Teens 4 Equality in Action: Beyond Our Closets – LGBTQ Youth Speak Out for Family Acceptance

Teens 4 Equality in Action: Beyond Our Closets – LGBTQ Youth Speak Out for Family Acceptance

On Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 DHF Teens 4 Equality with support from DHF Equality Organizer, Dean Welliver, hosted Beyond Our Closets: LGBTQ Youth Speak Out for Family Acceptance. The event commemorated National Coming Out Day. Teens 4 Equality leaders  Emily, Chyna, Nena, Dennis, Andrew, and Julian led a panel discussion in which they shared touching, often emotional, but also joyful and hopeful stories about coming out and family acceptance. Through their experiences of coming out as LGBTQ youth in the 2010s, they related what they want parents and the community to know about LGBTQ youth and offered suggestions for how families and the community can be more supportive.

Dennis asked for people to take him seriously and not see his identity as some sort of joke.

Chyna suggested families make this topic a part of normal family discussion.

Julian made a simple but powerful request, “Just hug your kid. A real hug – not a weak side hug! Tell them you love them, and say it like you really mean it!”

There was one overarching message for family and community, “Be openminded. Be willing to change your opinions and learn something new.”

Following the panel there was time for questions and comments between attendees and panelists. The courage and honesty of the youth inspired attendees to open up and share some of their own stories and explore what family acceptance means to them.

See news coverage of the event at this link.

DHF in Action: Two Spirit Gathering event for indigenous LGBTQ people, Fri. 4/14 – Sun. 4/16/17

DHF in Action: Two Spirit Gathering event for indigenous LGBTQ people, Fri. 4/14 – Sun. 4/16/17

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.


DHF In the News: Dolores Huerta Foundation protests impending KHSD gun vote, 10/3/16

DHF In the News: Dolores Huerta Foundation protests impending KHSD gun vote, 10/3/16

20161003_184706Members of the Dolores Huerta Foundation Monday protested an impending decision by the Kern High School District board of trustees that would allow employees to carry guns on campus.

The decision, which has been put off for months, would be an extension of an earlier decision this year allowing non-employee concealed carry weapon permit holders to bring their guns onto high school campuses.

A vote on the matter was not on the agenda Monday night.

Before Monday’s board meeting, Huerta said the decision works contrary to something the state of California and Gov. Jerry Brown have been working to establish: better school climate.

“I can’t think of anything less welcoming to students than having guns in classrooms,” Huerta said, calling on board members to rescind the policy they passed allowing non-employees to carry firearms on campus.

The $1 million insurance policy the district requires for non-employees to carry firearms is not enough, Huerta added.

“I don’t think KHSD needs any more lawsuits against them. You’ve already lost quite a lot,” Huerta said.

2016 WMNL: Equality

2016 WMNL: Equality


In January 2016, the Dolores Huerta Foundation launched its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Equality Program. Equality Organizers, Moises Duran and Dean Welliver, are working to organize students, families, and community members to take a more pronounced and active role in creating safe and welcoming school climates, mobilizing the LGBT vote, addressing health inequalities like STD transmission rates and lack of health care services for transgender residents, and providing safe spaces for LGBT and straight allied youth to grow as leaders! DHF launched the program to address the inequalities that LGBT residents of Kern County are experiencing in the areas of health, education, youth, and civic engagement.

They started the group Teens 4 LGBT Equality. It is currently the only active community based youth group in Kern County providing engaging and fun extracurricular activities focused on building community and learning about LGBT identities and rights.

While California does have legal protections safeguarding LGBT student’s rights, Kern High School District (KHSD) has failed to make all students feel safe. KHSD Board of Trustees member Chad Vegas stated publicly that LGBT students are “sexually perverse” and “mentally ill” at a school board meeting addressing a non-discrimination policy intended to protect transgender students. He invited parishioners from his church who made disparaging comments towards the LGBT community, including the malicious misgendering of a trans-woman giving public comment. In the face of these hostile and traumatic attacks, the LGBT community showed great strength and poise and was ultimately able to celebrate the policy approval.

LGBT Youth Prom

Youth in Kern County experience a lack of LGBT-inclusive social spaces. On June 17th, the DHF Teens 4 LGBTQ Equality group planned “Let Your Queer Glow”- the first teen-led Kern County LGBT youth dance. They transformed the Bakersfield Gay and Lesbian Center into a glowing neon space galaxy. Over fifty of their peers danced and enjoyed themselves without having to worry about potential backlash from other students and staff.

Fifteen year-old West High Student Toni attended the dance and said, “My favorite part was that I could talk with people that know what I’m going through. You get to be yourself and celebrate it. It’s really fun.”

“Joining Teens 4 LGBTQ Equality has had a positive impact on my life, because I would have never done stuff like this before! It has motivated me to go outside of my comfort zone and try new things! My favorite part of being in the program is that I get to be involved in the community and meet other youth who are facing the same challenges we face and who understand our problems!” –Teen Leader, Paola Hinojosa.

LGBT Youth Advocacy Impacts KHSD Policy

Teens 4 LGBT Equality, Dolores Huerta Foundation and allied organizations working together to provide a safer school climate, education, and visibility for LGBTQ Youth and allies were given extensive training on the school budget process and the Local Control Accountability Plan, how to advocate for their educational needs, and in core competencies such as public speaking, outreach, and facilitating meetings. The curriculum also explored the school to prison pipeline, sexual education/health, power and oppression, bullying and victimization, student’s rights and a history of the LGBTQ movement.  Youth discussed their personal experiences and identified gaps in services and policies in the Kern High School District (KHSD). Through the LCAP process, youth were provided an opportunity to directly advocate for their needs and practice public speaking. Fifteen students attended several LCAP public input sessions and provided recommendations to the KHSD board.

The students advocated for cultural competency trainings for staff, implementation of the School Success and Opportunity Act (allowing all students to participate in activities regardless of their birth gender), anti-bullying policies and procedures, implementing the California Healthy Kids Survey to understand health needs, gender neutral restrooms and greater LGBTQ resources at parent centers and counselors’ offices. In the final LCAP, approved by the KHSD board in June, many of the recommendations were included such as hiring additional teachers to reduce class sizes, hiring more counselors to increase the accessibility of academic guidance, more advanced placement classes offered and staff cultural competency trainings.

Dolores Huerta and the Dolores Huerta Foundation Mourn the Loss of John Edward (Jack) Brigham

Dolores Huerta and the Dolores Huerta Foundation Mourn the Loss of John Edward (Jack) Brigham

Jack and Dolores


It is with heavy hearts that we share the sad news of the passing of our dear friend, and brother in the movement, Jack Brigham. He was a great humanist and a great educator. He was completely devoted to young people, especially students. He was a Dolores Huerta Foundation Board Member and extremely generous with his resources in supporting the foundation. He was a progressive leader in Kern County and a friend of labor and a proponent of workers’ rights. He was one of the earliest supporters of the United Farm Workers. As a part of the Teachers’ Union he served as President of the Central Labor Council. His life was one of giving, of himself, of his knowledge, and his resources to improve the lives of so many and make Kern County a more progressive community. He will be sorely missed and it will take many people to fill his shoes. His life serves as an inspiration to others. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones. ¡JACK BRIGHAM, PRESENTE!

~ Dolores Huerta

John Edward (Jack) BRIGHAM has lost his battle with cancer on July 7th, 2016. He will be missed by many.

Born August 24, 1946, in East Moline, Illinois, he was the second child and only son to Edward Case Brigham and Winifred Edith McCool Brigham. At the time of his birth, his parents and older sister, Judy, lived in Palos Heights, Ill. His father, Ed, was a pilot for American Airlines. In 1949 they moved to Taft, CA, where Ed began work for Sparkle Cleaners, Winnie began teaching Kindergarten and his sister, Ann, was born. In 1957 his family moved to East Bakersfield, where Ed became manager of the new Bakersfield branch of Sparkle Cleaners, and Winnie continued teaching.

His greatest influences during his formative years were his grandfather, Dr. David John Brigham, a Presbyterian minister, his parents, Ed and Winnie, his sisters, Ann and Judy, his friends and teachers.

Jack attended Horace Mann Elementary School and Sierra Junior High, entering East Bakersfield High School as a freshman in 1959. While attending East High, he became an Eagle Scout, the student body president, and an all city basketball player. Ward Fulcher, his Humanities teacher, and Ralph Krafve, his varsity basketball coach, were his most influential EB teachers. He graduated in l964 and enrolled at UC Santa Barbara, where he received a B.A. degree in history and political science. Later he earned a Masters degree in History from Cal State Bakersfield

During his four years at UCSB he was an Alpha Delta Phi leader and participated in the intra mural programs. Following his graduation, he returned to Bakersfield and became a BCSD teacher at Lincoln Junior High, where also coached the Jr. Optimist basketball teams and became a lifetime PTA honoree.

In July, 1969, he was at Fraternal Hall when Bakersfield City Police officers assaulted the youth and chaperones at a Bakersfield Recreation Department public dance for youth. After testifying in front of the Grand Jury and in court, he dedicated his life to public education and social justice. He found the inner courage to speak truth to power with integrity.

During his 20 years as a BCSD teacher he coached many outstanding Kern athletes, including Dean Jones, who became top Junior College basketball player in California during his sophomore year at Bakersfield College.

He also became a leader in the Kern Council for Civic Unity, a leader and state vice president of the Bakersfield Federation of Teachers, AFT AFL-CLO, and the President of the Kern, Inyo, and Mono counties’ Central Labor Council for two terms. In addition he edited the Kern, Inyo, and Mono counties’ Central Labor Council publications.

At the age of 42 he became a History and Political Science professor at Bakersfield College under the mentorship of Dr. David Rosales. The students voted him their outstanding professor at the end of his first year, and as the Sam McCall Award Winner, he had the honor of being a BC graduation speaker to the class of 1991.

While at BC, his most unique award was being selected a member of a group of 50 who represented outstanding leaders during Bakersfield’s first 100 years. He was also awarded the Beautiful Bakersfield Individual Humanitarian Award. He was honored at the Renegades’ 100 year celebration as being one of the top influences in BC history, and in addition was presented with the George White Award and served as the Grand Marshall of both the East Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield College homecomings.
In 2000 he asked his close friends, Milt Younger and Harvey Hall, if they would co-found the BC Center for Kern Political Education as a nonpartisan BC foundation.
The center they created hosted speakers, as well as provided annual We The People conferences for Kern youth and their coaches, annual Sacramento trips and annual youth-community leader honoree dinners. It also funded internships for many Kern youth.

Following his retirement, he co-founded PEAK (Progressive Education and Action in Kern) with Kim Schaefer and Tom Webster. PEAK interns continue to create a weekly flyer and Issues Quarterly Magazine. In addition Jack has been part of the Dolores Huerta Foundation Board of Directors and was honored as Chamber of Commerce Humanitarian-of-the-year.
On December 19, 2015, his former BC student and honorary family member, Abdallah Ben-Hamallah, gave a health center to the community of Malika, Senegal, that will serve approximately 100,000 people each year. It is named Brigham and Younger Health Center in honor of Jack Brigham and his mentor of more than four decades, Milt Younger.

Justice Thurgood Marshall’s words, “He did the best he could with what he had.” are the best words he would use to summarize his life. He was able to live his dreams because of the love, inspiration and encouragement of his friends.
In addition to those identified previously he loved his working meals with his close friends, Bob Severs, Bakersfield Sister City leader John Hefner, 2012 U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta, and Bakersfield’s “Mother Teresa” Wendy Wayne.

Jack leaves behind countless friends, admirers, colleagues and former students whom he has helped over his career. Those who knew him feel privileged and grateful to have known a man dedicated totally to the betterment of his community and human kind. His passion was fostering learning and personal growth in his students, assuming the role of father, mentor, friend, support figure for countless young people.
Jack is succeeded by family members, who include his sisters, Margaret Ann Brigham Pool (husband, Gary) of Council, Idaho, and Judith Brigham Sims-Barlow (husband, William Barlow) of La Veta, Colorado; his nieces, Gina Pool (of Springfield, Nebraska) and Amy Sims (of Denver, Colorado); nephews, Chris Pool (wife Lisa of Springfield, NE) and Jay Sims (wife Cathy of Westminster, Colorado); and grand nephew, Chevalier Case Gordon (Gina’s son of Springfield, Nebraska).

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and Gentiva Hospice for their attentiveness and caring staff. Jack especially enjoyed Gentiva’s Adrianna during her home visits and help.

In lieu of a service or ceremony, Jack is in hopes his friends and role models will do something special for a person, group or organization in the spirit of integrity and civic unity. A Jack Brigham Scholarship Fund is in the process of being established. Donations to this fund or to any charitable or scholarship fund of your choice would be of benefit to others and appreciated.

DHF in the News: Cultiva la Salud Works with Greenfield Residents for a Healthier Community 3/31/16

DHF in the News: Cultiva la Salud Works with Greenfield Residents for a Healthier Community 3/31/16

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.19.58 PMThe Dolores Huerta Foundation’s Cultiva la Salud Program held its first meeting to work with Greenfield residents on creating a healthier community. The Greenfield general meeting hopes to shape a community plan to increase opportunities for physical activity and increase access to healthier foods for the community south of Bakersfield. Camila Chavez, DHF Executive Director said, “What we’re really trying to focus on are policy improvements. What can we do working with our local government, working with our local schools, to increase these opportunities? It’s not just about a family’s personal habits. It’s really, as a community, what are our options?” Many times it’s a question of available space for physical activity. The DHF wants to work with schools to make fields and playgrounds open during non school hours.

Watch the news clip here Local News | KernGoldenEmpire | KGET TV 17

DHF and Kern Education Justice Collaborative in the News: Radio Bilingue, 4/15, 4pm

DHF and Kern Education Justice Collaborative in the News: Radio Bilingue, 4/15, 4pm

Dolores-Huerta-lider-historica-fundadora-de-la-UFW1-226x179In School Expulsion Capital, Parents Learn About Rights

The Kern High School District in Kern County, California has been called the expulsion capital in the state. A year and a half after being sued for disciplining Latino and African-American students more harshly, the school government has shown numbers that speak to a reduction in suspensions and expulsions. However, local critics say the problems persist. Reporter Rubén Tapia follows up on this issue.

Listen to the full story at the following link.

In School Expulsion Capital, Parents Learn About Rights

News: Dolores Huerta’s Portrait Featured This Summer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The iconic portrait of Dolores Huerta, painted by Chicana artist, activist, and Dolores Huerta Foundation Board Member, Barbara Carrasco, will be featured starting this summer at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. beginning the summer of 2015.


Read the more here:


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