A group of students attended the Sacramento City Unified School District Board Meeting on February 7th to voice their opposition to a proposal to fund more cops on campus. These students want to reject the proposal and have their voices heard by those in control of their schools.
Welcome to another episode of the AccessLocal.Tv Podcast. On this show, the Neighborhood News Correspondents are talking the practice of having police officers on public school campuses. Their comments and opinions may surprise you! Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the discussion in the comment section below!
On October 31st the Sacramento BHC is hosting their 7th annual Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) Sacramento Summit. This event will take place at the Sacramento State University Ballroom starting early in the day at 9:00 AM at last until 4:00 PM.
“The BMoC Sacramento Summit is an annual full-day event which is focused on galvanizing community power and inspiring youth action,” said the Sacramento BHC, regarding what the event was about. “The purpose of the summit is to create system change by mobilizing young people and inspiring dialogue between youth activists and local leaders.”
With the upcoming midterm elections, it’s important for young people to come together at events such as the BMoC. Participants are being encouraged to use the hashtag #staywoke during this event and to speak on issues such as social justice, police brutality, and “schools not prisons”.
In California, with help from the California Endowment, student suspensions have been steadily decreasing with numbers as high as 400,000 fewer suspensions annually. Events like this help spread accurate information and provide forms of action for people to take part in, especially for youth. 11 other states in the U.S. have passed laws that help aid in the fight against the school to prison pipeline, following California’s lead.
The Sacramento BHC hopes to continue the momentum and spread more awareness about issues surrounding youth all while including the young people in the process.
To learn more about this event and how it helps the surrounding community of Sacramento please visit HERE.
Many people believe that laws exist in society in order to keep its citizens safe. When a person commits a crime, they should be penalized accordingly. However, there are some that are questioning if punishment is the appropriate way to keep people safe. After all, if the punishment cripples a person’s ability to return to being a productive citizen, is it really the best option?
According to the Los Angeles Times, community reinvestment is the key to reducing crime and violence. Instead of locking up the people who break the law, they are assigned projects or summer jobs to improve their community.
“Indeed, there is now sufficient evidence to support an entirely new model for countering violence — one driven by investment,” said Professor Patrick Sharkley, the writer of the article Community investment, not punishment, is key to reducing violence.
In Sacramento, organizations such as the California Endowment encourage restorative actions rather than punishment. One reason to choose reinvestment is the much lower cost. According to the New York Times, the average cost of locking up one inmate annually is $168,000, The prison population of California in 2015 was 112,300 people. According to the Orange County Register, California could save half a billion dollars by introducing new rehabilitation programs for inmates and ex-convicts.
In the Sacramento City Unified School District, there are some educators who hold similar views. Often, the teachers and school administrators have to strike the balance between restorative programs and punishment.
“I definitely think that the balance should tip in the favor of, restorative, reinvestment, supportive, as opposed to punishment,” said David Van Natten, Principal of John F. Kennedy High School. “Particularly in the context of school, sometimes a consequence is appropriate but that it’s a much better learning experience and it’s more likely result in long-term change if there is a restorative component.”
The American prison system has become one of the largest in the world. It is up to the people to decide what happens next.
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.
People can be just like tomatoes. Gardeners know that if tomatoes are planted in the same soil over and over again, they will not grow. The soil lacks nutrients, and minerals, and is unable to sustain life. Even if the little plant grows, it only gets so big before it withers away. Would anyone grow if they were to be “planted” on the same “soil” over and over again?
According to reports by the Prison Policy Initiative, a criminal justice organization, inmates made about $19,185 per year before they went to prison and people who make little money have a much greater chance to be incarcerated than those who are considered higher-earners. Almost 2 million children have parents that are incarcerated, and about half of those kids are 9 or younger. Many people wonder how families with one parents missing from the household provide a nurturing environment for their children. Has there been any change in the “system” in the last few years to address this? Will there be any changes in the next couple of years?
To some students that are about to enter the working class, they do not at all see themselves as potential inmates.
“My plan after high school is to go to college. No, I don’t see myself in prison because I don’t intend to do bad things,” says Allicia Lee, a John F. Kennedy senior who’s graduating in June of this year. Prison is not an option to some because they were raised in an environment that who focuses are learning. Many high school graduates intend to continue on the path of educations in college, not crime.
Another senior that will be graduating this June believe that he will not go to prison. However, he does see himself in prison when thinking about it.
“I would sometimes imagine myself in prison when coming across the subject of prison,” says Andy Zhao of John F. Kennedy high school. To him prison is like a shadow lurking from the behind, waiting for the right opportunity.
To others, however, it can be seen as the ground they live on. They live in low-income neighborhoods, which lacks in quality educational options, making the youth who live there all the more susceptible to turn to crime. Their parents are prison inmates, making life much harder without a “model” to follow.
People can survive in these conditions, but will the children ever have any hope to prosper?
The 3-day #FreeOurDreams Youth Organizing Summit and Advocacy Day event for California youth was held from August 5th through the 8th. Participating youth stayed at the dorm rooms at the UC Davis campus for the entire event. Youth from all over California departed in their buses Friday morning, bonding and getting to know each other along the way to Davis.
The event started with community building activities such as getting into groups and introducing themselves and talking about their opinions and who they are. Quickly after that, they continued on to the dorms ending the day.
Youth woke Saturday morning and had breakfast provided by the campus. Youth went on during the day doing various activities With a focus on encouraging them on advocating for what they think is right such as having a Free Our Dreams activism college and career panel. From there they Continued on to participate in workshops of various subject matter like crimmigration, a youth strategy session, defeating gang injunctions, and more.
“With this event, our youth are stepping up. They are finding their voices,” says Jose Pinto, a youth advocate from South Kern when asked what he felt was most important about this event.
On Monday morning the youth packed their bags, boarded their buses, and left to the Capitol with a #FreeOurDreams march around Downtown Sacramento. The youth got into their groups and go talk with elected officials within the Capitol about issues surrounding their own community. The event ended with everyone boarding their buses and heading home.
The government gets its power from the people. When the people feel like there should be a change in the system, whether it’s removing a law or passing a bill, they make their voice heard. At the #freeourdreams conference in the University of California, Davis, youth are learning on how to advocate for their communities and make their voices be heard.
The California Endowment and over 50 statewide organizations is joining with TIDAL, a music and entertainment platform, to support a #schoolsnotprisons concert tour in California. The tour aims to call for an end to extreme spending in incarceration rather than education, health, and prevention.
The #schoolsnotprisons tour will stop at eleven locations in California,kicking off August 6th in Sacramento. From their the tour will continue to San Bernardino, Oakland, Fresno, Coachella, Oxnard, San Diego, and Stockton and include concerts inside youth and adult prisons. Performers on hand will include Ty Dolla $ign, Ceci Bastida, John Forte, Gallant, La Santa Cecilia, Kimya Dawson, Los Rakas with even more to be announced.
“Our call to action – voting – is how democratic societies peacefully resolve differences,” says said Mike De La Rocha, tour organizer and founder of Revolve Impact. “Voting also is how communities committed to safety, justice and peace join together in solidarity to make change.”
The tour’s purpose is to support peaceful activism and voting, particularly young people who have had their opportunities cut short due to overspending on punishment and incarceration. At each stop, the tour will support local advocacy campaigns that chase after alternatives to harsh punishment, immigrant and refugee detention, and youth prisons with support for the formerly incarcerated and by addressing the family and community trauma caused by incarceration.
For more information, follow the tour via this link.
In this video I talk about the #GetLoud posters by the California Endowment that are now being seen in Sacramento and the meaning behind them.