On December 2nd, two documentary films were shown at the Guild Theater in Sacramento. They were films about the lives of Transgender Women, and other members of the LGBTQ community. The films are part of a three-part event trying to promote solidarity, and knowledge about the LGBT community.
As a queer Hmong woman who is a member of multiple marginalized and historically silenced groups, the FAIR Education Act feels like an action long overdue. Growing up, I remember learning only about the contributions of white and presumably heterosexual men. I can recall feeling disconnected and confused. I looked around me and saw a myriad combinations of ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions and various other backgrounds in my peers. For that not to be reflected in history lessons baffled me. How is it that only one subset of a single race be the sole contributors to this nation?
October marks National LGBT History month, an opportunity to spend 31 days highlighting the achievements of LGBTQ-identified folks who have brought progress to America. But soon, thanks to state lawmakers, students in California will be able to learn about these contributions all year round.
In 2011, Governor Jim Brown passed the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, Respectful) Education Act to include the accomplishments made by LGBTQ historical figures in social science curriculum at K-12 schools all across California.
Current existing laws require that schools depict a fair representation of Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups in textbooks. Not only will the Fair Education Act require school lessons to be LGBTQ-inclusive, the list will expand to include other marginalized groups, such as persons of disabilities and Pacific Islanders.
On September 28, 2017, the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) met and approved revisions of history and social science textbooks to include these marginalized communities. Emily Bender, Program Director of Sacramento LGBT Community Center, provided testimonial support at the IQC hearing because she believes that “the struggle for equality that we LGBTQ people have faced over the years helps us better understand our current day issues.” The California Department of Education will vote on accepting the recommended revisions in November 2017.
The law has faced opposition from religious, conservative, and parent groups. Some parents fear it as a tool to teach homosexuality and that children are too young to be discussing sexuality. According to the Protect Kids Foundation, parents feel concerned that by incorporating LGBTQ-affirming studies in school, schools are “impos[ing] their private lifestyles on all school children…” and that “It reduces the teaching of core academics in favor of political and sexual indoctrination.” Other oppositional claims include that the law would violate the innocence of children, promote gender confusion, and violate the parents’ rights to consent to have a say in their child’s education. Some go even as far to say inclusion of LGBTQ affirmative education is a form of “sexual brainwashing”.
Despite these claims, experts say children as young as age 2 or 3 start to develop a sense of their gender identity and attraction to genders. Teaching inclusivity for LGBTQ people has not been correlated to the conversion of heterosexual people “turning gay”. Additionally, LGBTQ-identified students report experiencing bullying at a rate twice as much due to their sexual orientation and/or gender expression when compared to their heterosexual peers.
LGBTQ students report being five times as more likely to not attend school because of bullying. Being LGBTQ affirming has been shown to create an accepting, nurturing and open environment where everyone can express who they are, develop compassion for others who are different, and thrive.
I remember vividly the day in my high school history class when we learned the chapter about the Vietnam War and read about the Hmong involvement in the Secret War. It was only a small, single paragraph out of the entire chapter but reading that one passage filled me up with a sense of immense pride and validation. The struggles and victories of my people are seen and heard and will not be forgotten. Not if we are still alive and not unless we allow it to.
It’s time to disrupt the status quo. It’s time to teach our children American history that is fair, accurate, inclusive, and respectful of all its citizens who have built this country on their backs.
Sacramento could be called the greatest melting pot in California. Many immigrants and refugees have called the City of Trees home since it was first established. One of the largest ethnicities that have connections to Sacramento are the Hmong people. Unknown to many Americans, there was a “Secret War” in Laos at the same time of the Vietnam War. The U.S dropped more bombs on the Laos region that was connected to Vietnam than it did in World War II against Germany and Japan combined. Thousand of Hmongs died during what people now call the “Secret War.” Even to this day, the war affects people who lived in the area that was bombed decades ago. Tiny pellet bombs about the size of a baseball have been mistaken for playthings by children who live there. Once disturbed, the bomb explodes, killing or decapitating limbs of the kids who were mistakenly playing with it.
As the name implied, the Secret War is something has been lost in many of the history books. However, the people who have been through it never forget, both Americans who dropped the bombs and Hmong who survived it. So that’s why the “Hmong Story 40- The 4 decades” exhibit about the journey the Hmong people made to America is now in Sacramento. Many people are gathering at the Serna Center where there are exhibitions containing historic Hmong artifacts of the time of the Secret War and speakers who have been through the war itself.
See Vang, the outreach coordinator of Hmong Story 40, say in an interview about the exhibit “The purpose of the veteran day is to honor our Hmong veteran who fought during the Vietnam war and the secret war. It is part of our project to honor our parent and grandparents.”
Many of the 3rd and 4th generation Hmongs do not know about their ancestor’s histories with the Secret War. However, the ones who have come to America as the result of is can remember it like yesterday. The pain of the war is literally embodied within those first generation Hmong refugees. Many believe that it is their job to make sure that their story of pain, as well as joy, are not lost within the future generations. The Hmong Story 40 will continue to have events like this to serve as a reminder, as a record of the history that the Hmong people have been through.
“Changes for the Better”
This week LiveWire is happy to welcome back Caverly Morgan from One House of Peace who will be in town to talk about the upcoming Sacramento workshops. One House of Peace offers a variety of workshops that touch on loving yourself and others, working with meditation and similar techniques as well as offering retreats throughout the year. Watch LiveWire to find out more.
For more information on One House of Peace log on to OneHouseofPeace.org.
We are also happy to welcome guests from the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park. They will be on the program to give us a sample of the changes happening on the grounds including a lighting project as well as a restoration project happening on the third floor. The mansion will be opening its new areas for viewing sometime in October. There will be an official celebration date of October 23rd. It is currently open for regular tours. Plan a visit this month and then go back to see the changes next month. Take a moment to enjoy this beautiful state jewel.
To learn more about The Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park visit www.Parks.Ca.gov
Tune in to LiveWire on Wednesday, September 11th at 5pm on Access Sacramento channel 17 or watch the simulcast online at the same time at www.AccessSacramento.org and click ‘watch 17’.
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Times are changing and moving way too quickly. LiveWire is going to slow down and take a few minutes to celebrate, appreciate and enjoy those changes.
We will be introducing our new Executive Director, Gary Martin. He will tell a us little bit about himself and his plans for the future of Access Sacramento. Ron will be celebrating his retirement and sharing his celebrations plans along with his future involvement with Access Sacramento as an Advocate. We are happy to have them both on the program this week as we spend a little moment reflecting and looking forward.
Information about these new changes can be found by visiting our website at www.AccessSacramento.org
Any requests or questions can be e-mailed to PostMaster@AccessSacramento.org.
We will also be joined by long time Access Sacramento friend, Bob Crimmins. Bob is the History & Health Writer along with many other contributions to the magazine. He will be sharing information about the magazine and its great changes including its name. It was formerly known to many as Senior Magazine, but being enjoyed by more than seniors, they decided to change their name. They were most recently called Sac Mag Live when they added their new TV show and are now known as “Living in the West”. They now reach a multi-generational group of folks in Sacramento and surrounding areas.
For more details about Living in the West you can pick up a free copy at most public locations around town or log on to www.LivingintheWest.com .
By Victoria Rosenberg
Scott Bruggeman, a history teacher at Hiram Johnson High School, moved here in 1998. Soon after moving to Sacramento, he found out this school was hiring and eventually became a well known history teacher. When Mr. Bruggeman was asked why he decided to work at Hiram Johnson he answered, “The kids here are the best!” Is he just a teacher or is he also a normal guy?
Everyone on campus can see that Mr. Bruggeman is bald, but many might be surprised to learn that last year he was diagnosed with skin cancer. The cause of his cancer was from too much exposure to sunlight, or as Mr. Bruggeman said, “in other words being bald.”
The cancer pushed him to get his health back together, which allowed him to lose 84.9 pounds in the past year. When diagnosed with skin cancer, Mr. Bruggeman started wearing more hats.
“It makes you think of the big questions,” says Mr. Bruggeman, when talking about his diagnosis. “What is life, what’s my legacy, if I were to die tomorrow how would I be remembered?”
When asked his opinion on these three questions, he answered with a quote from Socrates, the Greek philosopher.
“The more you know the less you know.”
Mr. Bruggeman is also a husband and father. His oldest daughter Cecily is 5-years-old and her sister, Casey, is three. He has a Welsh Corgi named Bodie, which he walks every morning before school. He is not only working hard for himself, but his family also.
On his free time away from work and family, Mr. Bruggeman plays golf and both acoustic and electric guitar. While in high school, Mr. Bruggeman always loved history, but P.E was his favorite. Something no one knows about him is that he is a Gemini and his birthday usually falls around the last day of school.
“My birthday present is 10 weeks off every year,” Mr. Bruggeman says.
“Air-ships, Alchemy, & Opulence”
This week LiveWire is happy to continue their series with the Sac Geeks Groups with special guests from the Sacramento Steampunk Society. We will learn all about the beauty and inspiration behind this unique style. Beyond style, there is a story to be told of a different era and a another place in time. Our guests will be on the show in costume and will be sharing their artwork, their fashion, and their love of Steampunk. They are having a free special event on February 16th that will showcase the Steampunk Society. It includes artists that work in metals, jewelry, invention, and even artwork by by Tom Banwell, who’s art has been shown in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.
For details about the Sacramento Steampunk Society please visit http://SacSteam.org
Tune in to LiveWire on Wednesday, January 30th at 5pm on Access Sacramento Channel 17 or watch the simulcast online at www.AccessSacramento.org and click ‘watch 17’.
3rd Annual Youth Media Forum For Social Change – 2012
A short documentary about the Black Panther Legacy tours of West Oakland and the sites of historical significance that the City of Oakland has chosen to ignore. Directed by Nick Liem, Brian Birchett and Patrick Manning. Made in collaboration with The Huey P. Newton Foundation.
There are trains all over Sacramento. They are part of our history and part of our charm. Next week’s guests on LiveWire include representatives from The Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad and also guests from The Downtown Sacramento Partnership. There are lots of fun things to do in Sacramento County for the Holidays and we’ll learn about some of them on LiveWire.
The Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad will be offering train rides and visits with Santa this December. They are working hard to restore and preserve our original tracks and also have some fun and share their love of the rails. The train rides in Shingle Springs will take place starting December 3rd. and the Folsom rides will begin December 10th.
To learn more about The Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad log on to PSVRR.org or follow their blog at www.SacramentoValleyRailroad.com
Also joining us on the show will be guests from The Downtown Sacramento Partnership to share information about the Holiday events happening around downtown Sacramento. This year they are celebrating 20 years of ice skating in Sacramento and it will be the the 29th annual Santa Parade on December 10th. They do even more than just events. They also organize all the friendly Downtown helpers and help clean up our lovely city and you can find out how you can be part of that, too.
For details about all the events the Downtown Sac Partnership offers & more please visit DownTownSac.org.
Tune in to LiveWire on Wednesday, November 30th at 5pm on Access Sacramento channel 17 or watch the simulcast at www.AccessSacramento.org and click ‘watch 17’.