Volume 58 | September 2019
Your monthly news & updates
Addressing Inequitable Pushout In Schools
Earlier this month, the Kern Education Justice Collaborative (KEJC) hosted a community forum to share trends in data related to the Kern High School District's voluntary and involuntary transfers.

“Even as expulsions are going down, the number of children exiting from general population is not necessarily going down,” said Cynthia Rice, Director of Litigation for California Rural Legal Assistance. 
Rice, along with other members of KEJC, believe the district is using voluntary and involuntary transfers as a way to push out students of color.

Read more about the community forum .
Know Your Rights Campaign Ramps Up
The Rapid Response Network of Kern is ramping up informational and outreach efforts, calling on media organizations who serve immigrant populations in Kern to help get "Know Your Rights" information out to as many individuals as possible, in response to the surge of traffic stops that are leading to detention or deportation. 

Advocates have learned that the people who have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during these traffic stops over the past few weeks indicated that they had not heard about the "Know Your Rights" forums and had no idea they have the right to remain silent. 

“We are hearing from Lamont and Arvin residents that there has been high presence of ICE in those two communities, particularly between 4 and 6 a.m. as individuals are heading to work,” says Rosa Lopez of the American Civil Liberties Union and a member of the network. 

The network plans to hand out informational materials throughout Arvin, Lamont, and Taft over the next few months.
Good News For Kern County Parks!
On Tuesday August 27th, the Kern County Board of Supervisors allocated $1.59 million for park improvements in the Kern County Budget! These funds will provide lighting and sidewalks in Greenfield Park and the construction of a basketball court in Shafter's Mexican Colonia neighborhood.

In addition to the increase in the amount of money dedicated to park improvement, the County has applied for a $1.4 million Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant to pave Lytle Avenue, a road in Delano that has been unpaved for decades. This grant application is a step towards a long-needed improvement for those living along Lytle Avenue.

This year’s budget allocation for building and improving infrastructure in Kern County’s underserved communities are steps toward making a healthier and safer future a reality for all Kern residents.

Many thanks to Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, as well as to community groups from Lost Hills, Lytle Avenue in Delano, Shafter's Mexican Colonia, Greenfield, Arvin, Weedpatch, and Lamont for working tirelessly to advocate for a budget that prioritizes underserved communities in Kern!
Environmental Victory
After receiving much push back from environmental justice advocates, politicians pulled a bill that would have exempted small refineries from air monitoring and reporting.

Senator Melissa Hurtado, who was named the Senate Floor Manager on Friday, the last day of California Legislative Session, deemed Assembly Bill 1299 inactive for the year, after Assemblyman Rudy Salas, the author of the bill, requested that it be pulled, according to Salas’ office.

“AB 1299 is an important bill for the Southern Central Valley and the families who depend on the economic health of the region,” said Hurtado. “By extending the conversations between all parties, we hope to find a middle ground that’ll consider all aspects of our communities.”

Read more about the story here .
Why A Complete Census Count Matters
As part of their Countdown to Census 2020 Speaker Series, the Sierra Health Foundation hosted Dr. Manuel Pastor to speak about the importance of full representation of the San Joaquin Valley in the Census 2020 count. A professor at the University of Southern California and Director of USC's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, Dr. Pastor spoke about importance of a complete Census count and the economic, social, and environmental decisions that will be made based Census data.

He was joined by Dolores Huerta, civil rights advocate and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, for a conversation on the power of advocacy to ensure all are reached. The day also included a panel discussion that included Pablo Rodriguez of Communities for a New California Education Fund, Deep Singh of Jakara Movement, and Pastor Trena Turner of Faith in the Valley which focused on the challenges and fears that need to be addressed in order for members from some communities to feel comfortable being part of the count.

See Dr. Pastor's presentation.
Ins and Outs of Upcoming Changes to Public Charge
Schools Reimagined:
Education Equity Summit
The Schools Reimagined Education Equity Summit seeks to bring teachers, students, and community members together for a time of fellowship and learning, specifically around the issue of the school-to-prison pipeline. Join our education partners as they imagine a new education system that supports all Kern County students in successfully transitioning from high school into higher education and the work force.

2nd Annual Immigrant Civil Rights Conference
Join GBLA and Statewide experts on October 16th to learn about civil rights for immigrant communities.
Scheduled Presenters:
  • Valentin Narvaez: Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc. Staff Attorney
  • Bryan Osorio: City of Delano Council Member
  • Census Panel
  • Benita Duran: Partnership Specialist, 2020 Census, Los Angeles Regional Census Center, Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Camila Chavez: Dolores Huerta Foundation Executive Director
  • Reyna Olaguez: Building Healthy Communities-Kern Communications Manager
  • Lyle D. Martin: Bakersfield Police Department Chief of Police
  • Theresa Cheng: MD/JD: Emergency Medicine resident at UCLA-Olive View
  • Ambar Tovar: United Farmworkers Foundation Directing Attorney
  • Naindeep Singh: The Jakara Movement Executive Director

The event is free but attendees must register in advance. Click here to register.

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