In this video, the Japanese culture controversy following Ariana Grande’s song release is touched on.
Last March, a deadly shooting made national headlines after two Sacramento Police officers fired 20 shots at an unarmed black man named Stephon Clark. With a $20 million dollar civil rights lawsuit pending and multiple criminal probes into the officers in question, the California Department of Justice began overseeing the Sacramento Police Department’s investigation of the shooting. The California DoJ just issued a report regarding their findings during oversight of the investigation and it includes almost 50 recommendations for changes to Sacramento Police Department policy regarding use of force and the investigation and reporting that follows an incident.
Since the document has been issued, many people in the Sacramento region and beyond have realized how much discretion the officers had when it comes to use of force. The recommendations issued by the DoJ included providing specific instances when an officer can use K9 units or draw firearms on civilians. These policies have many people concerned, especially considering that police brutality
disproportionately impacts people of color.
“The amount of force used by police is completely unnecessary,” said Maxence Downs from West Campus High School. Downs believes that these recommendations must all be taken seriously by the Sacramento Police Department and they must fully acknowledge the incident and hold officers accountable rather than divert attention to Clark’s past.
“The police have to recognize that they cannot effectively do their jobs if the communities they are supposed to serve are terrified of them,” said Eden Getahun from C.K. McClatchy High School.
Sacramento residents have followed the story very closely and the response of the Sacramento PD will be very indicative of how seriously the local officers take the issue of force and how much change will be made, in order to hopefully address their own prejudices and actions in order to better serve their communities in the future.
On Thursday, the 24th, Youth Engagement Action Team held a meeting at the Fruitridge Community Collaborative Center. There, members of various organizations including The California Endowment, AccessLocal, IQ Squad, Sacramento FilipinxLGBTQIA+, The Next Gen Art Society and various other groups were represented. There, the groups worked together to discuss the plan it’s social media-based youth empowerment campaign.
Before planning out everything, the group watched several videos about social issues that were created by youth. The videos were all poetry and music based, focused on problems that plagued communities such as the correlation between soda and diabetes in communities of color, drugs abuse and the schools to prison pipeline as well as the hardships of being a youth in an underserved community. The reason these videos were being shown and discussed amongst the groups was to figure out effective methods for getting impactful messages across.
Another activity that was done by the group was a self-analysis project, that was to look into ourselves as individuals and the work we do to advocate for what we care about. We did this to get a better sense of the content of the social media campaign that was being planned. The main topics that were agreed on by the group were gentrification, systematic oppression, and the participants even agreed that they were against the policies of the current administration.
“The goal is to bring light to the bad things that affect the youth in Sacramento,” One participant said as we were brainstorming. “And also empower them so they know they can have hope.”
Participants from the Youth Engagement Action Team all agreed that the meeting was productive and successful and that there would be another one the coming month.
On Saturday, January 26th, the Sacramento Black College Expo took place at Sacramento State University. There were on-site admissions, resources and a celebrity after-party!
Throughout the campaign and now into his first months as California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom has focused resources on the safety and future prospects for youth. The most recent of these notable reforms is the proposal to scrap the California juvenile justice system as we know it. The juvenile justice system has shaped the lives of many young Californians in a negative way and those that have been affected by it are ready for a change. Kora Spiak from West Campus High School explained “I grew up surrounded by the justice system. My mother is in prison and has been since I was young, and I grew up in an area with countless friends coming in and out of the juvenile system. The current methods of aggressive “rehabilitation” do not work, and make things worse in the long run.”
Newsom recognizes the current failure of the justice system in California and has addressed that in order to make meaningful reform of the justice system, it is crucial to address the juvenile justice system which works as the “feeder system” to the justice system as a whole.
Kora Spiak continues to say “California is one of the 10 states that houses its juvenile justice division under a state corrections agency, and it certainly shows as to how things are dealt with.” Newsom’s proposal would have juvenile justice housed in the agency of Health and Human Services. This reframing of the juvenile justice system is a crucial first step to meaningful reform which clearly values the wellbeing of young people.
As a part of Newsom’s focus on California’s youth, Newsom appointed California’s first Surgeon General, a pediatrician named Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. Dr. Harris was key to the research on adverse childhood experience screenings which can help detect traumas that would risk of substance abuse, suicide attempts, homelessness, and a plethora of other occurrences. Newsom’s plan entails allocating $45 million toward Adverse Childhood Experience screenings which would help direct caregivers and healthcare providers to the resources necessary to address childhood trauma to improve long term health.
Hopefully, these screenings and the total upheaval of the juvenile justice system will help more young people be directed to health resources rather than correctional facilities.
On Saturday, January 26th, in the Valley Hi-North Laguna library community room, a small but dedicated group of people met in support of the Sunrise Movement. The Sunrise Movement, as stated on their website, is “a movement to stop climate change and create millions of jobs in the process.”
The Sunrise Movement started in 2017 and has a vision in mind of getting elected officials to take climate change seriously on their platform and place it at the forefront. A big part of reaching their goal and changing policy on a grand scale is catching the attention of said officials, so Sunrise is gathering thousands of willful, driven young people from around the country to promote the movement and put a stop to harmful policies that perpetuate climate change.
With several hubs stationed in several cities around the country, Sacramento is starting to play its role in the movement with facilitator Dennessa Atiles, who founded this city’s hub. She elaborates on why the organization is youth led by saying, “They’re the ones that most have to endure it. As people age, they have less fight, less skin in the game. So it’s geared towards young people to not only engage them in policy change but to say, “Hey, this is our future, and this is our legacy.”
When asked why Sacramento is a good place to run the movement, she explains, “Sacramento is a great place because we are the capital of California, and California is the most populous state in our nation. It’s the 4th largest economy in the world. And being situated at the capital gives us unprecedented access to legislators that have the ability to affect change on a national scale. When things happen in California, other states tend to follow.”
The topic at the forefront of discussion during the meeting consisted of the urgent necessity to have more people- especially young people- take a lead in Sacramento’s hub, and overall ways climate change has badly affected the Earth. For example, according to Nasa, “Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.”
Climate change affects everyone and it’s important to get everyone involved, but we hear from Atiles on why doing something to spark change is personal to her. She says, “I am Puerto Rican and after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, I lost two family members. I’ve been a climate change advocate since I was in high school many years ago, and when Puerto Rico was underwater essentially, I lost several family members and I saw how little our government did and how little it seemed that most of the legislators cared and did anything about it. I was really incensed, and so when I found out about Sunrise Movement, I thought it’s an amazing opportunity to engage people in a way that’s really gonna connect to our communities directly.”
To learn more about the Sunrise Movement and to get involved in the fight to prevent climate change, you can visit their website: https://www.sunrisemovement.org
Sacramento is often referred to as the “Farm To Fork Capital of California” but what is often ignored are the people who actually live in it, specifically, those who live in impoverished areas such as South Sacramento.
Based on Sacramento County’s Crime map, parts of South Sacramento see a higher rate of crime than in neighboring communities- especially in parts such as Meadowview. A median household income in Meadowview is around $25,000 with the unemployment rate being 17%. Compare that with a neighborhood close by named Greenhaven, the median household income is at around $100,000 and their unemployment rate is at only 10%.
There are many issues with Meadowview including crime, unemployment, and more. There needs to be something done as many people in the community feel there is a sense of abandonment or ignorance when it comes to having the city help the community.
“No, I don’t think the city is doing enough to help out this community. It doesn’t even feel like they’re concerned about us,” said Trenton Boyd, a resident in Meadowview. “I voted for the Mayor but I think I regret it. He said some promising things and I felt hopeful but I don’t think I should’ve voted for him.”
Many people in Meadowview feel this way but often don’t have many outlets to have their voice heard. Capital Public Radio hosted an event on January 16th at Cabrillo Park in Meadowview to learn and hear more from the residents of Meadowview about their experiences and their issues with the area.
The event had many activities for families to come by and enjoy, including speaking with the Capitol Public Radio journalists, map exercises, a photo booth, and storytelling opportunities.
This is all for a documentary CPR will be producing named “The View From Here” which will bring light to the issues that many residents feel are being unheard. The documentary is a year-long project that will include radio shows and podcasts showcasing community voices.
Please visit http://www.capradio.org/ for updates on their documentary series on Meadowview.
In the current societal climate, youth are more active in community, politics and important conversations. One of the conversations that young people are participating in is mental illness and trauma. Many youth have started to discuss this topic more often because they know that it is something that affects them personally.
According to an article by Cleveland Clinic on Generation Z and mental health, “while Generation Z might be more likely to report poor mental health, they’re also more likely than older generations to be aware of their mental health and seek out help when necessary.”
“As a young person,” said 16-year-old Eliot Olson, “I feel the system is set up against me. My feelings are undervalued and health care is impossible for young people. Therefore, we have to talk about it and we have to kind of figure it out on our own. Some days I feel just awful and it seems like most adults don’t get that.”
Many youth that are considered Generation Z see issues in the way that their mental health is viewed by adults. As stated previously, they seek help and they know that they are struggling. However, many teenagers feel as though the adults in their lives aren’t listening.
“I personally know adults who take mental health days from work,” said recently-turned-18 Dylan Freed. “It isn’t a big deal, but when any teenager does it, it’s literally seen as the end of the world.”
Youth want to feel better and find the resources they need in order to do so. One resource that can be seen to make one feel empowered is volunteering. This is usually seen as a selfless act and often as something that can help one feel whole.
According to an article on a study from UCLA Newsroom, “California teens who volunteer and engage in civic life are healthier, aim higher in education, study finds…The survey showed that teens with high levels of civic efficacy are more likely to say they are in “very good” or ‘excellent’ health, compared to those with low civic efficacy, 76 percent to 49 percent, respectively.”
“I saw a huge shift in my child’s behavior,” said Germelle Watson, mother of 2. “She went from being shy and having so much intense anxiety in a single meeting, to running meetings and planning entire events. She used to be so deep in her depression that I never thought she would even see the surface. And although she still can get really bad, it has not been as terrifying and intense as it used to be. Volunteering really helped.”
Some youth in Generation Z agree that they do in fact, have it worse off than the generation which came before them. On the other hand, however, they also seem more knowledgeable of resources and much more willing to use those for help.
The newly-sworn-in California Governor, Gavin Newsom, brings the hope of new energy and ideas for the office and some trepidation that he will fall into the same rut that other politicians do. I asked three young people in Sacramento for their thoughts on the new administration.
Julia Sidley,16, Sacramento.
“I have high hopes for Gavin Newsom’s poverty plan, his first budget plan allocated millions to early ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and these screenings would be used to take trauma into account so they would not fall into poverty. Newsom also has big plans to reform California’s drug policies, and has harshly criticized the criminal justice system, soaring drug arrests and how people are being views as numbers once they are in the prison system. My ideal vision for the Newsom’s governorship is his focus on young people in education, the justice system and his healthcare plan which entails expanding the age for which a child can stay on their parents medical coverage from 19-26 years. This would help the expansion for healthcare of undocumented folks in California. Newsom recognizes the healthcare expansions as the morally just thing to do, and hopes to move California towards a universal healthcare system. “
Eli Meza, 17 Sacramento
“I do have high hopes for his governorship, specifically for a few things, like how he plans to fix housing in California. He says he wants to build 3.5 million new housing units by 2025, and he feels as if he can reach that goal, while others feel that he can’t. The fact he has a plan is exciting to me, as well as Assemblyman David Chiu. So, that is something I do look forward to, seeing him keep his promise. Not only do I want to see him meet these goals on housing, but I also want him to accomplish what many of Californian’s find to be pressing issues, such as affordability in general, teacher wages and rights for LGBTQIA+ identifying youth and students. To quote a recent tweet from Gavin Newsom’s Twitter account:
‘Outrageous. Trans-Americans who have put their lives on the line to defend our country will be restricted from military service by this administration. There is no basis for this other than ignorance and cruelty.’
This is one of our most pressing issues as Californians and as Americans. Not only am I excited for him to keep his promises, but I fully expect him to and will not allow anything but. Especially as a queer, person of color, I need this white man to do what he claims he will do. Gavin Newsom, I expect the best you can do.”
Arabesque Lynaolu, 18, Sacramento
“The main thing I want Governor Newsom to tackle is what he said in one of his speeches; I want to see him end private prison systems like he has said he will. With that, I want to see him end cash bail in the state because its discriminatory against poor and minority communities. I would also like to see him achieve his goal to have 3.5 million new housing units in 6 years built. Finally, I want to see how he deals with the L.A. school strike, since it’s been affecting thousands of students in that area. I really like what Gavin Newsom’s been saying and doing, but as a poor kid of color from Del Paso Heights, I’m still really on edge because at the end of the day, he is a white man with power, and we’ve all seen what white men with power have done when they abuse it.”
What do you want to see out of the new administration? Leave your feedback in the comment section below!