On February 17th and 18th, there was a two-day conference for youth who are involved in journalism programs throughout the state. The conference had workshops which were lead by professionals from the field, as well as key-note speakers that shared their wisdom about journalism. Young people from all over California came to Oakland for this event, and this video features a taste of how their programs are run.
Many people believe that laws exist in society in order to keep its citizens safe. When a person commits a crime, they should be penalized accordingly. However, there are some that are questioning if punishment is the appropriate way to keep people safe. After all, if the punishment cripples a person’s ability to return to being a productive citizen, is it really the best option?
According to the Los Angeles Times, community reinvestment is the key to reducing crime and violence. Instead of locking up the people who break the law, they are assigned projects or summer jobs to improve their community.
“Indeed, there is now sufficient evidence to support an entirely new model for countering violence — one driven by investment,” said Professor Patrick Sharkley, the writer of the article Community investment, not punishment, is key to reducing violence.
In Sacramento, organizations such as the California Endowment encourage restorative actions rather than punishment. One reason to choose reinvestment is the much lower cost. According to the New York Times, the average cost of locking up one inmate annually is $168,000, The prison population of California in 2015 was 112,300 people. According to the Orange County Register, California could save half a billion dollars by introducing new rehabilitation programs for inmates and ex-convicts.
In the Sacramento City Unified School District, there are some educators who hold similar views. Often, the teachers and school administrators have to strike the balance between restorative programs and punishment.
“I definitely think that the balance should tip in the favor of, restorative, reinvestment, supportive, as opposed to punishment,” said David Van Natten, Principal of John F. Kennedy High School. “Particularly in the context of school, sometimes a consequence is appropriate but that it’s a much better learning experience and it’s more likely result in long-term change if there is a restorative component.”
The American prison system has become one of the largest in the world. It is up to the people to decide what happens next.
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 10th, the Sacramento Bee published an article about a McClatchy High School student’s controversial science fair project that questioned if certain races were intellectual enough to handle the elite magnet program that the student was currently in, based on their IQ scores.
The project, titled “Race and IQ”, justified the lack of diversity in the schools accelerated Humanitanities and International Studies program because “the average IQ of Blacks, Southeast Asians, and Hispanics are lower than the average IQ’s of non-Hispanic Whites and Northeast Asians.”
Many Students in Sacramento Charter High School’s 12th grade Advanced Placement Literature class, a school with a predominantly Black and Hispanic population, were outraged after reading and discussing the article during class, but few were surprised.
“Not to be blasé about the whole situation but when you’re Black in America, you hear about racist [stuff] you whole life,” Layla Dobson, a 12th grader at Sacramento Charter High School explained on Monday. “It gets depressing and eventually you become numb from it all because racism against Black people, subtle or overt, is an everyday occurrence.”
The empathy gap between races, socio-economic statuses, and religion has always been present, but some believe that, with the current presidential administration, such blatant examples of lack of empathy will only become more common.
“Racism is everywhere. It’s not going to change,” said Jacqui Guzman after reading the article. “The president talks so bad about my race, at this point, nothing that has to do with racism [surprises] me.”
According to a national survey from the Public Religion Research Institute referenced in the Washington Post, Republicans show very limited awareness to discrimination in minority groups. “Less than one-third of Republicans believe [B]lacks face a lot of discrimination in society, compared to roughly two-thirds who say they do not.”
And one can only imagine how oblivious, or blissfully optimistic, the 24 percent who believe that “not any groups (including minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc.) experience a lot of discrimination” must be.
But studies have hypothesized that a person’s failure to empathize with other groups and, or in this case, races, can come from their own implicit bias of that race.
An article in Slate references a study that shows that people, including those in the medical field, assume Blacks feel less pain that other races.
This, obviously, is untrue. Blacks experience the same amount of physical pain as as everyone else. But when participants in the study were asked to rank the pain tolerance of photos of Blacks and White in different scenarios, most ranked that the Blacks were able to endure more pain than others.
This belief correlates with a very common misconception that Blacks and Hispanics are “harder” than other races because of their backgrounds and need stronger discipline than other races. This convoluted way of thinking really sheds light on how racial stereotypes and disparities are created.
Now that the problem has been identified, the next is to figure out what to do about it.
An article in Education Week says that early childhood, specifically through education, is where most people first begin to learn to empathize. Through relationships with their peers and teachers, children learn who they can trust and who and what to value.
The article says it’s up to instructors, and parents, to create a learning condition that teaches students to foster and support empathy of each others.
So while it may be too late for the current generation to learn empathy, it’s not too late for the next one.
The Verge is an art gallery that is free to the public. They offer classes on arts and crafts, as well as summer camps.
As time marches on, technology advances. These advancements are meant to provide improvements to the condition of life for everyone. For example, automation makes manufacturing faster and more efficient. Computers and algorithms make sorting millions of data points as simple as the click of a button. However, there may be a downside to technology that many people might not be aware of. Artificial Intelligence may be very advanced, but it does not yet have the strengths that people get from human interactions.
According to Gizmodo.com, the book “Automating Inequality: How High Tech Tools, Profile, Police and Punish the Poor” is exploring how technology affects poor people.
“What the system did was explicitly sever the link between local and caseworkers and the district that they served,” said Virginia Eubanks, author of the book, in an interview with Gizmodo. “The result was [a rise in] denials of benefits for basic human rights like food and medical care.”
In her examination, Eubanks brought up an examination of how statistics collected in during a case in Pittsburg determined abuse or neglect in a household were discriminating against the poor. She claims that the lower incomes families are “over surveils” because they are the one who uses public programs such as welfare, food stamp, etc. Most of the data collected used by the city come from those programs, and there, unfairly assume abuse and negligence are more common in low-income households.
Sacramento had also become more technologically advanced in the recent years. According to an article written by the Los Angeles Time in 2015, Silicon Valley was having increasing present in the Capitol. Even though they were bringing new technologies to Sacramento, they were also bringing lobbyist. For example, Uber and Lyft spent nearly half a million dollar in 2013 lobbying bills that would regulate them like the taxi industry. While technology is making life easier for some, it may also be increasing hardships for others.
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.
I am a former correspondent myself, and now I’m a liaison for Utah State University’s literary journal, Sink Hollow. I’m announcing a Call for Submissions for creative works of fiction, non-fiction, art, and poetry. We accept undergraduate submissions from all over the world, and the deadline is April 9. But right now, I am asking for your story as Neighborhood News Correspondent.
As a former correspondent for NNC, I met some amazing people who do a lot of great work that goes largely unrecognized. It has shaped who I am as a person, as a professional, and as a writer. What stories or events did you cover that deeply affected you? What interview stuck with you the most? Here is your chance to turn your experience into a work of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or art. This is also a chance for you to showcase your creative talents in a way that may be inappropriate for journalism but is encouraged at Sink Hollow.
If you are interested, please go to https://www.sinkhollow.org and follow the submission guidelines (again this is for current undergraduate students only). It is also important to see if your style is the right fit for a journal before submitting, so please check out our issue for Spring 2018.
PS: Your submission can be about whatever you want, but you are encouraged to share your story as a correspondent.
Thank you for the important work you have done and are still doing, and happy writing!
Liaison, Grant Researcher
Utah State University
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously referred to as “Food Stamps”, has been shown through a variety of studies to be associated with lower healthcare costs and better overall health in its recipients. A new study states that SNAP recipients are 23% more likely to consume whole fruits and vegetables than non-participants. The study also suggested that the decline in consumption of healthy foods may be connected with the budgeting constraints and lack of preparation times to cook meals and that SNAP recipients have been shown to consume less sodium and saturated fats than non-recipients.
Food-secure households spend half the amount food-insecure households spend on healthcare, and according to an article written for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, there is a strong connection between food insecurity and chronic health problems among children and seniors.
While SNAP relieves only a small monetary burden off its recipients, it is the country’s primary anti-hunger program, having assisted over 42 million Americans in 2017, and is a vital source of nutrition assistance for many families.
“All Americans, SNAP participants, and non-participants alike have work to do when it comes to eating a healthy diet,” said Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon in an article. “The results of this study reinforce the critical role of USDA programs designed to increase access to healthy foods and nutrition education among low-income children and families to help make the healthy choice, an easy choice.”
SNAP improves food security which gives families the opportunity to buy more nutritious meals and allows recipients to participate in more health-promoting activities. SNAP can reduce food insecurity by 30% and is shown to be most effective in children whose households have “very low food security”.
Aside from nutrition, SNAP recipients have shown to have better health in other aspects.
According to another article by CBPP, children who’ve had early access to SNAP are less likely to become obese or have heart conditions, pregnant mothers on SNAP are more likely to have improved birth outcomes, and elderly SNAP recipients have a higher medical adherence than non-recipients.
By making nutrition assistance more available to low-income communities, researchers predict, SNAP can continue to improve the health conditions of those who need it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.