This year, Carol Watkins, California City Organizer, helped to organize and establish the first predominantly African-American Vecinos Unidos(Neighbors United) Chapter. DHF has been working closely with youth and parents to address the discipline crisis in the Mojave Unified School District (MUSD). As a result, the district agreed to create an African-American Parent Committee. MUSD has the highest suspension rate of African-American students in the state. A shocking 81% of African American students were suspended or expelled in the 2014-15 school year.
California City Vecinos achieved great victories through parent engagement and advocacy in the LCAP process. Harshly affected by zero-tolerance policies and the pushout of African American students, parents organized and submitted recommendations to MUSD. Among these recommendations were the removal of security resource officers on campus, changing the grading system to make it more fair, increasing funds for cultural awareness, and more. Although not all recommendations were adopted, MUSD has allocated funds towards implicit bias training for teachers, curriculum on the African American experience, and hiring teachers of color.