Santa Cruz veterinarian David Shuman witnessed severe cases of animal abuse when, fresh out of vet school, he worked at a veterinary hospital in Oakland. He remembers cases where people set cats on fire or threw dogs as if they were baseballs. He recalls one man who wounded a litter of puppies with a machete. But it wasn’t until later in Shuman’s career that he realized pet abuse could be a red flag for a larger pattern of violence, and that people who harm animals often don’t stop at animals.
Author: Lily Dayton
In the predawn hours of Oct. 3, 2012, two farm labor crews arrived at fields southeast of Salinas to harvest lettuce. A light breeze blew from the north across rows of head lettuce and romaine. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the workers started to smell an acrid odor that some described as paint, others as cilantro seeds or diesel fumes. The workers’ eyes began to burn and water; many complained of nausea, headache, dizziness and shortness of breath. No pesticides were being sprayed at the time, but still, the workers were displaying classic symptoms of pesticide illness.
More than 35,000 Monterey County schoolchildren will attend schools near fields treated with high levels of potentially dangerous pesticides—including chemicals that are known to harm the brain and nervous system, cause genetic mutations and disrupt hormonal regulation.
Coach Gina Castañeda stands in a player box at the edge of the indoor soccer arena, yelling above the cheers of the crowd to the teenage boys in purple jerseys darting across the playing field. A player in mis-matched soccer cleats makes a swift pass to a team mate, who shoots the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net. Castañeda claps wildly, shouting “Good job you guys! ¡Sí se puede!”
Writer, performing artist and human rights activist Brooke Axtel stands on a stage constructed on the 50-yard line of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, speaking to 1,500 rapt audience members—some whose eyes tear up as she recounts her experience as a survivor of sex trafficking at age 7.
Dominga Sarabia is one of the estimated 2.6 million undocumented California residents who are explicitly barred by law from the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In the foothills of the Pajaro Valley, dozens of nursery workers dressed in jeans and work boots file into a warehouse. It’s just past lunchtime on a weekday. Normally the workers would be heading back to the white-tented greenhouses to tend to the broccoli, chard and kale shoots that grow from nursery flats, but today they are attending the final presentation of Speedling Incorporated’s Safety Week, a workshop on sexual harassment and assault.
When Maricruz Ladino started a job at a Salinas lettuce packing plant in 2005, her supervisor began making sexual advances, insinuating that if she didn’t succumb to his sexual demands he would fire her. Then, one day the supervisor drove her to an isolated field—supposedly to inspect the crops. Instead, Ladino says, he raped her.
Today, almost one in five women and one in 71 men in the U.S. experience sexual assault throughout their lifetimes, according to CDC data. In California, over 2 million women are survivors of rape—and the majority of these victims haven’t reported their attacks. But for victims who live in communities with Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART), the experience of reporting a rape and seeking help yields a network of support.
After years of experience on the stand as an advocate for victims of sexual assault, Kasey Halcón knows first-hand how emotionally disturbing it is for victims of rape, child molestation and other types of sex crimes to testify in the courtroom.