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[California Health Report] Why Young People Kill
Apr 01, 2015 |

[California Health Report] Why Young People Kill

Dwayne Taylor went to a party at the Ida B. Wells housing project one mid-May night as the Chicago weather was warming to the promise of spring. Once there, according to court documents, Taylor met up with three friends and made a disastrous decision: to rob someone. They left the party and drove around until they found a victim, 21-year-old Tedrin West. Taylor carjacked, abducted and robbed West before shooting him in the back of the head. As her son lay dead in a parking lot, West’s mother called his stolen phone. A man answered. “Where is Tedrin?” she asked. “Where is my son?” The reply: “He’s gone, bitch.” West was murdered in 1993. The group of perpetrators included a 14-year-old boy. The tragedy was part of a wave of youth violence that frightened city dwellers and the nation as a whole in the late ’80s and early ’90s. A graph of violent juvenile crime in the United States in those years looks like a one-sided mountain, climbing up and up with no summit in sight. Juvenile homicide rates jumped from 10 in 100,000 in 1985 to a high of 30 in 100,000 in 1993, just eight years later.
Apr 01, 2015 |

Investing in Communities of Color Means Investing in ME

A few weeks ago one of our Health Equity Fellows, Jessica Fuentes, blogged about how her experiences growing up shaped her definition of leadership. I want to continue this series of introductory blogs by talking about one of the projects I am currently...
[Ed Source] Stagnant funding hurts after-school programs, survey finds
Mar 30, 2015 |

[Ed Source] Stagnant funding hurts after-school programs, survey finds

Stagnant funding is making it difficult for after-school programs to retain and attract high-quality staff and is reducing the number of enrichment activities, such as field trips or arts programs, offered to low-income students, according to a survey released Monday by the Partnership for Children & Youth. Many after-school programs for elementary and middle school students rely on California’s After School Education and Safety Program, which was implemented in 2006 to provide academic support, exercise and hands-on learning activities for students.
[Southern California Public Radio] With tobacco tax revenues in decline, hunt is on to find another way to fund free preschool
Mar 27, 2015 |

[Southern California Public Radio] With tobacco tax revenues in decline, hunt is on to find another way to fund free preschool

Tobacco tax revenues that pay for California preschool and other early childhood services are steadily declining as users give up smoking, and a scramble is on to find another source of funding. The tale of the shrinking funding source — now down to $350 million this year from $650 million in 1998 — starts at tobacco shops like Drive Thru Cigarettes. Tucked inside a strip mall on Huntington Drive in Duarte, the business and other nearby shops have seen sales drop to a trickle.
[Los Angeles Daily News] Undocumented workers part of Los Angeles minimum wage debate
Mar 30, 2015 |

[Los Angeles Daily News] Undocumented workers part of Los Angeles minimum wage debate

Will raising Los Angeles’ minimum wage grow the underground economy or help tear it down? That’s the question being asked as Los Angeles City Hall leaders weigh a plan to hike the city’s minimum wage. Undocumented workers in Los Angeles hold the low-paying jobs targeted by supporters of raising the minimum wage, working in restaurants, factories, and in child care service. Supporters contend those industries would be helped by hiking the city’s minimum wage, currently set at $9, to at least $13.25.
[Los Angeles Times] New L.A. city guidelines take aim at sharp health disparities
Mar 31, 2015 |

[Los Angeles Times] New L.A. city guidelines take aim at sharp health disparities

In what experts say reflects a shift in thinking about public health policy, Los Angeles lawmakers Tuesday adopted new planning guidelines aimed at reducing sharp health disparities across the city. The objectives include improving access to grocery stores and increasing life expectancy. But they also establish targets not traditionally part of health policy: adding park space, reducing motor vehicle crashes, increasing the number of low-cost day-care centers and beautifying the community. Unanimously approved by the L.A. City Council, the Health and Wellness Element of the city's general plan acknowledges health is affected by a complex web of neighborhood conditions related to city planning.
[Los Angeles Times] LAPD is more diverse, but distrust in the community remains
Mar 30, 2015 |

[Los Angeles Times] LAPD is more diverse, but distrust in the community remains

The sweeps came on Friday nights in South Los Angeles, often before big events like Raiders games. Police would round up young men they thought were gang members and hold them over the weekend to keep violence down, a campaign launched by then-Chief Daryl F. Gates to control "the rotten little cowards." Francisco McClure recalled being arrested several times, only to be released the following Monday mornings without being charged. For the young black man, the fact that most of the officers were white made the experience even more bitter. The martial arts instructor, 50, these days sees more Latino and black faces patrolling his community of Jefferson Park, and he says the officers don't hassle residents as much. He commends them for holding neighborhood forums and using more dashboard cameras. But, he said, "they just cleaned up their act a little. Before it was white against blacks. Now it's just blue against blacks."
[Los Angeles Times] Navajo Nation sees tax on junk food as way to combat health problems
Mar 30, 2015 |

[Los Angeles Times] Navajo Nation sees tax on junk food as way to combat health problems

On a weekday shopping trip to the only real grocery store for 30 miles, Ann Neagle paused before a bag of Red Delicious apples, $7 for a dozen, plus a new discount — the Navajo Nation lifted the 5% sales tax on fresh fruits and vegetables. That's the carrot in the tribe's attempt to curb rampant obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Next comes the stick: A 2% tax on junk food. That tax, the first of its kind nationwide, will hit one of the most economically depressed areas in the country, where more than 40% of people are unemployed. Neagle is worried. "Less money for fruits is nice, but it doesn't even out," she said. "For people on a fixed income, we can't afford things to get more expensive."
[South Kern Sol] Touched by Loss, Families Lead Fight Against Police Violence
Mar 30, 2015 |

[South Kern Sol] Touched by Loss, Families Lead Fight Against Police Violence

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – On a Saturday afternoon in March over 200 protesters gathered in East Bakersfield along Mt. Vernon and Flower streets in East Bakersfield. The streets connect the sites where four men were killed in recent years in fatal encounters with police. The significance of the location is not lost on those gathered, many of them relatives of the slain men. “I’ve got one that says, ‘My uncle was shot by police officers,’ who does this apply to?” one organizer asked the crowd as it assembled around a pile of signs before the march began. “Who’s lost an uncle and wants this sign?” After collecting their signs, the group – numbering in the hundreds – marched along the 2.4 mile-long route along which David Silva, David Turner, James de la Rosa, and Ronnie Ledesma all died at the hands of local law enforcement. For the past few years now, families around this Central Valley city have been gathering for regular rallies such as this one – sometimes ending in barbecue picnics – to put a spotlight on the issue of police violence in the community.
[Oakland Voices] Canticle Farms: Dancing on the Horizon
Mar 30, 2015 |

[Oakland Voices] Canticle Farms: Dancing on the Horizon

When one hears the word “farm,” all sorts of images cross one’s mind. The idyllic world described in the childhood nursery rhyme “Old McDonald.” Small truck farms located on the margins of country roads. Or maybe the acres and acres of farmland one sees driving down I-5.Canticle Farm is none of these. Rather it is an urban farm located on 36th Avenue and Harrington Avenue in East Oakland–three parcels of land that are now joined as one. In founding Canticle Farm, Anne and Terry Symens-Bucher drew from their life-long experiences and activities as faith-based, nonviolent peacemakers. Over the last six years, Anne and Terry and their five children, who are fifth generation Fruitvale residents, have been joined by several others who now comprise Canticle Farm’s intentional community. The farm’s name is derived from a prayer-poem written by the 14th century Catholic saint and mystic St. Francis of Assisi. The “Canticle of Brother Son and Sister Moon” described the saint’s ecstatic realization that the entire universe reflects and magnifies the presence and handiwork of the Creator in all of its dimensions.
Faith, Hope, Basketball…. and Discrimination
Mar 30, 2015 |

Faith, Hope, Basketball…. and Discrimination

This being one of the most exciting windows of the annual sports calendar – March Madness – it is typically a high time on the big stage for the basketball-crazy state of Indiana, as they often host the exalted “Final Four” college championship tourney...
Cesar Chavez’s Legacy of Community Service
Mar 30, 2015 |

Cesar Chavez’s Legacy of Community Service

Long before he was a national icon with his own holiday, Cesar Chavez was a boy who lost his house. The bank took it away during the Great Depression, and the Chavez family was forced to relocate to California, where they toiled as migrant farm...
[Newsweek] Fighting to Reclaim the Future of Oakland's Young Black Men
Mar 26, 2015 |

[Newsweek] Fighting to Reclaim the Future of Oakland's Young Black Men

The Oakland Unified School District’s Office of African American Male Achievement is housed in a one-story portable classroom in the downtown neighborhood of Grand Lake. There are few windows in the barely glorified bunker, which may be for the best: They would just let in the incessant hum of the adjacent MacArthur Freeway. The only bathroom is across a parking lot, which is lined with a phalanx of similar portables painted a deceptively alluring sky-blue. It is somehow fitting that the highway thrums but a few feet away—maybe it reminds those who work here that the goal is to whisk the city's young out of Oakland, to Silicon Valley, to San Francisco, to any place that is better than this place that they have always known. About three miles to the north, at 809 57th Street, is the former home of 1960s radical Bobby Seale, a modest bungalow that sold three years ago for $425,000. In 1966, the year he helped start the Black Panther Party, Seale and fellow founder Huey Newton drafted a 10-point program for the black power movement in the dining room of that house. The fifth of those demands concerned schooling: “We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.”
#Health4All: New Reports On Undocumented Californians' Access to Health Care
Mar 26, 2015 |

#Health4All: New Reports On Undocumented Californians' Access to Health Care

Undocumented Californians’ health is a priority at The California Endowment. Their contributions to the state of California are far too often overlooked. They work, they pay taxes, they buy homes and start families; in short, they are just like everyone...
Mar 26, 2015 |

Hundreds of thousands of California immigrants could gain health insurance under President’s executive actions

But experts from UCLA, UC Berkeley say many undocumented residents will remain uncovered Between 360,000 and 500,000 immigrants living in California would become eligible for Medi-Cal if they receive temporary protection from deportation and permission...
[Sacramento Bee] It would be a devastating mistake to dismantle Proposition 47
Mar 25, 2015 |

[Sacramento Bee] It would be a devastating mistake to dismantle Proposition 47

Last November, Californians took a historic step forward in criminal justice reform by decisively passing Proposition 47, demonstrating widespread support for smart policies that improve public safety and end our punishment economy. The measure requires that certain low-level offenses such as shoplifting or simple drug possession be charged as misdemeanors, and directs the millions in annual savings from reduced rates of incarceration towards mental health and drug treatment, school programs and victim services. Before the measure, crimes now classified as misdemeanors were “wobblers,” meaning that it was up to prosecutors to decide whether to charge individuals with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Mandating that certain low-level offenses be consistently treated as misdemeanors makes the system less vulnerable to bias and injustice. But only a few months later and before Proposition 47 can be fully implemented, some misguided lawmakers are trying to undermine the will of the voters by introducing bills designed to dismantle this important initiative that made the system fairer.
[California Healthline] Five Years of California Health Reform: 'A Tremendous Designed Experiment'
Mar 24, 2015 |

[California Healthline] Five Years of California Health Reform: 'A Tremendous Designed Experiment'

Nadereh Pourat, director of research at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, gives an involuntary gasp when she's asked where California's health care system would be without the reforms and changes of the past five years. "It's not fathomable," Pourat said. "I don't know where we would be right now. California has made tremendous progress. It's staggering what has happened in five years." The state has launched the Covered California health benefit exchange, which has helped enroll 1.4 million into coverage. The Medi-Cal program has added 2.7 million more beneficiaries and now provides health services for more than 12 million Californians, or about one-third of the state's population. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
[California Healthline] State Readies Health Home Project
Mar 24, 2015 |

[California Healthline] State Readies Health Home Project

California health officials expect to release within a week a fleshed-out proposal for a health home project that could reduce state costs and improve the lives of super users of the Medi-Cal health care system. It's a plan that won't cost the state anything but has the potential to save quite a bit of taxpayer money. By coordinating the care for a small percentage of Californians with multiple chronic conditions, the state hopes to reduce the number of preventable emergency department visits and hospital admissions among that high-utilization population. "The Department of Health Care Services is preparing to release the Health Home Program Concept Paper 2.0, an expanded, more detailed concept paper, for stakeholder review in late March," said Norman Williams, deputy director of public affairs at DHCS.
Five-Year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act: It's working!
Mar 24, 2015 |

Five-Year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act: It's working!

As a health foundation with a mission to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved families in California, The California Endowment saw the potential benefits that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would bring to our state’s hard...
[VoiceWaves] Should You Or Shouldn’t You? The Vaccination Debate
Mar 17, 2015 |

[VoiceWaves] Should You Or Shouldn’t You? The Vaccination Debate

While at the park with her four-year-old daughter years ago, Long Beach parent Katy Cable noticed her child had a rash all over her body. “I took her to the doctor and he said, ‘Wow, this looks just like the measles,’” Cable said. “I said she had the vaccine and he said she might have gotten a strain of it or a reaction to it from the vaccine.”Cable, whose daughter is now a senior at Wilson High, said she was alarmed by the experience, which made her think twice about the decision to immunize her daughter.The vaccination debate is buzzing across California as Sacramento considers Senate Bill 277, which would end the personal belief exemption that currently allows parents to opt out of vaccinating their children.
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