Sol Collective now has an open art gallery open to the public until September for anyone to view. Many of the pieces are for sale and have a mix of artists from California and Mexico.
Hiram Johnson High School is currently looking for a new principal. Recently, the community held a meeting to discuss what the expectations and characteristics the district should look for when hiring the principal for the school.
From July 23rd to the 29th, the annual weeklong “Sons and Brothers Summer Camp” took place. Over 130 young men rode buses to Portola, California for the retreat. The Sons and Brothers Summer Camp is a youth gathering, high up in the mountains, that aims to help youth change for the better while teaching them the value of helping their communities.
After arriving in Portola, the campers were assigned cabins at the Sierra Nevada Journeys Grizzly Creek Ranch. Each cabin had around 12 beds which were almost entirely were filled with camp participants. After check-in, campers were called into the main lodge to go over some rules and housekeeping and to discuss the many activities that would occur throughout the week.
Each day at camp had a “theme” and Monday’s was on “beloved community”. At around 10:00 AM, the elders and adult allies stood in front of everyone to speak about their how they make their communities better and how the youth could do the same. Then, campers split up into “trails” which is a team of about 12 people who must go through a certain amount of courses to built up trust and teamwork together. Campers finished off the day with activities spread around the park until 10:00 PM.
On Tuesday morning, campers went to their sessions to discuss “Healing and Wholeness.” Two adult allies shared very emotional stories about their children and their life experiences and how they found themselves despite the hardships they’ve gone through. After that, campers experienced even more sophisticated trust exercises before ending the day with activities such as spray painting and hip hop music.
Wednesday was the longest day of camp and featured the topic ”repairing and structural harm”. This went into detail about how when a person thinks they are doing the right thing, but they might be damaging something or someone else. The campers trust exercises got much harder that afternoon. The youth had to help their peers across a tiny rope by guiding them all the way across. If the youth groups could trust in each other during in this activity, they were able to move on to the next course.
That day ended with a very emotional fire circle. For many of the youth, these fire circles were the highlight of entire trip. Participants got a tiny string to tie a knot for a every problem they wanted to leave behind. Once they told their story about what their knots represents, they placed it into the fire symbolizing that those problems have been left behind.
“Unity in the community is fundamentally based on relationships,” said Baba Greg Hodge, an adult ally at the retreat. “You have to get know the people in your community – their interests, problems as well as what their assets are.”
On Thursday, the youth discussed “community voice and power.” The young people had to explore scenarios that could actually happen and learn about individual and collective strategies through one another. Afterwards the youth went to their trail groups to do obstacle courses where each team had to use the trust they had built up to support one another to climb up a 50 feet tower.
The last day of camp was the most eventful day of the whole week. The topic of the day was “commitments and accountability”. Young people had the opportunity to explore practices, skills and tools for creating beloved communities.
After that was the final stage of the trail groups. The youth had to jump off a plank 50 feet high and trust in their teammates to be safe while jumping off the plank. This activity was called the “Leap Of Faith.” While many did not choose to do the jump, this writer decided to do it. As a person who is extremely afraid of heights, I would think that I would be the least likely to do it. But I did it and I had the trust I developed with my teammates built in me.
As a reporter, it was a very exciting experience to be able to cover this camp and to tell anyone who is reading this about it. But as youth, this camp is so far one of the highlights of my life.
For more information about Sons and Brothers and their efforts; please click here.
To many people, participation is one of the key elements of a healthy and thriving neighborhood. Whether it’s through social media or face-to-face interactions, many people in America are now attempting to reach out and make new connections to their community. On the first Tuesday of August, many people have made it a point to gather for their annual National Night Out events. The purpose of National Night Out is to raise and bring awareness to the police-community relationship. One of the many locations in Sacramento where such a gathering happened this year was the Fruitridge Shopping Center on Stockton Boulevard.
“My husband is a volunteer [and] I have a son that is a sheriff for Yolo county, [so] I believe in people giving back in their community,” said Donna Shintaku, an attendee of the event. “That’s the biggest reason why I want to support the community, I love Sacramento.”
During this event, a Sacramento Police Department S.W.A.T Vehicle and K9 unit greeted the visitors. Area police officers and community leaders from the Stockton Boulevard Partnership and Fruitridge Manor neighborhood were also present. Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra came by to chat with the attendees and event organizers before leaving to visit other National Night Out locations. Under the summer sky, free ice cream was served to everyone.
“Your council members, your mayor, and everyone makes their rounds,” said Vincene Jones, a member of the Stockton Block Redevelopment Community. “It’s really a support for the neighborhood about crime. [National Night Out is about] getting to know your neighbors [and] looking out for each other.”
Despite temperatures which passed 100 degrees, about two dozen people showed up at this particular National Night Out event. New people met each other and strangers become friends. It was not just a social gathering, it was also a discussion between law enforcement and community members. National Night Out aims to promote the police public image. With many visual examples of police brutality over the past years, organizers believe that part of the solution is to get people and officers enjoying ice cream together.
Instead of having a celebration for his birthday, local youth advocate Fong Tran decided he would host a concert to raise awareness of an organization that means a lot to him: Sac Girls Speak.
Many people see the criminal justice system as a necessity for any well-functioning society. But in recent years, the system has been under scrutiny from many communities in America. Locally, the different neighborhoods of Sacramento have come out to express concerns about how the justice system has affected them. One such event to voice those concerns was held at the Fruitridge Elementary School on July 29th. The “It’s Our Time” community forum seeked to help educate people about government reinvestment into their own community instead of the prison system. They aimed to accomplish this through statistics and personal stories.
A few dozen people attended the events. It was an ethnically diverse event with mostly African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-American and White people in attendance. Most of the people who attended had some experience with the prison system. Some have been in prison for decades while other have family members who went to prison. Everyone had something to say about how the criminal justice system has affected their lives.
“[The purpose of this event is to] talk with the community about the impact of criminal justice so we can work together to make a change in the criminal justice system,” said Pastor Dee Emmert, manager of the event. “It helps the community because our voices individually are not strong but when we come together we are a force to be reckoned with. [We are] also informing our community how they can vote and how they can have an impact on their community.”
Voting was one of the major themes of the event. People were givens flyers with the contact information of their community representatives such as the Sheriff and District Attorney. They were highly encouraged to call, email, and contact their representatives in any way possible to voice their opinions. People were also educated on what their rights are within the criminal justice system, particularly for parolees. In the end, many resources were given to the attendees on how to improve their community and themselves.
On Saturday, July 22nd, The Sacramento Transit Union held a community meeting which brought a group of people together to talk about the issues public transit users face daily. Sac TRU holds these community meetings every Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at their Broadway office.
Many people in Sacramento area depend on public transit to get to one place to another. Sac TRU believes that transit in Sacramento needs to be improved for those who use buses and light rail.
Many of the things done at these meetings are the generation of letters which are then sent to the Regional Transit Board Members. Some of those go into depth about the excessive heat and public safety concerns on light rail trains.
“Passengers are placed in dangerous situations when exposed to excessive heat. This especially affects the elderly, young children and persons with disabilities,” said Sac TRU in a weekly letter to the RT Board. “Delayed, malfunctioning trains and buses also cause riders to be exposed in the sun for extended periods of time at unprotected stations in triple-digit temperatures.”
Another weekly letter sent to the Regional Transit Board Members included concerns about the limitations of languages that public transit offers. “We request that communications and outreach events be conducted in the acknowledged top 6 languages used by RT riders: English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Hmong, and Vietnamese,” Sac TRU wrote in another weekly letter to RT. “ We also request that RT provide outreach in a greater variety of venues, including neighborhood associations, community centers, schools, etc.”
For more information about Sac TRU and where and when their meetings take place; click here
July is National Minority Mental Health Month, and Sacramento responded with its first annual Multicultural Mental Health Town Hall meeting to help increase awareness about the stigmas surrounding mental health. Many organizations gathered to help educate the public on the subject.