WOODLAKE — In efforts to deter the consumption of certain sugary drinks at school grounds, Parents Advocating for Our Children’s Health voiced their concerns last week during a presentation to the Woodlake Unified School District board of trustees.
“The flavored milk is not the nutritional equivalent of unflavored milk,” said Irlanda Ramírez of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
From Aljazeera America: “In an exclusive interview this week with The Stream ranging from the latest “Cesar Chavez” movie to issues impacting Latinos in the United States, prominent labor rights activist Dolores Huerta said that getting U.S. Latinos to express their political power through voting is the biggest challenge facing one of the country’s fastest-growing and most populous minority groups.
“We have many people who are comfortable to vote but just don’t vote,” Huerta said on the phone from her office in Bakersfield, Calif.
Her comments come at a time when voter turnout for eligible Latinos has declined, according to Pew. Although a record number of Latinos – an estimated 11.2 million – voted in the 2012 national elections, turnout was at 48%. This is a drop from 2008, when an estimated 49.9% of eligible Latinos voted. In contrast, the 2012 turnout rate for blacks was 66.6% and 64.1% for whites.
Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) in 1962 with Cesar Chavez and now heads up the Dolores Huerta Foundation, believes that the lack of political interest has to do with how little value Latinos place in voting. Such revelations are important, she says, given that bills surrounding comprehensive immigration reform — strongly favored by Latino voters — still languish in Congress.”
WHAT: Press Conference / Community Protest of Kern High School District Board Meeting
WHEN: Monday, March 3, 2014 6:30 pm Protest
WHERE: KHSD Board Offices, 5801 Sundale Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93309
BACKGROUND: At a KHSD Board Meeting on Feb. 3, 2014, parents and community members expressed their concerns regarding the limitations of an internal search and asked the board to conduct an open search for a new superintendent.
1. On Feb 24, 2014 the board had a special meeting – with little advance notice, at 7:30 in the morning – as an opportunity for public comment to hear community members regarding the new superintendent position. The DHF Staff, CRLA and concerned parents again asked the board to consider open search and requested a time extension for the search.
2. On March 3, 2014, the board held another special meeting. The DHF presented nearly 700 signatures (in addition to the 200 collected online) of concerned Kern Community Members and asked the board to reconsider their refusal to conduct an open search.
3. On March 3, 2014 the KHSD officially announced that a new superintendent had been chosen.
The district continues to face challenges in regards to discipline and lack of ethnic and cultural representation in the leadership and staff compared to the demographics of the students within the district. The community believes there is a strong impetus to change the status quo and bring in a superintendent with a new perspective and fresh leadership ideas.
“We are extremely disappointed but not surprised about the decision of the Kern High School District Board to promote the new Superintendent from within the ranks of KHSD. They refuse to respect the wishes of the community. We are subject to the decisions of an old boys network,” Dolores Huerta Foundation President, Dolores Huerta.
CONTACT: Erika Brooks, DHF Education Director (559) 909-1485
Camila Chavez, DHF Executive Director (415) 377-4184
Background: Bakersfield, CA – The Coalition to Enroll Immigrants in Obamacare is hosting the first of a series of Obamacare Enrollment Events as part of a campaign to encourage the enrollment of the uninsured Latino Immigrant Population of Kern County by educating them about the benefits of having health insurance and providing resources to enroll in public and private insurance.
The event will be held at Fiesta Foods, and is hosted by owner, Manuel G. Lerma, life long community activist and volunteer fellow for the Organizing For America National Program. He is committed to organizing his community to help achieve enactment of the agenda Americans voted for in 2012. One important goal is promoting health care for every American through the Affordable Care Act
The Coalition is comprised of members of the DHF (Dolores Huerta Foundation), CHIRLA (The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles), SEIU 521 (Service Employees International Union, Local 521), and the UFW Foundation (The United Farm Workers Foundation) It is part of a larger effort to drive health care enrollment of the more than 52,000 eligible uninsured citizens of Kern and Tulare Counties in qualified health plans. The CEIO is working in partnership with The California Endowment, Covered California, and partner organizations intending to reach millions of uninsured and subsidy eligible Californians through outreach and education.
In this official White House video, Dolores discusses her work and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
2011 Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta is a civil rights, workers, and women’s advocate. With Cesar Chavez, she co-founded the National Farmworkers Association in 1962, which later became the United Farm Workers of America. Huerta has served as a community activist and a political organizer, and was influential in securing the passage of California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, and disability insurance for farmworkers in California. In 2002, she founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation, an organization dedicated to developing community organizers and national leaders. In 1998, President Clinton awarded her the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights.
On Thursday, January 23, 2014 the Department of Homeland Security announced a decision to halt its troubling practice of arresting individuals at Kern County courthouses. “Stopping arrests in Kern County Courthouses a first step to start respecting the immigrant residents of this county who make up the majority of the worker base of this economy,” said Dolores Huerta.
In October, the ACLU called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to put an end to the sweeps through Kern County’s courthouses that led to the arrests of immigrants who were merely getting married, paying fines, or seeking domestic violence restraining orders. The Dolores Huerta Foundation and other community leaders from Kern Coalition for Citizenship protested to stop this dangerous policy of removing “safe zones” for undocumented immigrants who are attempting to comply with local laws.
We are asking The Department of Homeland Security to apply the Kern County policy nationwide and order all DHS personnel to refrain from conducting immigration enforcement actions on courthouse grounds. People go to courts to participate in important legal matters. People need to access the courts, without risking deportation. This is a matter of public safety, victim protection, and equal justice.
Rev. Deacon Sal Alvarez, M.S.W, was the Director of the Institute for Non-Violence, Office of Human Relations, Santa Clara County—a community organization providing training from the perspectives of Ghandi, King, Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Msgr. Romero, and Mother Teresa on peace building, conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiations for civil rights and human rights advocates.
Sal was a member of the International Association for Conflict Resolution and served as a delegate in numerous international humanitarian works including: South Africa Dialogue on Apartheid and Reconciliation; Israeli-Palestine Conflict; Muslim-Christian Conflict in Manila; and Tanzania Aids Crisis. He served with the National Farm Workers Ministry; Legislative Rep. United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO; the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and many other service organizations.
Lori DeLeon and Juana Chavez of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, in association with 11 other courageous women from the UFW, CHIRLA, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, the Kern Coalition for Citizenship, the CA Table and We Belong Together, participated in a protest at Republican Whip, Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office yesterday. (more…)
An open driveway led to a dusty front yard and white tire swing with the word “Dream” scrawled on it hung from a tree.
“It’s exciting, especially when you find someone who’s uninsured and they realize they could actually get coverage.”
— Karla Zonbro, field director for California Calls
Canvassers Amando Gayosso and Peter Villa strode toward the east Bakersfield home, ready to launch into their spiel about the Affordable Care Act.
But a few steps into the yard, one dog appeared. Then another. Then another.
One hound, a beefy unrestrained rottweiler, kicked up dust as it charged and barked at the two young men.
But Villa and Gayosso remained calm, moseyed down the driveway and back onto the road. They knew that the yards of Bakersfield can be inhospitable.
For the last week, Villa and Gayosso have braved dogs, slammed doors and sprinklers as they tried to chat with voters about one of the country’s most divisive laws.
They hope to set the record straight on what the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as “Obamacare,” means for people and to encourage folks who are eligible for new insurance options to sign up.
The two canvassers are part of a network of about 300 paid workers and about 700 volunteers staffing a statewide campaign to spread information about the Affordable Care Act.
The four-week outreach effort is coordinated by the group California Calls through local partner organizations in 12 counties ranging from San Diego in the south to San Francisco in the north.
Millions of Californians and tens of thousands of Kern County residents are predicted to gain access to insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but outreach workers said they are up against a lot of misinformation about the health care reform law. For example, Karla Zombro, field director for California Calls, said some people don’t know that California is expanding its Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, so more people are eligible to enroll.
The campaign is a great way to have a direct conversation with people and answer their questions, she said.
“It’s exciting, especially when you find someone who’s uninsured and they realize they could actually get coverage,” she said.
In Kern County, California Calls teamed up with the Dolores Huerta Foundation to reach voters through phone banking and door-to-door visits. They had already reached 5,440 residents as of Friday.
On Saturday morning, Villa and Gayosso added to the tally as they trolled Rosewood Avenue, Royal Way and Fillmore Avenue. Villa, 23, and Gayosso, 19, tapped gates with their keys to draw people out of houses with fenced yards. They repeatedly pressed doorbells and rapped on doors with no answer in return.
Still, they said it’s exciting and important work. Villa is glad that people who are sick will no longer be denied insurance because of their conditions. Gayosso knows what it’s like to go without health care coverage and how good it felt when he finally got insurance.
“We usually (talk to) people who already have insurance, but they do support (the Affordable Care Act)” for people who don’t have insurance, Villa said. If people are interested in signing up for insurance, Villa said the canvassers give them several entities to contact for more information, including Covered California, the state-run health benefit’s exchange, and local health care nonprofit Clinica Sierra Vista.
On this particular warm morning, the pair stopped by about 20 houses, but were only able to speak with people at about seven homes. For the people willing to answer a few questions, Villa and Gayosso told them a bit about the law and asked if they support it.
One resident of the neighborhood they canvassed said she appreciated what Villa and Gayosso were doing, though she already has insurance. Standing just inside her front door, Juana Valdenegro, 29, said she has Medi-Cal and so does the rest of her family. Valdenegro, who has six children and is self-employed as a tree trimmer, said she has heard that people will be required to have insurance under the new law.
“It’s good” that Villa and Gayosso were going door to door, she said, because they were helping people understand what the law is about. No one would like to have their job because you don’t know how rude people might be, she laughed.
The two men won’t be standing up to yapping canines and locked gates much longer.
The four-week statewide campaign concludes Sunday and organizers were confident that they would surpass their goal of contacting 100,000 people. The outreach efforts had already reached more than 99,000 voters as of Friday.
ARVIN – Several dozen suspended and/or expelled Kern County students say they’re not getting an education because they can’t get a ride.
When students are kicked out of school, they’re directed to community learning centers, but most of them are in Bakersfield.
For some students who don’t live in the area, the trip is impossible so they’re not going to school anymore.
While most students are in school, 15-year-old Marcos Santoyo is at home, working with his mother in the garden.
Santoyo was expelled from Arvin High School in May after being accused of having an illegal substance on campus.
Since then, he hasn’t gone to school because he says he doesn’t have any way of getting to a continuation facility, more than 20 miles away.
“I don’t really have any options right now because we don’t have a ride to the other schools,” said Santoyo, a sophomore.
A spokesperson for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools said in a statement, they don’t provide transportation to community schools because funding isn’t available and it’s the family’s responsibility.
Dolores Huerta says many students like Santoyo, don’t attend school because they can’t get there.
“I’m talking particularly about the children in southern Kern County; Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch area. They don’t have transportation to be able to get to the alternative schools and so pretty much what that means is there not going to school at all,” said Huerta.
She says students not going to school affects the entire community.
“Think of these young people, that their lives are destroyed. I mean, if they don’t have a proper education that means they can’t get proper employment. What does that mean about their future? We cannot stand for this. We cannot have our kids be throw away kids,” said Huerta.