The Oak Park Famers market provides a space for many types of local businesses. This helps to provide them with the advertising they need for more people to recognize their products.
On Saturday, August 4th, there was a Mayan Hip Hop and Cacao Ceremony put on by a local nonprofit called The Decolonization Project and held at the Yisrael Urban Family Farm.
The Decolonization Project is a small nonprofit created to give local People Of Color a voice and a means to get back to their roots. They hold events, distribute a newsletter and even have a zine that comes out every season. The point of the group is to “decolonize”, which means to take back who people of color are and separate the involuntary white life forced upon them away.
“TDP,” as defined in The Decolonization Project’s Facebook page, is “an experimental cooperative with the intent to co-power, strengthen, and create resilient communities of inclusion through the indigenization of our bodies, minds, and spirits. We believe that through indigenization, we can radically alter the settler colonial landscape of our communities and create a harmonious relationship with our Mother Earth.”
The Decolonization Projects praised the location of Yisrael Urban Family Farm due to its intimate size and surrounding nature, as well as the fact that the farm is accessible to the community as well.
The Mayan Hip Hop and Cacao Ceremony took place due to the hope that people who usually do not have access to these ceremonies could easily come and enjoy. Many ceremonies like this would not be advertised to a broad audience and most likely tucked away somewhere. Whereas, this ceremony was made for everyone. The gathering was intimate with around 20 guests in attendance.
“I was a little uncomfortable,” said Arabesque Lynaolu, a Sacramento resident, and attendee of the ceremony. “But I was glad that they had an event accessible to those who practice this.”
If you want to learn more about The Decolonization Project, check here for their Facebook page:
According to a recent report that was released this month by Jama Network Open, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. report some form of mental illness. With depression being the 2nd largest contributor to years lived with disability in the U.S., but only an estimated 5% of total medical care spending taking place on mental health services in the country, researchers continue to search for a solution to the mental health crisis in America.
Researchers have found that nature has a huge impact on our mental health and well-being. With urbanization taking place across the U.S, a demand for green space in lower income communities grow. A whopping 15% of land in cities is vacant and abandoned in the U.S. Many of these lots receive little to no care, leaving depressing backdrops in neighborhoods full of trashed land or dangerous fields that are more susceptible to criminal activity. These individuals who suffer most from physical and mental health tend to live in these lower economic backgrounds.
As we disconnect more and more from nature by urbanizing our cities, the mental health of our lower income communities become worse. The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health suggests that creating more green space is a way to tackle the decline in mental health and well-being. Green space has been used to deliver “structured therapeutic interventions” for groups such as youth-at-risk, individuals with dementia, mental illnesses, probation and stressed employees.
Miranda Saldaña, an aspiring photographer, 7th grader at Sam Brannan Middle School, and resident of south Sacramento shared her views on adding green spaces to our community.
“Whenever I see a vacant spot it honestly makes me sad because I know it can have a greater purpose when you add green spaces to a neighborhood you open up more opportunities for someone to be able to express themselves”, Miranda says.
“People could get into photography or people who maybe have violent homes can have a place to go to instead of resulting to violence.”
Increasing access to green spaces could become a key component to improving the mental health in communities as well as easing the sadness that comes along with living in low-income areas. According to The Lancet, populations exposed to the greenest environments have had the lowest recorded levels of health inequality related to income deprivation. With green space often being associated with lower income-related health, there is a desperate need for our communities to come together and create more green space. If nature can help ease the mental health crisis in low-income communities, perhaps we should shift our focus to her.
Recently, First 5 California and SupplyBank.org kicked off the beginning of a “Free Diaper initiative program” to help low-income families in Sacramento. The cost of diapers can be a burden on some families, and the groups believe that providing them for free will help prevent higher health care costs in the long run.
On Monday, July 23rd, Sacramento residents joined State Senator Dr. Richard Pan at the Fruitridge Community Collaborative for free nutritious meals and health care services, including free dental and optical exams.
On Thursday, July 19th, a Multicultural Town Hall focusing on Mental Health options for minorities and youth was held in South Sacramento. Many people from the community came to the event to speak out about mental health.
Food deserts appear when there are no fresh fruits, vegetables and the like in low-income neighborhoods. In this video, you can learn more about food deserts and in some ways, people are combating them.
When Marijuana became legalized in California, it was almost understood that a significant amount of the taxes the retail sales would generate would be used to fund drug treatment programs. However, that was not the case. Senate Bill 275 is being sponsored by the California Society of Addiction Medicine to help youth get good treatment delivered by the state.
As part of the bill an expert panel consisting of representatives from many communities, such as a representative of foster and homeless youth, county probation representatives, and a representative from the state department of education, would meet to discuss and advise the state on substance abuse.
According to drugtreatment.org, one in six teenagers admit to taking prescription drugs to get high or change their mood. Many California residents ask why if drugs are so easy for youth to get, why isn’t the state putting more money into treatment services for youth now that the state has a new resource for money- Marijuana.
“It’s clear that youth are harmed by drug use,” says Dr. Tim Cermak, a Marin County Psychiatrist. “We’re talking about tax revenue set up used for the treatment of drug abuse.”
Drug treatment services provided by the state is especially important to minorities. LGBTQ adolescents are 90% more likely to develop substance abuse disorders than their straight peers according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Senate Bill 275 could be essential to lowering those statistics by providing services to at-risk youth.
“Public sector programs (are) used to move in areas of underprivileged youth and minorities,” says Dr. Cermak. “$50 million is for communities that have been impacted the most, there will be quality standards for treatment programs that are started by private entities.”
If passed, Senate Bill 275 promises that hundreds of millions of dollars will be placed into services to give quality treatment to all youth, regardless of their means or background.
The Vice Mayor a small California town called Dixon was recently in the news for some anti-LGBTQ language he used in the local Independent Voice Newspaper. In a section called “That’s
Life”, Dixon Vice Mayor Ted Hickman had plenty to say concerning his feelings on Gay Pride Month.
“Last Sunday ended LGBTQF-WTF month … with tens of thousands of folks dancing and prancing all over American celebrating the fact they are different than most of the rest of us and showing their ‘pride’ in being so,” said Vice Mayor Hickman. “Last week I proclaimed the Month of July as SPAM …(Straight Pride American Month)…(as Vice Mayor don’t know if I can, but what the heck).”
This has caused an uproar from many of the LGBTQ community and from residents who live in the Dixon area. An online petition calling for Hickman’s removal from office quickly went viral. This petition from thepetitionsite.com has already garnered 25,000 signatures with the goal to reach over 30,000.
“Now hundreds of millions of the rest of us can celebrate our month, peaking on July 4th, as healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves, Americans,” the Vice Mayor continued in his newspaper column. “Don’t get me wrong, I support the First Amendment, as much as the next person, and support the rights of grown men to wear skin-tight short-shorts and go-go boots and don tinker bell wings with a wand and prance down the streets of San Francisco.”
“Wow! That’s actually really nuts, he’s definitely not someone I want anywhere near me,” said Cecilia Ochoa, a student at UC Davis. “I will for sure be signing the petition for his recall.”
“Mr. Hickman’s words have no place in our society. Mr. Hickman should resign immediately,” said Rick Zbur, The Executive Director of Equality California.
Vice Mayor Hickman has acknowledged the petition but says that he doubts any sort of recall will happen. At a packed City Council meeting last week, dozens of protestor called for his immediate removal from office while Dixon Mayor Tom Bogue hinted that the city was considering other legal options to deal with Hickman’s remarks. Hickman is up for reelection this November.
On Sunday, July 8th, The Latino Center of Art and Culture hosted the 5th annual ¡Fiesta De Frida! The event celebrated the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and consisted of Cumbia, food, local vendors, art, and a Frida Kahlo look-alike contest.