sacramento, and the Gender Health Center. The goal of this MLK march is to bring unity and to rally the power of the people against racism, white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, homelessness, poverty, and fascism. The march will end at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street, where the Diversity Expo will be held from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
The following organizations that sponsor this upcoming event are ANSWER Sacramento, ACLU Sacramento, Party for Socialism and Liberation, California Endowment, NoDAPL, Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, H.E.L.L.A. (Health Economics Life Liberty for All), Sacramento Justice League, Justice for the Picnic Day 5, the Poor People’s Campaign – Sacramento, King Hall Immigration Detention Project, Rural SURJ of NorCal, Green Party of Sacramento, Lavender Library, Democratic Socialists of America – Sacramento, Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento, Jewish Voice for Peace – Sacramento, the Resistance Sacramento Elk Grove, Awake Café, Community Space, and Brown Berets de SacrAztlán.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento, SURJ Sacramento, and the Gender Health Center collectively made a statement, “We will not be aligned with an event tainted in capitalism or sponsored by the very law enforcement entities that are killing us in the street, but with the people! Join us!”
For more information about this event, click here.
2017 has certainly been a tragic and frightful year for many people. Two of the most deadly mass shootings occurred a month from each other. One happened in Las Vegas on October 1st, leaving 58 people dead and 546 people injured, and the other happened in Texas on November 5th, leaving 26 people dead. These are just some of the many results of the ultimate problem: gun violence.
In the United States, one person dies from gun violence every fifteen minutes and a large factor that contributes to this would be the amount of gun ownership, which is more than 300 million. For every 100 people, an estimated own a firearm. Because of the substantial amount of firearms that exist, many people have instead been advocating for gun regulation instead of gun bans. Previous attempts to ban guns have seemed to contribute to an increase in gun sales when gun owners get worried. Therefore, there have been constant efforts to make firearms safer, to limit access to firearms, and to pass laws that regulate firearms. This has been proven to be effective when considering strong gun regulation laws in California where an estimate of 7 per 100,000 people have died from gun violence compared to weak gun regulations in Alaska where an estimate of 20 per 100,000 people has died from gun violence.
It’s important to note that mass shootings are not the main cause of death from guns. In 2016, an estimated 22,000 people died from gun suicide, about 11,760 people died from homicides, 589 perpetrators were killed by victims in self-defense, and 456 people were killed in mass shootings. Even though mass shootings cannot be prevented, a lot of unnecessary deaths can be avoided if access to firearms is limited and regulated by strong gun laws. Strong gun laws have been shown to make a difference. In 1995, Connecticut passed stronger gun laws and their gun homicide rates decreased by 40% and their gun suicide rates decreased by 15%. However, in 2007, Missouri repealed some gun laws and their gun homicide rates rose by 25% and their gun suicide rates rose by 16%. The numbers don’t lie – stronger gun laws lead to less gun-related homicides and suicides.
Gun violence is a serious problem in which we should all acknowledge as a society. Several factors came into play in the mass shootings of this year, which are starting to seemingly occur like clockwork, but it is undeniably coherent that, in order to make our community less vulnerable to gun-related deaths, we must support safer firearms, limited access to firearms, and laws that effectively regulate firearms.