Posts tagged sacramento
New Maple Community Center Breathes New Life
They tried to bury us.
They didn’t know we were seeds.

By Nancy Xiong, HIP Organizer

Early this month, HIP joined La Familia Counseling Center for the 10th Anniversary of the Sacramento Hispanic/Latino Parade. On a street more known for its traffic, seeing families and children lined up along Franklin Boulevard was a welcomed change. This parade celebrated Sacramento’s deep-rooted Latino heritage and the stubborn resiliency of our South Sacramento community. 

Before the Sacramento City Unified School Board voted to close Maple Elementary and 6 other neighborhood schools in a controversial 4-3 decision, the vibrant campus was full of colorful laughter and supported by passionate parents. For those families, Maple was more than just a school. It was a place where they felt they belonged. It was a place they took ownership of because it represented hope for a better future. I thought to myself during the final tour of Maple Elementary, 'is this really it?' I felt frustrated because this community had endured so much and instead of celebrating Maple's tremendous parent involvement, the District shut the door on this incredible community. I wondered, what can we do to transform this space so that it will continue to meet the needs of our South Sacramento community? 

For two years, this campus sat completely vacant until this past July when La Familia signed a lease to officially take over Maple Elementary.  Maple Elementary is now re-opened as the Maple Neighborhood Center where it will serve as La Familia’s headquarters and resource hub for families.

Our community deserves a place to gather, grow and prosper. As a Mexican proverb states, "They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds."

Ethnic Studies Helped Me Tap Into My Full Potential
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On Thursday, C.K. McClathchy High School and UC Berkeley alumni Pachia Vang returned home to share her story about impact ethnic studies had on her life. Here is her touching testimony that she shared with the SCUSD Board of Education.


 

Dear Superintendent and Members of the Sacramento City Unified School District,

I wanted to talk to you about adopting ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement. In high school, I was a part of the HISP program at C.K. McClathchy High School. HISP stands for the Humanities and International Studies Program – which means that everything we learned, we learned from an international and human-centric perspective.

quote1I know HISP isn’t exactly the same thing as Ethnic Studies but being able to learn about history from a non-Western perspective as a woman of color at a young age was empowering because I was able to identify with something in the classroom for the first time. I consider myself lucky to have been able to be a part of HISP because it has given me the courage to look for and grasp onto opportunities in life that I never thought was possible. Last year, I graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and since have been able to work alongside amazing individuals within local government, agencies, different non-profits, and community organizations really giving back to where I come from.

Out of my entire family, I am the only person who has had the opportunity to be a part of HISP. I should feel grateful about what I've accomplished thus far but I feel sad because my brothers and sisters have not had the same opportunity. That’s something that I struggle with everyday trying to get them to believe in themselves and recognize their potential – because we come from communities where children aren’t encouraged to do more. People aren’t encouraged to do more. Why?

These things aren’t easy to change but I think it’s the responsibility of schools to provide an environment for our kids to understand why. To understand where they come from so that they can understand who they are, what they can do for themselves and what they can do in this world. Introducing ethnic studies as a high school requirement is one of the first steps we can take in this direction so I hope that you really do consider this not just as a resolution but as a plan to be implemented.

Hmong Urban Farmers Would Benefit From Urban Agriculture Ordinance
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On Tuesday, March 24, Hmong Innovating Politics joined with Hmong urban farmers and a coalition of Sacramento residents to support the passage of an Urban Agriculture Ordinance that would allow residents to grow and sell produce in Sacramento City--increasing access to free produce for underserved neighborhoods and giving our Hmong urban farmers greater economic opportunities.
Here is the letter that HIP sent on behalf of Hmong Urban Farmers to Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Council:

Dear Mayor Johnson and Councilmembers,

On behalf of Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP), we are writing in strong support of the proposed Urban Agriculture Ordinance and urge you to vote for this important ordinance during the City Council Meeting on March 24, 2015.

HIP is a local grassroots organization and we work with underrepresented communities to help bring about social justice.  The Urban Agriculture Ordinance can help achieve equity by providing our community the ability to grow and sell produce in all zones of Sacramento City, and increasing access to fresh produce in our most underserved neighborhoods.

The practice of agriculture is not new to many communities in Sacramento – the livelihood of many Hmong and other Southeast Asian families depend on agriculture. For some members of our communities, the art of farming has fostered resiliency and a sense of purpose and pride especially for our elders. However, current barriers such as zoning restrictions and limited land use hinder their ability to farm and contribute to the local economy. The Urban Agriculture Ordinance can help mitigate these barriers, revitalize low-income neighborhoods in which many Southeast Asian and underrepresented communities reside in, provide solutions to blight caused by unmaintained vacant lots and reconnect diverse communities.

Your vote in support of the Urban Agriculture Ordinance is an important step in improving neighborhoods and increasing economic opportunities in Sacramento. Most importantly, your support will move this city towards hands-on community response to food deserts. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HIP at (916) 571-0041 or via email at hmonginnovatingpolitics@gmail.com.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Sue Vang & Cha Vang

HIP Organizers

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