Defund the Police and Invest in Students
In the days leading up to the June 29th Kern High School District (KHSD) Board meeting, the Kern Education Justice Collaborative (KEJC) collected over 1500 petition signatures, 48 public comments, and a coalition letter signed by 15 organizations demanding that KHSD approve a 2020-21 budget to divert their approximately $4 million police budget to invest in restorative practices and programs that are rooted in racial justice and equity for our black and minoritized students such as:
- Hiring additional counselors, school-based social workers, psychologists, mental health clinicians and nurses
- Hiring diverse educators that reflect the student population
- Hiring Restorative Justice practitioners
- Implementing Ethnic Studies
Following the national trend, police presence in KHSD schools contributes to disproportionate rates of suspension, expulsion and disciplinary practices for Black and Latinx students. Black students are still 2-3 times more likely to be suspended and expelled at KHSD. Many KHSD police officers have several years of experience working at the Kern County Sheriff’s Department and the Bakersfield City Police, both of which have a record of extensive racial bias and excessive force. Yet, students do not have reasonable access to emotional and mental support services. According to data provided by KHSD, there are 318 students for every counselor, 1503 students for every psychologist, and 1628 students for every social worker.
At the KHSD Board meeting, school board members did not honor, let alone agknowledge, the concerns of our students, parents and community around school safety. Despite the numerous letters that DHF students and parents submitted, the school board chose to focus on comments from community members in opposition of defunding the KHSD police. In a show of disrespect, the board failed to even mention the coalition letter or petition. Despite the large numbers of students and families with food insecurity and limited access to technology during COVID-19, a long record of county and city police misconduct, and the fact that students may not go back to school full-time this fall, board members were unanimously in favor of keeping the full police budget intact.
The KHSD will adopt their final budget in August. We ask that you continue to share our Call to Action, coalition letter, and petition. We are inspired by the organizing efforts led by students and families of the Black Organizing Project to remove police from Oakland schools and those that have followed their example in San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, and Los Angeles. It is possible for this change to come to our schools too! It is our responsibility to ensure that the needs and demands of the community are heard! Our fight for justice continues.
To remove police from Kern High School District, sign our petition at bit.ly/Sign2defundKernHighpolice
As businesses began to open up again, we saw a sharp rise in the number of Covid 19 infections. DHF reminds everyone to follow safety and health guidelines. Covid-19 is still a threat and disproportionately affects low-income, Black and Latinx communities. The U.S. continues to lead the world in new Covid-19 cases daily. The federal government is not doing enough to save lives during the pandemic so we have to look out for each other and be vigilant in keeping our communities and loved ones safe. Here are some ways you can protect yourself others:
- Get tested often if possible. Free testing is becoming more available but you have to schedule your appointment online beforehand. If you have limited access to technology, call 211 to get information about dial-in testing sites. Priority is given to people with symptoms, those with chronic medical conditions, who are 65 years or older, or who are essential workers.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds or longer actually kills the coronavirus. When soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
- Wear a cloth mask when you’re out in public. Make sure it covers your mouth and nose.
- Avoid being in enclosed spaces with people who don’t live with you. People can have Covid-19 and not be aware of it because they’re asymptomatic or presymptomatic.
- If you feel the need to go out, it is safer to spend time outdoors than in an indoor space because potential water droplets from speaking disperse easier when you are outside.
- Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from people. Always remember to practice social distancing even when you’re outdoors.
The Celebration Continues! Dolores’ 90th Online Birthday Celebration
If you enjoyed celebrating Dolores’ 90th birthday with us, we have good news! We will be releasing unseen footage and highlights from the event including the full version of Dolores’ trivia game with the cast of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Dolores and Gloria Steinem’s interview with their biggest fan, 12 year old, Francesca, and other memorable highlights and musical performances on our Youtube channel. You will also be able to stream the film Eat the Rainbow where Dolores makes her acting debut. ¡Viva Dolores!
Vecinos Unidos Distribute Food and Increase 2020 Census Count
In triple digit heat in mid-June, the Sanger and Parlier Vecinos Unidos distributed over 200 boxes of food to families in need. They are addressing a food insecurity situation afflicting the Central Valley’s most vulnerable communities as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Vecinos Unidos also assisted over 40 families in self reporting for the 2020 Census, on site. They distributed information encouraging the other families receiving food to get counted.
Over all DHF Vecinos Unidos have distributed over 23,000 pounds of food in Lindsay, Raisin City, Carruthers, Parlier, Lake LA, Lamont, Arvin and Bakersfield. Boxes contain essential food items and basic staples including canned goods, potatoes, tuna, chicken, milk, beans green beans and soups.
At these food banks, Vecinos Unidos have assisted more than 300 families in completing the 2020 Census and have educated many others on the importance of getting every member of their families and communities counted.
DHF With End Childhood Poverty California Coalition Organizes in AK, AZ, CO, UT to pass the HEROES Act
In response to the economic inequalities facing our communities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers with GRACE/End Child Poverty California (ECPCA) and the Dolores Huerta Foundation are working on federal advocacy to bring much needed relief to struggling families by passing the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act).
With many of the federal stimulus programs set to end in July, including the $600 unemployment supports, those experiencing unemployment due to Covid-19 will need additional assistance. ECPCA has expanded its organizing focus towards federal advocacy as it is crucial to protecting programs and services for children and families in deep poverty.
The $3 Trillion HEROES Act will provide crucial State Fiscal Relief. California could receive up to $49.4 Billion for Coronavirus state fiscal relief. Passage of the HEROES Act will also help California ease devastating declines in revenues, prevent harmful cuts to essential programs and assist with economic recovery.
The HEROES Act has passed the Democratic Party majority House and now is in the Republican majority Senate. ECPCA is strategically focusing on Alaska, Arizona, Colorado and Utah because they have partner organizations and programs in those states. We are calling on people in the key states to contact their senators to demand passage of this critical legislation. Please reach out to anyone you may know in these states to spread the word!
YES ON 15! Schools and Communities First: Invest in Our Children, Our Communities, Our Future
IT’S TIME TO PUT SCHOOLS & COMMUNITIES FIRST BY VOTING YES ON PROP 15
- Reclaim $12 billion per year for K-12 schools, community colleges and local communities
- Close commercial property tax loopholes that corporations and wealthy investors use to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes
- Protect all homeowners and renters by maintaining tax protections for ALL residential property
- Ensure strict accountability so that money goes directly to our schools and communities
We are calling on community members to VOTE YES ON 15 and to inform and get endorsements from small business owners. Prop 15 provides tax relief by exempting small business properties worth $3 million or less. Endorse Prop 15 at this link: https://www.yes15.org/endorse-small-businesses
We need your help! It takes a lot of work to make sure our community stays informed and feels supported. If you have skills in social media, graphic design, writing, and translating and you want to volunteer with us, please contact DHF Communications and Development Director Juana Chavez at firstname.lastname@example.org.