In May of 2017 Equality Organizers Dean Welliver and Moises Duran accompanied five teen leaders from Kern County to Sacramento for the Free Our Dreams Statewide Day of Action coordinated by Movement Strategy Center. The Free Our Dreams convening took place May 6-8 in Sacramento provided workshops on movement building and legislative advocacy. Youth learned how to tell their stories so they could meet with elected officials to advocate for legislation that help create welcoming and safe communities for marginalized youth.
Teen Leader Emily Nunez worked on the youth planning committee for the convening and helped draft the model “Safe and Welcoming Schools for All” Platform that will be launched at the Fall 2017 Free Our Dreams youth organizing convening. The “Safe and Welcoming Schools for all” platform is a model policy that provides specific policy recommendations school districts can implement to ensure a safe and welcoming school climate for LGBT students, students of color, immigrant students, and Muslim students.
Paola Hinojosa was one of the teen leaders selected from organizations across the state to meet with California Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson. Paola shared her story of growing up in a family of mixed immigration status and advocated for sanctuary schools to help students who are undocumented or have undocumented family members feel safe at school without fear of immigration enforcement on campus.
“As a student whose parents are undocumented, going to the state capital and speaking about these issues is something I take seriously. It was definitely a unique experience as the people we met with listened intently and really wanted to hear what we had to say which is nice because adults tend to not listen to what youth have to say.” – Paola Hinojosa
Additionally, all five teen leaders from Kern met with representatives from the offices of Senator Jean Fuller (R), Assemblyman Vince Fong (R), Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R), and Senator Henry Stern (D) to advocate for a legislation to end the use of willful defiance as a grounds for suspension and expulsion, legislation for free bus passes for students, legislation to update eligibility requirements for in-state tuition for undocumented students, and the creation of a third gender marker on government identification documents.
DHF’s Teens 4 Equality joined over 200 Free Our Dreams youth leaders in asking legislators and decision makers to take bold action that make our neighborhoods and schools safe and inclusive environments where youth are free to grow and thrive. They are asking our legislators and decision makers to step up and support legislation that:
– Creates sanctuary for all and fully inclusive schools and communities
– Reinvests resources from punishment and incarceration to prevention
– Transformative justice practices; and expansion of economic, health and educational opportunity for all youth
Support these youth leaders by asking that our representatives stand for all of us by supporting and building a “CaliforALL.”
Top Policy Priorities:
SB 607 (Skinner): Ending suspensions for willful defiance
SB 395 (Lara, Mitchell): Miranda rights for law enforcement interrogations for youth
AB 90 (Weber): Moratorium on the use of CalGang Database
SB 562 (Lara): Californians for a Healthy California Act
SB 68 (Lara): Extending in-state tuition for undocumented students at CSU and community colleges
CA Department of Education advisory for “Safe Schools For All”
On, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, California presented the 2017 Governor’s Volunteering and Service Awards to the Dolores Huerta Foundation and eight other honorees who exemplify what it means to go above and beyond in the world of service and volunteerism. DHF received the prestigious “California’s Foundation of the Year” award.
Chief Service Officer Karen Baker presented the awards to the honorees in the Governor’s Council Room in the State Capitol in Sacramento.
“These dedicated men and women are purpose-driven and passionate about making their communities stronger,” said Karen Baker, California’s Chief Service Officer. “We are so honored to be able to present these awards to the best of the best in service and volunteerism.”
DHF Equality Program Organizer, Moises Duran, and several youth from the Teens 4 LGBTQ Equality Group spent part of their Spring Break attending a Two Spirit Gathering event for indigenous LGBTQ people. The event was held at a private sanctuary and ceremonial gathering place on the Tule River. The 12 acres of pristine undeveloped land in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains are situated within the Sequoia National Forest.
Activities were planned to build respect for the LGBTQ community and bring humanity together. They included a Mexica Temazcall lodge, a danza circle, other native dancing, land and water restoration and stewardship, and camping for a group of about 100 people.
The group created a sacred sacred community altar to commemorate and honor indigenous/Native LGBTQ individuals who have been murdered and might otherwise be forgotten.
Dolores Huerta Foundation is proud to have been featured in the “Fix School Discipline Community Toolkit” for our work on LCFF (http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/lc/) advocacy. Great work everyone on the DHF Education Team !
“The Toolkit will undoubtedly continue to be an important resource for community leaders across the country, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your work.”
DHF in Action: Teresa Coria presented the Cultiva la Salud “Champion Cultivator” Community Resident Leader award for Kern County
On Wednesday, April 12th, 2017, Dolores Huerta Foundation Health Program Staff attended the Cultiva La Salud (Cultivating Health) 10 Year Celebration in Fresno.
Cultiva La Salud’s “Cultivator” Awards honor extraordinary individuals who have worked to cultivate healthier communities through policy, system and environmental improvements that support healthy eating and active living.
This year Teresa Coria received the “Champion Cultivator” Community Resident Leader award for Kern County. She is an active Arvin Cultiva La Salud Health Committee member and a Zumba instructor at the Haven Drive Middle School Gym.
Teresa is from Mexico City. She studied dance therapy and worked as a dance instructor for many years before moving to this country. Teresa took initiative to start a Zumba dance group in Arvin and has continued to give classes, free of charge, for the past seven years.
With the support of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, she was able to establish a joint-use with the Arvin Union School District. This helped to secure a long-term, safe space where residents can meet for physical activity on a weekly basis.
She was very surprised and excited to receive the award. She said she was not expecting this award and that she was proud to work with the Dolores Huerta Foundation and grateful for all the support she received to accomplish the important goal of making fitness more available to the community. She mentioned that without the Cultiva La Salud committees none of this would have ever happened in Arvin.
She said, “Before Dolores Huerta Foundation’s program Cultiva La Salud came to Arvin the community was not allowed to use school facilities to exercise. Now we feel welcomed and we are allowed to use the fairly new gymnasium at the Haven Drive School.”
The award presented is yarn handmade artwork by the Huichol community.
Dolores and DHF staff joined the Caravan Against Fear “Caravana Contra el Miedo” on Wednesday, April 12, in front of the Kern County Sheriff’s Department to use music, dance, theater, and shared stories to #RESIST!
The Caravan Against Fear is a grassroots mobilization traveling from California to Texas to defend immigrant rights, keep families together, resist Trump, and build momentum for the May 1 National Strike.
Fear is being used as a weapon to break apart families and terrorize immigrant communities. Protest and direct action – coupled with acts of mutual aid, trust, and understanding– are vital to combating fear, repelling attacks on our freedom and families, and building a lasting civic offensive to defend vulnerable communities and defeat the repressive Trump agenda.
The Caravan is sponsored by a diverse coalition of labor, community, human rights, religious, civic, environmental, and other organizations in both the U.S. and Mexico
Throughout the journey, the Caravan will meet with border communities and learn firsthand about the unique challenges facing the southern border region. They will put pressure on local, state and federal policymakers to pass expansive sanctuary policies, refuse to cooperate with ICE, withhold funding for deportations or border wall construction, and restore constitutional protections to people living along the border. They will document the effects of cruel and unjust policies on families and communities, and denounce corporations that facilitate Trump’s wall and deportation machine. They are asking everyone to join the May 1 National Strike – a moratorium on all business as usual to resist Trump. And at every stop we will stage actions to say No Deportations, No Raids, No Ban, No Wall, Sanctuary for All.
1) No to the persecution, stigmatization, and criminalization of immigrants and refugees.
2) No to the raids, deportations and separation of families.
3) No to the criminalization of political asylum.
4) No to the wall between the United States and Mexico; For the right to mobility and the defense of the quality of life of border communities.
5) No to the militarization of the border.
6) Demand that state and local governments in border states, religious institutions, and community organizations join the resistance and promote initiatives, laws, and policies that defend our humanity and the diversity of our peoples.
7) Invite all to join the May 1 National Strike in the United States, and use it as an opportunity to remember and acknowledge the vital importance of the imigrant community and its immense contribution to the culture and economy of the country.
On March 4, 2017, the Dolores Huerta Foundation was a co-organizer with other agencies working for LGBTQ youth for the 2nd Annual LGBTQ Youth Summit held at California State University Bakersfield. Teens 4 Equality leaders participated in the planning of the youth summit by outlining the topics that they would like to learn more about and that would benefit their peers. Over Sixty middle and high school students attended workshops about topics such as educational rights for LGBTQ students, family acceptance, LGBTQ history, mental health, healthy relationships and much more.
Teen leaders Nena, Paola, Chyna and Emily presented a workshop for youth and adult participants about LGBTQ identities, terminology, the different parts of identity, and how LGBTQ and allied youth can become more engaged with the community through the Dolores Huerta Foundation’s Teens 4 Equality program.
“Presenting at the Youth Summit gave me an opportunity to talk about what I felt was important. As well as allowing me to talk with other people my age who have some of the same values as me” Youth Leader Chyna Patz
Additionally, the youth summit included a drag show with local drag queens after the workshop programming had concluded.
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.