A new initiative to combat domestic violence in California is supporting several high-risk populations — including refugees, immigrants, low-wage workers, Native Americans and rural residents — to develop their own community-based strategies for prevention.
Author: Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil
Nearly half of all Asian and Pacific Islander mothers on Medi-Cal give birth by way of Cesarean section, a rate well above California’s statewide average.
Data released in June by California’s Department of Health Care Services show that nearly 7,000 Medi-Cal patients filed official grievances about “poor provider/staff attitude” in the last three months of 2017, the most recent data available, making it the top quality of care complaint.
Growing up, most of the kids Shannon Albers knew struggled with their mental health.
A member of the Yurok Tribe, Albers, 19, has lived on the Hoopa Valley reservation in Humboldt County for his entire life. And for as long as he can remember, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse haunted his peers.
“There are survivors of domestic violence who have done what the system tells you to do, which is get a protective order, and they’re supposed to be safe during that. The law tells people that they cannot access guns and that they have to relinquish those—but we’re not actually supporting that law.”
“The vast majority of homeless people, what we see in every study—especially here, more than anywhere else—are low-income workers, people who have jobs who don’t make enough to meet the cost of housing,” said Brooke Weitzman, an attorney with the Santa Ana-based Elder Law and Disability Rights Center.
In addition to finding housing, homeless families must also find accommodations that keep the family intact, which in many parts of the state leaves them with few—if any—options.
In the face of escalating anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies since the 2016 election, immigrant rights groups across the state have been developing innovative strategies, such as cell-phone warning systems and know-your-rights workshops to protect their own communities from federal immigration authorities—a move organizers say can not only prevent deportations and detentions, but also combat the fear encompassing immigrant communities today.
Beginning in 2008, as the nation was in the throes of the economic recession, California’s top leaders made a series of cuts to safety-net programs that sent many low-income residents in a downward spiral toward homelessness. While California’s economy has largely recovered since then, and the state’s food stamps and health programs have mostly been restored, the state’s welfare program has yet to see a reinvestment to pre-recession levels.
Kimberly Sandoval holds a ticket in her hand in disbelief. Her infraction: being in possession of spare bicycle parts at Santa Ana’s Civic Center, a homeless encampment of an estimated 200 people in the heart of Orange County.