After feeling silenced and ostracized by the Sacramento Women’s March, a group of local activists banded together to create the Women of Color Contingent, an event where people could march in an inclusive and positive environment. The Women of Color Contingent convened at the Met high school and held performances before marching to the capitol.
President Trump and many other White House officials have been invoking the term “crisis at the border.” It’s one of Trump’s administration’s strongest reasons for building a southern border wall. The President has even as going as far as shutting down the government in an attempt to get funding for the border wall.
But does the term “crisis at the border” hold any validity? Is there any real crisis? To find out we will have to look at what the administration believes is a crisis and what the numbers behind them are. President Trump’s three main points for the wall are crime, illegal immigration, and drugs.
When we look at a study done by the Cato Institute, we can see that crime rates among counties by the border are really low compared to counties not along the
border. Counties not among the border have a crime rate of about 378.6 per 100,000. compared to counties that are among the border with 347.8 per 100,000.
“If the entire United States in 2017 had crime rates identical to those in counties along the U.S.-Mexico border, there would have been 5,720 fewer homicides, 159,036 fewer property crimes, and 99,205 fewer violent crimes across the entire country,” said in the article published by the Cato Institute.
The Trump administration makes it seem as if there are many illegal immigrants flooding past the southern border. But in recent years the number of apprehensions has actually decreased compared to previous years. We know this because of a report that was done by the Southwest Border Patrol. It showed that numbers have actually had a steady decrease.
“The President is out of touch with what the values of people who cross over to this country have,” said Angel Perez, a previously undocumented immigrant. “My family brought me here to have a good life and that’s it.”
Drugs crossing the border is an actual issue but critics have been skeptical about if a wall would even help stop the trafficking of drugs into the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration studies show that the majority of drugs cross through official ports of entry.
As of this writing, the federal government is shut down due to Trump’s so-called “crisis”. There is still no funding for a border wall and no telling how far this fight will go.
Throughout the campaign and into his new governorship, Gavin Newsom caught the attention of Californians with his comprehensive policies and new approaches to the issues plaguing the state. Newsom’s ideas on LGBTQ+ rights, education, and juvenile justice make it clear that Newsom is willing to make investments in young Californians to improve the future of the state. These proposals have caught the attention of young people across the state as they followed what has been called one of the most important midterm elections in recent years.
Harlan Adams, a former intern for Kevin McCarty’s Assembly District Office recalled “(Newsom) had a really good campaign compared to John Cox … he was able to appeal to more Latinx and working-class voters, that’s why he won…” Young people were extremely engaged in the election and many paid attention to their local elections but also national elections.
While many are excited about the upcoming years, others are anxious about California’s resources being spread too thin. Michael Bennett-Wells from West Campus High School said: “Newsom’s policies will be beneficial to a majority of Californians, however, I feel that because he has so many ideas, he may not be able to fund all of them”. And while these concerns have been raised, Newsom’s budget plans so far have referenced what funds would be used where.
Young people were not only engaged with the election but are also excited and anxious for what is to come. Kora Spiak from the Young Activists program at West Campus said: “I am so glad we have pro-LGBTQ+ Governor but I am concerned if he will be able to stand up to our current presidential administration.”
While it is still too early in Gavin Newsom’s term to predict everything that will happen, his policies have given many young people a positive opinion of him. In general, the young people in California this reporter spoke with are extremely hopeful for the governorship of Gavin Newsom.
On Friday, January 11th, SURJ Sacramento held a free screening of Fruitvale Station at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento to remember the 10 year anniversary of the horrific murder of Oscar Grant. SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice), as stated by The Action Network, is “a national network organizing for racial justice through community organizing, mobilizing, and education.”
Jenae Stainer, a member of SURJ Sacramento and Allies of BLM Sacramento, says “Our goal is to raise funds for them, as they are constantly in need of funds. They are very busy. They are having barbecues 3 days a week at the district attorney’s office to protest the fact that she hasn’t pressed charges against any of the police officers who have killed black men in Sacramento and most famously, Stephon Clark. That was sort of the beginning of the barbecue protests. It’s a really creative, non-violent action that brings attention to the fact that the DA is elected by the people and she’s supposed to serve the people.” She continues, “In addition to that, they have a lot of upcoming actions like their 4th annual Reclaim MLK Day March. They have a lot of clerical costs just running a website. They have a helpline that the community calls. They have a lot of members who are putting their own income into the movement in addition to having their jobs and their children and their schooling and everything else that they’re doing, so we want to support them in any way we can.”
And in a designated donation bowl next to the refreshments, people were putting in dollar bills to show their support towards the matter. Although it was a room of mostly white faces, they were all turned forward in respect to watch the movie once it had begun.
Fruitvale Station follows the story of Oscar Grant III’s last day alive before being murdered by a white Bay Area Transit police officer at a BART station platform. Video camera footage caught from onlookers shows us that he was unarmed and forcefully put face-down before being shot in the back. He would die just a few hours later, surgery being rendered useless due to his severe injury.
When the film ended, the audience proved themselves to have taken in the importance of the movie in a loosely organized discussion.
“He’s [Ryan Coogler] shaping a better future for African American people. I feel like it’s a really important point of history for people understand because you understand police brutality better with this story,” says Sophi Marsaw-Nevarez, an audience member.
Oscar Grant’s incident wasn’t the first of its kind, and it certainly won’t be the last with police brutality still being a prominent issue in the United States.
SURJ Sacramento’s partnership with UUSS will continue to have a monthly series of free movie screenings with similar content matter available to anyone in support of BLM.
Sacramento is known for it’s Farm to Fork movement and it’s Capitol Building. But what it may not be well known for is the surprising increasing numbers of homeless people that are haunting the county of Sacramento.
In 2017, an organization by the name of Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) did a homeless count in the Sacramento County and found over 3,665 people were living without shelter. This is an absolutely massive increase from the count done in 2015. In 2015 there were 2,822 people living without shelter making for a 30 percent increase. The numbers in 2017 were the highest record of homelessness in Sacramento ever.
“I have worked throughout my career to address the homelessness problem head-on in California and in the Sacramento region,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg on the official Sacramento City website. “We know that the best way to reduce homelessness is to provide a place for people to live with the resources they need to transition out of homelessness permanently.”
Many of Darrell Steinberg’s main campaign issues were about fighting the rising numbers of homelessness. It has been about 2 years since he was sworn into office and yet this hasn’t been forgotten. Many are starting to question his actual solutions to the problem. The mayor has taken some steps to fight homelessness such as ordering to reinstall benches and has been adding policies that he hopes will take 2,000 homeless off the streets.
The City of Sacramento does these counts every few years to determine how to accurately shape policies and programs. There will be a new count for homelessness done by the Sacramento Housing Alliance on January 30 – 31st of 2019. To find out more information please visit https://sachousingalliance.org/ or if you want to volunteer or register for the counting process please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WLV8VVT?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=8fcd4b06-a236-4a1c-928f-6987413857c5
NorCal Resist recently sent 15 people to help at the southern border. An event was hosted at the First United Methodist Church where community members could ask questions and discuss issues such as intersectionality and youth involvement, and how they impact asylum law.
Sac To Zero is an organization that hopes to help give more access to emission-free transportation to the people of Sacramento. I was so intrigued by this ambitious goal, so I went to visit them in Downtown Sacramento to see what more they had to share.
The word expunge is defined as “to erase or remove completely something unwanted or unpleasant.” In the process of law, expungement is when criminal records can be destroyed or sealed off to help improve the quality of life for these people. The expungement of records is often available to first-time offenders. Many violent crimes cannot be expunged however expungement is often used to seal off these record of people convicted of drug possession. Expungement is helpful to those who find it difficult to find a job or start fresh after a conviction and can help someone trying to start a new life.
Expungement law changed in California with Penal Code Section 851.91. The Rudolph E. Loewenstein Law Firm wrote “The great thing about this legislation is that if you qualify under its provisions it is a matter of right and the judge cannot refuse to grant the petition.” The legislation makes expungement more accessible to Californians, leading to a rise in expungement clinics in California. Expungement clinics are events where a person can work with attorneys to clear or reduce their record in order to improve job prospects. While expungement laws vary by state, these clinics have become more and more common in an attempt to help combat rising drug arrest rates that disproportionately impact marginalized communities.
The American River College Legal Clinic will be holding expungement clinics on the second Saturday of the month from February to May. This clinic can expunge convictions from California Courts. American River College Legal Assisting Students will be facilitating the clinics and helping participants file their reports and attorneys from the Wiley Manual Bar Association, as well as the Cruz Reynoso Bar Association, will be present to help answer questions and look over applications. More information regarding the event can be found here.
On January 21st, the Sacramento branch of the Black Lives Matter organization is hosting the “4th Annual Reclaim MLK: This Was Not The Dream!” march. The event is meant to make others aware that there was a Martin Luther King Jr. that people are not taught about.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento wants to march for a specific vision that Martin Luther King Jr. had. “The MLK Jr that no one speaks of. The MLK Jr that doesn’t accommodate the legitimacy of white supremacy, but instead the MLK Jr that tells us that “A Riot is the Language of the Unheard,” that “I’m Black and I’m Beautiful”.”
On April 4th, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech that surprised many. King’s speech, titled-Beyond Vietnam, detailed how the United States was using its resources on the war and not protecting those within its own country and how the main enemy for most citizens was their own country.
“…I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos,” King declared in Beyond Vietnam, “Without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world: my own government.”
Black Lives Matter Sacramento continues to put on this event as a reminder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. that, according to USA Today, “has all but disappeared from the public consciousness.” In the aftermath of the speech, critical people were fired up and judgmental. Many thought that
King should have “left well-enough alone” and kept the two topics separate. In fact, many would rather have had King disappear and the anger led up to King’s death via assassination on April 4th, 1968.
The 4th Annual Reclaim MLK: This Was Not The Dream! March is meant to commemorate King’s life and work that many do not care to know about and to continue King’s fight.
If you are interested in going to the Reclaim MLK: This Was Not The Dream! March, view the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/338301196955130
In the 2018 documentary, City Rising: The Informal Economy, viewers are invited to see what everyday life really is like for workers throughout California. As defined by the documentary, the informal economy is labor that is not effectively regulated or protected, leaving workers more exposed to risk.
Throughout the documentary, viewers are introduced to various workers. One such example is Daniel “Seko” Uaina, a truck driver and activist for truck driver rights. Uaina and many other workers can barely afford to live and do more demanding work than the average person.
“We are the ones who are moving all of the cargo,” Uania states. “For all of your big companies as Walmart, Amazon, Sony. All of these stores that everyone goes shopping at, us truck drivers are the ones that are bringing these goods that you need to have to eat, to clothe yourself. Everything that you need. We don’t have medical. We don’t have social security, disability. We don’t qualify.”
The battle over workers rights has been a long-fought struggle throughout history. The film makes it known that the United States was built, and continues to be built, on the backbone of marginalized and unprotected people. Whether that be African-Americans forced into slavery and picking cotton, or Mexican immigrants during the Bracero Program after World War II or present day- the large supply of cheap, affordable, and often disposable labor which benefits the economy is what has been fueling this country for centuries.
Lola Smallwood Cuevas, the director, and founder of the LA Black Worker Center explains reasons why many African-American people cannot find employment.
“There is a direct connection between mass incarceration and employment,” says Cuevas. “This isn’t because black communities are somehow deficient. It’s because the economic underpinning of our families completely disappeared and in America if you don’t have an economic underpinning, you cannot survive.”
According to the film, 1 in 5 people in Alameda County have an arrest on their record, most of whom are black, and therefore its hard to get a job, which is critically important to their well-being.
City Rising: The Informal Economy gives viewers insight into how the United States treats it’s labor workers and people. It dives into the harsh conditions and policies that workers are continuing to struggle to fix while showing the drastic effects on their lives.
If you want to watch the documentary yourself, view the following link: