Join me for my very last video on this site.
On Friday, September 8th, UC Davis again hosted the Free Our Dreams event. This Free Our Dreams, like previous events, brought youth from all corners of California, with the help of their adult allies, to come together and have conversations about statewide advocacy strategies for change. The youth came to Davis from as far away as San Diego, Bakersfield, and Eureka.
This event came only a week after President Trump’s decision to repeal the DACA program that supported over 800,000 “dreamers”. The DACA program will be phased out over the next two years.
The DACA program was eligible for undocumented immigrants who had been living in the U.S. before 2007 and were under the age of 30 before 2012. These undocumented immigrants had to be either working or going to school and could not receive federal benefits.
DACA’s removal was a huge topic at this year’s Free Our Dreams event as some of the participants were undocumented or know someone who is. Many youths in attendance are supported by DACA and have many concerns on what to do now.
Throughout the event, there were workshops set up for undocumented youth to participate in and learn more about what happens next. One of these workshops had an undocumented healing circle which allowed youth let out their words and feelings about DACA being repealed through the sharing of personal and emotional stories.
One student from San Francisco City College had more than a few words to say about DACA.
“DACA being revoked was devastating news,” said Cynthia Diaz. “However, DACA was never the solution to what was demanded, but still it offered protection from being separated from this community. I would just want to remind those affected that they are loved and supported, always. We must take initiative to start learning to go beyond DACA and this is by understanding class struggle and political theory. Unified, we will protect each other and build to overcome the system that oppresses us.”
“The fact that this conference brought out so many youths from across California and was very well attended and of course productive,” said Diaz. “This is perfect timing to get together as leaders of this state to create dialogue and share brilliant ideas with one another. Many more gatherings are needed, and definitely necessary.”
Come along with Accesslocal.Tv in this video of California Senators and Assemblymembers talking about how important parks are to communities across the state.
On August 12th, the National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento held a lecture which focused mainly on what to do if you had any type of interaction with the police in public. The NLG brought in about a group of around 16 people to come and ask questions and learn about what do when a police officer stops you.
Many people shared their experiences and interactions that they’ve had with police and asked what they could’ve done instead in that situation. The NLG gave several points about what to do when a police officer approaches you.
“You do not have to show ID unless you are driving a motorized vehicle,” said the National Lawyers Guild representative when asked about showing ID to officers. “If officers try to speak to you, do not answer any questions. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”
NLG continued to speak about their very own experiences and how they’ve managed to get by. As the lecture went on, people talked about what they could do if they were at a rally. They even went into detail about tactics you could use such as picketing, sitting down, not yelling or swearing at police and video recording.
“If you are stopped, ask if you are being detained,” said the National Lawyers Guild representative. “If the police detain you, use the magic words to every officer who talks to you; I am going to remain silent I want to see a lawyer. You do not have to reveal your immigration status.”
As the lecture wrapped up, participants were given the opportunity to be put on an email list with details on what to do when police stop you. Also, the participants were given a paper with an overview of what was discussed.
If you need their services, you can contact the National Lawyers Guild at NLGsacramento@gmail.com or at 916/500-4NLG(654)
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.
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
2017’s National Summer Transportation Institute provided an opportunity for AccessLocal.tv reporters to experience a taste of a college education and learn a little bit about careers in the transportation and energy efficiency industries.
This event was hosted by Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose. This program is sponsored and funded by a grant from the US Federal Highway Administration. It extends beyond just San Jose and it includes various college campuses around the country.
While AccessLocal.tv reporters only got to experience three days of this program, students from San Jose High School Independence High got to experience a 2-week camp. By the end of it all, participating students received 3 units of college credit.
“It was a great experience overall,” said Miranda Villarreal, a YMCA Youth in Government program participant. “I was excited and overwhelmed by the new faces I got to see. I got to meet really out going people and my roommate was such an amazing person. What was interested me most about the event is when we took a trip to San Francisco.”
AccessLocal.tv reporters traveled went by train early on a Monday morning to San Jose, California. They checked in to San Jose State University to check out the dorms. Soon after, the reporters went to the Tech Museum of Innovation to watch a film that covered engineering and the history of technology.
Moving forward, the team had time to experience many of the museum’s many great attractions, including Virtual Reality booths, an earthquake simulator and more. One of these attractions had the team wear a brain data analyzer and participate in some activities. By the end of the end of the day, the device told each wearer how they were feeling throughout their experiences in the museum.
On Tuesday morning, the woke up early and ate breakfast before going on to participate in lectures from professors about energy and transportation in the United States. After that, the crew rode a bus to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. AccessLocal.tv reporters had lots of fun while exploring the beach and getting on the attractions. The day ended with a dinner at one of the restaurants in Santa Cruz.
On Wednesday, the last day of the trip, the team again had breakfast and quickly went on a bus to San Francisco for a tour at PG&E. The team learned about energy motives and how people can change it. Immediately after, the tram took a bus to the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge for a guided tour The view from the bridge gave the team an amazing view of the city of San Francisco.