On Saturday, October 20th, The California Endowment held the inaugural TCE Youth Awards at the California Endowment center in Los Angeles.
The “Building Healthy Communities” campaign was first launched by The California Endowment in 2010. The purpose of the campaign was to “change the narrative”and transform 14 distressed communities in California into places where all people thrive. The California Endowment pledged $1 billion to the campaign and planned for it to run 10 years, ending around 2020. “One extraordinary success was the campaign to reform school discipline policies that were throwing many thousands of kids out of school and severely jeopardizing their future prospects and, as result, their long-term health,” said Suzanne Bohan in her book, Twenty Years of Life: Why the Poor Die Earlier and How to Challenge Inequity. “It also put them into the “school-to-prison” pipeline, as youth not in school are more likely to end up entangled in the criminal justice system, which proves hard to escape.”
The introduction of the campaign helped to pass 11 new state laws and decreased student suspensions in California schools by almost 400,000 annually. One of the Endowment’s allies in the campaign, “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids”, helped them change school rules to reduce crime and helping prevent students from ending up in the juvenile justice system. Their plan to do so was to reduce high school dropout rates as the data often goes hand-in-hand. With this plan in place, they decided to hold a virtual rally so that youth from all over could join in and witness it. It ended up being a huge success with young people realizing that they were not alone and there were people out there looking out for them.
After a couple of years, the Endowment pushed for a statewide ban suspensions related to willful defiance, defined as “disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of school staff.” This had led to things such as suspending students for not listening or not being prepared, clearly not things that require that severe of a punishment. In 2014, Governor Brown passed a bill restricting willful defiance discipline. While not preventing it completely, it was still a huge change and was estimated to keep approximately 10,000 students in school each year.
For more information on the Building Healthy Communities campaign, visit the California Endowment website at www.calendow.org
A newly case study, From Farm to Every Fork: Rewriting the Narrative on Urban Agriculture in Sacramento by Heather Gehlert, depicts the recent historical process and development of urban agriculture in Sacramento. The study reveals that many community leaders and advocates supported urban agriculture as a tool to bring social change because they believe food, as a universal need, can be used to drive communities together. They also believe Urban Ag can help alleviate some of the problems of victims of food deserts and that since Sacramento is a considerable center for food research and policy as well as an environment for food to be grown year-round. However, those same advocates were also quick to stress that “urban agriculture is much more than a feel-good trend; it is a matter of health and social justice.”
The California Endowment, in recognition and response to healthy food advocates and their efforts in Sacramento’s southern neighborhoods, such as Lemon Hill and Oak Park, picked up urban agriculture “in 2010 as a part of its Building Healthy Communities initiative, a 10-year strategic plan to boost health in 14 of the state’s communities that not only have poor health outcomes but also have the potential to change them in ways that create a ripple effect throughout the rest of the state.”
While community leaders and advocates continued their primary agenda for an increase of neighborhood participation in urban agriculture, their efforts were also directed towards youth programs in order to generate the next generation of advocates and additionally influence urban agriculture to be more diverse and inclusive in the future. A prime example of these youth programs is the Burbank Urban Garden at Luther Burbank High School, where the club meets four days a week after school and offers elective credits, allowing students to learn about seasonality, sustainability, crop rotation, and nutrition. The club members maintain their gardening space – which consists of a greenhouse, raised beds, and 40 fruit trees – and also hold annual plant sales.
However, despite recent efforts of promoting the positive effects of urban agriculture, there appeared to be deeply-rooted stigma among young people about farm work. For some African-Americans, agricultural labor was a burden to partake in considering the historical implications of slavery in the United States. For some Mexican-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, their older generation of family members were critical of it because they wanted their children to attend college.
Nonetheless, urban agriculture is on the rise and the vision for some advocates have recently shifted from creating opportunities for urban farming to assisting people in finding those opportunities, making it profitable, and building the business that they need to sustain it. Ever since Sacramento’s policies about urban agriculture have become less strict over the years, farmers’ markets have become frequent.
For more information of the case study by Heather Gehlert, click on the following link: http://s26107.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/bmsg_tce_bhc_from_farm_to_every_fork_sacramento_case_study2018-final-mid.pdf
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Ronnie Swinburn A Place Called Sacramento, Building Health Communities, California Endowment, change starts with you, community volunteering, harvest sacramento, Health Happens Here, Health Happens Here in Neighborhoods, Health Happens in Schools, Healthy Foods, NNC Stories, Sacramento Charter Hig, SCUSD, soil born farms, Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture & Education Project 0 Comment
On Saturday, March 26th, Sacramento Charter High-School in alliance with Soil Born Farms hosted a event called Harvest Sacramento where organizations, local people and youth of all ages were encouraged to come and pair up into teams and head into the neighborhoods. The featuring neighborhoods were North Oak Park, Midtown, East Sacramento, and many more from all over Sacramento County.
Each group had a specific neighborhood to harvest from and carpooled to the many registered local homes. Then the owner of the property which the tree was on was able to decide whether they wanted to keep or donate all of their fruit from their overbearing trees to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services for those in need of fresh fruit.
Harvest Sacramento also gives anyone who participates take home boxes of different type of citrus like grapefruit, oranges, lemons and tangerines for their own selves, families, friends and or community centers. With the efforts of everyone who collaborated on this day during this recent event, they had reached the amount of a little more than 4,000 lbs of fruit.
“I’ve lead individual harvest groups and have participated in the picking its exciting,” said Melanie Weir, program participant. “Whenever I come out I always meet interesting and awesome people that are inspirational.”
Ronnie Swinburn access local, California Endowment, community support, creating change, Equality California, LGBTQ youth, Mental Health America of Northern California, NNC, Sacramento BHC, Sacramento News and Review 0 Comment
Hi, my name is Ronnie Swinburn, and most people within my community know me as a public spokesperson who speaks on empathetic activism and personal justice for the local LGBTQ+ Community. I am also a proud member of the Sacramento’s Building Healthy Communities Pride Action Team where we empower others to establish safe and affirming environments for youth who identify along the LGBTQ+ spectrum, those who are perceived to be, and adolescents who support LGBTQ+ youth in general through outreach, training’s also local events. I mention all these charitable aspects of my life because what most people don’t know is the reasons why I do what I do for my city and the youth within it.
While growing up in South Sacramento I have encountered various tribulations in which a lot of these situations I have either felt completely “on my own” or “alone” while also enduring external and internal personalized conflicts. Throughout my early adolescent years I did not believe, nor couldn’t possibly imagine believing, in my self and my moral rights enough to make my intuitive voice establish a real significant change towards any of the oppressors I was facing. That and the fact I had absolutely no knowledge in regards to the many community collaborations of authoritative figures in our city who aid, teach, mentor, encourage, and help to expand individual self potentials for the youth within this region that have survived through life altering hardships, such as myself.
My junior year of high-school was when my current involvement with my societal environment began. It was the peak of finding out who I genuinely aspire to be also what I would truly want to see happening around me for my community and those within it. Over the last three years I’ve spoke at numerous schools, a few business conventions, at the Capitol twice testifying on behalf of legislation bill AB827, even had an interview with a Sacramento News and Review journalist in regards to acknowledging my efforts. I have been blessed with sharing my individual story of what it was like and is continuing to be like growing into the person I am due to the past I have evolved from. Since being provided with amazing opportunities through organizations like Mental Health America of Northern California, the California Endowment, Equality California, the Sacramento’s Building Healthy Communities Hub and now AccessLocal.Tv; I realize how doing exactly just this, expressing myself and my perspectives on the community I was raised in, is important for my own self healing. Also I am able to expose to others who don’t know what the true extents of oppression are, how showing minor compassionate understanding can improve our society as a whole by uplifting the vital issues from the voices of my generation and younger generations to come.
Recently, the Surgeon General released a nation wide call for action to get people in America to walk more and for cities to provide more walkable areas for citizens. This is a movement designed to provide healthy and safe exercising options.
The Surgeon General is making this push because the benefits for regular walking and having a walkable community are numerous. They range from the obvious health benefits to economic benefits, as businesses in walkable communities tend to be more successful.
In Sacramento, many people are faced with rough patches on their way home where walking down the street becomes more risky. One south Sacramento example is a section of the 65th street expressway that has a high number of pedestrians but no sidewalk available. The section between 24th Avenue and Fruitridge Road has a short sidewalk which ends suddenly and forces pedestrians to walk on the side of the road to avoid a ditch.
Many of the pedestrians are high school students attending Hiram Johnson and this is their everyday route home. These students are walking close to expressway traffic that averages above 45 miles per hour. Most other residential streets near this one have a speed limit of 25 miles per hour, but this route is frequently taken because it is the most direct.
A recent study from the Embarcadero Road Traffic Calming Project shows that if someone is hit by a vehicle going 20 miles per hour the chance of death is 5 percent. If that same car is going 40 miles per hour, the chance of dying jumps to 85 percent. Like along the no-sidewalk portion of the 65th Expressway, both pedestrians and drivers must take extra care given the high speed and close proximity to walkers.
Many groups in Sacramento, including those working with the California Endowmen’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, are getting together to address this issue. One such group is Walk Sacramento and organizers are looking for volunteers to work toward a zero pedestrian fatality rate.
You can also go here to check out the Surgeon General’s video for a call to walk more.
Racism is an issue that America has been struggling with for over a century and has recently captured the attention of the people. Last month, members of the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities movement, funded by the California Endowment, met with Julie Nelson, Director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity to help combat racial inequity.
The Government Alliance on Race and Equity is a national government network that works with local organizations to obtain racial equity and provide equal opportunities for all.
The California Endowment includes many different organizations that work hand in hand with the community. The GARE likes to target these organizations because they are the ones that offer services to the community and those services should not be affected because of a person’s race.
“Government has rule and responsibility to act in racial equity,” says Nelson.
GARE notices that companies can be bias towards certain people by the way they conduct their work. One way that the GARE advises to help stop racial inequity is by implementing racial equity tools in company decisions. A racial equity tool is a measure organizations take to proactively eliminate inequity before making policy and program decisions.
The presentation that GARE gave to members of the Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities program in Sacramento focuses on a three step process to create equal opportunities called A-C-T. A-C-T stands for “Affirm”, which means to state a problem or a goal the company faces, “Counter”, which means to face race directly and explain why there is a problem, and “Transform”, which means to change these policies.
To find out more information about this, click here.
A hotly contested issue in California, healthcare for the state’s undocumented residents was the topic of a recent workshop held by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. Attendees of the nearly five hour meeting heard speakers from many different walks of life, voicing their concerns and weighing the benefits and risks of re-expanding health care options for the undocumented in Sacramento County. Support for renewing coverage for the undocumented was high.
The county hearing room, nearly filled to capacity for the occasion, heard testimony from politicians, blue collar workers, medical professionals, business leaders, and non-profit activists among others, with almost overwhelming support for bringing back health care for potentially thousands of residents in the area.
After a call to quorum, testimony began with Dr. Sherri Heller, Director of Health and Human Services for Sacramento County. Heller laid out seven potential options for restoring coverage, each considering issues like number of potential enrollees, cost and complexity, and what each option would actually cover. The eighth option, “to take no action,” needed little explanation.
The role of the Department of Health and Human Services in this hearing was not to recommend any actions, but to do its best to lay out the potential costs and outcomes of different scenarios based on its findings. Heller also compared existing models in other California counties. She went on to cite Fresno as an “unusual case” in the state for its access to specialty care.
The seven action-based options on the table offer a wide range of paths the county can take. They all, however, hinge greatly on the implementation of President Obama’s executive order that would give legal status to an estimated 40% of the country’s roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants. His executive order is currently on hold pending a decision on its legality.
Later testimony included impassioned speeches from politicians, notably from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a strong supporter of the California Endowment’s #Health4All campaign.
The chamber was filled with applause as Johnson pledged to do “whatever it takes” to restore health coverage to the tens of thousands of undocumented residents in the region.
“That’s the Sacramento we believe in,” the mayor announced to his colleagues and constituents.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty stepped up to the podium as well, offering his personal experience in the emergency room and attesting to the many people he has seen there who use the ER for their primary care.
“I don’t think you wanted to shut the door on health care for thousands of Sacramentans,” said McCarty sympathetically to the Board.
While recognizing the circumstances that caused coverage to be cancelled for those Sacramentans, McCarty also stressed a point that many others have stressed as well, the unsustainability of denying coverage to so many residents of the county. With the average trip to the ER in the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, the assemblyman argued that to rely on those services instead of re-expanding coverage would be “penny wise and pound foolish.”
Similar sentiments were voiced by important figures from across the state, such as Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle, who reminded the chamber of the role immigration has played throughout American history.
“Today’s immigrants are just as important as yesterday’s immigrants,” Valle affirmed.
As elected officials finished their remarks on this highly contested issue, groups granted ten minutes to speak rather than the usual two prepared their arguments.
First up were representatives of the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities, an initiative of the California Endowment, a private health foundation. They voiced concerns particularly for the “barriers” many in the Sacramento region face regarding access to health care.
Backed by dozens in the crowd wearing #Health4All campaign shirts, they made the case before the Board that restoring coverage for the undocumented helped citizens of the county as well.
Pointing out that “disease doesn’t discriminate,” they focused on the fact that keeping more people healthy, even those without documentation, would prevent the spread of illness and help to maintain a healthier, more productive community. For them, the answer is to allow those immigrants back into the health care system.
Following remarks from BHC leaders, Bishop Jaime Soto began with a sharp criticism of the 2009 decision that made this workshop necessary in the first place.
“The silence of the California leadership was deafening,” he said regarding the willingness at the time to let coverage for the undocumented disappear. The bishop also argued that the county had a moral and spiritual commitment to its undocumented population to restore health care access.
The final hours of the workshop were filled by testimony from ordinary citizens who patiently waited for their speaker slip to surface to the top of the pile.
“For two years I looked for a door that might open,” said one immigrant and mother of two who suffered along with her children from extensive medical issues. “At times I felt afraid.” She required a Spanish-to-English interpreter for her testimony, but her passion for the issue did not need translating.
More speakers requiring translation followed, all with personal experiences on the undocumented side of the health care debate.
“I just want to work,” said one man, whose insurance was denied to treat a work-related injury. “I can’t work.” The man had difficulty walking as he exited the chamber.
Despite a flood of support for the #Health4All campaign, it was clear that not all in attendance agreed. One voice of dissent came from Davi Rodrigues, a ranking member of Save Our State in Sacramento, an organization considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be a hate group.
In his opening remarks, Rodrigues began with criticism of the term “undocumented immigrant” itself. The phrase, he said was “dreamed up by people who are in support of illegal immigration.”
He went on to offer an alternative not yet heard by the chamber: repatriation. Rodrigues believes that the immigrants’ countries of origin are “responsible for their own upkeep.” If an undocumented immigrant is in need of medical care, he proposes directing them to the proper medical facilities in their home countries, dismissing the possibility that poor medical care could be what drives many people from their home countries in the first place.
Rodrigues also disparaged the amount of money each option would cost the taxpayers, something his opponents insist would, due to a healthier working population, pay for itself.
“Out here is not your constituency,” he said to the Board with a finger pointed to the crowd behind him. “They’re hard at work. They’re the ones where the money comes from, and they can’t be here because this is a work day,” he added suggestively.
After being asked to finish his remarks, the SOS leader turned his frustration towards Chairman of the Board Phil Serna, whom he claimed did not grant him the six minutes owed to him as a non-profit organization. Serna denied receiving such a request from Rodrigues, to which he struck his hand on the podium, instructed the Chairman to “read your mail next time,” and promptly left the chamber. Testimony continued shortly thereafter.
The views of Davi Rodrigues were clearly not shared by most in the room, as the remaining speakers showed their resounding support for the #Health4All cause. And after dozens of testimonies, the workshop was adjourned.
Although no measures were actually voted on in this workshop, and with no vote officially planned yet, Wednesday’s meeting was an important step forward in the conversation. For the undocumented residents of Sacramento County, basic health care, considered to be a human right by some, is finally within reach.
Systems change is the new buzzword in the non-profit and advocacy group realm. Changing the way things are for the better is the end goal for all of the organizations supported by BHC. The 2-day workshop, held at the SCUSD Serna Center, aimed to help organization leaders hone in their focus on key problems. It also gave the leaders a chance to network and collaborate to find solutions for common problems.
Over a thousand days and countless hours of hard work have passed since the Sacramento region began its Building Healthy Communities Initiative. This July, community members celebrated the Sacramento BHC’s progress with food, friends, and fun at the Louise Perez Community Center and Rainbow Park.
The Building Healthy Communities Initiative, or BHC, is a state-wide, ten-year program funded by the California Endowment. Currently implemented in fourteen regions across the state, the BHC Initiative’s main aim is to improve the health of developing communities.
“[The Initiative] is designed to help strengthen our communities in a variety of ways so that they can be healthier,” says Kim Williams, Manager of the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities HUB. “It’s everything from walk-ability, safe streets, youth violence to school discipline issues, food access issues, health access issues; we want to remove the barriers that are preventing people from being successful and reaching their goals.”
In Sacramento, those involved with the BHC and its mission have been working hard to make a change with regards to healthy food access, youth development, healthcare access, school attendance issues, and more.
“We are putting on this event for the community, our residents, and our young people, as a way to show them and celebrate all the different things we’ve been doing over the last years, as well as to thank our grantees, who have been doing so much work on behalf of the Initiative,” says Williams.
The event offered a chance for BHC leaders as well as community members to relax and enjoy an assortment of free food, including sno-kones and popcorn, and games for younger participants. Families had the opportunity to relax and get to know some of the people making a change in their communities.
Overall, the event seemed to be a success for everyone.
“This event’s really great. It’s nice to have so many members of the community out and so many organizations who want to make this a better place,” says Isaac Gonzalez, Youth Media Coordinator and BHC HUB Member.