The power of youth who use their voice to advocate on their own behalf has been growing stronger in California in the past few years. The Free Our Dream Conference, held at UC Davis over the past weekend, seeked to empower young people from all across the state to make changes in their communities.
Between May 6th and 8th, Sacramento was once again was the host of the #freeourdreams Youth Conference. Formerly known as Sisters and Brothers at the Capitol, the event’s name was changed to Free Our Dreams and has become an annual event which is organized by PolicyLink and Movement Strategy Center. Over 250 youth stormed upon the California State Capitol to hold over 100 legislative visits with lawmakers. Topics of interest for discussion included issues about health, safety, and the future success of young people.
The overall purpose of Free Our Dreams is to make sure that the power of the youth voice is one that is strong and to use that power to help change and advance policies and narratives that affect the neighborhoods of the youth by organizing a statewide effort at the State Capitol.
Youth were transported by bus from cities all over California from places like Bakersfield, San Diego, Stockton, Los Angeles and more. Participants were asked to spread the word and to hashtag #freeourdreams on social media accounts. They went to workshops to learn more about the planned march, social injustices and how they can help to overcome them. They took part in legislative training and preparation for their visits At the end of the first full day of events was a “Block Party” where the participants made their own signs for the march and rally, took advantage of a photo booth and got involved in other art and craft activities.
May 8th was the day that the participants were preparing for. The youth boarded their buses and traveled to the capitol with their signs and banners, displaying #freeourdreams. Participants lined up and began to march around the capitol before heading to the Sacramento California Endowment office where they would finish by hearing speeches from senators and youth participants. From there, the legislative visits began. Youth from Bakersfield-based South Kern Sol spoke on SB 68, a senate bill that extends in-state tuition for undocumented students at CSUs and community colleges. They met Ellen Cesaretti, a representative for Assemblymember Dante Acosta. They also spoke about SB 607 which aims to end suspensions for willful defiance.
“At first I felt really thrilled and then I became nervous,” said Jocelyn Cuevas, a participant with South Kern Sol. “I knew I had to be outside my shell.”
After a long weekend of preparation and work, the legislative visits concluded and the participants returned home in their buses. For many participants, the Free Our Dreams event was a fun and unique experience.
“I was sad when it was done,” said Nichole Castillo, a youth participant with Mid-City CAN. “It was a really great and fun opportunity. I got to meet and bond with other sites. I wasn’t ready to go back home. Not yet.”
by Brian Jagger
This film short features young actors in their first on-camera film. The program was created as a special program of SacCasting.com and Access Sacramento.
Most People Will Just Scroll Past This Article, But When She Stopped to Write It She Found Out Something INCREDIBLE. Number 2 Will SHOCK You!
Recently, I attended a Building Healthy Communities Youth Media Conference supported by the California Endowment in Los Angeles with the rest of the AccessLocal.Tv team. This conference brought together media journalists from across the state, helping us learn about important issues occurring statewide and showing us how to spread those messages through media. Out of four workshops that were offered on the second day, I chose to go to the “Social Media: Get your story trending now” workshop which was put on by Angela Kim, a social media expert. In this workshop, she taught us how to work with different social media platforms when publishing content.
Other than stressing that headlines are key, Kim taught us that posting your story on different social media platforms can really help put your story out there and to always add pictures to your story as most people look for a visual aspect when scrolling through their feed. When speaking about the actual article, she told us to ask ourselves who and where is your audience and will the article resonate with them. Ask yourself if you saw your article online, would you share it? When it comes to your profile on your social media platform, remember to keep it professional. Your bio should include a clear picture, a direct handle so people can easily locate you, a mission statement which includes your title if you have one, and a link that directly connects to your website. This workshop did a nice job of showing the best ways to upload content on each platform, including several tips for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. One of the final things Kim said which stuck with me was “build your audience when you don’t need it”. This gives local youth media reporters like me a chance to start connecting with people through social media. Little by little an audience starts growing while you grow as a journalist.
“Social media for publishers isn’t about just posting a link,” Kim responded when asked why it is important to upload content onto social media. “It is where you can share your stories and also connect with your audience to engage and build a community.”
The organization Sons and Brothers, who also spoke at the conference, use social media as their only form of communication to the world. Sons and Brothers, which was inspired by President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, is put together through organizations nationwide that are focused on making health and opportunity happen for America’s young people of color. Their platforms include their website, a website through the California Endowment, and social media pages such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
“Thanks to social media, the speed at which news travels has changed significantly,” said Kim. “Stories in one town can be spread globally in just minutes and end up trending on social media.”
Locally, AccessLocal.Tv uses their Facebook page to promote the stories that are published each day.
On October 24th 2015, my team and I attended a youth media conference in Los Angeles. While there, I was able to attend a workshop on how as a reporter I can address sensitive topics such as sex trafficking, domestic violence, and immigration. Although this workshop covered many topics, the main thing we discussed was the idea and term of a “child prostitute”. To say a child can be a prostitute implies that they can consent to sex; which as a minor they are unable to do, yet they are still arrested. Due to this contradiction a campaign has started called #nosuchthing.
Over the years, many organizations have been fighting to put the term out of use. One of the youth teams I met with out of Long Beach has been working closely with their local law enforcement to this end. Fortunately now in Long Beach the police department has agreed to no longer use this term and will no longer arrest minors for prostitution. Here in Sacramento we are still working to stop the arrest of child sex trafficking victims. While working on this we have organizations who try to aid these victims such as Courage Worldwide.
Although we did spend a nice chunk of time covering trafficking, we did also discuss the topics of domestic violence and immigration. Both of these issues are something that we in Sacramento face on a day-to day-basis. The leaders of the workshop gave us some helpful tips on how to approach these topics, which to some may be very close to home and sensitive. At the end of the workshop I was able to say I had learned many new things and now feel I am able to address these topics and more in a more knowledgeable and careful way.
On October 24th, I was in Los Angeles at the Boyle Heights Wellness Center for a California Endowment youth media news conference. Overall, my youth media news team was given information on how to become better and more efficient journalists. It was great to have this type of knowledge given to us, especially for us still-aspiring journalists.
During this event I was in a workshop with Julia Landau, a freelance reporter and filmmaker, concerning having the power to be able to back up your opinions with facts for a strong commentary. Landau met with a few other youth reporters and myself in an office to discuss how important commentaries are with data.
She started off with handing us a paper that had an op-ed by a young journalist in California. Landau told us to spot the errors in this op-ed and to find ways to make it more credible. We spent about ten minutes reading and writing notes on this paper, correcting everything could find as we read.
After the ten minutes, Landau asked everyone what their opinions were on the op-ed then went straight to explaining how she could have made it more reliable and credible. In the end, the workshop explained that being able to back up your opinions with facts and credibility is very important.
In the workshop, Landau also mentioned that you must have a trustworthy study to defend your opinions. You may have all the data in world to go with your opinions but if they aren’t very trustworthy, your op-ed could fall apart.
I am always told by my news editor, Isaac Gonzalez, that I must be able to have truthful facts and that my statements must be provable. Gonzalez occasionally corrects me when I use words such as “most” but to instead use a word such as “many” unless I have data and a credible study to back that word up. He tells me from time and time to use facts and figures instead of assumptions and guesses in my articles. If you don’t have your data to back up your opinions, you could end up with a lot of criticism. Your readers would debate if you’re credible or even reliable as they reviewed your articles. If they conclude that you’re not either of those things, it could hurt the work you do and result with people not trusting your work.
“Articles with fantastic statements and no data to back them up, lose all credibility in my opinion,” says Gonzalez. “I want the article that my youth reporters write to be backed up with irrefutable facts, so that our readers are sure about what they are gleaning.”
A new study by Californiastatisticsrus.com has found out that being alive increases the risk of cancer by 100%.
“After studying for hours and hours I have came to a conclusion that the only people who have cancer have been alive while people who are now deceased do not,” said Doctor Stevens, a Endocrinologist.
Obviously, what I just said made absolutely no sense. I pointed out a study that seems to be pretty unreliable. I also cited a website that does not exist. Then I made up a quote from a person who also doesn’t exist. This all points to my sources not being credible or reliable at all.
To anyone who would have read this article with such an awful citing of sources would not use it as reliable source nor believe anything you wrote. That is why it is incredibly important to make your articles or op-ed’s as credible and reliable as possible.
Commentary and Report by Bill Bronston, MD.
Nine Youth Broadcasting and Media Association (YBAMA) members from Grant, Bear River, Cosumnes Oaks, Natomas Charter, Mesa Verde and Christian Brothers high schools are being trained to use the Access Sacramento remote video broadcast truck.
There was a lot of necessary explanations to describe what an industry standard production team must be able to accomplish in terms of planning, researching, organizing, and operationally doing a multi-hour video event. The basics included understanding how to carry out a project site survey that finds out every detail possible about the shoot whether this in a building, on a playing field, concert venue, cultural site etc. Checking the available spaces, involved people, security and support resources, anticipating problem situations, are major challenges for the producer and the person (talent) in-front of the cameras. Then, being able to set up and handle the 3 or 4 big Sony D50 camera systems with their tripods, monitors, zoom and power connections without breaking something and having everything work perfectly with no surprises at the event.
Some of us had had some experience with an all-in-one shoot challenge, but everyone was impressed with the complexity of the equipment and the challenges to understand and smoothly operate a remote truck studio system. The truck is packed with cameras, connectors of every sort, mixers, monitors, sound system tools and every piece of equipment needed to completely deliver a full blown, equipped, studio shoot team to do any job.
More important is becoming smartly familiar and versatile with the formal and very technical way in which instructions are communicated, by headset, between the shoot director who must manage every detailed aspect of a production project connecting everyone and cameras, sound, light, talent, program and replay design with fluid confidence and absolute confident split second to second attention.
The truck is normally checked out for 10-hour blocks. The time it takes to do a site survey at the start may require days and weeks of researching all the spaces, event background and personnel in the program to be shot, plotting interviews and b-roll acquisition ahead of time, followed by meticulous equipment setup, the actual event shoot and then meticulous breakdown and load to exit vary hugely depending on the event. With front end planning, Access Sacramento is flexible about adding more time if the situation calls for a longer production. Planning for water, ice and food for all the staff, bathroom resources, and attention to heat and work conditions to make sure no one gets dehydrated and collapses, or does not have the strength to handle the physical demands of multi-hour heavy work were also discussed as part of professional prep.
The way Access Sacramento works is that upon the completion of four intense training sessions, Access Sacramento members will be certified to make a reservation to ask for the remote truck that they supply with an engineer and field expert to help the newly certified team. Issues of driving, liability, legal access and trouble-shooting are covered. Plus, once trained, Access Sacramento is always looking for team members to add to their on-call day-to-day production needs and will offer lots of opportunities for each trained volunteer to gain additional experience on a variety of programs.
In session two, trainees will get deeper into essential pre-production skills that will include having to build and breakdown the big Sony camera systems, and the geometry of stationing the cameras to get wide, close up, cross coverage and ‘iso’ (talent or special assignment) coverage. Also we will begin to be introduced to the truck’s audio and mixer boards and functions.
Each trainee becomes familiar with all the pieces of this complex and creative puzzle and in order to fill in on all the jobs that include producer, director, technical director, camera, graphics and CG operations, audio, lighting, mixing, instant replay (where that is essential in sports events). The supervising roles of engineer and technical assistant are filled in by Access professionals, especially when users are new to the work to ensure project success.
Some random technical notes from today included tips about
- Capturing and cutting music event coverage that tends to synch with the tempo of the performance. • For covering plays, there must be a real pre-plan and to anticipate critical moments in the drama that may only be fleeting or happen once.
- The shots should always try and capture movement slowly that opens before the movement starts and closes before the movement is ended.
- For public access coverage, people expect to see themselves or their relatives in the coverage so the camera must try and capture everybody and include new groups in good lighting!
Camera/tripod building protocol included:
- the sequence of preparation begins with building the tripod with its standing with legs set, set the camera plate in properly, lock camera on, lock on the monitor box, add zoom control to right handle and connect, add focus mechanism to left handle and connect to lens front, check for tripod stability with front leg forward to prevent tipping with front loaded weight.
- Set tripod and camera height considering audience and sight line obstruction. Lens should be at eye level but ideal is to set camera at highest point consistent with its position in relation to the audience in front to avoid shoot line obstruction, and, behind to prevent sight line obstruction
- When laying the tripod down, never lean it on anything to avoid it falling and injury.
*Always protect the connector plugs!! They are inserted last and removed first when breakdown.
- Operator must lock tilt key when walking away to prevent system falling forward.
- The final connector is the 26 pin head that links all audio visual signal to the truck.
- Break down sequence – remove monitor, remove zoom connector, remove lens connector, Unlock and remove camera, remove camera plate, close tripod and lay down, remove handles.
There was a lot to think about and settle into when the day was over. This YBAMA training series is really exciting and something that is very rare to fully learn and experience within, and to add to, our high school programs alone.
Teens from 10 middle and high schools in Sacramento have spent the past school year creating short films to inspire community change. Through a digital storytelling after-school program, youth produced videos highlighting local or cultural history as told through unsung heroes. They also created videos that identify community and school wide issues to engage in a new dialogue to find solutions. On May 24th, the public is invited to a free screening of this film series at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento. Over 100 student representatives from participating schools will also be on hand to present these films for the first time to the public.
The Premiere will showcase films produced through California Voices, an initiative of the Center for Multicultural Cooperation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality youth leadership and service experiences. This event will showcase films from each project site and will include:
• Stories of community heroes such as the Tuskegee Airman, the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces during WWII.
• Stories of youth perspective on community challenges including bullying, teen health issues, and drug abuse.
• An award ceremony for youth produced Public Service Announcements.
• A red carpet, limo escorts, and “paparazzi” to interview youth producers.
Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and red carpet appropriate dress is recommended. Many of the youth producers involved in this initiative come from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and this premiere is a culminating event to their high school experience.
The 4th Annual California Voices Youth Film Premiere is a celebration of teens in this community and their hard work to make a difference in our community.
California Voices is supported by the Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento County Office of Education, Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center, The California Endowment, The City of Sacramento, Center of Praise Ministries, Sierra Health Foundation, Target Excellence, and Wii Girls.
4th Annual California Voices Youth Film Premiere
Thursday, May 24, 6:00 PM
(Doors open at 5pm for red carpet festivities)
Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street, Sacramento, CA