Career paths thwarted by a criminal past

This short film explores the job application process for people who have a sparse job history or a criminal record from their younger years. How do past mistakes affect the opportunities available as young offenders enter adulthood? And where can they turn when they’re turned away from the formal economy? Watch one woman’s narrative in a piece from Media Arts Center.

Sacposé: What is the ‘American Dream’?

Sacposé, Sacramento’s only youth-produced podcast on local and youth issues, hosts a discussion among AccessLocal.Tv’s Neighborhood News correspondents about what they think the American Dream means, and how it’s changing in their eyes. It’s all about the historical perspective – the dream changes era to era. “When people started to migrate to America, I feel like the American Dream was to make your mark on the world… then the American Dream started to change according to the definition of that era.” Do you agree with the opinions of the correspondents? Chime in with your comments on Access Sacramento.

E-cigarettes continue upward trend among teens

Public opinion about tobacco smoking shifted through the 1980s, due to public health campaigns and news about the addictiveness of cigarettes became better known. But smoking is now making a comeback, this time through electronic smoking devices, often called vape pens. While supporters claim they are safer than cigarettes and can be used to help quit smoking, opponents are concerned that they are attracting new young users. “The older people, the people who have been smoking, are using it to quit cigarettes. The younger crowd is doing it as a hobby.”  Read a report from Boyle Heights Beat.

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Youth present Eastern Coachella Projects at planning conference

Youth representatives from the Eastern Coachella Valley participated in a panel at the annual conference of the American Planning Association. The conference, titled “Legitimate Voices: Youth Perspectives on the Meaning of Building Healthy Communities in the Eastern Coachella Valley,” gave an opportunity for California planners to hear authentic voices of youth working in the Eastern Coachella Valley. “Some planners didn’t even know where the Eastern Coachella Valley was or what was going on in the Eastern Coachella Valley. Sometimes we assume people already know.” See more on Coachella Unincorporated.

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Election 2014: Development a key issue in candidate forum

Six candidates running for city council in Arvin discussed how best to attract businesses without sacrificing fees for city security, getting parents involved in school issues, and the possibility of a college campus to boost the economy. “I want kids to be able to walk around by themselves and I want the city to be a good environment. My impression of the candidates is that that’s what they want to work for.” Read the discussion on South Kern Sol.

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Tech fest unites nonprofits around the world

Representatives from various nonprofits from California, New Mexico, and as far as South America shared ideas about the use of technology for social activism. Combining the efforts of nonprofits with technological tools to reach wide audiences, the festival seeded fertile ground for networking, skill-sharing and building community alliances. “Tech Fest is about building relationships with the community…. and figuring out how to leverage technology tools for our work to lift up our voices, on our own terms.” Read more about the event on Richmond Pulse.

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Race conversations in school after Ferguson

The shooting of an unarmed teenager (Michael Brown) in Ferguson, Missouri, prompted a national discussion about race and law enforcement. Months after the shooting, the discussion continues among Atlanta teens, and Gilbert Young had some painful revelation about his peers. “It was not long until one of my white peers asked, ‘Why is this particular shooting national news?’… I sat back, but I didn’t chime in. The fact that my classmates didn’t address race made it apparent to me that they didn’t understand.” Listen to the full story on Youth Radio.

Deciding on teen motherhood, withstanding insults from the community

By the time Summer Culbreth discovered she was pregnant, she was four months along. Though she initially wanted an abortion – feeling too young and unprepared to raise a kid – she came around to keeping the baby. But the tumultuous period didn’t end there: when she told peers about her pregnancy, their judgmental reactions were a rude awakening. “After seeing such controversy over the years on the subject of abortion, I soon realized how many hypocrites live in this world. It doesn’t make sense to me that we can live in a society that criticizes abortions yet shuns and shames teenage parents.” Read her story on Voicewaves.

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Understanding the difference between love and pain

A video showing NFL player Ray Rice violently punching his fiancé captured the news media, as did the scandal around the League’s lenient and ambiguous reaction to his crime. But despite exhaustive news coverage, clear messages about domestic violence are hard to come by. Victims often stay with their abusers, and authorities keep a distance, citing “private matters.” A complicated reality is obscured by the stark video: the violence runs deeper than flesh, and abusers take aim at their partners’ self-esteem. For young people without experience in a healthy relationship, abuse from a romantic partner can disguise the difference between what love feels like, and what hurt feels like. “I was young and in love. I never left, even after being put in the hospital, because I thought that was what love was. My boyfriend would promise to change and never hurt me again, while also saying that even if I left, no one would want me.” Elizabeth Mutate recalls the moment when she knew she had to leave an abusive boyfriend, on Youth Radio.

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Could teen moms benefit from doulas?

Long Beach resident Elizabeth Thai became a doula to help young mothers like herself – having given birth twice as a teenager with minimal resources and knowledge, she could have benefitted from supportive care. “I serve the mother by giving her unbiased information, providing her with the pros and cons of her options. We’re not there to tell [mothers] what to do but if they are confident with their choice then that’s the best thing that we can [provide for] them.” Read the whole story on Voicewaves.

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