The kNOw Weighs In

FUSD & TERRY SLATIC

Terry Slatic has only been on Fresno Unified’s school board for seven months, but has already proven to be problematic. In the seven months Slatic has been a school board member, he’s made headlines for assaulting a student, threatening students on the cheer team, threatening the job of his son’s wrestling coach and making a Black army recruiter feel unsafe on campus.

As a school board member, having the student’s best interest in mind and making students feel safe should be a priority, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Trustee Slatic. In this weigh-in, The kNOw writes an open letter to FUSD with their thoughts on Slatic’s actions and how the school district is handling this situation.


LIVING IN CALIFORNIA

Editor’s Note: According to the movies, everything is better in California. The people are happier, the sky is bluer and the sun is brighter. But is that really the case? For many young people, California has become a gilded cage that is trapping them between living comfortably or getting an education. For this edition of The kNOw Weighs In, we asked the young people of The kNOw what dangers their peers were facing as California residents and what more the state should be doing to help its youth.


FRESNO NEEDS TO DO MORE FOR HOMELESS YOUTH

In Fresno County alone, there are 5,088 registered students who are homeless. Of those youth, only 280 are served by the Sanctuary Youth Shelter and only 12-16 are served by the Sanctuary Transitional Shelter. That leaves 4,792 young people without a home.

This November, the first official Runaway and Homeless Youth Month following the passage of SCR 161 this year, The kNOw and Women Empowered are joining together to challenge the people of Fresno to do more for the youth who are on the streets without shelter or support.


WHY WE VOTE

We are 12 DAYS AWAY from the midterm elections and for some of our youth, it will be their first time voting. At this critical time in our political climate, voting is as important as ever. Read below to hear why voting it so important to our youth reporters.


THE KNOW (WOMEN) WEIGH IN: TOXIC MASCULINITY

In this issue of The kNOw, youth discuss the presence of toxic masculinity in their lives. Women all have stories where they have felt unsafe or objectified by men. For young women, it is toxic living in a world where men feel they are able to stare, judge and make advances uninvited. This behavior creates an environment where women feel unsafe to walk in their own neighborhood.  

The young women of kNOw where asked about times when they felt the presence of toxic masculinity directly and were asked to share an experience when they felt unwanted sexual attention from men.


THE WORLD’S RICHEST MAN

A recent tone deaf interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has garnered public outrage in the last week. In his interview, Bezos illustrated an utter lack of willingness to use his enormous wealth in a way outside of self-serving projects.

After Amazon workers began sharing their stories about unfavorable and unsafe working conditions and unlivable wages, a conversation began about what having more wealth than anyone can reasonably spend means and examining the relationship between a CEO’s wealth and the lack of wealth amongst those they employ.

Read below to see what The kNOw think about those relationships, about the tax disparity between the rich and the poor and about their opinions on the world’s richest man.


#METOO

For the first time in many of our lifetimes, we as a society are on the verge of true social change. As more and more women and men come forward sharing their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, and more and more men are forced out of positions of power in response to their stories, we are at the precipice of seeing a true shift in the power dynamics that our society has been built on.

One of the biggest reasons that this change is happening is the #MeToo movement. As Time Magazine put it, 2017 is the year of the Silence Breakers.

But, as with any movement as large and far reaching as #MeToo, the spotlight can come with both good and bad. Read below to see what the reporters of The kNOw have to say about the importance of the #MeToo movement — and who it’s leaving behind.


RACISM IN CLOVIS UNIFIED

Clovis Unified School District has recently come under fire as screenshots of Clovis student’s racist conversations have gone viral. On Friday September 29, twitter user @lysdesa posted conversations that fellow Clovis Unified students posted in a group snapchat.

The conversations are beyond disturbing and have many weighing in on what should be done to combat this kind of ignorance. The reporters of The kNOw had their own thoughts on the issue, read below to find out what they had to say.


TO FRESNO, WITH LOVE

As summer winds down and students ready themselves to head back to school, we at The kNOw wanted to take the time to reflect on our city of Fresno. 

Since 2006, we have been lucky enough to be a part of the community of Fresno and, as our recent #KnowFresno photo contest demonstrates, we believe it is important to acknowledge what makes our city so special. 


CALIFORNIA YOUTH WEIGH IN: MENTAL HEALTH

Today marks the first day of Mental Health Awareness Month. Since 1949, May has been dedicated to educating the public about the reality of mental health in the U.S. and ending the stigmas that surround this. In honor of that history, we asked young people across California to share their own experiences with mental health issues. Read below to see what they had to say about mental health at home, in school and among their peers.


WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Young people are no strangers to fear, from age-old fears such as failing or disappointing their loved ones, to fears unique to our current historical moment. We asked our reporters to think about their deepest fears and share them. 

This act of sharing is meant to do two things. The naming of the fears shows us what we are working against and the sharing of fears shows us that we are not alone.

As you read our reporter’s greatest fears, think about the way that naming and sharing your fears can be useful in your own life… (X)

 

A REFLECTION ON THE LEGACY OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

As President Obama’s time in the White House comes to a close, the nation is looking back at what kind of legacy he will leave. Below, the reporters of The kNOw share what they think stands out most about our 44th President and his time in office… (X)

Johnsen Del Rosario


RISE UP: IMAGINE HEALTH & JUSTICE

To create change we first have to imagine solutions to the problems we face in our everyday lives.

To do this, Fusion’s Rise Up: Be Heard fellows partnered with USC’s Civic Paths to imagine what a world without these problems would look like. You can see a video of that future here.

Their imagined world inspired the reporters at The kNOw to dream up what their own perfect world would look like. This is what they saw… (X)

Angel Vargas


#NODAPL

Recently there has been an increased dialogue surrounding the demonstrations, protests and other events happening in Standing Rock, North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux and numerous other tribes and allies have come together to protest the North Dakota Access Pipeline or DAPL.

Through chants and protests – as well as tweets and the #NoDAPL hashtag – people are making their concerns about the partially completed pipeline known.

Indigenous peoples in the region state that the current trajectory of the pipeline disturbs sacred sites and threatens to pollute the drinking water of the people living there.

Protesters are facing stiff resistance from law enforcement and private security hired by Dakota Access, LCC and Energy Transfer, the companies building the pipeline who claim that the protestors are trespassing.

As the situation becomes increasingly tense, recordings and claims of protesters being mistreated and abused continue to arise. The topic continues to demand more attention from the public at the national and sometimes global level and many have already pledged solidarity with the protestors.

This is what the reporters of The kNOw Youth Media had to say about the DAPL… (X)

standing rock


THE TRUMP TAPES

On October 6th, a 2005 recording of Donald Trump boasting in vulgar terms about women was released. In what has come to be called “The Trump Tapes,” the Republican Presidential nominee describes forcing himself on women and grabbing them by the vagina – all of which he says he got away with because he was a “star.” Since the release of the tapes, and the subsequent apology video in which Trump dismisses his words as “locker room talk,” women all over the world have taken to Twitter to share their own stories of survival and abuse and to call out Trump’s comments for promoting rape culture.

Read below for The kNOw’s reactions to The Trump Tapes and their aftermath… (X)

trump tapes


THE TAMPON TAX

On Thursday, June 16, the California State Assembly approved a bill that will end the luxury tax currently placed on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. This bill was first introduced by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) at the beginning of this year.

In a press release from January, Assemblywoman Garcia said, “This is not insignificant to women, especially poor women on a tight budget who struggle to pay for basic necessities like a box of tampons or pads every month for their adult life.” In California alone, people with periods pay more than $20 million annually on taxes for tampons and sanitary napkins.

Even President Obama spoke out about the unfair tax on such necessities, telling lifestyle vlogger Ingrid Nilsen, “I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items. I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.”

To put it into perspective: Wisconsin does not tax Viagra, New York does not tax Rogaine and Indianna does not tax barbecued sunflower seeds. But all three states tax feminine hygiene products.

Because so few states have addressed this gender biased tax disparity, the The kNOw weighed in on why they support California’s decision to remove the luxury tax… (X)

Aqeela Starks


#INVESTINYOUTH

On Thursday, April 26th, Fresno Building Healthy Communities (BHC), a coalition of community organizations and residents, launched their #InvestInYouth campaign. This campaign, which kicked off with a community Town Hall event held at the Mosqueda Center, focuses on the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and how the Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) is spending the money this funding has granted them.

The extra funding provided by LCFF is to be used to increase outcomes for three student groups: English Learner students, foster students and students coming from low income families. Based on community input and research, BHC has the following three requests:

1. The 2015–2016 LCAP will direct 2.5 million of LCFF funding to new family engagement approaches.

2. There will be at least one full-time FUSD staff (Community Connector) working with parents in each high school using family development approach by 2015–2016.

3. Update the Fresno Unified School District’s English Learner Master Plan in the 2015–2016 school year.

Beyond their suggestions to the district, #InvestInYouth is also asking the community to use their voices to show FUSD that they too believe in investing in Fresno’s youth. In that spirit, we asked the youth reporters of The kNOw how they believed the LCFF money should be spent to invest in their educations and this is what they had to say… (X)

Alyssa Valdivia


RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE

Last month Gov. Jerry Brown announced that the minimum wage in California would be steadily increasing over the next 5 years until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022. In the aftermath of the announcement, youth reporters from The kNOw discussed the implications of the raise, especially for Fresno and the Central Valley. Scroll down to read the reactions from the young people… (X)

Johnsen Del Rosario


WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH


PROP 47: CENTRAL VALLEY YOUTH WEIGH IN ON INCARCERATION — WHEN IS IT APPROPRIATE?

On November 4th, Californians will cast their votes on Proposition 47. The prop, also called The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, would reclassify six non-violent crimes currently charged as felonies — including drug possession and shoplifting — as misdemeanors. Those currently serving time in prison for these felonies would have their sentences adjusted retroactively, resulting in early releases. Any money saved as a result of reducing the state prison population would be used to fund mental health and drug rehabilitation services, and education programs for at-risk young people.

The kNOw Youth Media and We’Ced Youth Media asked young people in Merced and in Fresno, California: When is incarceration a just punishment? And how should society deal with non-violent offenses and petty crimes? (X)


YOUTH WEIGH IN ON IMMIGRATION, PEDRO RAMIREZ, AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN AMERICA

Student Body President at Fresno State, Pedro Ramirez, recently revealed that he is an undocumented citizen who has been living in the United States since he was three years old. Although many people have expressed support, including Fresno State President John Welty, others have spoken out against him. In this piece, youth writers from The kNOw share their views on immigration, on Pedro, and on the power of cultural diversity in America… (X)


WHO ASKED US? YOUTH VOICES ON CLASS SIZE

Editor’s Note: California Watch, a new nonprofit journalism project at the Center for Investigative, surveyed the 30 largest K-12 school districts in the state and found that many schools are pushing class sizes to 24 in some or all of the early grades. California already ranks 48th in the nation in terms of student-to-teacher ratios… (X)


FRESNO TEENS WEIGH IN ON OBAMA’S GOAL TO ‘REMAKE AMERICA’

In his inaugural address, 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, declared “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America.” To accomplish this daunting task involves not only our government but the contribution and voice of all citizens in the nation, especially our young generation. The kNOw youth provide their perspective on this historic occasion and what it means to ‘remake America’… (X)


YOUTH WEIGH IN ON PRIMARY BATTLE 

Editor’s Note: We asked young people all across the Bay Area and the Central Valley if they were voting, what issues they think are the most crucial and who they would vote for. YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia and The kNOw are all youth media projects of Pacific News Service. Street Soldiers Radio is a weekly radio program heard by more than 300,000 listeners… (X)