Tags >> poverty
Oct 08
2009

The Immigrant Paradox

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , students , speaker , Santa Rosa , resources , poverty , policy , parks , nonprofit orgs , medicine , jobs , immigration , housing , healthcare , Health , government , food , finances , families , events , employment , education , economy , community , children , California

Bruce Robinson

What segment of California’s population is healthiest?  It’s probably not what you would think.

As Alameda County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Anthony Iton (left) directed efforts to correlate data from death certificates, parole offices, income reports from the national census and other sources and see where they overlapped in his county. And he found a high correspondence to the areas where poverty is most prevalent.

Taking their cue from the social support systems that many immigrant families enjoy, Dr. Iton suggests that public health departments also instigate informal gatherings of residents in impoverished neighborhoods, as an additional tool for improving their collective well-being.

Dr.  Iton  also co-authored this report (pdf, 87 pages) detailing the relative medical and social factors that shape health outcomes among the population of Alameda County. Similar results apply in Sonoma County and much of California.

 

Oct 04
2009

Afghanistan visit

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , speaker , poverty , politics , policy , international , government , events , education , drugs , budget , author , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

A north bay activist’s independent fact-finding tour of Afghanistan recently found growing violence closing in on the capital city of Kabul, and a scarcity of aid for refugees or civilian redevelopment needs.

Norman Solomon says his trip to Afghanistan was informative and constructive, but its primary impact was emotional.

Part of that impact for Solomon came in meeting a young refugee girl who had lost an arm when her town was bombed and her family's home was destroyed. Guljumma, seven years old, is seen here with her father, Wakil Tawos Khan, at the Helmand Refugee Camp District 5 in Kabul . Last year, an air attack by the U.S. military struck their home in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.  (Photo copyright Reese Erlich 2009)

The most profound finding Solomon brought back from his visit to Kabul was the disparity between our government’s professed intention to provide meaningful assistance to the Afghan people, and the absence of follow-through on those promises.

Among the small delegation organized by Solomon’s non-profit, the Institute for Public Accuracy, was a former US soldier who had served in Afghanistan, Rick Reyes. 

After enlisting in the Marine Corps, Reyes served as an infantry rifleman. He was deployed in "Operation Enduring Freedom" (Afghanistan) 2001 and then “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (Iraq) 2003. In 2008 he got involved in the Brave New Foundation's Rethink Afghanistan project and testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Video of that testimony is posted here. Reyes is a co-founding member of Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan.

 

 

Sep 28
2009

Catholic Charities

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , speaker , Santa Rosa , religion , poverty , nonprofit orgs , healthcare , government , families , employment , economy , children , activism

Bruce Robinson

Official statistics on poverty in America tell barely half the story, even before the current recession kicked in, says the leader of a national anti-poverty effort, while the recovery now being forecast will take months or more to trickle down to the nation’s neediest citizens.

Father Larry Snyder took over as the head of Catholic Charities USA in early 2005, and found himself, just six months later, presiding over his agency’s efforts to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Looking back on that disaster now, he believes it has helped open Americans’ eyes to the prevalence of poverty in our midst.

 

 

The expansion of federal funding for faith-based organizations under the Bush administration actually amounted to less than it appeared, says Father Snyder. It merely extended a long-standing practice to include some additional service providers.

Catholic Charities  USA has announced a concerted campaign to cut poverty in America by half, and has developed an array of web-based resources and information as part of that effort. The data summarized below is taken from that website.

National Poverty Data

Updated September 2009

39.8 million people live below the official federal poverty level, which was $22,025 for a family of four in 2008. This number is up from 37.3 million in 20071.

The number of people in poverty has not exceeded the 2008 figure of 39.8 million people since 1960. It is expected to rise as the new census numbers account for 2008--which was just the beginning of the economic downturn.

The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008.

Almost half of all Americans will have experienced poverty for a year or more at some point in their lives by the time they reach age 60.

Income and Employment

The federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.   Real median household income declined by 3.6 percent in 2008. As of September , 2009 the national unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent. Learn more

Location

Poverty rates are highest in central cities and rural areas. Inside metropolitan areas the poverty rate and the number of people in poverty were 12.9 percent and 32.6 million, both up from 2007.  The poverty rate for those outside metropolitan areas is 15.1 percent.

The South has the highest rate of people in poverty,14.3 percent. Mississippi and Louisiana have the first and second highest rates. Find your state's rank.

Racial Inequality

The poverty rate for non-Hispanic whites is 8.6 percent, while the rate for Hispanics is 23.2 percent, the rate for Asians is 11.8 percent, and the rate for African Americans is 24.5 percent.  Learn more about Race and Poverty.

Age

The number of people 65 and older remained at 3.6 million in 2008. Children experience a higher rate of poverty, 19 percent, than the rest of the population. This number is higher than in 2007.  Children represent 35.3 percent of people in poverty but only 24.6 percent of the total population.1

Sep 13
2009

Doctors for Healthcare Reform

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Santa Rosa , poverty , politics , medicine , legislation , healthcare , Health , government , events , economy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Another voice in support of public healthcare reform is coming from family practice residents in Santa Rosa.

America's current health care system is deeply flawed in its capacity to deliver care to the patients who need it, says Dr. Rachel Friedman (left), which is the fundamental reason she is advocating for systemic reforms.

Those inequities in care, which are driven by disparities in health insurance coverage, tend to give doctors a narrower range of patients to work with, observes Dr. Veronica Jordan (right), while her ideal would be to see a more fully representative  spectrum of people in her daily practrice.
The activism that Drs. Friedman and Jordan are engaged in is not unusual, Friedman adds. Most of their residency classmates have joined in, and they have many counterparts across the country.


 

 

Aug 13
2009

Youth, Civic Engagement, and the Economy

Posted by Cheryl Scholar in youth , teens , poverty , economy , community engagement

Cheryl Scholar

 

 

KRCB and Project Safe, a youth leadership team run through the Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County (CAP) have teamed up to produce a series of video and audio productions featuring the stories of individuals and families whose lives have been affected by the economic crisis in various ways. This project is part of KRCB’s Voice of Youth program, an on-going venture that provides an outlet for young people to connect with the broader community in artistic and creative ways. This project was made possible by a grant from the National Center for Media Engagement.

 

Beginning in May of 2009, KRCB held weekly meetings with members of a youth leadership group called Project Safe. For the next three months, these young people learned about interviewing techniques, how to use a video camera to get good footage, as well as some editing skills. At the same time, they were gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of the economy’s downturn on people in their community and the impact it has overall on the quality of life in the county.

 

In the process of gathering stories and making a documentary, the Project Safe youth started thinking about how they could help. They identified resources that families could access to ensure that basic needs were met. But they wanted to do more – they wanted to engage more people, particularly those in positions of influence, in discussions about how to address the systemic issues related to poverty. In their eyes, there was a recurring pattern to the problems people were experiencing, and it led to a perpetual cycle of not having enough resources to rise to a basic level of self-sufficiency. Even though the period of the grant is over, it is clear that there is more work to be done.

 

We at KRCB feel very privileged and honored to have been able to work with a group of young people who clearly care about their community and aren’t shy about stepping up to the plate when it comes to affecting change. Our goal is to continue to support the youth in our community who have the ability and desire to make a difference in the world. We’d like to introduce you to a few of our extraordinary partners in this project. Following are excerpts from articles written by some of our Project Safe partners  after interviewing each other.

 

 

Maribel

 

The 15 year old Maribel, who is an incoming junior, says, “I enjoy volunteering and like to see the people happy when I am done with my work.”  She is a very helpful young woman and is looking forward to being a nurse when she is older. 

Maribel, along with her youth group, does countless hours of community service, volunteers at community events, and they all meet every Thursday of the week.  Since May 28, 2009, they have been meeting with KRCB at their youth center to discuss food and how it is affecting their community. 

 Although Maribel says that she does not suffer from hunger, she believes that hunger is one of the main issues in her community. She says that she knows a lot of people who lost their jobs and don’t have enough money to pay for food.  By August, Maribel and her group are planning to make a video in which involves people that are having problems obtaining food.  Maribel hopes that with the video, “people will see what those people are going through and donate food for the ones that don’t have anything”.

 

 

Lizbeth  

 

Is food a main problem in your community?  Lizbeth thinks it is.  She sees people in need of food.  The loss of jobs impacts our community because people don’t have money to by food, said Lizbeth.

She wants to show people the problems going on in the community and wants to create a solution.  This is why she and the Project Safe group, a leadership group, is doing a project with the KRCB radio station to get the word out.  When she was attending Middle School as a 7th grader, the director for the group asked her and her twin sister to be in it, and so they did.

Lizbeth also has the opportunities to volunteer at events or at the CAP office with the group.  She says she doesn’t have a favorite project because in each thing, she learns something new. 

Lizbeth wants to be an actress when she is older and says that this project she is doing with KRCB will help her in her communications skills.  She wants people to help out and volunteer more because it won’t only help the people, but it would also help them.  Lizbeth says, “Help people out.  They’re in need, not just yourself.”

 

 

Elizabeth

 

Elizabeth is a creative person that looks at the big picture.  She sees the world in both a positive way and negative light because she believes that there are negative things but it can always be undone. She is creative, understanding and patient. 

She got involved in the youth leadership group in 7th grade. Throughout her years of involvement she doesn’t have a favorite project because she says that she enjoys every event.  She is also involved in a camera project with KRCB that does outreach, discussing with different people the economy issues and their effect.  She doesn’t have an assigned role yet in the project but she is interested and would like to try placing the camera because it involves lots of detail.

Elizabeth was born in September. She is Mexican but was born in L.A.  Her family is not that big.  She has 2 sisters, 1 brother and they all get along great. 

She also is concerned about the economic crisis.  She says that impacts she seen because of the economic crisis are that the prices have gone up in everything and many people are losing their jobs and homes. 

She feels that the project is going to help improve the community because the people tell them how they feel about the economic crisis, so she can help them.  She hopes that she learns how to approach people while being in this project.  Here future plan / goal with the help of this project is to find a job and this will help her with the interview. 

 

 

Ana

 

The dedicated Ana, who is 15 and an incoming sophomore, got involved with the youth leadership group at the age of 13.  Since then she has been extremely active around her community.  Some of the events that Ana and the youth group that she is involved with have helped out with are: Caesar Chavez, Cinco de Mayo, and the Kaiser Permanente Health Fair.  She loves volunteering because she knows she makes a difference even if is just a little thing.

Aside from working hard in her community, Ana and her group are now involved in the KRCB project in which they will discuss food and hunger and how the community is being affected by the economy.  Ana is very excited to work on this project and learn many new skills.  She believes that with this she will be well informed on what people think and hopes to help them in some way.

 “It breaks my heart to see or hear that people are going hungry and can’t afford food to fill their stomachs. I want help them,” Ana says.  She wants to be a teacher when she is older and hopes that this project helps her overcome her shyness.

 

 

Deisy

 

Deisy was born in Zacatecas, Mexico.  She enjoys volunteering in her spare time through her youth leadership group. Deisy views the world both positively and negative.  Positively because there are many good things in the world and negative because the fact that money is what schools and people don’t have. The economic crisis has affected Deisy because she lost her friend last year because her friend’s parents lost their house and had to move away. 

Three adjectives that Deisy picked to describe her are skinny, tall and creative.  Deisy has come out in the newspaper because of how involved she is in the community.  Deisy’s favorite project has been face painting little kids at events such as Ceasar Chavez Health Fair and Kaiser Health Fair.  Deisy also enjoys going to the movies and watches comedies.  Deisy has an older brother and a mom who has been singled since her Dad passed away.  Deisy’s goals for the future are to become a lawyer or therapist.  She thinks that this project will help her learn how to ask questions that will lead to more information.

 

 

Brenda 

 

“My uncle and aunt lost their home and had to move out with their kids, that impacted me a lot because I don’t like to see my family going through rough situations,” says Brenda, a 15 year old sophomore.

Brenda was born in August 1993.  She describes herself as a short, nice and bubbly person and says the best thing about here is that she is stubborn because she likes to prove people wrong and be the best.  For that reason she sees the world in a positive way because although there are various obstacles in life she believes that she can do her best and overcome them. 

When Brenda was in 7th grade she was involved in a youth program at her school. From there she then joined the leadership group she is in now which meets every Thursday of the month.  She is a volunteer in her spare time. Doing a countless number of hours, Brenda does all sorts of volunteering projects but her favorite one has been the book drive.  She said it was very easy, quick and fun.

At this moment Brenda is involved in a project with KRCB to find how the economic crisis is affecting our community.   This will be done by interviewing people around the community. 

 

What Brenda hopes to get out of this project is to not be so shy because often times she wants to participate in many things and discussions but she can’t because she is too shy.  This wonderful project will help Brenda in the future because she says if she ever wants a job in media she already has experience.  “My goals for the future are to graduate from high school and go to college, perhaps Berkeley, Stanford, or UC Davis are a few of my choices,” says Brenda.  I also hope to make a difference and help out people with this project and see smiles not sad faces. 

 

 

Cynthia

 

Cynthia  is a 15 year old who got involved in the youth leadership group when she was in 7th grade. She enjoys helping her community out.  She does not have a favorite activity but she mostly enjoys working and helping little kids.  Right now she is working with KRCB trying to get people’s opinion and see how the economic crisis is going for them.  She would like to be a singer when she grows up and she wants to hear what people want to say and give them a voice.