On Saturday, March 24th, young people from all across the country took to the streets for their “March for our Lives” protests. Here in Sacramento, residents had their own march, and here is some footage for it.
Four years ago, the Human Rights Society dubbed Sacramento with the title of “Second Worst City in the US for Human Trafficking.”
In December of last year, Elan Seagraves, a soccer coach at John F. Kennedy High School, was arrested on human trafficking charges and for pimping at least two minors.
In early February, 58-year-old Yun Escamilla was booked into Sacramento County Jail on five counts of felony pandering–the act of persuading/forcing someone to become a prostitute. Escamilla housed five young women, constantly transporting them between three different Sacramento residences. It was reported that some of the women being prostituted were from Hong Kong and all were of Asian descent.
“Sex trafficking”, as it is called, is a global epidemic.
Thousands of people worldwide have been sold into, coerced or manipulated into sex-slavery. It has poisoned countless communities, but how big is Sacramento’s human trafficking problem?
“It’s been highlighted that there is more human trafficking in Sacramento than in other jurisdictions, but I think that it is equal to other jurisdictions,” Cindy Stinson, Lieutenant for the Sacramento Police Department and co-founder of Community Against Sexual Harm or CASH, told AccessLocal.Tv in an interview. “One reason that, if there is more human trafficking on Sacramento is because we have lots of freeways that run through Sacramento and there’s something called the circuit, where women will be driven to different cities where the freeways are close.”
Lt. Stinson thinks that another one of the reasons human trafficking in Sacramento is so highlighted is because the city is so informed on the issue and strives to do more about it through nonprofit organizations like CASH and WEAVE.
But is there any way individuals can fight against human trafficking in Sacramento?
“One way we can fight against sex trafficking in Sacramento is to focus on the demand,” Lt. Stinson explained. “So instead of going out and arresting the women or focusing on forcing action on the women who really are the victims, we can really focus on the men who are creating the demands to buy women–who are trolling around looking to buy girls and women for sex.”
“If all the law enforcement agencies in Sacramento got together and decided, ‘Hey, we’re not going to put as much of our effort on arresting the women, we’re going to put a lot of our effort on arresting the men who are pimps, who are trafficking the women, that would have a huge impact. It would also deliver the message that Sacramento is not a place that you want to come to buy women or traffic women.”
If you or someone you know is or might be a victim of human trafficking, please encourage them to call 1-888-373-7888, or text HELP to 233733.
After the Trump Administration filed a lawsuit over its Sanctuary State laws, Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared in Sacramento for a speech covering his issues with California. This appearance ignited a protest right outside of the Sawyer Hotel in Downtown Sacramento.
The largest expansion of youth voter access in American history will occur next year. A new bill, known as AB 1407, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, on February 26th, 2018, that will automatically pre-register all eligible sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote when they receive a California Driver’s License or California State ID. This bill will automatically pre-register approximately 200,000 sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote annually. AB 1407 was proposed by Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and was sponsored by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
AB 1407 updates the 2015 New Motor Voter Program, which allowed every eligible citizen, who requested a driver’s license or state ID, to be automatically registered to vote. This update will simply include automatic voter pre-registration for youth. Of course, young people have the option to opt out of pre-registration, if they wish.
“AB 1407 will increase voter engagement by removing the unnecessary step of pro-actively registering to vote, increasing the likelihood of a young person voting in future elections,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “We need more young people engaged in the political process and impacting issues like college access and affordability, climate change, healthcare, and housing. Voting is the first step to make a citizen an active part of the political process. This measure will make sure that all voices in California are heard.”
This bill is scheduled to take effect on January 1st, 2019.
Meanwhile, on March 5th, Sacramento County’s Department of Voter Registration and Elections hosted an open-house meeting where Sacramento residents were invited to learn about the California Voter’s Choice Act’s effects on available voting options and to experience the new voting system technology that will be implemented in the June 2018 Primary Election. The open-house meeting was hosted at the Department of Voter Registration and Elections building from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM.
As per the procedure of the California Voter’s Choice Act, all Vote Center locations will be open two weeks before Election Day so that voters may vote on a day that is convenient with their schedule. Voters can visit any Vote Center within the county and staff will be available to provide assistance in multiple languages, help voters with disabilities, and update voter registration information. Of course, rather than attending Vote Centers, voters will have the options to vote by returning their ballots through mail or by dropping it off in the nearest county drop-box.
In the era of “fake news”, youth media organizations from all over California came together for the 2018 Youth Media Statewide Conference to sharpen their skills in journalism. This event was held in Oakland between February 17th – 18th at the Waterfront Hotel and was hosted by Youth Radio, a nonprofit media production company, an institution that prepares young people for the 21st-century digital workplace. The conference consisted of speakers and their experiences as freelance journalists, workshops on topics concerning photojournalism techniques and social media management, and networking opportunities.
So why is it important for young reporters to learn skills about media literacy and journalism? In light of the 2016 election, many American consumers of digital news and social media are aware of fake news and many young reporters in California are working to combat that with training in media literacy and in the production of quality, reputable local news.
“I really enjoyed meeting other youth media programs at the conference,” said Jazmine Justice-Young, a fellow youth media reporter. “I think my team and I learned a lot from the workshops they had that we’ll be taking back with us.”
Various workshops were provided to train young reporters to create quality news content. Erika Aguilar, a Podcast Producer and Reporter of KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, and Laura Klivans, a Community Health Reporter of KQED Public Radio who is also stationed in San Francisco, gave lessons in podcasting – and what different formats they consist of in terms of the level of production – as well as some techniques to ensure maximum audio standards for the audience’s experience.
Noah Berger, a freelance photographer who works for national and international news outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times, did a presentation concerning his experiences, techniques, and ethics of photojournalism. He demonstrated hands-on lighting techniques and discussed the best approaches to covering protests and other potentially-risky assignments.
Annie Yu, an Audience Engagement Editor of the L.A. Times, taught strategies of using social media in journalism to be more engaging to the audience. The basics include making a social media plan for a story, leading crowdsourcing campaigns, and building an audience.
The 2018 Youth Media Conference was overall a success as many youth reporters learned from experienced journalists and the training and support provided by the conference helped to sharpen the skills needed to be a credible, self-sufficient journalist.
Recently, Hmong women converged on a Sacramento community center to discuss the issues they share and the ways to move forward with power.
In January of 2017, President Donald Trump issued a new ethics policy regarding lobbyists. The policy weakens the ethics policy which prevented lobbyists from joining agencies related to where they lobbied before. This change by the Trump administration allows lobbyists such as corn syrup advocates to help the USDA set rules and guidelines about what’s healthy.
For context, let’s take a step back for a moment. In 2009, Barack Obama made an executive order to prevent lobbyists from joining agencies if they had lobbied for something similar within the past two years. Though this ethics policy still remains, it has gotten easier for lobbyists to join an agency as long as they have an “ethics waiver”.
Now, how does all this affect citizens? Kailee Tkacz, a previous corn syrup lobbyist, was given an ethics waiver to serve as a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She lobbied on “education regarding federal food policy”, but now with her new position in the USDA, she can change those very same policies. That could mean that the maximum amount of corn syrup in any given product could rise, and it could mean that corn syrup will be seen as more healthy based on new standards.
“Recently, the World Health Organization recommended that an average adult consume only twenty-five grams of sugar daily,” Bruce Tran wrote in a previous article about health on our website. “However, an average American consumed about three pounds of sugar each week. With two-thirds of American being obese or overweight, there are many scientific studies to support that sugar is strongly linked to obesity.”
Tkacz is just one example of a former lobbyist joining the ranks of a government agency they once sparred with in a professional setting. Since June of 2017, over 30 lobbyists were appointed to Trump administration posts to oversee the same issue area on which they had lobbied on in the two year prior, in an apparent total shift in the Obama area policy.
On February 3rd, the Museum of Medical History of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society was open for the public during the 20th Annual Sacramento Museum Day. The museum showcases the progress in patent medicines, pharmacology, basic science, laboratory medicine, antibiotics, infectious diseases, medical diagnosis, therapy, surgical diagnosis, nursing, Asian medicine, radiology, and quackery since from the mid-1800’s. Some large artifacts were on display such as nurse uniforms, a doctor’s office cabinet, skeletons, a 20th-century iron lung, Civil War amputation kits, live leeches, examination tables, a 20th-century x-ray machine, and wheelchairs. The museum also holds an extensive library containing early medical textbooks and journals.
“Very interesting museum with lots to see,” said Zule Wimer, a tourist visiting the Museum of Medical History, “We loved it all! We kept going back to the same displays because there were so many details to read and learn about. Makes you grateful for modern medicine but also makes you wonder about what the future generations will say about our understanding of ‘modern medicine’.”
Before the arrival of settlers and pioneers of Northern California, the Sacramento Valley region was described as “… one of the most healthful territories on the continent.” However, during the peak of the Gold Rush, many Western settlers and miners arrived and brought diseases that caused numerous epidemics due to the lack of sanitation and hygiene. It was estimated that 6% of settlers died on their trip to California and 20% of the population lost their lives within 6 months all due to diseases.
Among the settlers and Sacramentans, unqualified practitioners, opportunists, and irregulars of medicine competed with doctors that which ultimately led to the founding of the Medico-Chirurgical Association in 1850 – the first medical organization in California – in order to decrease tensions between “regular” and “irregular” practitioners. The medical organization lasted for only six years until the Sacramento Medical Society was founded in 1855. The Sacramento Medical Society practiced organized medicine until it disbanded eight years later. Finally, in 1868, the Sacramento Society for Medical Improvement, today’s Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, was founded.
Under their guidance, the Sacramento Society for Medical Improvement was responsible for the second City Board of Health in the United States, the first prepaid hospital insurance plan in California, the first railroad hospital in California, the first successful appendectomy in California, the first weather bureau on the west coast, and the first building in California that was designed to function as a hospital.
The museum is free of charge and open to the public every Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (except for holidays). Note: the museum will be closed on February 19th, 2018 in observance of President’s Day.
For more information concerning the Museum of Medical History, call (916) 452-2671.
I am a former correspondent myself, and now I’m a liaison for Utah State University’s literary journal, Sink Hollow. I’m announcing a Call for Submissions for creative works of fiction, non-fiction, art, and poetry. We accept undergraduate submissions from all over the world, and the deadline is April 9. But right now, I am asking for your story as Neighborhood News Correspondent.
As a former correspondent for NNC, I met some amazing people who do a lot of great work that goes largely unrecognized. It has shaped who I am as a person, as a professional, and as a writer. What stories or events did you cover that deeply affected you? What interview stuck with you the most? Here is your chance to turn your experience into a work of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or art. This is also a chance for you to showcase your creative talents in a way that may be inappropriate for journalism but is encouraged at Sink Hollow.
If you are interested, please go to https://www.sinkhollow.org and follow the submission guidelines (again this is for current undergraduate students only). It is also important to see if your style is the right fit for a journal before submitting, so please check out our issue for Spring 2018.
PS: Your submission can be about whatever you want, but you are encouraged to share your story as a correspondent.
Thank you for the important work you have done and are still doing, and happy writing!
Liaison, Grant Researcher
Utah State University