School police forces used to watch out for burglars. Now they keep an eye on students. After a school police shooting in Oakland, some parents are asking – does the force make their kids safer?
Author: Rosa Ramirez
Richmond’s innovations in environmental programs are often overshadowed by the city’s reputation for heavy industry and site of Northern California’s biggest refinery. Recently, the city hosted an EPA conference, and the agency selected the city as its site to highlight Richmond’s accomplishments.
The women stood in a large circle. With their eyes shut and heads titled toward the floor, each prayed to God to keep each other and Richmond safe. At the navel of the circle was a container with fresh flowers—a type of gift for the occasion. The occasion— the gathering of more than 40 Latinas and African American women to heal Richmond’s racial wounds —was something that had been in the works for nearly two years, says Amahra Hicks, a board member of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and co-organizers of the meet up.
Jose Cruz stood on the corner of a well-trafficked gas station in San Francisco’s Mission District. The cars passed him by. Drivers rarely stopped to look at Cruz on this recent morning. The Mexican immigrant is a day laborer, and like thousands of workers who stand on the street corner looking for work, Cruz hopes to make enough money to pay his rent and food and other basic needs. And like many who seek daily work on street corners, Cruz is vulnerable to being cheated out of his wages.
California’s state prison population has remained stubbornly high over the past decade. The new Alameda County Chief Probation Officer wants to lead his department in a new direction, one that focuses on prevention. David Muhammad, an Oakland native, favors an approach that promotes incentives to good behavior, rehabilitation and alternatives to incarceration. These are the kinds of methods, according to Muhammad, that get the best results – less people in prison and on probation and parole.
In September 2010, the California legislature passed a law requiring all students in grades seven through 12 who are in private and public schools to show proof they received the “Tdap” vaccine that protects against pertussis. How are school districts notifying parents about the new requirements? Rosa Ramirez reports from Richmond.
Walking into the classroom of Richmond’s Latina Center intimidated Maria Lourdes Sanchez. The other Spanish-speaking women in the room, who also came to develop their leadership skills, were welcoming. But Sanchez was still afraid.