Remembering Keshawn: Youth reflect on preventing violence

A Long Beach community was shaken when fifteen year-old Keshawn Brooks was killed last month in a robbery two blocks from his home. Remembering Keshawn, friends and family talked about his good nature and his goals of self-improvement. His friends tried to answer the question, “How can we stop violence from happening in Long Beach?” “I think it starts at a young age. We need to put efforts toward the little ones … They need someone to look up to… I think kids don’t have someone to look up to and they have to learn for themselves.” More about Deshawn and thoughts on safer streets, on Voicewaves.

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Young, brown, and looking ‘unsafe’

When Richmond resident David Meza was pulled over riding his bike in nearby Pinole, the officer asked why Meza was in Pinole and explained, “I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong, you just look unsafe.” Upset by the experience, Meza posted the story on social media, and got supportive comments. But he wanted to go further and talk to the officer face to face the next day. “I told him how I felt about what happened, and what I saw as an abuse of power… He also apologized, said he’d work on being better, and that he’d try not to do it again. That felt good. But part of me still feels as if nothing will change in people like that.” Read the whole story on Richmond Pulse.

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‘One Justice’ brings free legal counsel to Kern County

Last week the California non-profit One Justice made its first stops in Kern County, to provide the underserved area with free legal services on issues like medical care, immigration, and family issues. The first challenge for the organization is to help residents identify their potential legal problems – people often don’t recognize when a problem could require legal counsel. “For a lot of people it’s challenging to access these [legal] services, trusting an attorney or an organization, and so we work to foster those relationships while trying to get them as educated as possible on their rights.” Read more on South Kern Sol.

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Inside a ‘supergirl’ math playgroup

Though girls do better in math than boys in school, they are still underrepresented in STEM industries like tech. How to reverse that trend, and start early? A group of Berkeley parents signed their daughters up for the SuperGirl Math playgroup. There, girls get a boost to encourage their enthusiasm for the subject. And they have a strategy that they hope will make it into the classroom – making math fun. “Sometimes when you step on the play structure, you really want to have fun and be creative and play with friends. With math, you can feel the same way if you really want to get into math and get it done and feel proud about it.” Hear the story from Youth Radio.

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Fifty years after Chavez, farmworkers’ struggle continues

On the eve of Cesar Chavez’s birthday, the towns of Planada and LeGrand came together to celebrate the life of the Mexican-American icon. The kinds of struggles that mobilized Chavez are concentrated in the Central Valley, where the majority of the estimated 800,000 farmworkers in California live and work – and roughly 50 percent are undocumented. “The community in Planada embraces agricultural life. A lot of us come from farmworker families. We can relate to the struggles of our community members.” Activists and workers discuss the legacy of Chavez and the farmworkers’ rights movement, on We’Ced.

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Youth share concerns about CV Link access

CVLink is a proposed 50-mile path that would stretch from Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs to Coachella, making a safe, walkable connection between areas currently only connected by a highway. The pathway would allow pedestrians, bikers, and low-speed electric vehicles to travel the area’s busiest corridor safely and enjoyably. But some local students are giving an early assessment of the trail, and voicing concerns that accessibility could be an issue for people living or going to school on the eastern side of the project. Their report is in a video on Coachella Unincorporated.

Civic leaders discuss mass incarceration in the Valley

Community leaders, residents and corrections officials met to talk about Proposition 47 and debate flaws in the criminal justice system in Fresno County and across California. The meetings are aimed at expanding and improving alternatives to incarceration, and touched on local issues like “bail stacking,” which opponents consider an unfair burden on the poor. Mostly, though, attendees emphasized that the criminal justice system doesn’t treat all people equally, and they shared stories about the chances – or lack thereof – that helped them recover after being released from prison. “I finally found redemption and transformed my life. But the biggest factor in the 180-degree change was the fact that people gave me second opportunities.” Different viewpoints are explored on The Know.

State Senator, a doctor, focusing on health

State Senator Richard Pan spent a day with his constituents, thanking them for their support and sharing his political goals for the district. A physician by training, Pan sought to convince attendees that he’d spend his term improving both the economy and the accessibility of healthcare for people in the area. “My mother always said that if you don’t have health you don’t have anything.” Read more and see a video of Pan’s discussion with constituents, and read about it on Access Sacramento.

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Oakland kids get a raise from new minimum wage

Oakland now has the highest minimum wage in the nation, a source of pride for the city’s working people. While many young workers are making plans with what they will do with their new earnings, some businesses are trying to offset the increase in labor costs by cutting hours – or raising prices. “To raise wages we need to generate more income. To make this happen over night we must raise prices. We stand here today to ask Oakland to come together and support all the cafes and restaurants that are in this unprecedented position.” The story was produced by Youth Radio.

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Touched by loss, families lead fight against police violence

Mt. Vernon Street and Flower Street in East Bakersfield connect sites where four men were killed in recent years in fatal encounters with police. Family and other supporters of the men killed have become activists in this nationally prominent issue. The conversation has moved beyond basic protest into a more nuanced understanding of the forces at play when cops are responsible for the deaths of unarmed citizens – those leading the gathering are trying to make sure that communities don’t accept these incidents as the inevitable fallout for people of color. “I don’t want other families to feel what we do, to struggle every day like we do. We want to get people involved and aware …we want to wake the community up.” Read coverage of the event on South Kern Sol.

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