DO/LOVE/LIVE hosted a Veterans Day Community Party at McKinley Park and AccessLocal.TV was there to relay the ambitions and thoughts of two organizers.
At the same exact time as shots rung out in Texas during the worst mass shooting in that state’s history, Moms Demand Action was organizing a new chapter in Sacramento to advocate against gun violence.
It is expensive to be poor in Sacramento. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a citizen living barely above the poverty line in California during 2017 has an average annual income of $12,060. For the average American, it is safe to say that $12,060 is not enough to live comfortably by today’s standards. When considering budgeting for the annual expenses of owning a car, healthcare, living space, or food it is easy to see that $12,060 is not a lot to survive on.
According to ValuePenguin, the average annual cost of car insurance in California is $1,962. In an article in HowStuffWorks, the average annual cost of car maintenance, oil changes, and other necessities amounts to $3,269 and the cost of gas is $2,208. Considering these individual expenses, owning a car amounts to $7,439 a year in costs.
Living poor and alone in Sacramento is especially expensive. According to RentCafe, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Sacramento is $1,088 a month. The San Francisco Gate reported an individual plan’s average cost of healthcare in California is $331 a month or $3,972 a year. A quick Google search reveals that the average American also spends roughly $2,641 per person annually on food.
Other than the overwhelming costs of basic living that the lower-middle or poverty class faces, Apartment List, a renowned website for finding apartments, revealed a tremendous study concerning rental insecurity. According to their statistics, an estimated 3.7 million Americans have experienced eviction and one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full at least once every three months in 2017. The eviction rate for low-income citizens in Sacramento is 4.4% compared to the national average eviction rate of 3.3%.
Apartment List data determined that eviction often leads to destabilized families and communities, poor educational performance, and increased behavioral problems in children. According to the Independent Budget Office, eviction is the leading cause of homelessness.
“It’s tough trying to make it month by month,” said Dominique Mejia, a student at American River College. “We have a pretty big family, plus we live with our grandparents to cheapen rent. We usually don’t buy food until my sister gets a paycheck by the end of the month, and by that time the only thing we have left is a few canned foods. As for paying bills and rent, our grandparents really help out. If it wasn’t for them, we’d likely be homeless.”
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.
Sacramento is an urban city with multitudes of suburban areas around its edges. Thousands of people who live here rely on public transportations every day to travel to and from the places they need to go. Buses and the light rail system are essential for many people in their commutes. While some people are able to use the transit system without problems, other people find that their needs fall through the cracks. One group that seeks to address the problems that are often overlooked is the Sacramento Transit Rider Union. Sac TRU works with Organize Sacramento in its efforts to alleviate transit complications.
“Sacramento Transit Rider Union meets regularly to identify issues that affect riders that we feel are not being effectively addressed by Regional Transit,” said Sarah Kerber, Secretary for Organize Sacramento. “One of the issues we are working on right now is restoring free transfer to all fares. If you currently buy a cash farer, you’re not given a free 90 minutes [free transfer] which the other fares have access to. This leaves out a large portion of riders from receiving that benefit.”
One of their advocacy goals is focusing on the excessive triple-digit temperatures that the transit riders are experiencing while using the light rail. One Sac TRU member voiced their concern about the potentially fatal safety issues and was able to get a response from
The RT General Manager and CEO, Henry Li. The public was able to get an explanation of why the light rail system is in the conditions that they are. This shows that RT is being held responsible for their actions and the people are aware of the conditions of their transit system. The full letter can be found here.
According to Sac TRU, they are “a community coalition, including public transit riders, neighborhood leaders, transit workers, student groups, community organizations, small business associations, and workers’ rights groups.” They are often found at monthly meetings in the Organize Sacramento main office on Broadway.
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)