This month last year, 28 year-old Alex Nieto was shot and killed by police in a park near his home in Bernal Heights. Nieto worked as a security guard and had a taser gun in a holster on his hip, which officers claimed they mistook for a pistol. He was shot ten times and died at the scene. The incident is powerfully described and reenacted, in this video by Blackout For Human Rights Media Collective, Green Eyed Media and DetermiNation.
Fresno’s Police Chief recently announced the creation of a Youth Advisory Council to work with the city’s police department. The occasion was the “I Am… We Are…” event, hosted by Fresno Boys and Men of Color. Youth advocacy groups have been working with Fresno Police to create a mechanism for young people in the community to have input on police practices. Youth photographer Marissa Vang, 15, was at the event and captured these image for The Know.
Local healthcare advocates have estimated that nearly 25,000 residents of Merced County do not have access to regular care. The city’s annual town hall meeting was driven by comments from community members decrying the lack of health coverage for undocumented residents. The meeting was reported by We’Ced.
Self Help Graphics & Art is an Eastside institution, an organization formed at the height of the Chicano art movement with a mission to employ art as a tool for justice and social change. The group has survived some tough setbacks, including a temporary shutdown of its headquarters, but it stays in action with its community programming, workshops aimed at drawing out political expression through different art forms. “I definitely took the name literally – help yourself first. If you have these ideas or something you want to do, don’t wait for someone to show you.” More on Boyle Heights Beat.
The Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act (Senate Bill 151) would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21 in California. But local youth say the availability of tobacco products and the rise of e-cigarettes may doom the success of the bill even before it goes up for a vote. “I think e-cigarettes are easier to get than traditional cigarettes because you can order them online without having to personally go to a store and buy them yourself… [P]eople can lie about their personal information, such as their age, to receive the product.” Young reporters give their predictions on Coachella Unincorported.
Proposition 47, a landmark law that was passed on the November ballot, is designed to ease California’s overcrowded prisons. The law is a flashpoint between common opponents: prison reform advocates and law enforcement officials. In Long Beach, local police officers have appeared at community meetings to report upticks in crime and drug usage, warning residents to beware of dangerous criminals being released into the streets as a result of the law; supporters of Prop 47 say some officers are playing on the public’s fear and distorting the potential effects of the law. “[Police are] suggesting more people are getting out and creating harm in our communities. We have to remember the Prop. 47 crimes are not violent crimes.” The story is on Voicewaves.
Last month, a federal judge in Texas blocked Obama’s executive actions from going into effect, but immigrants in South Kern say it hasn’t deterred them. Those qualifying will be able to apply for temporary legal status under Deferred Action for Parents of Americans. “We have always been hopeful to be here legally, live a better life, a life without hiding, without knowing that there is a risk of being taken by ICE every time I leave my home.” The story is from South Kern Sol.
Some of the Bay Area’s finest performers—of all ages—showed off vocal, dance and music talent in the Richmond Memorial Auditorium in February. Johnny Holmes, who has hosted talent shows in Richmond since 1968, dubbed the event, 2015 Talent Show Reunion: Old & New School. “A lot of the children have never seen entertainment like this. For them to see other children their age able to show their skills, I thought it would a blast.” Find out about local talent on Richmond Pulse.
Members of the Gay Straight Alliance went from class to class sharing stories to increase students’ awareness of LGBT issues. But stage fright can seize even the most confident people. “Everyone staring at you expectantly is daunting, especially when you’re sharing something incredibly personal, like a coming out story.” Rafael Johns has a bit of wisdom for young public speakers, on Youth Radio.
Sean Penn, tasked with presenting the best picture award for Birdman, made waves when, before calling up director Alejandro Iñárritu to receive the award , joked “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” Academy members for the 2014 Oscars have been criticized for not honoring the work of people of color; Penn’s comment didn’t help ease that tension. The joke would have played differently offstage than on – Iñárritu and Penn, also a director, are personal friends. In the spotlight of the most anticipated moment of the Academy Awards, however, the comment ignited some anger, and gave more fuel to an already-existent social media theme: #OscarsSoWhite. “Given Sean Penn’s progressive reputation and his claim that his green card comments were a joke among friends, some may think it reasonable to let the incident slide. But this incident deserves attention.” A youth commentary is on The Know.