On February 9th, at The Casa de Espanol, Dennis Menendez presented his work to the community. His work portrays his homeland, Cuba through his eyes.
About Star Porras
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During President’s Day Weekend 2019, sixteen,youth media organizations gathered together for the California Statewide Youth Media Conference. The Conference mainly organized by youth representatives of participating organizations and was held at the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland.
There, attendees participated in various ice breaker activities, workshops, and listened to an array of accomplished speakers. Youth reporters had the chance to network and learn from professionals in the same field, one of the most important goals of the conference.
Opportunities for youth to be listened to limited, and many do not have platforms to discuss what they find important to themselves and their communities.This is why the conference was crucial for youth in programs that voices to attend. It gave youth the opportunity to take charge and show their adult allies what it is they want to discuss and learn about. This was exactly why the event was planned by a group of youth over the course of about seven months on the conference’s Youth Advisors Planning Committee.
The workshops and speeches covered an array of important topics on journalism and were taught by esteemed journalists. Workshops covered an array of platforms and topics such as poetry, documentary production, live field reporting, using social media, the illustration of stories and different tactics to cover all types of reporting.
“These types of conferences, I really take to heart,” 24 year old Mitzi Perez told us. “It’s really important for young folks to be able to report on what they experience in their own communities. A lot of our stories are written from outsiders who don’t understand what’s really going on inside.”
“It was a really difficult process,” said Eli Meza, Youth Advisor Planning Committee member. “But it was extremely worth it. We were able to brainstorm ideas of what we wanted and work from that over the course of seven months. The entire conference that attendees experienced was what we had spent months saying we wanted. It was nice to see it become a reality.”
The conference was a success and incredible experience for all organizations involved, and we at Access Local cannot wait to attend the next one! Be on the lookout for new projects from YR Media and if you would like to learn more about them, click the following link.
On Thursday, the 24th, Youth Engagement Action Team held a meeting at the Fruitridge Community Collaborative Center. There, members of various organizations including The California Endowment, AccessLocal, IQ Squad, Sacramento FilipinxLGBTQIA+, The Next Gen Art Society and various other groups were represented. There, the groups worked together to discuss the plan it’s social media-based youth empowerment campaign.
Before planning out everything, the group watched several videos about social issues that were created by youth. The videos were all poetry and music based, focused on problems that plagued communities such as the correlation between soda and diabetes in communities of color, drugs abuse and the schools to prison pipeline as well as the hardships of being a youth in an underserved community. The reason these videos were being shown and discussed amongst the groups was to figure out effective methods for getting impactful messages across.
Another activity that was done by the group was a self-analysis project, that was to look into ourselves as individuals and the work we do to advocate for what we care about. We did this to get a better sense of the content of the social media campaign that was being planned. The main topics that were agreed on by the group were gentrification, systematic oppression, and the participants even agreed that they were against the policies of the current administration.
“The goal is to bring light to the bad things that affect the youth in Sacramento,” One participant said as we were brainstorming. “And also empower them so they know they can have hope.”
Participants from the Youth Engagement Action Team all agreed that the meeting was productive and successful and that there would be another one the coming month.
The newly-sworn-in California Governor, Gavin Newsom, brings the hope of new energy and ideas for the office and some trepidation that he will fall into the same rut that other politicians do. I asked three young people in Sacramento for their thoughts on the new administration.
Julia Sidley,16, Sacramento.
“I have high hopes for Gavin Newsom’s poverty plan, his first budget plan allocated millions to early ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and these screenings would be used to take trauma into account so they would not fall into poverty. Newsom also has big plans to reform California’s drug policies, and has harshly criticized the criminal justice system, soaring drug arrests and how people are being views as numbers once they are in the prison system. My ideal vision for the Newsom’s governorship is his focus on young people in education, the justice system and his healthcare plan which entails expanding the age for which a child can stay on their parents medical coverage from 19-26 years. This would help the expansion for healthcare of undocumented folks in California. Newsom recognizes the healthcare expansions as the morally just thing to do, and hopes to move California towards a universal healthcare system. “
Eli Meza, 17 Sacramento
“I do have high hopes for his governorship, specifically for a few things, like how he plans to fix housing in California. He says he wants to build 3.5 million new housing units by 2025, and he feels as if he can reach that goal, while others feel that he can’t. The fact he has a plan is exciting to me, as well as Assemblyman David Chiu. So, that is something I do look forward to, seeing him keep his promise. Not only do I want to see him meet these goals on housing, but I also want him to accomplish what many of Californian’s find to be pressing issues, such as affordability in general, teacher wages and rights for LGBTQIA+ identifying youth and students. To quote a recent tweet from Gavin Newsom’s Twitter account:
‘Outrageous. Trans-Americans who have put their lives on the line to defend our country will be restricted from military service by this administration. There is no basis for this other than ignorance and cruelty.’
This is one of our most pressing issues as Californians and as Americans. Not only am I excited for him to keep his promises, but I fully expect him to and will not allow anything but. Especially as a queer, person of color, I need this white man to do what he claims he will do. Gavin Newsom, I expect the best you can do.”
Arabesque Lynaolu, 18, Sacramento
“The main thing I want Governor Newsom to tackle is what he said in one of his speeches; I want to see him end private prison systems like he has said he will. With that, I want to see him end cash bail in the state because its discriminatory against poor and minority communities. I would also like to see him achieve his goal to have 3.5 million new housing units in 6 years built. Finally, I want to see how he deals with the L.A. school strike, since it’s been affecting thousands of students in that area. I really like what Gavin Newsom’s been saying and doing, but as a poor kid of color from Del Paso Heights, I’m still really on edge because at the end of the day, he is a white man with power, and we’ve all seen what white men with power have done when they abuse it.”
What do you want to see out of the new administration? Leave your feedback in the comment section below!
Plugged is an open mic/jam session that takes place at Sol Collective every 2nd Sunday. Admission is $5 and the event goes from 8pm-11pm. It is open to the public and creatives of all types, including poets, musicians,visual artists, dancers and anyone else who’d like to watch.
On Sunday, January 14th, on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and 14th Avenue, the Oak Park Art Garden will be hosting a “neighborhood action day”. The event will be open for members of the community to partake in painting the communal fence mural that surrounds the lot as well as a chance to plant trees and other winter crops. The event will be happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free, and plants and art supplies will be provided. Drinks and snacks will also be available to attendees, and it is suggested to wear clothes that you are willing to get messy in.
The Oak Park Art Garden is a large lot that once stood vacant right in front of the large MLK and 14th Ave intersection. It is now a safe community space for creativity to thrive. Throughout the space, there are many art pieces that were created to uplift the neighborhood and residents. There are also crops that were planted by members of the community at events such as the one happening on the 14th.
Safe, creative spaces like the Oak Park Art Garden are not often accessible in areas like South Sacramento, which is why the Art Garden ’s work is so important. To have events open to the public with opportunities to create and work with the earth allows for safe and fun experiences for everyone to take place.
To register for this free event, go to the official Eventbrite page. To keep up with the art Garden and future events, make sure to like their Facebook page and follow its Instagram, @oakparkartgarden.
Hello and welcome to my first contribution to AccessLocal! My name is Star Porras, and I am a new neighborhood news correspondent. I was born on January 5th, 2001, right in South Sacramento, California. I am the oldest of three children, with an eleven-year-old sister and one-year-old baby brother. In terms of astrology, I have a Capricorn Sun, Gemini Rising and a Taurus Moon. I’m a third generation Chicano, who is also transgender-nonbinary. My pronouns are He/Him and They/Them. Currently, I am a senior in high school and plan on going to community college for two years and transferring a four year. While I have not planned out every single step of my life, I know for certain but I am going to continue to be heavily involved art and activism. I plan to study art and business, but I am keeping my mind open in case I become more interested in other ventures.
I was born to two Chicano artsy activists, and I’ve noticed I have been subconsciously following in both their footsteps. My mother is an incredible organizer and businesswoman and has the ability to excel in everything she does. Her love for collaborative community building and healing has led her to become an incredible and inspiring leader. She founded one of the most prominent community art centers in the city and is involved with an array of incredible international projects. My father is a master of capturing the moment, as he was a professional photographer for years, but later switched to video work when he grew tired of the stillness. He is incredibly creative and has helped me so much as I dive into the same artistic fields he has been passionate about his whole life. My parents There is also my amazing stepdad, who is an audio genius. He is a highly skilled sound engineer, as well as a producer and DJ, who has taught my siblings and I some of his craft. My parents all get along as best friends and even have a band together. Together, we have all traveled to many different kinds of festivals and conferences and shared many unusual learning experiences. I’ve been blessed to have the three of them support and inspire me, and I am doing my best to make them proud.
My passions are all pretty much a mix of my parent’s strengths, but with my own unique flair. I’ve dabbled with many art forms, and plan to keep doing so. My most frequent method is usually drawing, either digitally or with pens and art markers. I also paint with both acrylics and watercolor and plan to get into oils soon. Collaging, sculpting, graphic design, zine making, printmaking, and even fashion design are some of my favorite crafts. Along with those, I also have recently found a deep passion for video and film work. While I have dabbled with photography on 35mm or Polaroid film cameras for years, I’ve started to take digital photography and videos more seriously this past year. I was lucky enough to have a film history class in my junior year, which I now TA for, to open my eyes to the passion didn’t realize I had. Analyzing the cinematography of films from the 1920s to now has inspired me greatly, and I am currently in the process of writing scripts for a few short films I plan to create within the next year. Along with those creative pursuits is also writing, which has always been one of my favorite pastimes. In elementary and middle school I would love to write and illustrate short stories all the time, and then distribute them to friends as gifts. In school, my teachers have always praised my work and used my pieces of examples, whether it be a research report or an excerpt from my autobiography. Combined with my wonder for what is happening around me, journalism is of course just happened to be another creative endeavor I am looking forward to exploring. I probably got that from my grandpa, who had created his own newspaper back when my family was still in Texas, which he now continues in the form of Facebook blog posts. I am looking forward to experiencing all that this field has to offer and to create intriguing content for others to learn from and enjoy.
In December, the 5th Annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial was held at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. This event marks those who died on Sacramento’s streets over the past year.