Project CommUNITY: Hope for New Beginnings

Catrina P. Smith

Project CommUNITY: Hope for New Beginnings

President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris prepare to take over the White House in January in communities of color. Some see it as a new beginning. I am delighted and hopeful. Not only for me is an individual for our community here in Sacramento, but for our whole country in the world. While others are more cautious, we all can agree that it is a really uncomfortable time. It is a really uncomfortable experience to reach out and have those kinds of communications way. No, as a group here, that our community can do that. Racial justice, equal treatment in business. E got one. Great. From this, I need a forgivable loan. And in healthcare, Hobart has brought home to us that, you know, it really is the truth that life can change in an instant. Tonight and Casey are phonies. Project community hope for new beginnings. Mhm and thank you for joining us. I’m Brittney Johnson. Election Day is over, and certification dates are approaching over the next few weeks. California certification day is December 5th. Now President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris are already prepping to take office in January and according to new diversity data, 46% of the transition team are people of color, a new beginning celebrated by Sacramento Urban League CEO Cassandra Jennings. I had to go with my parents, to the bus station or to the store, and I had toe enter in a certain door. I had to drink out of a certain water fountain. I couldn’t enjoy the things that we have now, reflecting on her time as a child growing up in the South during segregation, toe looking at where the world is now, Cassandra Jennings, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League, says America has come a long way. Referencing the recent election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Biden said to take office as the 46th president of the United States, Harris said to become the first female black and South Asian vice president. But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last of feeling, Jennings says. It’s chilly. I am delighted and hopeful, not only for me as an individual for our community here in Sacramento, but for our whole country and the world. It’s about time we get back to the freedom and the democracy and the respect of people that we know this country stands for. Jennings has felt this way before. This election had many firsts. When stories we saw President Obama get into office. We just saw a world that change. We saw a man that looked like us. That was a smart as all get out that was eso personable to that could lead our country. We just thought, Oh my goodness, we have arrived again. But for her, the election of Harris is a little bit sweeter. I will say that with Kamala Harris now being the vice president elect, it just put the icing on the cake. And as a black woman, it just lifted toe another level, not only for me, but for my country that I love so much. The black votes played a key role in Biden’s victory over President Trump. The African American community stood up for me. It says that the power of the black vote is to be reckoned with. It needs to be recognized and it needs to be respected for so long. Black people black women have not had the right to vote. They haven’t been respected. They have been the foundation of this country. And so now, to see a black woman that holds the second to the highest office in this nation, plus the show that there was a significant outpour of them, that their voices heard that elected this dynamite team abiding inheres means that it really just shows that black women have power. News headlines have quoted people from all different backgrounds, saying the Biden Harris win brings a sense of relief to their community. While Jennings agrees, she says, the word relief scratches the surface. It’s really relief with hope, with optimism, with a promising of a future that really has been denied over these last four years, and then when when we thought it was gonna get better or subside it on, Lee got worse. There have been many hopeful moments in black America that have turned out to be false promises. For that reason, Jennings hopes Biden and Harris won’t forget about issues she feels needs to be addressed in the black community. First of all, we need to deal with the voters, the Civil Rights and Voters Act. It has never been fully re authorized, which means that sort of the equality and justice that we achieve many, many decades ago, eyes in jeopardy. It should not be in jeopardy. Now the Urban League president and CEO host, Biden and Harris will also tackle employment opportunities, healthcare, racial inequality and criminal justice reform. But there are African Americans who didn’t cast votes for Biden and Harris, some skeptical of decisions made in the past. For Biden, it was opposing, forced bussing his support for the 1994 crime bill and being a leading crusader for mass incarceration throughout the eighties and nineties. For Harris, it was the number of blacks and Hispanics she prosecuted during her time as attorney general, saying she’s skewed in favor of police. I brought this up in my discussion with Jennings, she says. Everyone has a past, and with what they know now, she hopes Biden and Harris will both reimagine public safety. We all have a history. The thing is, what do we do with that history? Do we learn from it? Does it help us to improve and be a better people? And I think when we’re in certain positions, we have toe uphold what those positions have and we have to do everything we can, especially when we know better. We need to do better. And so I think there’s an opportunity where were in the positions we are to change the way the laws work so that it better serves. And so for for all of us, that’s what you wanna look at from where people come toe where they are going. Other local leaders are recognizing the significance of the role Kamala Harris will be stepping into. Lauren Hammond was the first ever African American woman elected to serve on Sacramento City Council. Now she holds the role of president of Sacramento’s chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Hammond says Harris will bring a unique set of professional and life experiences to the second highest elected office in the land. Because of Camilla’s background and her upbringing, she has more empathy than others because her life experience has been different, hopeful about having the first woman and first person of color toe hold the office of vice president and what it means for the future of our nation’s political landscape. On Tuesday, the Sacramento Board of Supervisors declared racism to be a public health crisis in Sacramento County. This follows the footsteps of local governments throughout the country. The events this summer with the tragic murder of George Floyd and others, really caused a lot of rightful introspection by many of us in elective office to understand how much work there is left to do to confront racism generally, but especially as it relates to public health. The final vote was 4 to 1 in favor of the resolution, which requires the county to eliminate any policies that harbor racial discrimination. And while protest and chance of black lives matter may not be echoing nightly through the streets anymore, work is still being done to build better relationships between local law enforcement and the community. Some of that work is happening in Yuba County through a group called Race Dialogues. Their goal. To find solutions to race based division through compassionate conversations. Black last matter, Theo Chance marches, rallies and sites of fist in the air are no longer visible on a daily basis here in Northern California, but calls for racial justice continue in the form of discussions. Race dialogues Ah group of eight different people with four common goals create a learning community deep in understanding of systematic racism and its effect on today’s institutions. Culture and beliefs, improve skills, encountering racism and organizing for racial justice and network in a way that strengthens and expands outreach, influence and effectiveness in overcoming systematic racism. I spoke with four members. Joyce Pope, founder of the Tri County African American Alliance Gas. Xenia Kochu, student support specialist at Marysville Joint Unified School District. Nyenati Melissa, Cleveland, community activist. And Susan Allen, teacher and author. The group says race dialogues is paramount for individuals to heal and move forward. This is the time this is the moment we’re here now and we need Thio. Look, this issue in the face and we need to have those dialogues and we need to grow from that experience because we all can agree that it is a really uncomfortable time. It is a really uncomfortable experience to reach out and have those kinds of communications. But we know as a group here that our community can do that, the emphasis that I want to bring out and this is building the bridges between communities, people, individuals, we all have different backgrounds. We all work at different places and have lived in different areas. We have such an array as diverse backgrounds. Even with me and Joyce having the same racial background on the outside, you know, we still have different upbringings, different experiences. So I think the race dialogue is not just good for cross races, but it’s good for us inside our race to understand different points of views. My goal is to propagate and understanding off what’s happening with systemic races in our country. Taking a proactive approach, the group has already held successful roundtable discussions between local law enforcement and the community helping bridge the gap. Cleveland says it’s led tome or positive engagement from police at community events. So we’ve had Giunti. Things like that have been more publicized since then. The backpack giveaways that they’ve done for back to school. The police have helped the community and those giveaways more so. I do believe that it started bridging the gap. However, I believe that it only it was only a drop in the ocean. I believe that it knocked on the door, but unless we continue to do more of those, then it would have been for nothing, race dialogue, says their discussions with police took place well before the death of George Floyd, who died while in custody of Minneapolis police. Floyd’s death sparked months of unrest across the country and put a renewed spotlight on law enforcement’s use of excessive force, violence and racism. Since the incident, race Dialogue says they’ve been working to schedule another discussion with their local law enforcement agencies. The hope is to come to an understanding so that what happen in Minnesota doesn’t happen in their community. I expect more growth in the future because they were receptive to us before. And I expect the Police Department to continue to be receptive to our ideas because these are ideas that are supporting the community at large, and I believe the community would appreciate that as well. Members of race dialogues have been hard at work these last few months. They’ve successfully implemented a four credit workshop on the film 13th at Yuba College. Kalief Browder was walking home from a party when he was stopped by police, a galvanizing documentary which refers to the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, which permits slavery as a punishment for crying. We’re gonna discuss each part and how it pertains to today, how it pertains back then and how it connects. They plan to offer additional panel discussions with Yuba, Sutter community leaders and law enforcement. They’re also holding book discussion groups to enlighten the public on systematic racism. The goal is to pass along valuable information that will be sustained in the community for years to come. Race dialogues does realize not everyone is open, ready and willing to learn. But for those who are this is a new day. None of us have been here before. We’ve never had bad, the courage to talk about race, face to face with all the individuals that it affect. It is not the black person’s responsibility to teach our white Conrades in regard to race and the pain it has caused us as ah group of people in this country. But in order to heal in order to go forward, I think all the players in the community have a place. We all have a place today at the table. As for what a positive path forward looks like, getting rid of implicit biases, understanding that we are more alike than we are different, it looks like having a community where the police aren’t policing in the community, but one with the community that they’re helping the kids across the street and not chasing the kids across the street. We all know that can happen, but at least try and we want to see that effort and I look forward to seeing that effort. Communication is key. Compassion is Is the door up next? How a new organization is helping minority owned businesses get the financial resource is needed to help their businesses thrived during the covert crisis. I’m grateful to the city for the help that they’ve they’ve tried toe put out. Um, but I don’t I’m not sure how well thought out it was. I mean, the intention was wonderful, but I just don’t know that they thought about it now when they came back around the second time and did the small business recovery loan, Um, they did a great job. Two thumbs up. Welcome back to Project community. New Beginnings. I’m Brittney Johnson. As businesses began shutting their doors during the cova 19 epidemic, the need for relief groom or and mawr vital. That was particularly true for stores and restaurants in the areas like Oak Park and South Sacramento. KCR is Lisa Gonzalez shows us how the epidemic sparked new organizations and new programs that help minority business owners. You are doing catering order. Just 18 months ago, LaShonda Cormier moved to restaurant Louisiana Heaven to this location on High Valley Drive in Sacramento. Then this year, the Cove in 19 Epidemic hit. It’s like every other business. We took the same and losses what our employees and sales and everything. And like a lot of businesses, she needed help. So she looked to the city I pulled. All my resource is, and I apply for, Ah, lot of loans. Ah, lot of them I didn’t get because they were already exhausted, they said. Already, the first round of covert relief from the city of Sacramento ran out fast and left a lot of businesses, particularly African American and Latin businesses without help. The Black Small Business Association was born out of Covic. Selena Prior saw the lack of resource is and started the Sacramento Black Small Business Association specifically to help people like Cormier. We’ve heard about alone Um, project that the city was doing, and only three black small businesses were able to qualify for it. And then I bank had funded 529 loans and only 29 black. Small business qualified for those prior helps places like Louisiana heaven find resource is like social media and pointed them toe applications for loans and grants. I’m grateful to the city for the help that they’ve they’ve tried toe put out. Um, but I’m not sure how well thought out it was. I mean, the intention was wonderful, but I just don’t know that they thought about it now when they came back around the second time and did the small business recovery loan, Um, they did a great job. Thumbs up. I got one grant from the city to forgivable loan. Macro partnership stepped in less Simmons Church stepped in, uh, more my resource, Which was more with the Valley high community that came in and helped us out. When the second round of funding became available, the city of Sacramento wanted to make sure they got it right. We were able to make sure that we reached every demographic, every age group, every gender we know. People know their neighbors. And so we wanted to think created a creatively how to make sure that we reach those folks, and so that’s what we did. Lynette Hall is the city’s community engagement manager. She says the city has partnered with places like the Black Small Business Association and beyond to get better distribution of the money. And resource is, we understand people are sometimes comfortable with people that look like them, and we have to be comfortable with that. And so we wanted to make sure that we address some of those barriers. And so we partnered with groups like uh see pals, the community, uh, partners advocating for a little Saigon, Um, to ensure that we address the language barriers that exist in the Vietnamese community, the city offers webinars and multiple languages. There are specific resource is for restaurants, even those working in the arts. You know, this is a representative of local artists in the area, um, and those cultural organizations that support the work. And so a lot of the work that we do is surrounded around people, business and places, and so that is essential and really important for us. And the city created a separate website to help businesses sections for cares, Act, funding and community resource is on the home page. We’ve heard responses from the community about how challenging the city of Sacramento’s website is, And so we created a separate website, Sacramento Covic relief dot org, Specifically for that, we wanted to make sure that it was very easily accessible in the black. Small Business Association has given more and more businesses direction to be able to access those resource is the city did do a great job of outreach and making sure that the community and different organizations knew about the loan. And so we were able Thio be a resource and let them know. Hey, this loan is available. Apply, apply. You have nothing to lose apply. So in that respect, yes, we did. And those applicants helped get the word out and increased membership. I think we have about 150 small businesses registered for our technical assistance program. That’s on top of hundreds more signed up to be part of the association. Businesses like Cormier’s, who are just trying to keep the doors open even now, as dining is getting more restrictive as cases surge. We’re prepared for that, Um what they’re going to keep operating the way we have been. Uh, sanitation. A ski mask is key coming inside. Where is it going to take out orders? Um, I wish we could still be outside. I’m hoping it’s going to stay somewhat sunny for the most part. If it doesn’t, she says, the heat of her Louisiana cooking may help keep people warm in Sacramento. Lisa Gonzalez case CRE three News coming up It’s one of the most costly part of life for many people. Health care coverage, what you need to know to avoid unexpected costs. And that’s the new thing this year, sort of cove. It is brought home to us that, you know, it really is the truth that life can change in an instant. Open enrollment is underway for November covered California, the state’s insurance exchange. Under the Affordable Care Act. More than a million Californians still don’t have insurance are large. Portion of those people are in communities of color, where it’s already difficult to get healthcare. Brian Heap shows us what’s being done to bridge the cap. Women and their Children come to Wellspring Women’s Center in Sacramento to get a leg up. It’s a vital service for women who are homeless need help or support, and particularly in communities of color, the vast majority of the women that we serve our identify as African American or Latina in their background at at least 86% John L. Smith is the centre’s executive director. She says health coverage, both individual or medical, are important, but sometimes very hard for people to understand why. Access to care is typically through technology, right. It’s especially during the time of Cove. It and our folks are not necessarily have a lot of access to that technology. Beyond those barriers lies another issue. Ignoring needs for care because they’re caring for others. But for many, there are bigger barriers to getting coverage. Sometimes these systems assume a lot of capacities that are particular clients don’t have their they’re not by cultural, sometimes even the language issues that we have. And for some with developmental disabilities, navigating the systems are even harder, which makes partnership between covered California and groups like Wellspring, even Mawr important because often people don’t think they need health insurance. Often they’re healthier, and they think, OK, I’m not sick. I’ll roll the dice and just take my chance without health insurance, and that’s the main common thing across the board. It’s not young. It’s not necessarily older there across the age spectrum, but they think they’ll roll the dice. Peter Li is the CEO of covered California. He says it’s important to get coverage, particularly since California still has an individual mandate. It’s the state law if you don’t buy insurance and you can afford it, so it’s gonna be affordable. When you file your state taxes franchise tax board, you’re gonna be subject to a penalty. And, Lee says, with the pandemic, AZM or communities of color are hit harder than others. The need for coverage is vital, particularly when for many, it’s cheap or even free. We’re a roll of the dice, away from ending up in the hospital on a ventilator. Now 95% or more of the people that go to hospital with Kobe are walking out and healthy. But it’s not just copan. You get cancer, you get diabetes. Health insurance is something we should all get covered for, and that’s the new thing this year, sort of It Cove. It is brought home to us that you know it really is the truth that life can change in an instant. And getting that message out requires partnership with those community groups like Wellspring Toe. Overcome the barriers to health care. It has to do with feeling like this system is meant for me. And sometimes it doesn’t feel like that In Sacramento. Brian Heap KCR e three news. Another service, Wellspring offers is a mailing address. Medical and insurance companies all require a place to mail forms. Wellspring gives them a place to pick up and send off their forms will be right back. Thank you for joining us for Project community. New Beginnings. I’m Brittney Johnson. Good night.

Project CommUNITY: Hope for New Beginnings

Across Northern California, community groups are reacting to the news of Joe Biden winning the 2020 presidential election and his historic selection of Kamala Harris as the next vice president. We also spoke with different community groups about the work being done to bridge the gap between racial injustices and equal treatment in local businesses and healthcare.Watch the video above to see the groups KCRA 3 highlighted in Project CommUNITY: Hope for New Beginnings.

Across Northern California, community groups are reacting to the news of Joe Biden winning the 2020 presidential election and his historic selection of Kamala Harris as the next vice president.

We also spoke with different community groups about the work being done to bridge the gap between racial injustices and equal treatment in local businesses and healthcare.

In Project CommUNITY: Hope for New Beginnings, KCRA 3 highlighted several groups across the region. Watch the video above for the entire special.

Below, see stories on the individuals and groups working toward new beginnings:

Biden, Harris administration signals new beginning for some NorCal communities

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are preparing to take over the White House in January.

In Northern California, some communities of color see it as a new beginning, while others are more cautious.

A Sacramento leader said the new administration signals a hope for change in racial justice, equality in business, education and health care.

Sacramento group works to keep conversations on race compassionate

Sacramento-based Race Dialogues brings together eight community members with four common goals: creating a learning community, deepening understanding of systematic racism, improving skills in countering racism and networking to strengthen outreach, influence and effectiveness in overcoming systemic racism.

The group works with different agencies and organizations to keep the discussions on race open.

Sacramento program helps Black business owners navigate pandemic

As businesses were forced to close their doors due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the need for relief grew more vital.

Sacramento Black Business Association is helping small businesses owned by people of color find financial resources, expand social media outreach and navigate operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurant owner Lashunda Cormier said the program helped her business survive and thrive.

Groups work to break barriers to health care for all Californians

More than 1 million Californians don’t have insurance, and a large portion of those people are from communities of color.

Wellspring Women’s Center and Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange partner, aim to bring health care to the most vulnerable community members.

With the COVID-19 surge in California, the groups are breaking barriers to health care benefits for all communities.

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