A Yemeni family migrating to San Leandro in 2000 found an accepting new home in the U.S., but that all changed after the World Trade Center attack. Mid-Eastern and other minority families experienced the post-9/11 period as unsafe in a different way than other Americans. ”We were no longer able to make friends and even our neighbors turned against us and tried moving away from us because they felt unsafe. But…what happened that day is a normal occurrence to happen back where I’m from and we came to America to escape the risk of injury or even worse, death.” The son writes of his experience on Youth Radio.
“Po’Boys Kitchen” is a spoken word theater piece written, directed, and produced by Richmond youth. At a corner store, a Black-owned, family business in the heart of Richmond, different people seek refuge from their harsh realities. Downtrodden characters who feel invisible out of the street make their voices heard. Producers are seeking support for the performance, and hope to make it a larger community event. Read about it on Richmond Pulse.
A Boyle Heights native wants to give some pointers to young people undertaking the intimidating college application process. As a graduate of Roosevelt High School who went on to work as a college admissions officer, he is in a special position to advise first time college applicants. For one thing, prioritize a strong personal statement. “Put yourself in the shoes of the admissions reader and ask yourself… After reading dozens of files a day would mine stand out?” He imparts seven tips on Boyle Heights Beat.
LGBTQ activists have adopted immigration policy as a priority in recent years, hoping to improve rights and conditions for the large community of gay immigrants in California. But can an LGBTQ-immigrant alliance work in a conservative setting like Bakersfield? Some young gay immigrants remark that, especially in families of newer immigrants, religious views are often used to justify a rejection of the LGBTQ members of their community. The tensions between cultural groups are examined in a story on South Kern Sol.
This episode of Youth Radio Podcast explores what teens think of that notorious school subject: math. In the Youth Radio newsroom, some don’t see any importance of math in the jobs they are pursuing. But others see its usefulness in understanding statistics and practical economics, like balancing your budget and doing your taxes. One commenter also observed racial differences in the way students approach math. Hear the extended episode on math and its wider social implications, on Youth Radio.
Along East First Street in Boyle Heights, passersby will see small murals covering the surfaces of utility boxes, part of an effort by the Eastside Access Project, a $12 million plan to improve safety and access for bicyclists and pedestrians. The murals come less than three months after a ban 11-year ban on murals was lifted. “When you look at public art or graffiti, you see that the youth is angry. They don’t have vehicles for expression. If we could find a way to get money involved where painting could improve the area…kids follow by example.” Read more on Boyle Heights Beat.
Maria “Lou” Calanche heads a nonprofit aimed at improving prospects for youth growing up in the Ramona Gardens, a small housing community in Boyle Heights. The Beat sat down with Calanche and asked her how she came to focus on Ramona Gardens, and how her organization works to help youth in poverty. “I really believe that Ramona Gardens can become a wonderful place to grow up. That kids have opportunities and resources and live happy and healthy lives free of gang violence.” Read the interview on Boyle Heights Beat.
Rexland Acres Park in Southeast Bakersfield has suffered the fate of many public parks — gang presence, drugs and alcohol, and a generally unsafe atmosphere amidst the playground and picnic tables. Families had abandoned the park, but Kern County recently finished visible improvements that community members hope will help children and families reclaim the park, including a new pedestrian path, a freshly paved parking lot, and renovations to the basketball courts. “The kids need something to do besides TV and [they need] a place to go to play that’s also nearby.” But more improvements to parks are needed, residents told South Kern Sol.
The effects of soda and other sugary beverages have become a genuine health crisis, especially among Latino and other minority youth. The challenge of this problem is addressing the multiple reasons kids choose sugary drinks over water: cost, accessibility, lack of awareness, advertising and peer example. Some schools have been banning these beverages and instilling healthier alternatives. But, “it is unreasonable to expect that people will change their behavior easily when so many forces in the social, cultural, and physical environment conspire against such change.” Johnny Flores, Jr., reports on the issue for Coachella Unincorporated.
Richmond youth writer Monet Boyd reviews the recent film, 12 Years a Slave, a story about a free Black man who gets sold into slavery. Her review explores the distinct messages and nuances of the film, linking it to young Black Americans’ consciousness and behavior today. She draws a message of inspiration from the film’s protagonist, Solomon Northrup, buried as it that message may be in the movie’s raw brutality. “He never lost his identity, though slave masters, overseers, and even other slaves told him to forget his past.” Read the full review on Richmond Pulse.