This past Saturday, The Black Child Legacy Campaign brought together over seven focus neighborhoods. Which joined together to raise awareness about the disproportionate African-American child deaths in Sacramento County.
There are thousands and thousands of students within the Sacramento Unified School District. Thousand of voice calling for different things- but how are they make sure they being heard?
Young people in California ages 16 and 17 now have the ability to pre-register to vote online. Previously, teens could only pre-register by filling out paperwork forms and mailing them in or by handing it into the county election office.
The process of pre-registering is very simple and can be done without the help of a parent or guardian. The questions that are required are likely general knowledge.
A signature is needed in order to complete the registration. The person registering may need to print out the form, sign it, and mail it in. However, if the person has a state ID or driver’s license, the Department of Motorized Vehicles will send in the signature from the ID or license.
But why does it matter that teens can now pre-register online?
91% of teenagers report using mobile devices to go online, while only 6.5% of teens are licensed drivers. Because teens have better accessibility to the internet, versus the ability to drive themselves to election offices or post offices, this hopefully will increase the amount of pre-registered voters, and thus represent the youth more in voting polls.
“I feel like (voting online is) going to be a much faster way of registering/voting,” said Katherine Alestra, a 14-year-old who wants to pre-register to vote. “You can go anywhere with WiFi and be able to do what you need to without the responsibility of going to a specific location.”
This will not make teens pre-register but will allow them to register easier if they wanted to. Hopefully, with easier pre-registration, they will be more inclined to vote by the time they are 18.
A parent might say that they know their kids very well. Perhaps some do, and perhaps some do not. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five young students between the age of thirteen and eighteen suffer from a mental health condition. The condition could be minor such as an anxiety disorder to highly damaging one such as major depression. This directly correlates to the fact that suicide is the third largest killer of young adults from the age of ten to twenty-four. Nine out of ten of the victims of suicide deteriorated from a mental health problem.
Sometimes a teenager who is at risk and depressed could be seen by their parent as acting moody. According to the Telegraph, the mark of depression and moodiness often overlapped during the developing teenage years. Parents might dismiss a serious health complication as a teen being a teen because of stereotypes. When these things happen, researches believe that young person is more likely to commit suicides.
“Over time, there is less support within the family,” says David Baine of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “However, communication skills about mental health never increase to accommodate that loss of family support.” People and organizations throughout Sacramento are trying to address these problems within their own communities. One such organization is the Youth Mental Health First Aid program which is aiming to train people to detect early sign of mental illness in teens and young adults. Their program offers free training to volunteers through federal grants which hope to offer relief for youth mental health problems. They have a “5-step action plan to help a young person developing a mental health problem or in crisis” which helps to de-escalate a crisis situation which involves teens with mental health problems with the risk of suicide. Upcoming mental health training dates can be found here.
Every Wednesday evening at the Sol Collective, the Art and Activism School meets for presentations and hands-on workshops to strengthen and expand the Sacramento art and activist communities. With no cost, no experience required and free pizza, the Art and Activist School is the perfect place for aspiring activists and artists looking to get involved in hands-on activist projects and to join the community.
Wednesday evenings, 6 – 9pm
2574 21st Street
How do the people of communities get to know the people around them? Recently, at Ethel L. Baker Elementary School, many volunteers, young and old, gathered to bond together through planting trees and helping out their own communities.
California state lawmakers have announced their plans to help lower student loan debt. The lifelong worry of students having to repay high-interest loans may soon be over. State Assemblymember’s plans in California is to help nearly 400,000 full-time UC and CSU students pay for non-tuition-related expenses, such as books and housing. This plan will ensure that students will have a debt-free college experience. The entire plan would cost about $1.6 billion to create scholarships for students, according to what lawmakers estimate.
“This is my first year at CSUS and I am already extremely concerned that I will be in at least 40,000 dollars in debt by the time I reach graduation,” said CSUS student Katy Richardson. “Hearing about this new policy that will eliminate cost is a dream come true.”
According to The Legislative Analyst’s Office, this year more than half of California college students graduate with student loan debt, with debt for students from UC’s and CSU’s averaging at least $20,000. Lawmakers who are putting the plan together want to make Community Colleges in California tuition free for student’s first year. The proposal would expand existing grants and “degrees not debt” scholarships to students whose families make $150,000 or less per year, if those students work at least 15 hours a week and go to class.
“With these elements combined, this again would replace that necessity to go and get an outside student loan,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento.
This new plan raises concern amongst the Brown administration which may conflict with their proposal for Middle Class Scholarship in this year’s budget proposal. Many Democrat lawmakers believe that Brown’s plan will set families and students backwards and will not be an impact enough for students to come.
For many students and families this plan for “degrees not debt” can actually benefit everyone pursuing higher education. Now it’s up to all California lawmakers to ensure this plan is passed and ensure it will fix this current failed system.
Sol Collective held a screening of “13th” and Paul Willis, the facilitator of the event, talked about what he hoped would come from the knowledge. Time will tell if what he hopes for come true.
On March 7th, the Sacramento City Unified School District launched a campaign that defends undocumented students from deportation in the face of ICE agents. This came along soon after the Sacramento City Unified School District Trustees began hearing from teachers, parents, and administrators that children are terrified of being deported or even their family members being deported.
In December, the board of trustees came up with a resolution declaring SCUSD schools “Safe Havens” to any immigration agency and anti-immigration rhetoric.
Board member Jessie Ryan said that the campaign aims to reassure the undocumented students in the district that going to school is completely safe and that the school is there to protect the students if need be. Ryan said that shortly after the presidential election, third graders at one school were too afraid of going outside during recess because they felt that they would be deported.
“The worst case scenario would be children afraid of showing up to school because of fear of deportation,” said Ryan.
It is estimated that in California alone there are around 2,350,000 undocumented immigrants, making up about 6% of the population. Around 1,850,000 of those undocumented immigrants are in the workforce.
This philosophy is gaining traction in other districts all over the state. San Francisco Unified School District says they are “developing a rapid response protocol to support children and families,” if law enforcement is in or around schools. The Los Angeles Unified School District voted in February to make their schools “Safe Havens” and create centers of support for undocumented families threatened by immigration.
“Personally I believe that Safe Haven schools is an amazing thing to any student that wants to extend their education,” says Angel Perez, a student at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento.“This gives them the ability to feel more comfortable accomplishing their dreams.”
For some though, the idea of a “Safe haven” school isn’t sitting well. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones believes legislation like this that would prevent local agencies from entering schools would be invalid because it conflicts with federal law.
“I have a strong belief that it violates federal law,” says Jones. “Every sheriff is going to be in a very difficult position to decide what they personally are going to do should this pass.”
“It’s important for Sacramento City Unified to reiterate that we’re focused on the education of every child who resides in our district, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and that’s what this resolution does,” said SCUSD Trustee Jay Hansen.
“I was brought in as a child by my parents,” said one undocumented SCUSD, too afraid to give their name due to the fear of deportation. “I was brought here for a better life than the one I possibly would’ve had if left in Mexico. One day my best friend and I were walking to the corner store, my best friend also being undocumented. And he told me he’d wait outside as I entered and got whatever I was going to get. I came back out a few minutes later to the sight of police detaining my best friend.”
“I just remember not being able to do anything,” the undocumented student recalled. “Just slowly walking off because I knew I would be deported as well if I did anything. It was horrible, we made eye contact. I don’t know what he could’ve done while I was in the store but that was the last time I saw my best friend.”
Only time will tell how this new legislation from the Sacramento City Unified School District will turn out.
The Sacramento Youth Alliance is preparing to work on the city’s upcoming initiatives for youth. Will the programs that arise be meaningful for our young people and with the youth have a say in how they are created?