Congratulations to the Cultiva la Salud team for their efforts in drafting and successfully passing the The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Resolution!
Cultiva la Salud Health Policy Organizers, Yesenia Ocampo and Elizabeth Martinez, worked with the DHF Vecinos Unidos (United Neighbors) and the Arvin City Council to draft language that ensures Arvin’s General Plan will embrace policies that facilitate activities to promote healthier lifestyles and communities, including healthy diet and nutrition and adoption of city design and planning principles that enable citizens of all ages and abilities to undertake exercise.
On, Tuesday, December 6th, 2016, Camila Chavez, DHF Executive Director, and James Guzman, Co-Captain of Unidad en Piez y Ruedas(Unity in Feet and Wheels) Vecinos Committee, spoke in support of the resolution at the Arvin City Council Meeting and the board voted unanimously to approve it.
Please read the latest edition of the Weaving Movements DHF Newsletter to meet some of our new staff and learn about some of the exiting work we were able to accomplish this year – thanks to the contributions of our esteemed volunteers and generous donors!
On Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 The Dolores Huerta Foundation, in collaboration with ACT for Women & Girls, the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC), The United Farm Workers Foundation, The Woodlake Unified School District, Centro La Familia, and Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO) hosted a free DACA workshop in Woodlake, CA addressing the following topics:
Basic DACA information
AB60 License information
The event was a great success! Thirty-four people were served by a pro-bono immigration attorney and several students received assistance in applying for DACA.
Equality Organizer, Dean Welliver and two members of Teens 4 LGBTQ Equality attended the California Endowment’s Youth Power Fest, the evening of Thursday, May 12, 2016. Youth from all over the state gathered to celebrate youth leadership and experience strategies for using art to empower youth to become civically engaged. Harnessing the power of young people’s voices and visions, The Youth Power Fest brought together leaders and their allies who are at the forefront of creating change in communities throughout California.
Exploring topics including immigration, poverty, the school-to-prison pipeline, homophobia, and art as a tool to create change, organizers and participants demonstrated the need to value and respect the voices of youth in order to create a world with health and justice for all.
Special musical guests included Zendaya, The Gaslamp Killer and King.
On May 10th, 2016, the Kern Education Justice Collaborative, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Faith in Action, and California Rural Legal Assistance held a press conference with parents, community members, and local leaders announcing a county wide Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Media Campaign encouraging public involvement in the school funding decision making process and participation in upcoming LCAP public comment sessions.
The campaign draws attention to the fact that Kern High School District is failing our kids. Only 15% of graduating students are college ready. Students in low-income communities are particularly vulnerable. According to the (School Accountability Report Cards) SARC on the KHSD website schools on the West Side have, on average, roughly twice as many AP courses as those on the East Side. For instance, Golden Valley offered 10 AP courses, Miramonte offered 8, East 10, and Arvin High 10. By contrast, Stockdale offered 21 AP courses, while Centennial offered 23. This highlights the fact that KHSD schools with the highest needs are not receiving the funds that they are guaranteed through the Local Control Funding Formula.
When signing the law, Jerry Brown called it a civil rights issue. “Through the LCFF students that have additional needs will get additional help… it is right, and it’s fair.”
The LCFF is intended to target low-income, English language learning, and foster youth (LI, ELL, and FY) students. How these additional funds are spent is determined through the LCAP process, which legally requires that schools engage with stakeholders and gather public input in May and June 2016.
The Kern Education Justice Collaborative, The Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Faith in Action Kern County invite the community to participate in a FREE LCAP Workshop for the general public to learn hands-on strategies and skills for Influencing school budgets. The workshop is being held on Monday, May 16th from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Reider Education Center at 2000 K Street, Room 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301.
Equality Program Organizers, Moises Duran and Dean Welliver, participated in the Kern County Foster Youth Empowering Success Conference on Friday, May 6, 2016 at Bakersfield. They did outreach on behalf of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and the Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield, providing information about support services in the community for LGBTQ foster youth and offering opportunities for civic engagement.
The youth led Kern County Foster Youth Empowering Success Conference focused on topics surrounding Foster Youth. Youth transitioning to adulthood were encouraged to engage and live in their community as a whole to increase their success in pursuing education and employment. The event allowed for caregivers and community agencies to come together to collaborate with foster youth and develop partnerships that reinforce existing relationships in order to provide supportive services that lead to their success.
Board of Supervisors 2011 Redistricting Plan Denies Latino Voters A Second Majority District
On Friday, April 22nd, 2016 MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization, filed suit against the Kern County, California Board of Supervisors, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, for violating Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. The suit, filed on behalf of Latino citizens of Kern County, challenges Kern County’s 2011 redistricting plan for unlawfully diluting the Latino vote and effectively preventing Latinos from meaningful participation in Board of Supervisors elections.
In 2011, the Kern County Board of Supervisors adopted a new 5-district county supervisorial plan based on the 2010 U.S. Census data. The plan contains one district – District 5 – where Latinos constitute a majority of the eligible voters. That district is currently represented by Leticia Perez, who was elected in 2012, and it is the only district that has regularly elected a Latino candidate in the last two decades. MALDEF contends that a fairly drawn plan should have included a second Latino majority district in northern Kern County. Instead, the 2011 redistricting plan divided a politically cohesive Latino community in the northern part of Kern County into two supervisorial districts, neither one of which has sufficient Latino population to enable Latino voters to elect a candidate of their choice.
“The growth of the Latino population in Kern County warrants additional representation of Latino-preferred candidates on the Board of Supervisors,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “The Board’s refusal to create a new Latino-majority district, even after being presented with the facts in support of one, led directly to this federal lawsuit.”
Dolores Huerta, Kern County resident and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, said, “We are grateful that MALDEF is committed to represent our community to rectify a poor decision made by the Board of Supervisors five years ago. We are confident that the Latino community in Kern County will win the representation that we deserve.”
Although Latinos comprise 34% of Kern County’s citizen voting age population, the current districting plan prevents Latino voters from attaining representation on the Board in numbers that reflect their voting strength, and the underrepresentation of Latino-preferred candidates has persisted for decades.
Joaquin Avila, co-counsel representing plaintiffs in the case, said, “The 21st Century continues to herald the growth of the Latino population within the state of California and the necessity to fully politically integrate the Latino community into the body politic. All we are seeking is an opportunity to elect candidates of our choice in a manner that is enjoyed by the white population. Nothing more.”
Matthew Barragan, MALDEF Staff Attorney, said, “The fracturing of the Latino community in northern Kern County is precisely the kind of racial gerrymandering that the Voting Rights Act was intended to cure, and that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly condemned as illegal discriminatory vote dilution.”
MALDEF and the Plaintiffs in the case seek an order requiring the County to redraw its supervisorial plan to reflect the growth of the County’s Latino population in a manner that provides all voters with an equal opportunity to elect candidates of choice.
The right to vote is fundamental to democracy in the U.S. and must be protected for all citizens, regardless of race. MALDEF supports equal representation for all communities across the country.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access.
For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org
Dolores Huerta Foundation staff members joined civic leaders and community members from Arvin, Lamont, and Weedpatch to express support for a long sought Bakersfield College Satellite Campus in Arvin, California.
“We strongly encourage the Kern Community College District Trustees to include 25$ million for the Arvin facility in the bond they are currently creating for the June ballot,” said Gerald Cantu, DHF Education Program Associate
These predominately farmworker communities with historically low education and income levels are in dire need of opportunities that a college education could provide. It would help address the high levels of unemployment Arvin and Lamont have chronically faced.
Poor infrastructure has left many local college students lacking public transportation options to get to the Bakersfield campus, nearly 30 miles away. These students would greatly benefit from a Bakersfield College facility in Arvin.
Since Bakersfield College began to offer general education courses in Arvin in 2010, there has been a 75% growth in the number of Arvin and Lamont students enrolled. (In 2010 there were 400 enrollments in Arvin and Lamont, which grew to 700 in 2014.) The addition of a Bakersfield College facility will give impetus to this tremendous growth and lead to future growth for South Kern, Bakersfield College, and Kern Community College District.
On Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 Dolores Huerta Foundation’s Cultiva la Salud Project hosted a gathering for Greenfield community members who previously attended house meetings with DHF Community Organizer, Elizabeth Martinez. and expressed an interest in becoming involved with Cultiva La Salud and advocating for and promoting healthy living in their neighborhood.
The first of the monthly Greenfield General Meetings was exciting, informative, and well attended. More than 100 community members from the Rexland/Greenfield area of Bakersfield came together to discuss strategies and solutions for improving overall health outcomes.
This community, like other areas in South Kern, experiences disproportionate high rates of obesity and related chronic diseases. Not surprisingly there are inequities in resources that promote healthy living, such as access to healthy foods and beverages, as well as a lack of green spaces and infrastructure that provide opportunities for the community to be physically active. This inequity has lead to high levels of premature death and disability. This underscores the importance of working to cultivate health equity and promote full healthy lives for everyone.
“We hosted this event on the eve of Cesar Chavez Day. In honor of his legacy of community service, DHF and Cultiva la Salud are encouraging Greenfield residents to make a difference in their community by working together to reduce the burden of chronic disease and eliminate health disparities with a specific focus on exploring local policy prospects to improve nutrition and increase physical activity opportunities,” said Yesenia Ocampo, DHF Health Policy Manager.
In celebration of residents coming together towards creating a healthier community and Cesar E. Chavez Day, there was musical entertainment from a local mariachi group, activities for children, and delicious healthful food and beverages: mole, rice, beans, nopales salad, fruit and infused water with cucumber, lemon and strawberries.
Health Policy Organizer Elizabeth Martinez said, “The people expressed that they were very happy that the Dolores Huerta Foundation is starting to organize, for the first time ever, in Greenfield. This empowers individuals to become leaders and advocate for positive changes in their communities.”
More than 230 people attended the premiere of StrikeOut at the Maya on March 28th. StrikeOut, a short docudrama by Novelas Educativas®, is about the school-to-prison pipeline, which is the result of harsh discipline policies that too often push students out of school.
The film was followed by a panel discussion. A diversity of education stakeholders offered their thoughts on the status of school discipline in Kern County. Panelists included:
Dr. Ramona Bishop, Superintendent, Vallejo Unified School District – A champion of the national movement to dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Dr. Robert Arias, Chief of Local and Statewide Initiatives, Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office – Former Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District
Miguel Orozco, Writer and Producer of StrikeOut – Co-Founder, Novelas Educativas®
Erika Brooks, DHF Education Program Director – Community advocate in the movement for Education Equity in Kern County
Joey Williams, Lead Organizer, Faith in Action – Former KHSD student and actively engaged parent for Educational Justice
If we want a healthy community, we need to keep students in school through positive discipline policies. To get involved or to learn more click here: http://wp.me/p4iUFU-Me
The event brought together leaders in education justice reform, key education stake-holders, and community activists.
Dolores Huerta spoke of the importance of alternative discipline policies such as Positive Behavior Intervention Supports and Restorative Justice to keep kids in school and out of the criminal justice system.
The event was at capacity. Due to overwhelming demand the Kern Education Justice Collaborative is working on a second screening.
On Friday, March 4, 2016 the Dolores Huerta Foundation collaborated with the Youth Leadership Institute to bring their Youth and Adult Partnerships workshop to community workers and youth leaders in Kern County.
The Youth Leadership Institute invited individuals from organizations who work with youth to develop leadership and advocacy skills. These training sessions will serve to support their work in creating the future leaders of Kern County. Each training will focus on a different topic relating to youth development.
The purpose of this training was to strengthen the bonds and contributions of youth and adult partnerships to better advocate for the needs of youth.
Community workers and young people gathered at the Bakersfield Gay and Lesbian Center to attend this first installment of a larger series of trainings.
Coordinador de Participación Cívica de la Fundación Dolores Huerta, Jess Contreras y Emily Hernández de Dignity Health fueron entrevistados por Jesse Portillo de Univision para el espectáculo Kern Contigo. Hablaron de la Campaña # Health4All.
A partir del 16 de marzo personal de la Fundación Dolores Huerta comenzarán a tocar puertas, dirigidos a las comunidades de inmigrantes, para informarles de los cambios recientes en la ley que se abren cobertura de salud a los inmigrantes indocumentados en California mediante la ampliación de la cobertura de Medi-Cal.
Ambos están legalmente y que no están legalmente pueden solicitar a través de Covered California para ver si son elegibles para las opciones de planes de salud a través de Covered California o Medi-Cal. Inmigrantes que no están legalmente no son elegibles para comprar un plan de salud a través de Covered California; sin embargo, pueden ser elegibles para la cobertura de Medi-Cal.
La solicitud de Medicaid o el Programa de Seguro Médico para Niños (CHIP), o conseguir un ahorro de gastos de seguro médico en el mercado, no hace a alguien una “carga pública”. Esto significa que no afectará sus posibilidades de convertirse en un ciudadano o residente legal permanente EE.UU.. Información sobre el estado migratorio sólo se utilizará para determinar la elegibilidad para la cobertura y no por la ley de inmigración.
El programa Kern Contigo en Univision sale al aire el sábado, 5 de marzo a las 11:30 de la mañana.
Para obtener más información acerca de cómo y dónde inscribirse en los programas de cobertura médica o para verificar la identidad de personas recogiendo información en su área, por favor llame a Jess Contreras al (661) 241-3424.
DHF Civic Engagement Coordinator Jess Contreras and Emily Hernandez of Dignity Health were interviewed by Univision’s Jesse Portillo for the show Kern Contigo. They talked about the launch of the #Health4All Outreach Campaign.
Starting March 16th canvassers from the Dolores Huerta Foundation will begin knocking on doors, targeting immigrant communities, to inform them of recent changes in the law that open up health coverage to undocumented immigrants in California by expanding Medi-Cal coverage.
Both lawfully present and not lawfully present individuals can apply through Covered California to see if they are eligible for health plan options through Covered California or Medi-Cal. Immigrants who are not lawfully present are not eligible to purchase a health plan through Covered California; however, they may be eligible for coverage through Medi-Cal.
Applying for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or getting savings for health insurance costs in the Marketplace, doesn’t make someone a “public charge.” This means it won’t affect their chances of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen. Information about immigration status will be used only to determine eligibility for coverage and not for immigration enforcement.
The show Kern Contigo airs on Univision on Saturday, March 5th at 11:30 am.
For more information about how and where to enroll in expanded health care coverage programs or to verify the identity of canvassers collecting information in your area, please call Jess Contreras at (661) 241-3424.
“This School-to-Prison Pipeline has got to stop! When kids are removed from schools, they can’t do their school work. They fall behind and end up dropping out. Many of these young people end up incarcerated. We have to help these kids by making sure they stay in school.” – Dolores Huerta
DHF collaborated with California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities in spearheading the Kern Education Justice Collaborative addressing the disproportionate amount of expulsions affecting African-American and Latino students.
DHF worked with parents, faith-based organizations, legal agencies, and community organizations to develop a set of recommendations for the KHSD Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) focused on stopping the “School to Prison Pipeline” by improving school climate.
DHF launched a campaign to make sure parent and youth voices are heard and that Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds are spent following the intent of the law.
DHF Education Department, Erika Brooks and Timoteo Prado are organizing and empowering parents to become effective advocates for children in schools.
In a partnership with the Lamont School District, parents received trainings on their rights, the disciplinary process, and basic information about school funding under LCFF.
To read the full story click on this link EDUCATION
Manuela Ortega, is a Spanish-speaking, immigrant. She has been a member of the Lamont Vecinos Unidos group since its start in 2004. She has three children in the Lamont School District. She has served on school committees advising the Lamont School Board on English Learners. Through training and advocacy, she knows her rights. She is not afraid to address the board of Trustees, and has done so on many occasions, regarding the needs of English language learners in the Lamont School District. Her youngest son, Baltazar Ortega, began having difficulties in school. He was lacking motivation and manifesting behavioral issues. As an informed and empowered parent, with the skills and confidence necessary to navigate the educational system, she made sure her son received speech classes and glasses. His self-esteem and grades improved. Through grassroots organizing, proactive leadership, continual engagement, and sense of responsibility is cultivated and strengthened.
The DHF Vecinos Unidos celebrated after graduating from a Compreshensive Parent Training Program. Instructor Martha Elias provided families with the valuable tools needed to navigate the educational system and advocate for the best possible educational experience for their children. They learned Strategies for Authentic Parent Engagement, Understanding and Getting Involved in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and more.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Through a regional collaboration under Cultiva la Salud, organizing and outreach efforts by Yesenia Ocampo and Elizabeth Martinez, Health Policy Organizers of the DHF have inspired a determined group of Arvin residents to drive healthy change for over 20,000 residents.
Over 100 residents are taking leadership roles and working with city and school leaders to advocate for improved infrastructure to provide: access to healthful foods in their neighborhoods and schools, safety measures on roads and sidewalks for better walkability, safer routes to school, increased park space, improvements to existing park space, and creation of safer environments that encourage walking and biking.
In October the Walking and Biking Safety Committee held their first ever Cumbia Bike Ride a well-attended event that encouraged the community to have fun with movement and music, and helped raise awareness about bicycle infrastructure needs in Arvin.
Organizing efforts led by DHF Organizer, Irlanda Ramirez, have encouraged community members in Woodlake and Lindsay, rural farm worker towns in Tulare County, California to work to improve the health and well-being of children attending public schools, while also addressing health disparities caused by poverty and lack of access to healthy food.
Irlanda has trained Parents and youth in advocacy and are working to strengthen School Wellness Policies to include improved nutrition guidelines, increased physical activity during school hours, and safer routes to schools.
DHF worked on the #Health4All campaign contributing to groundbreaking statewide legislation that allowed California to become the fifth state to allow undocumented children from low-income families to enroll in comprehensive health care.
DHF worked with partner California Calls to head voter outreach efforts in the Central Valley instrumental in passing Proposition 47, a much-needed and long-overdue criminal justice reform bill.
In May, under the direction of Jess Contreras, Civic Engagement Coordinator, the DHF collaborated with local legal agencies and community organizations to host an Immigration Forum. Attendees were provided with information and free legal consultations regarding AB 60 Driver’s Licenses, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), and the U Visa for Victims of Crimes. Over 100 people attended.
DHF informed and mobilized the community when the Kern County Sheriff’s Department announced a plan to invite U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) into the Lerdo Jail in Bakersfield and made it clear that we will not tolerate law enforcement, charged with protecting public safety, facilitating deportation and the separation of families and harming the very communities they are tasked with keeping safe.
DHF participated in Immigrant Day joining hundreds of immigrants and advocates from across California in support of state proposals that advance immigrant integration and prosperity for all Californians.
In July, DHF and supporters joined labor and civil rights activists in San Diego to protest the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) a powerful, well-funded corporate special interest front group in America at their annual conference – where corporate special interests and right-wing legislators come together to plot how to further undermine workers’ rights, environmental protections and basic fairness.
“I came to Sacramento to urge members of the Assembly to support SB 128, the End of Life Option Act. This bill will affirm a fundamental right for terminally ill and mentally competent patients to choose how their final days are lived. This is a basic civil rights issue offering a compassionate and dignified end-of-life choice that should be left between a patient and doctor.” – Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta publicly endorsed the End of Life Option Act (SB 128) and encouraged Latino legislators to vote for it. Several Latino legislators serve on the Assembly Health Committee, which voted on the bill in July.
Dolores and the staff of the DHF gathered in San Diego on Wednesday, July 22nd, joining workers, community groups, faith leaders and progressives in a mass protest to tell ALEC: NOT HERE, NOT EVER!
The goal of ALEC’s annual conference is to put corporate special interests and right-wing legislators together to plot how to further undermine workers’ rights, environmental protections and basic fairness. Corporate lobbyists and multi-millionaires have a chance to wine and dine these politicians, promise them fat contributions and a taste of the good life in exchange for supporting bills that keep paychecks low, corporate welfare high and restrict the rights of their political enemies.
ALEC is the most powerful, well-funded corporate special interest front group in America. The mission of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is simple: shower the 1% with special privileges and advantages at the expense of everyone else. ALEC’s agenda is an affront to progress. It’s an affront to basic rights. It’s an affront to democracy.
They came to San Diego because they want to establish a foothold right here in California. It’s time we stand together to tell ALEC “HELL NO!”
On Saturday, June 27th, 2015 President, Dolores Huerta, addressed a well attended and highly informative community forum on immigration with the theme “KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER WITH ￼￼￼￼DACA & DAPA.” She encouraged the crowd to be aware of political campaigns claiming to support the people’s interests, while pushing a voting agenda that goes against their own interests. “Don’t be blind voters. Become educated voters!” She shed light on the Koch Brothers’ funded *LIBRE Initiative a deceptive campaign targeting Latino voters.
DHF staff members, Jess Contreras, Yesenia Ocampo, Timo Prado, Elizabeth Martinez, intern, Melissa Martinez, and volunteer, Wendy Greenfield, worked with local community leaders and organizations to coordinate and host this successful event held at the Beale Library in Bakersfield, California. In addition they shared information and collected pledge cards supporting The California Endowment’s #Health4All campaign which highlights the important contributions of undocumented Californians to our state’s communities and economy, while raising awareness of their lack of access to affordable health care coverage.
Community leaders and local experts addressed many other important issues of interest to the immigrant community, including recent executive actions by President Obama on immigration. Community members benefited from free consultations with immigration attorneys. Attendees were warned of immigration fraud and given tips on how to avoid being scammed by unscrupulous lawyers and notaries. Participants also received information on naturalization and the process for becoming a U.S. citizen.
*Koch-funded Libre Initiative passes as a grassroots organization founded “to empower Hispanics” and advance “liberty, freedom and prosperity.” In reality, the group urges Hispanics to support policies that experts say go “against their own interests” and “disenfranchise Hispanic voters.” a grassroots organization founded “to empower Hispanics” and advance “liberty, freedom and prosperity.” In reality, the group urges Hispanics to support policies that experts say go “against their own interests” and “disenfranchise Hispanic voters.” . http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/03/02/the-libre-initiative-a-koch-funded-group-being/202450
DHF Staff and Volunteers with Anthony Thigpenn, a Los Angeles-based community organizer who heads California Calls, a powerful alliance of 31 organizations in 12 counties around the state working to achieve progressive, long-term tax and fiscal policy reform by engaging underrepresented, low-income voters in state public policy decision-making.
DHF Staff and Volunteers joined more than 200 people who stood up to Make It Fair at the kickoff of the campaign on Thursday morning. Leaders from the small business, education and faith communities stood together on stage and made the case for fairness. The fight begins!
Civic Engagement Coordinator, Jess Contreras, said, “The time is now to make it fair. We’ve made the corporations rich. It’s time for them to give back and invest in our communities.”
The event marked the historic launch of Make It Fair California – a diverse coalition of advocates dedicated to closing CA’s commercial property tax loopholes — by assessing commercial and industrial property at fair market value — so California can continue to invest in strengthening schools & important local priorities.
Do you think our community needs better schools, safer parks, cleaner streets and more opportunities for everyone to get ahead? So do we. That’s why we’re standing up to big corporations and telling them it’s time they pay their fair share. Stand with us. Take the pledge to Make It Fair.