On June 30th, Downtown Sacramento was host to the “Families Belong Together” Rally. People came together to combat the recent decisions by the Trump administration to seperate children from their parents at the border.
I don’t like talking to people. Well, what I mean is that I don’t like asking strangers a bunch of questions that seem intrusive. Reporters tend to have a bad reputation in general as being prying and pushy and that notion hung over my head for awhile. Especially whenever I’m building the courage for 20 minutes to finally interview just one person. However, this wouldn’t stop me from doing my job and I’m actually quite glad that I relatively got better at starting interactions with strangers.
Sometimes, you can get a good interview by genuinely listening to what people have to say or just by.asking where the nearest important person is. I fondly remember one time at a farmers’ market when I was having a conversation with a woman running a cheese stand. She was very nice and she gave me samples of different flavors of cheese (I like cheese). After discovering that I was a reporter, she personally escorted and introduced me to the coordinator and director of the farmers’ market. I was deeply grateful because she saved me a lot of hassle and from another reminder of my own incompetence.
Overall, working at the Neighborhood News Correspondents gave me many memories and experience as a fellow reporter. I think, in the future, I would probably look back at my time here and credit it for giving me the skills I needed to assist in my anticipated career as a public servant in the City of Sacramento.
I would like to thank Jazmine for recommending this line of work to me as well as being understanding and patient, Dominique for being supportive of my endeavors, Ivan for making me laugh, Quan for teaching me to be cognizant of my co-workers, and, of course, Mr. Gonzalez for allowing me to participate in this youth media program. I couldn’t have asked for a better remaining network of reporters to work with.
Since the May 5th release of Childish Gambino’s music video, This is America, YouTube has recorded over 181 million views and it has reached No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100. Critics have praised Childish Gambino, the stage name of Donald Glover, for producing a video with so many layers of political commentary which is proking a discussion of modern-day violence and culture in our country.
“I don’t want to give it any context,” Glover said an interview. “I feel like that’s not my place.”
But despite Glover’s reluctance to interpret the video himself, many critics have taken on the job on for him.
According to INSIDER, the gray pants Glover wears in the video are almost identical to those worn by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
The red handkerchief used to handle the guns at the 0:55 and 1:56 mark in the video, INSIDER believes represents the Republican Party, specifically how Republican-dominated states often value the 2nd Amendment over lives.
Chaos continues out of focus while Glover and school children perform a South African dance made famous by Rihanna called Gwana Gwana which Business INSIDER believes symbolizes how black culture is used to distract from black violence.
“Death” on a white horse gallops in the background as Glover and the children dance next to a burning car at 2:37.
17 seconds of silence starting at 2:42 is believed to be used to honor the 17 victims in the Florida Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
The video is packed frame-by-frame with symbols that make a powerful statement about black violence, gun control, white supremacy, and the media.
Black youth in the Oak Park neighborhood in Sacramento shared their responses when first watching the video.
“When I first saw it, I was like “Woah”. It made me think a lot about the black culture in American- like black violence and how people react to it and how a lot of the culture is used as a distraction from the violence,” said Makaylah Porras, a 17-year-old Sacramento High School student.
“There was just so much going on. I was distracted by everything. I had to watch it a good seven times,” said Violet Walker, another 17-year-old Sacramento High School student.
“The first thing I noticed was when he posed back and I saw him shoot the dude in the head. I thought it was interesting. I didn’t get the choir reference until someone explained it to me. I liked how it had an ominous feeling. It portrays how America is basically a facade. It’s not peaceful here, like, THIS is America,” said Layla Dobson, an 18-year-old Sacramento High School Student.
What do you think the symbolism means? You can watch the full music video here:
Traffic safety is an ongoing concern in Sacramento, and even more so in the aging original suburbs just outside of the city core. On May 24th, an as-yet-unidentified woman in a wheelchair was killed in a hit-and-run on Stockton Boulevard. Police responded to the incident that morning by closing off Stockton Boulevard between Fruitridge Road and Lawrence Drive. No vehicles were allowed to pass between that part of the roadway for awhile. The Sacramento Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit investigated the scene but no official conclusions have been made as of yet.
“Our officers responded and the female was already deceased,” said Officer Linda Matthew. “It appears that she was in the southbound lanes of Stockton Boulevard in a wheelchair.”
The roadway was reopened at around 7:30 AM but investigators were unsure as to whether the woman in the wheelchair was in the car lane or in the bicycle lane before the fatal crash. As of Thursday morning, the investigators did not have a description of the vehicle or driver.
In January 2012, a 16-year old student of West Campus High School, Michelle Murigi, was fatally hit by a vehicle while on a crosswalk at Fruitridge Road and this prompted many area residents to demand a solution from local officials. In May 2014, the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento City Unified School District installed traffic signals at 58th St and Fruitridge Road. How will local officials respond to the death of the latest victim of traffic?
“This incident has led me to believe our traffic safety isn’t as safe as some may find it,” said Harold Coleman, a resident of South Sacramento. “You have to question the driver for their actions but overall the event is shocking and horrible. Our traffic safety needs to be in check and the woman’s family deserves the justice of finding the person that killed her.”
If you have any information concerning the incident, you can call the Sacramento Police Department’s non-emergency line at (916) 264-5471.
On May 24th, Assembly Budget Subcommittee 5 on Public Safety took crucial steps in addressing California’s increasing number of police shootings. Many supporters of the proposed changes feel that this legislation was a long time coming.
Between the 2016 shooting death of Joseph Mann and the 2018 killing of Stephon Clark, advocates for law enforcement practice reform have been disappointed by the little success for legislation to reign in the police.
Despite California’s liberal reputation and the public’s demand for more accountability for police shootings, law enforcement groups make it extremely difficult to pass bills concerning to police shootings, misconduct, and even body cameras, lawmakers say.
“The public has to become outraged with the people they elect that won’t fight for what is right,” Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) said in March.
And the public has. The pressure is on Sacramento incumbent District Attorney Anne Schubert in her election against challenger Noah Phillips, who claims he can do what she won’t–prosecute police officers.
According to the City of Sacramento’s website, when an officer-involved shooting occurs, the police department’s Homicide and Internal Affairs Units respond to the scene and conduct an “internal investigation” into the shooting. These units are given oversight by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Sacramento’s Office of Public Safety Accountability. After the investigation is completed, the case is sent to the District Attorney who determines if the officer’s actions were unlawful.
Since Anne Schubert took office in 2015, Black Lives Matter Sacramento counted 22 people killed in Sacramento County by law enforcement and 0 charges filed. The DA claimed each shooting case was justified.
AB 284, authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), will allow officer-involved shootings to undergo an independent review, supposedly free from the influence of the District Attorney and the police department.
“Continued incidents of officer-involved shootings of civilians have caused a growing public skepticism of law enforcement and a conflict of interest for local district attorneys investigating officers,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “Today’s action will help build public trust and confidence in these investigations by allowing an independent review of these incidents by professionals within the California Department of Justice. Taxpayers and the families of those killed by law enforcement deserve nothing less.”
Laws requiring independent investigations of officer-involved shootings are currently in place in the states like Wisconsin and New York.
With innovations in science and technology, it comes at a surprise that STDs have been on the rise in California since the early 2000s. Sacramento itself had the 6th highest chlamydia rates in California’s 58 counties. But with other issues such as teen pregnancy at an all time low, why is this issue becoming more and more prevalent?
A decrease in condom usage, as well as a lack of knowledge are part of the issue. Another part of the issue is the funding for prevention. It’s theorized that after the 2008 financial crisis, funding for many programs got cut. However, funding for STD prevention never seemed to recover.
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
Though some STDs are treatable, their symptoms are sometimes hard to detect, leaving the victim to not be aware of the STD until it gets worse. 600 cases nationwide of congenital syphilis were reported in 2016, and over 40 newborn deaths and health complications resulted from it.
“Every baby born with syphilis represents a tragic systems failure,” said Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “All it takes is a simple STD test and antibiotic treatment to prevent this enormous heartache and help assure a healthy start for the next generation of Americans.”
Access to knowledge about STDs may be needed to help prevent them from spreading more. The more knowledge people have about STDs, the sooner they can identify its symptoms and get help.
A newly case study, From Farm to Every Fork: Rewriting the Narrative on Urban Agriculture in Sacramento by Heather Gehlert, depicts the recent historical process and development of urban agriculture in Sacramento. The study reveals that many community leaders and advocates supported urban agriculture as a tool to bring social change because they believe food, as a universal need, can be used to drive communities together. They also believe Urban Ag can help alleviate some of the problems of victims of food deserts and that since Sacramento is a considerable center for food research and policy as well as an environment for food to be grown year-round. However, those same advocates were also quick to stress that “urban agriculture is much more than a feel-good trend; it is a matter of health and social justice.”
The California Endowment, in recognition and response to healthy food advocates and their efforts in Sacramento’s southern neighborhoods, such as Lemon Hill and Oak Park, picked up urban agriculture “in 2010 as a part of its Building Healthy Communities initiative, a 10-year strategic plan to boost health in 14 of the state’s communities that not only have poor health outcomes but also have the potential to change them in ways that create a ripple effect throughout the rest of the state.”
While community leaders and advocates continued their primary agenda for an increase of neighborhood participation in urban agriculture, their efforts were also directed towards youth programs in order to generate the next generation of advocates and additionally influence urban agriculture to be more diverse and inclusive in the future. A prime example of these youth programs is the Burbank Urban Garden at Luther Burbank High School, where the club meets four days a week after school and offers elective credits, allowing students to learn about seasonality, sustainability, crop rotation, and nutrition. The club members maintain their gardening space – which consists of a greenhouse, raised beds, and 40 fruit trees – and also hold annual plant sales.
However, despite recent efforts of promoting the positive effects of urban agriculture, there appeared to be deeply-rooted stigma among young people about farm work. For some African-Americans, agricultural labor was a burden to partake in considering the historical implications of slavery in the United States. For some Mexican-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, their older generation of family members were critical of it because they wanted their children to attend college.
Nonetheless, urban agriculture is on the rise and the vision for some advocates have recently shifted from creating opportunities for urban farming to assisting people in finding those opportunities, making it profitable, and building the business that they need to sustain it. Ever since Sacramento’s policies about urban agriculture have become less strict over the years, farmers’ markets have become frequent.
For more information of the case study by Heather Gehlert, click on the following link: http://s26107.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/bmsg_tce_bhc_from_farm_to_every_fork_sacramento_case_study2018-final-mid.pdf
A study published by researchers Anthony Bui, Matthew Coates, and Ellicott Matthay of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found a new way to encourage police shooting accountability by calculating the average number of years lost in the lives of police shooting victims.
“Framing police violence as an important cause of deaths among young adults provides another valuable lens to motivate prevention efforts,” researchers wrote. “ [Years of Life Lost will] highlight that police violence disproportionately impacts young people, and the young people affected are disproportionately people of color.”
The researchers pulled data from the Guardian’s police shooting death database, The Counted, and found that in the 1,146 police killings in 2015 and the 1,092 in 2016, 51.5% were people of color. Different studies indicate that Black males between 15 and 34 years of age are 9 to 16 times more likely to be killed by police than any other race. Based on the ages and life expectancies of the victims, an average of 57,375 years of life was lost in 2015 and 54,754 in 2016.
In the wake of the death of Stephon Clark, the unarmed 22-year-old black man killed in his own backyard by Sacramento PD over a month ago, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg introduced an initiative to reintroduce community police procedure to rebuild the relationship between the community and police officers.
But some people feel as though the relationship between the community and law enforcement is too strained to repair.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento leader, Tanya Faison, feels that the community needs to focus more on self-empowerment and is organizing a cop-watching group with volunteers to help citizens with their inactions with police, believing that these practices will lessen the number of black and brown deaths by police officers.
Whatever way the city decides to handle police shootings, both the city council and advocacy groups seem to agree that police shootings in Sacramento police shooting deaths have gotten out of control.