Special Edition | March 2020
Special Edition

In support of our community, BHC Kern partners have put together a list of local resources to help locate everything from food to academic support for students to health information. A comprehensive list of these resources is available in both English and Spanish .

If you know about a resource that should be added to the guide, please contact Sefora Mendoza at smendozabhc@gmail.com or info@healthysouthkern.org

Ensuring That Democracy Does Not
Suffer From the Pandemic
BHC Kern's partner Adeyinka Glover from the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability had an opinion editorial published in the Bakersfield Californian on March 24, 2020. Read this important article and consider not only how you can civically enagage during this time, but also why it is so important that you do.

Elected officials and staff should be forever amenable to adapting processes as necessary to face whatever challenge that comes our way so that we, together with our elected officials, can make crucial decisions.

In January, my organization, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, submitted a Brown Act violation letter to the city of Bakersfield detailing how the city needed to improve public participation. In February, the city responded to our letter by committing to update the public statement portion of the municipal code to reflect that the public can make comments following presentations by staff during workshops and public hearings. In addition, when the city updates its website, it will include a direct, prominent link to the agendas in compliance with the Brown Act.

This is great news. Our democracy works best and is most effective when more people participate. Be it through voting, volunteering for a school board or attending and commenting at a city council hearing, participation is invaluable, whatever form it takes.

Read the full editorial .
Stay Home, Stay Safe
In an effort to remind people why and how the Governor's shelter in place mandate is so important, Kern Sol News' Executive Director Reyna Olaguez shares this important message.

Last week Governor Newsom issued a directive to restrict Californians from leaving their homes except to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, to seek medical care, or to commute to a job that is considered essential. These restrictions are in place until further notice, but it’s important that everyone in Kern County cooperates to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 
Residents who engage in activities outside of their home are encouraged to maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from other people because the virus is spread through droplets that a person can cough out or exhale.
We must do our part to maintain the health and safety of our families and our most vulnerable neighbors. If we don’t maintain distance, COVID-19 will spread more rapidly and strain the already fragile healthcare system. The goal is to prevent the hospitals and clinics from being overwhelmed with patients, so that there are enough beds and equipment to care for the most critically ill. 

Detention Centers & COVID-19: Vulnerable Populations
The American Civil Liberties Union and 13 immigrants detained in two California Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers have filed a lawsuit against ICE. A ccording to a news release by ACLU’s Southern California office, they are calling for the immediate release of these detainees, who have an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19.

All 13 plaintiffs are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 because of their age and underlying medical conditions, according to the ACLU. The plaintiffs detained by ICE are currently being held at Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield and at Yuba County Jail. 

“The stakes for the release of detained persons are at an all-time high as the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak places them at an elevated risk of ailment or death,” said Stephanie Padilla, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California. “ICE must allow for the release of detainees not only for their safety, but for that of their staff and the community as a whole.”

Read more on Kern Sol News .
McFarland Detention Center Update
Because of the COVID-19 situation, the McFarland City Council cancelled their last meeting where they were expected to name the newest City Council Member who would fill the current vacancy.

The cancellation came after advocates urged the City Council to postpone the meeting to a time when more community members could attend. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city would have allowed only nine members of the public to attend the March 26th meeting. It is unknown how the city will proceed with public comment opportunities for the next meeting, currently scheduled for April 9th.

Read more here.
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