Join Access Local as we participate the annual NAMI Walk this year in 2018. Many people from all over come together to show their support for people with mental illness.
Between the years of 2010 and 2015, the death rates of African American children in Sacramento County exceeded that of any other race. Out of the 873 children who died between 2010 and 2015, almost one-quarter of them were black youth. That’s twice the rate of white children, and three times the rate of Latino and Asian children according to the Sacramento Bee.
Why is this issue occurring? The common and most addressed theory is that it has to do with socioeconomic status. Due to historical oppression, people of color tend to be of a lower socioeconomic status, and they have less access to healthcare, or any other kind of medical resources. Some organizations are trying to combat this, such has Her Health First. Sacramento County even enacted its own health program specifically for black infants to combat this issue.
“As a Personal Advocate, I want to assure women that they don’t have to do this alone,” Kenya Fagbemi, program director, wrote on the Her Health First website, “I am here to help client’s problem solve some of the challenges that happen in their daily lives, that might directly or indirectly impact their pregnancy. We empower women with information, options, and an action plan, giving them the confidence to deal with whatever life throws at them.”
Latinos have the many of the same issues with poverty, but why not with infant deaths? This question raises another theory that affects every person of color despite their socioeconomic status.
The theory has to do with discrimination and the stress that the mother is under while the baby is still in utero. When a baby is still developing, they can be affected by the emotional state of their mother. If the mother is under stress during her pregnancy, it can create a variety of issues for the baby, even after it grows up.
Mental health issues also plague the black community due to poverty and discrimination. It could be a combination of these two issues is what is causing the higher mortality rates in black children, but nobody can say for sure until more research is done.
A housing crisis in Sacramento continues to persist as many residents of the county struggle to pay for rent. According to Yardi Matrix, a commercial real estate research and data platform, Sacramento had the highest year-over-year rent increases in the state, an average of 9.9%, from June 2016 to June 2017. As a result, many residents were evicted from their homes and some have even become homeless. The eviction rate in Sacramento is 2.16% per 100 renter homes with a total of 2,044 evictions and the poverty rate in Sacramento is 17.43%, according to Eviction Lab.
However, there’s a movement in California that’s seeking rent control. Many people believe rent control is the solution to Sacramento’s current housing crisis and activists are pushing for this measure to be on the California ballot. This ballot proposition seeks to repeal a 1995 state law called the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and, if repealed, it will allow cities and counties to make stronger rent control policies.
Proponents of this initiative have said that they’ve collected more than 588,000 signatures from registered voters for this ballot and they only needed 365,880 signatures by June to qualify.
“With the increased number of corporate landlords, we’re seeing a lot of rent gouging take place,” said campaign spokesman Damien Goodmon. “We’ve been able to put together a very formidable and growing progressive coalition that we think will make this a simple choice to anyone who is looking to the direction that progressives would like to go.”
However, opponents of this ballot measure argued that the bill would stymie construction of new housing across the state and cause an “affordable housing freeze”.
“This ballot measure will pour gasoline on the fire of California’s affordable housing crisis,” said California Apartment Association CEO Tom Bannon. “It will do exactly the opposite of what it promises. Instead of helping Californians, it will result in an affordable housing freeze and higher costs.”
If Sacramento were to pass a soda tax like some other cities have, would young people change their drinking habits? I spoke to some Sacramento High School students to see what they thought.
On April 25th, a release party for the new podcast called The Brave will be held at Beatnik Studios, 723 S Street, from 6:00-8:30 pm. There will be music, food, and a live podcast recording of The Brave. The event is free to go to, and youth are encouraged to attend.
“These are the young voices of the Golden State,” said Felonious Munk, the host of The Brave, in the intro to the podcast. “This podcast tells their stories. The stories of men and women who are fighting for a voice in their communities, and all over the country. Who are working together in solidarity to rise up as one.”
You can RSVP for the podcast release party here. The Brave features young activists from all over California who are trying to uplift their stories and help their communities.
The podcast is an 8 part podcast series, where youth reporters talk with activists in the community about their efforts. You can find an episode about the podcast here. The episode highlights Ivan Ceja, an activist who gives resources to undocumented immigrants.
The Brave series provides interviews and talks about people who work in solidarity together for a common cause. They feature youth voices who are working to help their community.
On April 14th, 2018, a creek clean-up event will be held at George Sim Community Center where volunteers will gather before cleaning parts of Morrison Creek between 65th Street and Power Inn Road from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. On that same day, the Morrison Creek Revitalization Project will host a community vision meeting at Elder Creek Elementary School from 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM.
The Morrison Creek Revitalization Project is a community-lead project intending to create a safe and walkable path between Elder Creek Elementary School, Sim Park, and the George Sim Community Center along Morrison Creek. The purpose of the community vision meeting held on April 14th is to gather ideas from local residents of Morrison Creek and potentially implement them into the MCRP’s final design plan. The project group has reached out to residents, local groups, and nonprofit organizations.
“The project will be developed in a multi-phase approach and the community’s vision will decide the project that best fits the needs of those who live, work, and play in the area,” said Lauren Bisnett, an Information Officer of the California Department of Water Resources. “Once the project design is finalized, the construction grant application process will begin and construction could start as early as the fall of 2020. The project timeline and construction work could take place sometime after 2020 as well, depending on the environmental permitting process and other project requirements. Funding for the planning of this project is made possible in part by bond funds from Propositions 13, 50, and 84 in addition to funding from project partners. Funding for the construction activities may be made possible by Riverine Stewardship grants awarded by DWR. The project team will be seeking additional grants for the construction of the bike and walking paths. Project partners are helping with the outreach and with the project description. They are incurring costs as well.”
For more information, contact Esther Tracy at (916) 651-9629 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The death of Stephon Clark has been a national hot-button issue for the past month.
On March 18th 2018, two Sacramento police officers shot at Clark 20 times and killed him in his grandmother’s backyard.
Since then, protests have flooded Sacramento’s streets–stopping highway traffic and blocking access to the Golden One Center, home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
On the night of the Kings vs Celtics game, both teams were seen openly showing solidarity with Clark’s family by wearing black t-shirts stating “Accountability, We Are One” on the front, referring to accountability for police officers and the district attorney, and “#Stephon Clarke” on the back.
The Rev. Al Sharpton flew in on March 29th to give the eulogy for Clark’s funeral at Bayside of South Sacramento Church in front of Clark’s family and loved ones–as well as camera crews and hundreds of thousands watching live.
“They have been killing black men all across the country,” Sharpton said, clutching Clark’s grieving brother, Stevante, to his chest. “It’s time to stop this madness.”
After nearly a month since his death, it seems as though everyone has an opinion on Stephon Clark’s death.
Some people assumed he was a thug and that he’d “deserved what he got”. Many sympathized with police, believing that the two armed officers, who’d never announced themselves as such, should be excused for their actions because of their fear. Others look to Clark as though he was a martyr, seeing his death as a way to push for reform social policies and police procedures.
But aside from that, Stephon Clark was a 22 year-old man with two young boys who will grow up without their father. The people who were closest to him are most affected by this tragedy and will never look at his picture and see him as a thug, or a martyr, or a statistic.
Patrick Durant, Vice Principal at Sacramento Charter High School, remembers Stephon from when he attended during his sophomore and junior years. Durant claimed he first heard of Clark because he was close to the daughter of a family friend and got to know him through conversations about college and sports. What Durant remembers most about Clark when he was alive was that he was a “very friendly kid with good manners and a great smile” and that he felt disturbed when he read text messages from community leaders sharing that Clark had been shot.
Clark’s former History teacher, Paul Schwinn, described Stephon as “bright” and “funny” when he was in his class.
“He got an A on every single test I gave him,” Schwinn said. “Every time he spoke in class he had the right answer and always explained history in a funny, accessible way. He was someone who made first period fun for me and his classmates.”
Overall, Durant knows that many of his students face challenging environments outside of school that staff simply can’t shield them from. “The more we can help to improve that environment, the less Stephon Clark stories we hopefully will have to endure,” Durant believes.
The verdicts of Rodney King’s trial and the Latasha Harlins murder trial turned Los Angeles on its head in the Spring of 1992. Five days of rioting that blocked streets, looted stores, and set fires to buildings killed 63 people, injured 2,383 and led to the arrest of 12,11. This is the subject matter of a powerful documentary now streaming on Netflix titled “LA 92”.
Citizens of LA were outraged when a video filmed by a witness was released to the media showing four LAPD officers brutally beating King with batons, kicking, and tasing him for several minutes while King lay on the ground.
After a three month trial, an all-white jury found the four defendants not guilty.
Tensions rose even higher between the Korean and Black communities after the death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins two weeks after King’s confrontation with police. Video footage shows Soon Ja Du, owner of a convenience store in Harlins’s area, shoot Harlins in the back of the head after grabbing her backpack and trying to peer inside with the suspicion that the teen had stolen a bottle of orange juice.
Du was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1991 for the murder of Latasha Harlins.
Former Judge Joyce Karlin was condemned for sentencing Du to a $500 fine, 5 years of probation, and 400 hours of community service and no prison time justifying that she “knows what a criminal looks like” and “believes that Du will not offend again” in an interview.
For many LA residents, the two videotapes and the lax sentencings that followed were symbols of racial injustice reflected in the community and politics and many also considered Du’s verdict a catalyst to the riots that followed. Many people chose to express their anger by attacking the residents of LA’s Koreatown as 65% of the arsons and looting targeted Korean-run businesses.
Comparisons have been made between the Rodney King case and now, the Stephon Clark case. Both high profile cases received national attention involved young Black men that were either beat or killed by white officers convicted of using excessive force.
Protests prior to the defendants in King’s case mirrored Clark’s: highly emotional, sporadic, but relatively peaceful before the riots.
Sacramento Police Chief Han explained in an interview with Fox 40 how law enforcement plans to stay dynamic in case riots break out.
The independent autopsy of Clark’s injuries revealed that Clark was shot 6 times in his back, contradicting police’s alibi, and the recent incident in which a patrol car hit a protester and drove off has concerned many residents as heated tension grows larger in the streets of Sacramento.