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[Los Angeles Times] Nearly 1,000 in L.A. join nationwide protests for $15 minimum wage
Apr 15, 2015 |

[Los Angeles Times] Nearly 1,000 in L.A. join nationwide protests for $15 minimum wage

Nearly 1,000 fast-food workers, Wal-Mart employees and union members in Los Angeles joined nationwide protests Wednesday calling for a $15 minimum wage. The protest, which also called for unionizing fast-food workers, started in front of a McDonald's on W. 28th and Figueroa streets and ended at USC. Protesters chanted "We want 15" or "Sí se puede" (Yes we can) to the beat of drums and the music of a full band that played on a truck parked outside the McDonald's. Many protesters wore brightly colored union T-shirts, and three huge balloons with "$15" or "#fightfor15" drifted above the crowd.
[Sacramento Bee] County considers spending $6 million to reduce black youth deaths
Apr 14, 2015 |

[Sacramento Bee] County considers spending $6 million to reduce black youth deaths

About 250 people crowded into the chambers of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to support a plan aimed at reducing deaths among black children. Holding signs saying “Our Children Are Dying” and “Black Lives Matter,” people in the crowd cheered and cried as they listened to speakers tell the board that the county has a moral responsibility to try to reduce a death rate for black children that is double the overall rate for children in the county.
[We'Ced Youth Media]  50 Years After Chavez, the Struggle for Farmworkers Continues in Merced County
Apr 13, 2015 |

[We'Ced Youth Media] 50 Years After Chavez, the Struggle for Farmworkers Continues in Merced County

On the eve of Cesar Chavez’s 87th birthday, the towns of Planada and LeGrand came together to celebrate the life of the Mexican-American icon. A strong theme of the event, which included a carnival, dinner, and free screening of the Chavez biopic film, was the difficulties farmworkers continue to face in Merced County and across the state. “The community in Planada embraces agricultural life,” said Alfonso Nava, principal of Cesar Chavez Middle School in Planada, who helped organize the event. “A lot of us come from farmworker families. We can relate to the struggles of our community members.”
[Associated Press] John Legend Launches Campaign To End Mass Incarceration
Apr 13, 2015 |

[Associated Press] John Legend Launches Campaign To End Mass Incarceration

John Legend has launched a campaign to end mass incarceration. "We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country," Legend said in an interview. "It's destroying families, it's destroying communities and we're the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration."
[Reporting on Health] Big Gulps for Little Leagues: Health advocates fight beverage industry’s diversion tactics
Apr 13, 2015 |

[Reporting on Health] Big Gulps for Little Leagues: Health advocates fight beverage industry’s diversion tactics

Public health advocates don’t typically have billion-dollar marketing budgets. So when they spot an attempt to put a scientific spin on efforts to protect the sugar-sweetened beverage industry, they start banging on doors. The California Center for Public Health Advocacy is co-sponsoring a California bill to put warning labels on sugary drinks. The center immediately sent out an email blast calling on people to write letters to the editor in response to Lisa Katic’s piece in Bay Area News Group publications arguing that the attempt to label sugar sweetened beverages as contributors to obesity and diabetes was misguided and ultimately bound for failure.
Apr 11, 2015 |

[Sacramento Bee] California Legislature seeks to curb police violence

After a year in which the use of lethal force by police officers spurred nationwide protests and bared outrage about the intersection of race and law enforcement in America, California legislators have returned to Sacramento determined to pass laws blunting police violence. “It will be probably the No. 1,” public safety issue, said Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus. “We addressed gun use last year, and we took it on aggressively, and I think this year the Legislature will take on police accountability, police violence and better ways of protecting the residents of California.”
[Reporting On Health] Big Gulps for Little Leagues: We can’t jog our way out of our high-calorie diets
Apr 10, 2015 |

[Reporting On Health] Big Gulps for Little Leagues: We can’t jog our way out of our high-calorie diets

I’ve written before in my Big Gulps for Little Leagues series how companies like Coca-Cola were sponsoring youth sports while selling them drinks – including high-calorie juice and energy drinks – that were unhealthy. The marketing of juice and energy drinks has been so successful that parents see them as healthy options for kids.
[McClatchy] California group seeks to restrict 'diet' label
Apr 10, 2015 |

[McClatchy] California group seeks to restrict 'diet' label

Citing research suggesting that diet soft drinks and other artificially sweetened products actually contribute to weight gain, a new advocacy group is asking federal regulators to investigate whether manufacturers including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have engaged in false or misleading advertising. The California-based group, U.S. Right to Know, filed citizen petitions Thursday calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to stop those companies from branding artificially sweetened products with the word "diet." McClatchy obtained copies of the petitions.
[Your Central Valley] Fresno Boys and Men of Color
Apr 09, 2015 |

[Your Central Valley] Fresno Boys and Men of Color

The Central California Children's Institute has partnered with the California Endowment on an initiative to mobilize community resources to reduce health and social disparities among boys and men of color in Fresno County -- particularly Latinos. Watch to see how Building Healthy Communities and the Fresno Boys and Men of Color are trying to set standards in Fresno County to help the community involvement. The More You Know discusses setting standards for learning and helping children grow, and this organization is doing just that.
[We'Ced] Residents Speak Out on the Effects of Violence in Merced
Apr 09, 2015 |

[We'Ced] Residents Speak Out on the Effects of Violence in Merced

Merced County just counted its ninth homicide of 2015 a few days ago. The previous year had the most homicides on record in the county at 31. Many of the Merced County victims have been young people of color, like the young man shot and killed in Winton earlier this week and a Merced teen who was shot and killed in the parking lot of Tenaya Middle School back in February. Much of the media coverage around the violence has focused on law enforcement, gang activity and property values. We’ced youth reporters asked our community members a different question: How has violence affected your life?
[New Times] A new program in San Luis Obispo County will give misdemeanor offenders a second chance
Apr 08, 2015 |

[New Times] A new program in San Luis Obispo County will give misdemeanor offenders a second chance

If the plan works—and if it keeps in line with some other counties that have tried the same—San Luis Obispo County law enforcement officials believe they can take as many as 1,000 low-level misdemeanor cases out of court. That would mean less prosecutor time devoted to filing cases for offenses such as petty theft, driving without a license, and possessing small amounts of certain drugs. It would mean youthful screw-ups won’t forever haunt people on job applications. And, ideally, it could mean that people caught for a first-time offense would be less likely to get tossed back into the legal system again.
[Richmond Pulse] When Richmond Men Read, Kids Listen
Apr 08, 2015 |

[Richmond Pulse] When Richmond Men Read, Kids Listen

When Ron Shaw stood up to read the children’s book, “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears,” his audience — second-graders at North Richmond’s Verde Elementary School — stared, giggled and raised their hands to ask questions. Shaw thumbed through the pages of the West African tale, reading the colorful story about a mosquito who tells a lie to an iguana and annoys him. By the end of the story, the youngsters tugged at Shaw’s leg, their way of thanking him for coming to their class.
[Voice of OC] Santa Ana Council Will Debate Downtown ‘Wellness District’
Apr 07, 2015 |

[Voice of OC] Santa Ana Council Will Debate Downtown ‘Wellness District’

The Santa Ana City Council Tuesday night is scheduled to discuss creating a "wellness district" in the city's downtown core that would affirm its Latino character and promote the health and well being of the area’s working-class residents. The proposed district is in response to a study last year by economist Jeb Bruegmann that found Central Santa Ana residents to be a largely untapped economic resource in the downtown. According to Bruegmann's study, which was funded by the California Endowment, the city could bring in an additional $137 million in spending to the downtown by creating a Latino business corridor that focuses on bringing back customers who, despite living so close to the downtown, have been lost to big-box retailers.
[Huffington Post] Right Here In The U.S., Over 1 Million Rural Residents Don't Have Clean Water. Here's Who's Helping
Apr 07, 2015 |

[Huffington Post] Right Here In The U.S., Over 1 Million Rural Residents Don't Have Clean Water. Here's Who's Helping

More than 1 million Californians don’t have access to clean drinking water and it has nothing to do with the historic drought that’s been ravaging the state. California’s severe drought, which entered its fourth year in October, has left communities distraught over cracked lakes and unusable houseboats. But in rural areas, more than 1 million residents have long been struggling to just get access to potable water due to inadequate infrastructure and contaminated water sources, according to nonprofit group Aqua4All. The situation is so grave that many low-income families have no choice but to spend upwards of 10 percent of their incomes on bottled water, because drinking from a contaminated source can lead to cancer, thyroid problems and other serious health issues. Others resort to imbibing sweetened beverages, which are safe for consumption, but are loaded with sugar, which is of particular concern in California where the diabetes rate has increased by 35 percent in the last decade.
[Chronicle of Philanthropy] Indiana’s Lessons for Philanthropy: Timing and Agility Matter
Apr 07, 2015 |

[Chronicle of Philanthropy] Indiana’s Lessons for Philanthropy: Timing and Agility Matter

As Christians were celebrating Holy Week around the globe, the course of American history for gay and lesbian Americans was unfolding in Indiana. Passage of a religious-protection law in Indiana sparked a national conversation on the place of LGBT people in our society. That conversation went to the heart of our most basic access to the services and accommodations of everyday life and the issues that all of us in philanthropy care about deeply. Long-simmering questions about religion as a justification for discrimination came to a full boil in newspapers, on television, and via social media. Voices from nearly all corners of society — business, labor, religion, academia, athletics, government, even comedy — took center stage for this defining exchange about our core values as a nation.
Should we ban the purchase of junk drinks and junk food with food stamps?
Apr 06, 2015 |

Should we ban the purchase of junk drinks and junk food with food stamps?

There’s been an argument brewing about whether consumers using SNAP benefits – also known as food stamps – should be able to purchase sugary drinks and junk food through that program. It’s true that low-income communities are hardest hit by the double...
[Contra Costa Times] Richmond: Injustice and search for answers at heart of new play
Apr 06, 2015 |

[Contra Costa Times] Richmond: Injustice and search for answers at heart of new play

RICHMOND -- A large group of local youths, young adults and theater artists have collaborated on a new play, "Freedom Change," a tale of "lived injustice" that will be presented in performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The production, which debuted last weekend, is the work of the Iron Triangle Theatre Company, which will present the play at its home at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, 339 11th St. "This piece is a compilation of their work and strives to represent the complexities of lived injustice while balancing the center's mission of supporting artistic training and re-imagining our world," the company said in a news release. The premise of the play: "In a city that accepts the routine incarceration and release of young men and boys of color, one young man finds himself locked up for a crime he didn't commit. On making bail, with no one to turn to, he goes back to the only world he has ever known and spends his first day searching for answers. But he now sees it through new eyes and questions the nature of the closest friend he's ever known -- as everyone around is questioning him." After each performance, there is a facilitated discussion with the actors, play creators and the audience about the issues and questions presented in the play and how they relate to the greater Richmond community.
[California Health Report] Central Valley and Rural Northern California Counties Ranked Unhealthiest
Apr 06, 2015 |

[California Health Report] Central Valley and Rural Northern California Counties Ranked Unhealthiest

People living in California’s Central Valley and rural northern counties have the poorest health outcomes in the state, according to a report released last Wednesday. The 2015 County Health Rankings, a nationwide report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ranks counties based on health outcomes. In a ranking that weighs length of life and quality of life equally, Marin County had the best score in the state, followed by Placer, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Orange counties. Sierra County scored lowest on the rating system, followed by Lake, Siskiyou, Trinity and Modoc counties. All California counties were ranked except for Alpine County, which has a population of 1,150 people and did not provide enough data for researchers. In another ranking, called Health Factors, that weighs access to clinical care, the health behaviors of residents, the physical environment and social and economic factors, Marin County again had the best score, followed by Placer, San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties. The poorest score in that ranking system went to Imperial County, followed by Tulare, Kern, Fresno and Lake counties. The rankings are based on high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity and teen births, among many other factors.
Apr 06, 2015 |

[Twin Cities Pioneer Press] Visiting experts to tout urban design as health aid

The right sidewalks, walking paths and outdoor attractions in a city could save your life, according to Dr. Richard Jackson, one of four doctors and architects coming to the Twin Cities to spread the gospel of healthy living through urban design. Jackson, who hosts a PBS series on the topic, is among a growing number of researchers who believe the design of cities can impact residents' health -- everything from obesity to lung disease. A city's design also may influence mental health concerns such as depression and isolation. What's more, making spaces that once were mostly frequented by drivers more accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists and residents can be good for business. "We need to rethink how we zone places," said Jackson, pointing to the example of Sacramento, Calif., which is adding residential apartments to downtown hotels and state office buildings. "You can't have a lively downtown if everyone goes home at 5 o'clock and no one is around on weekends. Businesses can't survive, they can't thrive if that happens."
[The Nation] Fields of Toxic Pesticides Surround the Schools of Ventura County—Are They Poisoning the Students?
Apr 06, 2015 |

[The Nation] Fields of Toxic Pesticides Surround the Schools of Ventura County—Are They Poisoning the Students?

When Dayane Zuñiga started running for Oxnard High School’s track team a few years ago, she often noticed an odd odor coming from the strawberry fields on her route. A farming community between the beach towns of Santa Barbara and Malibu, California, Oxnard is among the largest strawberry-growing regions in the nation. At first, Zuñiga didn’t pay much attention to the smell. Growing up near agriculture, she was used to odd odors. Then one day during practice, Zuñiga saw men working in the fields with face masks and smelled the same odor. Suspecting they were applying chemicals, she wondered why no one had warned her team. She asked her principal if the administration ever got notices about pesticide use around the school, attended by more than 3,200 kids. He told her it did, in accordance with strict regulations, and that she had nothing to worry about. So Zuñiga put pesticides out of her mind. When she smelled a pungent odor, she ran faster to reach a patch of fresh air. When her asthma acted up, she puffed on her mini-inhaler and kept running. Now she wishes she had asked more questions.
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