Proof that #Youth Leaders in #California Have Heart, Service and Art

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There are many forces that encourage today’s youth to seek happiness through consumption of products, substance, and ideas. We are enthused to celebrate these teen leaders who have been recently awarded a Youth Rising Program Grant. We salute the way they work to channel their energy for increasing critical consciousness, beauty, and unity in their communities.

Agustin Barajas-Amaral The Cultural Appreciation Art Project Oakland, CA

The Cultural Appreciation Art Project is an art project for Oakland Youth at the Urban Promise Academy. The art project will allow youth to plan, illustrate and display multi-ethnic cultural imagery that celebrates cultural similarities and differences to help youth to create a safer community where cultural differences are celebrated and similarities recognized.

Through this project, youth and their parents will recognize ethnic diasporas and move away from stereotypes of race. They will see the intersectionalities of race where we recognize Black Arab, Afro Latinos, etc; The project’s first goal is that youth will create and hold deeper friendships and relationships with one another, youth, and adults.

Lyndsi Zapata Siza Los Angeles, CA is a Los Angeles based, debut, dance company. The momentum of our country’s political climate gives Artistic Director Lyndsi Zapata, much reason to put her creative craft to work. The company will perform and communicate through dance, while touching on issues of today that must have light cast on them.

More here.

Former foster youth share stories of resiliency

Jamie Lee Evans, director of the Foster Youth Museum, introduces the speakers at the foster youth panel held on Sunday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. (Lucjan Szewczyk -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

Jamie Lee Evans, director of the Foster Youth Museum, introduces the speakers at the foster youth panel held on Sunday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. (Lucjan Szewczyk -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

SANTA CRUZ >> The difference between walking out of foster care empowered and walking out having sustained lifelong injuries could be as simple as the homes in which you were placed. But the uniting factor that brought several former foster children to speak out about their experiences on Sunday was resiliency.

During the Fostering Resilience event held at the Museum of Art and History, panelists from California Youth Connection opened up to discuss how they found their way.

The panels and accompanying art activism workshop and youth-led performances tie into the larger theme of the foster youth experience explored by the museum’s “Lost Childhoods” exhibit on life inside the California foster care system. For at least one of the panelists, Summer Rae Worsham, 21, just being able to come and see the exhibit was something to cross off her bucket list.

“There is a lot of stigma around foster youth — they are bad, they are not going to amount to much — all these statistics packed against us,” Worsham said. “I challenge people to do the research, experience foster kids and learn what they have been through.”

It is exactly this message that some of the attendees took to heart and walked away with.

More here.

What’s #FosterCare Like? An #artexhibit shows us through the eyes of youth that lived it

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A San Francisco Bay Area museum is taking an unusual tack with an exhibition about foster youth in California. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History invited a team of former foster youth and advocates to help put the show together.

Five months before the show Lost Childhoods went up, around a hundred former foster youth and advocates began meeting at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History to talk about what the exhibition would look like.

Community engagement director Stacey Garcia explains, “We are not experts in what foster youth have gone through, what they want to share. We know how to make an exhibition, but we don’t know how to tell their story. They do.”

Jess Prudent works as an outreach assistant with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Cruz County, which supports children in foster care.

Prudent was skeptical at first that the museum wanted anything more than superficial advice from the Creative Community Committee (C3), but was soon won over by the hands-on curatorial process.

Obama's use of unreliable gang databases for deportations could be a model for trump

PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP’S reaffirmation of his campaign trail vow to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants has roiled communities across the country. Local leaders have attempted to calm their constituents, with authorities in California offering particularly strident opposition. California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León called Trump’s plan “catastrophic” and vowed that the state would “aggressively avail ourselves of any and all tools” to protect the rights of undocumented residents.

Remarks by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck about his agency not cooperating with any new deportation push garnered the highest praise from the national press and immigrants’ rights advocates.

“We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job,” Beck said on November 14.

The reality of street policing in California is quite different. Police and sheriffs in California — including the LAPD — and across the country have been routinely cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for years to deport people accused of gang ties. Joint federal-local gang task forces targeting transnational gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street were formed during George W. Bush’s presidency as part of Operation Community Shield, and they have continued to operate through Barack Obama’s two terms. Today, the deportation of people accused of gang membership or association is strongly emphasized under the Obama administration’s Priority Enforcement Program, which focuses on identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

Click here for more from The Intercept.