You wouldn’t believe the things I hear about south Sac outside of south Sac – most of the uncalled-for commentary are “that place is ghetto/ isn’t it dangerous over there/ I know hella gangs that live there/ wow and you go to Berkeley” and at first, I’d make my inevitable unsuccessful attempt to convince them otherwise. I’d mention the diverse minority immigrant population that lived there. I’d talk about the institutional poverty cycle perpetuated all the inaccessible resources. And I lose my breath in my long winded explanation; I stop and just say “you might think of it that way but to me – its home”. South Sacramento will always be my home no matter all the challenges that we face and I believe participating in the coalition has given me a stronger belief and will-power to create positive change in our communities.
When I was growing up in South Sacramento there were few opportunities to get involved with community and extra circular activities. Many of my friends were involved with gangs and had financial struggles. I was a lucky individual that stayed away from those options and I had a self sacrificing single mother that did any for my educational success no matter the cost.
After being privilege enough to attend UC Berkeley and receiving a degree is Social Welfare and I’ve come back as a Youth counselor with Asian Resources. Being apart of such an incredible coalition has given me faith that our youth can change this community for the better. They are the guiding light for a better future as I see empowering youth stand up for their beliefs even against adults; coordinate incredible programs like third Thursday art walks and candlelight vigils for their friends that have passed due to violence. They’ve provided educational events such as a hate crime forum called “Youth Against the Hate”. I’ve seen young leaders organize themselves in a capacity and effectiveness that most politicians and adults have yet to comprehend.