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The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

Mixed Raced, But Not Up For Debate

September 18, 2017 - 12:50pm
Nina Roehl’s Filipina heritage is not immediately recognizable on her skin.

You wouldn’t know I’m Filipina by looking at me.  Growing up, when people questioned my identity, I started to question it, too.

My mom is Filipina and my dad is white. I feel strongly tied to my Filipino heritage. I grew up attending big parties with all of my aunts and uncles, eating adobo and lumpia, and listening to stories about growing up on the islands.

So when a Filipino classmate questioned my identity in front of my friends, I was taken aback. “Nah, she doesn’t count,” he said.

Despite being confident with who I am, his words stung. In that moment, I started questioning my identity. Wow, I thought, I don’t speak the language. I’ve never been to the Philippines. I picked apart the things that made me less “Filipina.” It hurt.

When I got home, I told my mom what happened. “Nina,” she said, “he doesn’t know you. He doesn’t have the right to tell you who you are. You know who you and your family are. That’s what matters.”

She was right. I know being Filipina is about strong cultural roots, not the color of skin. But sometimes, I still need reminding.

Categories: Blog

The DREAM Deferred: This DACA Recipient Isn’t Sure What The Future Holds

September 14, 2017 - 6:00pm


This month has been nothing short of a roller coaster for those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. On September 5th, President Donald Trump pledged that he would end the Obama-era DACA program — an executive branch program that provided legal protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children — in six months.

But later last week, a series of announcements seemed to suggest that Trump was backtracking, or at least side-stepping, the most severe parts of a DACA repeal. A dinner with Democratic leaders on September 13th appeared to result in DACA being saved, or at least a deal having been worked out. Further statements may or may not have contradicted that, depending on who you ask. At this point in the still-unfolding story, it is unclear whether the roughly 800,000 immigrants covered under DACA should be readying themselves for deportation. For many of them, this is the only country they know.

We reached out to one DACA recipient in Austin, Texas, who shared her thoughts on the future of DACA.

“I feel like I am the child in this really toxic relationship and I’m being pulled from one side to the other…. not because someone really cares about me or my life, but because it’s really just that petty and they want to use me as a power play,” said Mona Rameriez.

Rameriez recently graduated from the University of Texas.

“I just finished studying anthropology and Latin American Studies,” she said. “I know that I wanted to be a lawyer but I saw no rush in it until most recently. I have a two and a half-year-old daughter and I wanted to take time off college to spend time with her and to work with my community….

“But since I heard DACA was being rescinded, I don’t think that my timeline works anymore. I don’t think that my future is something that is stable. I don’t know what my future holds. Anything could happen tomorrow with the way the administration has been flip-flopping on what they want to do with my life, with my future. I don’t know. I am scared. I am angry.”

The focus of some of her concerns: the President.

“His tweets on DACA mean nothing without real concrete actions to protect…people who live in fear of deportation, who trusted the government with all of their information,” she said.

Critics of the current situation note that DACA recipients have handed over data to the government that proves their undocumented status, making it all the easier to have them deported if the program is shut down without a replacement.

“If Congress and Donald Trump really wanted to do the right thing, they will pass a clean DREAM Act to protect the immigrant youth without throwing the rest of our community under the bus,” Rameriez said.

Rameriez refers to bi-partisan legislation originally proposed back in 2001, which would have provided a road to citizenship for immigrant youth. DACA itself was a stop-gap compromise put in place by the Obama administration because of the DREAM Act’s inability to pass a divided Congress. Now, with the clock ticking, Dreamers like Rameriez no longer know whether they will be welcome in what they think of as their home country just a few short months from now.

Categories: Blog

Confronting Class Across The Fast Food Counter

September 13, 2017 - 1:07pm

Emiliano Villa, 18 (Latino) – Oakland, Calif.

Fast-food worker

The sad truth is, I’ve given up my summer and my social life, for a paycheck. In order to pay my way through college starting this fall, I work long hours at a local fast-food restaurant, where a closing shift often means getting home at 3:30 in the morning.

It’s always awkward when kids I know come in as customers. There was a time when a whole car full of my classmates pulled up to the drive-through while I was working. They were laughing and blasting music, until they got to my window and recognized me. There was an exchange of awkward “How-are-yous.” But the underlying context was clear: Instead of being out having a good time on a Saturday night, I was at work, serving them.

Even in a place as diverse as Oakland, race seems to be a factor in who has to work and who doesn’t. I’ve noticed that my black and Latino friends are the ones who seem to work the most during the summers. Each person in my friend group works at a different fast food restaurant, so we have all the bases covered. We’re teenage representatives for our burger, taco, and pizza joints. My friends and I look to each other for support in our jobs. We complain to each other about our annoying bosses and bad customer experiences. We relate to each other when we feel sleepy in summer school from a long shift the night before.

My friends and I work so that we can afford small luxuries, like our phones or our clothes.

We get a glimpse of the kind of summer our non-working peers enjoy — hanging out, having fun — at least according to their Snapchat stories. I think that’s the ultimate privilege: not some sort of fancy unpaid internship or job hookup through your parents, but the freedom to spend your last summer before college doing nothing. In the fall, many of those kids will be off to school out-of-state, leaving the rest of us here.

I try to think of my summer job as an investment. I work hard so that in four years I can have a college degree to my name and a path carved out for myself. And sometimes when I’m stressed, the job becomes a kind of meditation. The sizzling grill, the bubbling of the fryers, my co-workers calling out orders. The constant barrage of sound allows me to block out my worries, at least for the moment.

Emiliano Villa is a writer for Youth Radio in Oakland, California. His essay appeared as part of a Youth Radio collaboration with the New York Times’ Race/Related.

Categories: Blog

What It’s Like To Be A Teen Farmworker

September 13, 2017 - 1:05pm

Maria, 16 (Latina) – Merced, Calif. 

(Maria requested that her full name not be used. Her family was granted political asylum in the U.S., after fleeing Mexico, but they still fear being targeted by the cartels.)

Seasonal farmworker

This summer I’ve gone back and forth between taking college classes and doing short stints as a farmworker here in California’s Central Valley. My first time working in the fields was last summer with my mom. I had been asking her for money to buy school supplies, and we both knew it was a way for me to have a little pocket money and also help out.

Around my hometown Merced, I know other kids who work in the fields during the summer, so there’s no stigma attached to it. Still, getting ready to go work out there for the first time last year, I was nervous. I knew it would be a heavy job. It’s hot and very physical work. I asked my mom what I was in for, and she told me I’d know what it was like once I did it. And she was right — it’s something you have to experience to understand.

We wake up really early — 5 a.m. — which is hard for me since I’m used to sleeping in. I put on lots of layers — a long-sleeved sweater, a hat, boots, and a handkerchief. It gets hot, but we need to wear it all in order to protect ourselves from sunburn later in the day. We have to bring our own food and water. In the mornings, mom packs lunch for both us (usually sandwiches and beans) and then we head out together.

The shifts start around 7 a.m. and go until 4 or 5 p.m. Last year, I was too young to pick anything, but there are lots of other jobs to do out there, like clear sticks and brush to make it easier for workers to move. At one point, my job was to get rid of pests; I think they were gophers. I used a shovel to throw poison into their holes and cover the opening with a mound of dirt. I felt weird because I like animals and I don’t like the idea of killing them. I did it because it was part of the job.

My friends who regularly work in the field do it because they want to earn money and they don’t like school. But I work because I love school. It’s a way to make my education possible. I earn money for books and supplies. Going to school is first on my mind. My mom thinks about it, too. She says she works in the fields year-round to make it possible for my siblings and me to do something better.

Working in the fields for the first time was hard. I was exhausted at the end of the day. But at the same time, I enjoyed it. I like the sounds of the fields, hearing people speaking Spanish and the radio blasting ranchera tunes. It sounds like my childhood. I find it comforting. Being out there, I feel more connected to my community. And I’ve recently started getting involved in politics to advocate for immigrant and farmworker rights.

Even though I could get a job doing other things, I like being out in the fields with my mom. I feel like I understand her better now that I know what she goes through every day.

Maria is a part of We’Ced in Merced, California and a correspondent for Youth Radio. Her essay appeared as part of a Youth Radio collaboration with the New York Times’ Race/Related.

Categories: Blog

Love For Appalachia, Longing For More Opportunity

September 13, 2017 - 1:05pm

Lauren Rose, 19 (White) – McRoberts, KY

Shaved ice stand employee, intern at media non-profit

In my hometown, McRoberts, Kentucky, there aren’t a lot of options for summer jobs. In fact, there aren’t a lot of businesses, period. Most people drive 30 minutes away just to get their groceries. I live in the remnants of an old Appalachian coal town, which is predominantly white. Since many residents have moved to seek better economic opportunities elsewhere, the area feels isolated.

It’s pretty typical for kids here to work. I started at a shaved-ice stand when I turned 15, so I could begin saving up for a car and clothes and normal teenage stuff.  Now at 19, I’m still at the same job and I usually have a second one. I do this because I want to have the freedom not to rely on my parents. There are a handful of young people around here who are better off. Maybe their parents can afford to give them $20 once in awhile — but most people are in the same boat, working hard and living comfortably enough.

Right now my second job is a paid internship at a youth media organization in Whitesburg, Kentucky. I’m making a film about my community and black lung, a disease that affects miners. This is the first time I’ve ever had a job where I’ve been paid to be creative.

My job at the shaved-ice stand has nothing to do with creativity. On a typical day, I make more than 300 shaved ice cones. There’s a machine we use to break down the ice. We adjust the blades and it transforms the ice block into a big pile of snow. I’m a perfectionist about the final product, and I’m often assigned to train new employees. But the truth is, after four years I hate working here. I just don’t have that many other options. Between my two jobs, I work seven days a week. It’s very draining. I’ve been sick a lot this summer, and I think it’s because I’m stressed all the time.  

It’s not just teenagers like me who have to work jobs like this to make ends meet. Since the mine layoffs, a lot of people are having to switch careers and take on service or retail jobs to help their families. I worked with a single mom at the shaved-ice stand. She was there up to six days a week, just to provide for her daughter. The pay wasn’t much, hardly anything in comparison to her ex-husband’s old mining job. I thought her hard work was admirable. It wore her down, but it meant her daughter had everything she needed.

Thinking about a future here, everyone my age is faced with the same predicament: should we stay or should we go? I want to contribute to this place. This is where my family is from. It’s where I have my network. I love how even if you don’t know someone here, you still smile at them on the street. In big cities, it’s like they have no sense of community at all.  But the reality is that jobs are hard to come by in Appalachia, and chances are slim that I can stay here and be successful at the same time.

Lauren Rose is a part of The Appalachian Media Institute in Whitesburg, Kentucky and a correspondent for Youth Radio. Additional production support by Willa Johnson.

Lauren’s essay appeared as part of a Youth Radio collaboration with the New York Times’ Race/Related.

Categories: Blog

Interning While Black: Battling Imposter Syndrome

September 13, 2017 - 1:04pm

Tahir Juba, 19 (Black) – Baltimore, MD

Tech company intern

This summer, I’ve been interning at a tech company that makes mobile apps.

Even before I started my internship, I anticipated the racial dynamic. I rarely see African-Americans in professional STEM environments. Being young, black and Muslim, it’s a little intimidating working in a place without many people of color.

Besides race, the main thing that made me nervous about starting my tech internship was the skill differences between the other workers and me. I haven’t done much with coding or web development before coming into a big company like this.  I took one robotics class in high school, and it felt pretty basic. While other people here are computer science majors, I’m mostly self-taught. I watch YouTube instructional videos and check out online learning sites to sharpen my web and coding skills.

But sometimes, I still feel like I really shouldn’t be here.

So I come up with ways to cope. I learned about code-switching in my African-American Literature class, and I try to implement that at work. I use a more professional, standard vocabulary so that I won’t stand out even more, based on the way that I speak. I say, “Good morning,” to people instead of “What’s up?” I never use slang. I ditch my jeans and graphic t-shirts for a button-up shirt and khakis. I dress business-casual even though other interns do not. It helps me feel like I belong.

But I feel lucky. My company has done a lot to make me feel comfortable in this setting, where I could otherwise feel like an outsider. Everyone is very nice and helpful here. They’re open to taking on interns like me who don’t have a lot of experience, and they encourage me to learn on the job. I know a few of the other interns are black. Not that I’ve met them in person, but I’ve seen them in the intern group photo. So I know they exist. That’s comforting.

My long-term goal is to do something in robotics and engineering. I think that robotics could make the world a lot better, especially when it comes to the environment, using solar and clean energy. I know that means I’ll continue to deal with “imposter syndrome.” But I’m hopeful that as more minority people like me go into the tech industry, the more natural it will feel to see people in these jobs who talk the way we talk, joke the way we joke, and dress the way we dress.

Until then, I’ll try to convince myself — and everyone else — that I really do belong here.

Tahir Juba is a part of Wide Angle Youth Media in Baltimore, Maryland and a correspondent for  Youth Radio. His essay appeared as part of a Youth Radio collaboration with the New York Times’ Race/Related.

Categories: Blog

When School Dress Codes Distract From Education

September 12, 2017 - 12:22pm

From our intern podcast archive: Youth Radio teen reporter Ihlari Halliday asks, “Is the dress code really worth a student missing out on important parts of their education?”

The staff at my high school  play no games when it comes to the school’s dress code. Almost every day, I see at least five people getting called out by one the vice principals, teachers, or security guards roaming the campus. With all these adults on the lookout, you’d think they’d be watching for students who are skipping class or starting fights; but they’re simply looking at what students are wearing, debating weather or not it fits the school’s idea on what’s appropriate or not.

School dress codes are about more than spaghetti straps — they can also reinforce disparities rooted in race, class, and gender. At some schools, black girls report being given detention for having natural hair or wearing extensions. Others say dress code violations unfairly target female students, or reinforce outdated gender norms. So what does that mean for our fashion choices as start another school year?

Take an incident that happened to me at my high school: It was hot, so I wore a cropped top shirt, with dark blue jeans, with no holes or rips on them, to class. Sure, technically, I wasn’t in dress code, but none of my classmates were staring at me or causing a commotion. After all, we’ve seen way more scandalous outfits on Instagram.

Just as I was getting comfortable in my first period class, the door opened and a security guard walked in. He asked my teacher if he could take me to the principal’s office because of the way I was dressed. A short walk and a long wait in the principal’s office later, I was back in class wearing my friend’s PE shirt. It may sound like no big deal, but the whole incident caused me to miss the rest of my first period class. It was only art class, so I could easily catch up, but what about those with AP classes? Or important math classes?

It made me wonder, is the dress code really worth a student missing out on important parts of their education?

I’m not the only one who thinks our dress code policy is pointless. My friend Tavonne Larkin, 19, says she’s always been told the dress code is about keeping students “safe,” but she doesn’t really get it.

“I mean, nobody’s dressing that bad to where we’re not safe,” she said.

I agree. I mean how much harm could a tank top really cause? Although I don’t know the reason behind our dress code policy, I just assume it’s to prevent people from getting distracted. But the way I see it, the dress code itself is the real distraction. This policy causes students to fall behind in their classes.

My friend, 18-year-old Parris Grayson knows all about that. “I get sent home, and I don’t like being sent home  because I gotta miss out on school work for wearing something that no one cares about,” Parris said.  “That’s stressful because I miss out on school work and miss out on getting a good grade.”

Getting dresscoded at my school looks SO different depending on your grade level. My friend Tavonne says that if you’re a freshman, you might get away with it. But if you’re a junior or a senior, the chances of you staying on campus are slim.  Boys get away with tank tops, but not girls. And I notice that more “developed” girls are usually the ones getting in trouble, versus the girls who are naturally slim. Parris and I have matching jumpsuits that go all the way down to our ankles. Hers is pink and mine is black. She wore her jumpsuit  to school the day after I wore mine, and she was pulled out of class because a teacher complained the way it hugged her body was “too revealing.”

And it matters. If you get dresscoded too much, you don’t just risk missing out on class. you can also get barred from going to prom, rallies, or being able to leave campus for lunch.

The way I see it, it’s unfair to tell someone that what they’re wearing is inappropriate because of how it fits their bodies. The way a person’s body is shaped is usually out of their control.

But honestly, if teachers are the only ones who are uncomfortable, then who has the real problem?

Categories: Blog

Ask An Immigration Lawyer: What Dreamers Need To Know Now

September 8, 2017 - 4:54pm

President Trump’s recent announcement to end DACA has left many DACA recipients wondering, what’s next for them? Youth Radio sat down with Lisa Weissman, a supervising attorney and lecturer at the Stanford Law for Immigrants Rights Clinic to get some important legal advice for young adults with DACA.

This interview was edited for length and clarity. 

YOUTH RADIO: What is DACA? And what does it do? 

WEISSMAN:  DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals…[It] provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

YOUTH RADIO: Why was it so easy to cancel DACA?

WEISSMAN: When DACA came to be in 2012…it was something that President Obama and DHS at the time created and because it is by executive order it’s not law. It’s not anything that has been passed by Congress. And so typically executive orders can come and go within reason. It’s something that administrations can shift and change and do away with.

YOUTH RADIO: So now that DACA is ending, what will young immigrants in the program lose in terms of benefits? 

WEISSMAN:  For individuals who have DACA and whose work permits were set to expire soon and who have filed for renewal,  as long as their renewal applications were pending as of September 5th, those applications will be processed and adjudicated presumably like before. If you had a [new] application that was pending, it should still be processed. (If you were entitled to DACA before, you should still be entitled to it now.) And then there’s a set of individuals whose work permits are set to expire between September 5th of 2017 and March 5th of 2018…you are permitted to file a renewal application but it must be received by October 5th.

YOUTH RADIO: Why is the October 5th deadline so important? 

WEISSMAN: This is a deadline for anyone who is a current DACA recipient, meaning you have current and unexpired DACA (deferred action status) and your DACA employment authorization card expires between September 5th 2017 and March 5th 2018. If both of those points apply to you, you can renew your DACA application but it must be received, not postmarked, but received by October 5th 2017.

YOUTH RADIO: So what about employment? Do DACA recipients have inform their employers? 

WEISSMAN:  So first and foremost you don’t have an affirmative obligation to tell your employer that you have DACA or that your DACA work permit has expired. In fact an employer should not even ask you the basis of your work permit. The legal obligation is on your employer to ask to see the new work permit when the current work permit expires. Anyone with a work permit is legally permitted to work as long as that work permit is valid. If one continues working after the work permit expires, then they will be working without work authorization which can have immigration legal consequences. And so if there are concerns about that, then I would suggest speaking with with an attorney.

YOUTH RADIO: What are DACA recipients being advised to do now? 

WEISSMAN: For any individual whose work permit is set to expire between September 5th of 2017 and March 5th of 2018, they should immediately find trusted legal services for DACA renewal.  I also think that, now more than ever…folks really need to be informed about their constitutional rights. [Like] what to do if there is an encounter with immigration law enforcement at your home, at your work, at your school. [At home] you don’t have to open the door unless there’s a judicial warrant signed by a judge. It’s also good to have an emergency plan…so should something arise, should there be an encounter with law enforcement, who are you going to call? Who’s someone that’s trusted that can then get in touch with a legal service provider to provide assistance should that be necessary?  I think it’s also important for folks to continue to think about organizing and resistance and a movement of solidarity. DACA came because dreamers were organized and were activists and were really pushing for basic human rights.

There are many hotlines that provide 24 hour service for reporting ICE activity. See below for a few that serve the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Alameda County: (510) 241-4011 San Francisco City/County: (415) 200-1548 Santa Clara County: (408) 290-1144 San Mateo County:  (203) 666-4472

 

 

 

 

Categories: Blog

I Don’t Fit Your Stereotypes. So Why Can’t I Escape Them?

September 8, 2017 - 2:58pm

As an African-American teen, I often feel like I’m walking around with a big target sign on my head.

I’ve never stolen before. But when I’m shopping, I often get followed around stores by staff members. It makes me feel so uncomfortable. What are people seeing that broadcasts I can’t be trusted?

I already know the answer. It’s an ugly stereotype based on the color of my skin. I want to turn around and ask, “Is there a problem?” But I don’t want to escalate the situation.

Being young just makes it worse. People mistrust teens. Even though we do lots of positive things, it’s only the negative that gets attention.

When I hear stories about teens behaving badly, I take it personally. I want to say to them, you’re just confirming people’s worst assumptions.

When I go places it feels like I have to be extra careful with what I do and how I do it. I try to not to give people the opportunity to make assumptions about me.

If people look past my age and my skin, what would they see? A caring, sensitive teen girl. Trying hard to build an identity past the stereotypes.

Categories: Blog

My YouTube Addiction

September 5, 2017 - 4:43pm
Credit: jpmatth via Flickr

When I started watching YouTube on the daily, it went from being entertaining to becoming a negative impact on my life.

I was entranced by the wide range of content I could watch on YouTube with the click of a finger. There were short, humorous skits, aesthetically pleasing travel vlogs, and videos on topics I had never imagined. As a result, instead of spending my time running outside, or reading, I watched YouTube.

At first I watched videos during my breaks. But then, whenever I opened my phone, my finger kept drifting, as if magnetized, towards the app. My obsession with watching started to affect my productivity. I remember I once told myself: I’ll start homework after this one video. But before I knew it, two hours had passed.

I knew I had to stop, so I started picking up an old hobby: writing short stories. Instead of watching videos, my mind is busy thinking of my plot and my characters. Not only do I feel more productive with my time, I also feel more fulfilled. I finally feel like I’m the one creating, instead of just watching.

Categories: Blog

Race/Related: As Summer Ends, Teens Reflect On Jobs

September 3, 2017 - 11:04am

Teenagers Review:  Summer Jobs

What about summer jobs? Youth Radio partnered with the New York Times’ Race/Related to bring you the story of four teens from different parts of the country. They talk about summer jobs and how race and class play a role in their summer employment.

Emiliano Villa, 18 (Latino) – Oakland, Calif.

Fast-food worker

The sad truth is, I’ve given up my summer and my social life, for a paycheck. In order to pay my way through college starting this fall, I work long hours at a local fast-food restaurant, where a closing shift often means getting home at 3:30 in the morning.

It’s always awkward when kids I know come in as customers. There was a time when a whole car full of my classmates pulled up to the drive-through while I was working. They were laughing and blasting music, until they got to my window and recognized me. There was an exchange of awkward “How-are-yous.” But the underlying context was clear: Instead of being out having a good time on a Saturday night, I was at work, serving them.

Even in a place as diverse as Oakland, race seems to be a factor in who has to work and who doesn’t. I’ve noticed that my black and Latino friends are the ones who seem to work the most during the summers. Each person in my friend group works at a different fast food restaurant, so we have all the bases covered. We’re teenage representatives for our burger, taco, and pizza joints. My friends and I look to each other for support in our jobs. We complain to each other about our annoying bosses and bad customer experiences. We relate to each other when we feel sleepy in summer school from a long shift the night before.

My friends and I work so that we can afford small luxuries, like our phones or our clothes.

We get a glimpse of the kind of summer our non-working peers enjoy — hanging out, having fun — at least according to their Snapchat stories. I think that’s the ultimate privilege: not some sort of fancy unpaid internship or job hookup through your parents, but the freedom to spend your last summer before college doing nothing. In the fall, many of those kids will be off to school out-of-state, leaving the rest of us here.

I try to think of my summer job as an investment. I work hard so that in four years I can have a college degree to my name and a path carved out for myself. And sometimes when I’m stressed, the job becomes a kind of meditation. The sizzling grill, the bubbling of the fryers, my co-workers calling out orders. The constant barrage of sound allows me to block out my worries, at least for the moment.

Emiliano Villa is a writer for Youth Radio in Oakland, California.

Tahir Juba, 19 (Black) – Baltimore

Tech company intern

Even before I started my internship — at a company that makes mobile apps — I anticipated the racial dynamic. I rarely see African-Americans in professional STEM environments. Being young, black and Muslim, it’s a little intimidating working in a place without many people of color.

Besides race, what made me most nervous about starting was the difference in skill sets. I hadn’t done much with coding or web development. I took one robotics class in high school, and it felt pretty basic. While other people here are computer science majors, I’m mostly self-taught. I watch instructional videos on YouTube and check out online classes to sharpen my web and coding skills.

But sometimes, I still feel like I really shouldn’t be here.

So I come up with ways to cope. I learned about code-switching in my African-American Literature class, and I try to implement that at work. I use a more professional, standard vocabulary so that I won’t stand out even more, based on the way that I speak. I say, “Good morning,” to people instead of “What’s up?” I never use slang. I ditch my jeans and graphic T-shirts for a button-up shirt and khakis. I dress business-casual even though other interns do not. It helps me feel like I belong.

But I feel lucky. My company has done a lot to make me feel comfortable in this setting, where I could otherwise feel like an outsider. Everyone is very nice and helpful here. They’re open to taking on interns like me who don’t have a lot of experience, and they encourage me to learn on the job. I know a few of the other interns are black. Not that I’ve met them in person, but I’ve seen them in the intern group photo. So I know they exist. That’s comforting.

My long-term goal is to do something in robotics and engineering. I think that robotics could make the world a lot better, especially when it comes to the environment, using solar and clean energy. I know that means I’ll continue to deal with “impostor syndrome.” But I’m hopeful that as more people like me go into the tech industry, the more natural it will feel to see people in these jobs who talk the way we talk, joke the way we joke, and dress the way we dress.

Until then, I’ll try to convince myself — and everyone else — that I really do belong here.

Tahir Juba is a part of Wide Angle Youth Media in Baltimore and a correspondent for Youth Radio.

Maria, 16 (Latina) – Merced, Calif. 

(Maria requested that her full name not be used. Her family was granted political asylum in the U.S., after fleeing Mexico, but they still fear being targeted by the cartels.)

Seasonal farmworker

This summer I’ve gone back and forth between taking college classes and doing short stints as a farmworker here in California’s Central Valley. My first time working in the fields was last summer with my mom. I had been asking her for money to buy school supplies, and we both knew it was a way for me to have a little pocket money and also help out.

Around my hometown Merced, I know other kids who work in the fields during the summer, so there’s no stigma attached to it. Still, getting ready to go work out there for the first time last year, I was nervous. I knew it would be a heavy job. It’s hot and very physical work. I asked my mom what I was in for, and she told me I’d know what it was like once I did it. And she was right — it’s something you have to experience to understand.

We wake up really early — 5 a.m. — which is hard for me since I’m used to sleeping in. I put on lots of layers — a long-sleeved sweater, a hat, boots, and a handkerchief. It gets hot, but we need to wear it all in order to protect ourselves from sunburn later in the day. We have to bring our own food and water. In the mornings, mom packs lunch for both us (usually sandwiches and beans) and then we head out together.

The shifts start around 7 a.m. and go until 4 or 5 p.m. Last year, I was too young to pick anything, but there are lots of other jobs to do out there, like clear sticks and brush to make it easier for workers to move. At one point, my job was to get rid of pests; I think they were gophers. I used a shovel to throw poison into their holes and cover the opening with a mound of dirt. I felt weird because I like animals and I don’t like the idea of killing them. I did it because it was part of the job.

My friends who regularly work in the field do it because they want to earn money and they don’t like school. But I work because I love school. It’s a way to make my education possible. I earn money for books and supplies. Going to school is first on my mind. My mom thinks about it, too. She says she works in the fields year-round to make it possible for my siblings and me to do something better.

Working in the fields for the first time was hard. I was exhausted at the end of the day. But at the same time, I enjoyed it. I like the sounds of the fields, hearing people speaking Spanish and the radio blasting ranchera tunes. It sounds like my childhood. I find it comforting. Being out there, I feel more connected to my community. And I’ve recently started getting involved in politics to advocate for immigrant and farmworker rights.

Even though I could get a job doing other things, I like being out in the fields with my mom. I feel like I understand her better now that I know what she goes through every day.

Rosa is a part of We’Ced in Merced, California and a correspondent for Youth Radio.

Lauren Rose, 19 (White) – McRoberts, Ky.

Shaved ice stand employee, intern at media nonprofit

In my hometown McRoberts, there aren’t a lot of options for summer jobs. In fact, there aren’t a lot of businesses, period. Most people drive 30 minutes away just to get their groceries. I live in the remnants of an old Appalachian coal town, which is predominantly white. Since many residents have moved to seek better economic opportunities, the area feels isolated.

It’s typical for kids here to work. I started at a shaved-ice stand when I turned 15, so I could begin saving up for a car and clothes. Now at 19, I’m still at the same job and I usually have a second one. I do this because I want to have the freedom not to rely on my parents. There are young people around here who are better off, but most people are in the same boat, working hard and living comfortably enough.

My second job is a paid internship at a youth media organization in Whitesburg, Ky. I’m making a film about my community and black lung, a disease that affects miners. This is the first time I’ve ever had a job where I’ve been paid to be creative.

My job at the shaved-ice stand has nothing to do with creativity. On a typical day, I make more than 300 shaved ice cones. There’s a machine we use to break down the ice. We adjust the blades and it transforms the ice block into a big pile of snow. I’m a perfectionist about the final product, and I’m often assigned to train new employees. But the truth is, after four years I hate working here. I just don’t have that many other options. Between my two jobs, I work seven days a week. It’s very draining. I’ve been sick a lot this summer, and I think it’s because I’m stressed all the time.

It’s not just teenagers like me who have to work jobs like this to make ends meet. Since the mine layoffs, a lot of people are having to switch careers and take on service or retail jobs to help their families. I worked with a single mom at the shaved-ice stand. She was there up to six days a week, just to provide for her daughter. The pay wasn’t much, hardly anything in comparison to her ex-husband’s old mining job. I thought her hard work was admirable. It wore her down, but it meant her daughter had everything she needed.

Everyone my age is faced with the same predicament: should we stay or should we go? I want to contribute to this place. This is where my family is from. It’s where I have my network. I love how even if you don’t know someone here, you still smile at them on the street. But the reality is that jobs are hard to come by in Appalachia, and chances are slim that I can stay here and be successful at the same time.

Lauren Rose is a part of The Appalachian Media Institute in Whitesburg, Kentucky and a correspondent for Youth Radio.
Categories: Blog

I Just Got DACA, And Now Trump Might Cancel It

September 1, 2017 - 3:04pm

I remember the day I applied to be a Dreamer. It was June last year, shortly before my 19th birthday and the Presidential election. My mom and I were so excited about my DACA application, she insisted on taking a photo of me at the post office holding the sealed envelope. I was hopeful I’d be approved, but at the same time, I knew the political climate was changing, and that my future was anything but certain.

Even though I grew up without immigration papers, I consider myself to be an American. I haven’t the slightest memory of the place I was born — Jacona, Michoacan in Mexico. My family was poor, and had no hope for their future in Mexico. I was only two years old when we arrived to the United States, eventually settling in Stockton, California.

I grew up well aware of my immigrant status. My parents would always advise me about what to do if something were to happen to them or if they didn’t come home from work. My parents ingrained in me teachings on performing well in school, being respectful, and whatever I do, do not get in trouble with the law. The last of those was stressed more than the others. To this day, my mom still tells me, “No te vaya a meter en problemas”– “Don’t get in any problems.”

I went through many trials and tribulations during my high school years; I came to terms with my sexuality, my parents split up, and much more. The most devastating of these was when my father was deported. He got stopped while driving by police and when they discovered he didn’t have a license, they arrested him. He was later deported. I wasn’t allowed to see him at the detention center or even say goodbye when it was time for him to go. I never got the chance to come out to my father and reveal to him in person who I really was.

My mom would always tell me to be careful when telling people my immigration status. I never told anyone when I was going to school in Pennsylvania, but when I moved to California, in high school I discovered many of my friends or their parents were going through the same situation. So I began being more vocal on the issue.

Then, in 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. And with the stroke of a pen, my life and the life of nearly 1 million young immigrants changed for the better.

It took a few years, but in May of 2016, I finally got the money necessary for my DACA in the most amazing and humbling way. All of my high school teachers pitched in and collected all $480 needed to submit my DACA application, and donated it to me. It was an act of kindness that, even to this day, brings tears to my eyes.

I wanted to become a Dreamer, but I knew it was a risky decision. The presidential election was well underway, and Donald Trump had essentially clinched the Republican nomination. He had already stated that, if elected, he would immediately terminate both of President Obama’s executive orders, DACA and DAPA. My family and I struggled with the decision of whether or not to submit it. The way we saw it, if a Democrat won the election, DACA was saved. If a Republican won, Dreamers (including potentially me) could be at risk.

Ultimately we decided I should submit it and hope for the best.

November 8th came — election day — and Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States.  I remember crying to myself all night. It felt like a traumatic experience for me. Everything I was afraid of hit me all at once. I had friends frantically messaging me all night, scared for themselves and their parents.

“Will DACA end?” they asked.

“Am I gonna get deported?”

“Are my Muslim, LGBTQ, and immigrant friends safe?”

Even though I was scared, I was also determined. I knew, more than ever, I was going to have to be more vocal. I wasn’t giving up on my dream.

It took more than a year for my DACA to be processed and approved. I finally received my social security this July at age 19. Before this, I struggled with paying for college textbooks and all my other expenses. Since I couldn’t work legally, the only other option would’ve been to work in agriculture but I couldn’t work in that and be a full time student. Thankfully, I had the financial support of my family. This month, with DACA, I got my first official job. I was excited, even as news began to circulate that Trump is considering ending DACA — maybe even as soon as today.

The idea of DACA ending fills me with fear. I fear that I’ll have to quit my job before I even begin my first day. I’m afraid that my information might be used by ICE to find me and detain me. Its disheartening to know that after such a long wait and with the help of so many people, it might all go to waste. Everything I’ve done was to be able to get DACA and be able to work. I don’t know how else I will be able to be financially stable and attend my classes. DACA is quite literally a lifeline for me and to have it suddenly pulled away just as I laid my hand on it, hurts me and everyone else who is reaching for the same line.

My fellow DACA recipients and I just want to succeed. We are not criminals, we’ve had our entire lives vetted by the Department of Homeland Security and essentially the whole the United States government. We came out of the shadows, we are students, we are workers, we have families to take care of and we want to contribute to society. We aren’t taking away your money, we are in fact doing the opposite. We aren’t receiving welfare and cashing Social Security checks because we are prohibited from receiving federal funds. Ending DACA will not silence us. We will protest in more numbers, and in louder voices. We will bring the fight to every senator and congressman’s office.

We will keep fighting to save DACA. Our lives are depending on it.

Categories: Blog

Far From Her Hometown, A Texas Teen Struggles To Process The Storm

August 31, 2017 - 3:07pm

After days of torrential rainfall and devastating flooding, residents of Houston and its surrounding areas are still assessing the full impact of the Tropical Storm Harvey, which has been associated with at least 40 deaths. Harvey touched down in southeast Texas as a hurricane last week, moving inland as a tropical storm.

Over the weekend, many young people outside of Texas scrambled to get word from their family members who still lived in the region. Youth Radio talked to Ashula Mujawashema, 19, a student at San Francisco State, who said she’d been able to get a hold of her friends and family in Houston and the surrounding area via text.

The images and messages they sent her, shocked her.

(Left) Ashula got this photo from her friend, Anisa, who lives in Houston. It was taken Saturday night around 10:30pm the first night Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. “This is right in front of my house on the 3rd floor located in Midtown”-Anisa Kheir. (Right) A text message conversation with Ashula and her family. Photo and text courtesy of Ashula Mujawashema, 19. Flooding in Houston right on the first night Harvey hit the area. Photo by Anisa Kheir.

On Saturday, the rains kept coming. Ashula’s family in Texas said the waters had risen as high as the top of their mailbox.

“Messages filled with updates and prayers were all I had to keep in touch with my family [in Texas] in a time where I wasn’t there with them,” Ashula Mujawashema, 19, San Francisco State Student

(Left) A phone conversation between Ashula and her loved ones in Texas. (Right) A neighborhood in Sugar Land, Ashula’s home town. Photo courtesy of Ashula Mujawashema Screen caption courtesy of Ashula Mujawashema

Scientists estimate that Harvey caused approximately 21 trillion gallons of water to fall on the coast of Texas in a manner of days. Many communities experienced more rainfall over a matter of hours than they average over the course of an entire year.

But it wasn’t all negative. Ashula says she also saw signs of hope in her community.

“One of the most touching photos I received was of my old high school, Kempner High School [in Sugar Land, Texas] opening up as a shelter for those who escaped their flooded homes,” she said. “Tweets were sent out in hopes of volunteers and donations showing up. Luckily the Houston community did not disappoint and [people brought] bags of supplies and food. ”

 

On Tuesday August 29th, Kempner High School opened up shelter for anyone who was in need of a place to go. Bags of clothes, food, and drinks, were donated to the school in preparation for the evacuated residents. Photo courtesy of Ashula Mujawashema

As the storm begins to weaken (it was recently downgraded to a tropical depression), Texans hit by Harvey will continue to take stock of the damage.

Ashula says being so far away makes her feel helpless. “It’s tough because I’m getting all these updates but I can’t really do much. I guess that’s worse than people who aren’t from Texas, because they don’t have family there. For me, it’s more personal to see these photos. This is my family and my friends and I’m so far away from them and can’t do much about it.”

Categories: Blog

South Asian and Queer: Intersectional Identities

August 29, 2017 - 5:20pm

When I came out to my family a year ago, it was the first time I connected my queer identity to my South Asian identity. Until then, I had always neatly organized these parts of myself to be independent from each other. Once I took the first step towards understanding my intersectional identities, I was able to see the world with a new perspective. Social and political issues like marriage equality in India became personal to me, and I began to take more interest.

Activist Devika Ghai has a similar identities as a queer person, a woman, a South Asian, and an immigrant. I spoke with her about her intersectional identities from Minnesota where she works with the Pesticide Action Network. 

Nila- What was queer education like in India? Did you have any safe space or opportunities to express yourself and develop your identity?

Devika- Oh not at all *laughs* I mean it was a very hush hush taboo topic you know? At least in the society I came up in, people just don’t talk about it. I had one out, gay cousin and his partner was at all of our family gatherings. But it was like, you know, he’s [his] friend. And you know he was treated very well and welcomed and I think respected in our family but there wasn’t ever any formal acknowledgement of his relationship.

The few experiences that I had were overall pretty negative. I can’t really think of a safe space I would have had to question or explore my identity.

 

NilaHow did your family react to you coming out?

Devika- When I came out to my family, [they were] overall pretty kind. I don’t think they knew a lot to be honest. My mom was like, ‘what is queer?’ I think they were confused and didn’t have access to a lot of information that I took for granted.

 

Nila- What was the transition like moving to America as a queer woman?

Devika- [Queer culture] was very normalized and talked about in a way that I hadn’t experienced before and so I think that was really formative for me and really crucial for me to even ask my own questions about myself.

 

Nila- How do you think about the intersections of your identity?

Devika- One thing that I think about is that being queer is sort of fundamentally about being outside of the norm. Being queer is about challenging norms. There is something sort of outside of the norm in it inherently, and so is being a person of color in the US. So in these ways we have these different identities that set us up for particular ways of looking at the world and for interacting with the world.

When I think about all of those things put together… part of my life has to be about challenging systems of oppression, part of my life has to be about fighting for a better world because it’s in my identity, it’s in who I am in the world.

 

Nila- How are you thinking about your intersectional identity in our current political context?

Devika- Now more than ever we have to really be rooted in who we are and what our primary commitments are, what our vision is, what we know we need to get to the world we want to live in and to really stay focused on those.

 

Nila- Do you have any advice for young queer people of color today?

Devika- My greatest hope is for all young people, queer people, people of color-  that they find those relationships in their lives that really hold them and guide them, and are able to lean into them as well. Because it also takes courage to really be vulnerable with someone, to really let someone in and then to also practice the reciprocity of that. I think if people have the opportunities to look for those people in their lives, take them- they help.

Categories: Blog

Action Thriller “Baby Driver” Is Impressive, But Not Safe For Babies

August 29, 2017 - 12:03pm

‘Baby Driver,’ directed by Edgar Wright, came out June 28th and has impressed audiences, including me. ‘Baby Driver’ is an action packed, never ending thriller with high-speed chases, shootouts, and much more. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, an antisocial getaway driver for heists being pulled in the Atlanta area. Still traumatized by his parents’ death in a car accident when he was young, Baby decided to suppress his trauma with music.

Constantly ridiculed by his associates throughout the movie, Baby never seems to take out his earbuds, unless specifically asked. While being forced to drive for jobs by his boss to pay off debt, Baby meets a woman that he falls in love with, Debora, played by Lily James. Despite wanting to drive off into the sunset with her, he is forced into more highly dangerous jobs with very dangerous people. The manipulative character Bats, played by Jamie Foxx, is an angry, bloodthirsty criminal who eventually gets Baby to go against what he morally believes, killing.

The script is beautifully written, giving viewers insight into the personality of each character. Scenes are action packed with quick paced movements, and intense gun battles and high-speed chases. Each character has a dynamic to him or herself and is not single layered. Even though Elgort doesn’t speak too much, he played his character very well, and clearly spent time getting into character prior to filming.

The only noticeable flaw of the movie was the ending. It seemed rushed and didn’t do the rest of the movie justice. It was a disappointment compared to what the rest of the movie was. They really took the easy way out.

This is a perfect movie for people who love violence, action, and fast paced scenes with little breaks in between. Following the movie could be challenging for people who enjoy slower movies, but unless violence is a problem, this movie is a must see for anyone over 17. If you’re a ‘Grand Theft Auto’ player, this movie is the one for you.

Categories: Blog

Any and Everyone Will Love ‘In a Heartbeat’

August 29, 2017 - 11:40am

Fleeting glances, a heart-pounding infatuation, and awkward encounters; the tell-tale sign of a cliche school crush. ‘In a Heartbeat’ is a short animated film that tells a captivating story of just that, but with a unique twist.  

This animated short posted on YouTube was created by two student filmmakers named Beth and Estaban. It tells the story of Sherwin, a shy, young redhead enamored with the most popular boy in school, Jonathan. As Sherwin longingly admires Jonathan from afar, Sherwin’s traitorous heart comes to life and lands Sherwin in awkward encounters in a relentless pursuit to unite their hearts together.

This four-minute animation swept the nation overnight, racking up over 20 million views, due to its positive LGBT storyline, and gorgeous animations. The animation bears a strong resemblance to Pixar’s animation, which is impressive given its limited budget of $8,000 that was fundraised on Kickstarter. The story is also compelling as it perfectly encapsulates the gay community’s fear of being outed and mocked for their sexual orientation. It’s a huge step for LGBT media representation, amplifying the community with its accurate portrayal of love. My only critique for this film would be its notable lack of diversity among its characters as they all seem to be portrayed as white.

I would recommend ‘In a Heartbeat’ to everybody and anybody. I would also especially recommend it to fans of LGBT films, animated films, or even romance films. ‘In a Heartbeat’ is short, sweet, and at times, heart-wrenching. It is a gentle reminder to all of us that the hearts wants what it wants, no matter what you identify as.

Categories: Blog

Youth Radio Raw: Too Turnt Radio Episode 8

August 28, 2017 - 2:32pm


Welcome to the 8th episode of Too Turnt Radio on Youth Radio Raw.

Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35pm!

On this show, you’ll hear recent news, personal experiences, and a diverse selection of music.

Youth Radio Raw is a weekly radio show produced by Bay Area high schoolers, ages 14-18. Students partner with professionals to learn the basics of journalism, music production, and multimedia.

For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.

Check out live coverage of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw on Twitter and @yr_raw on Instagram.

 

Categories: Blog

Berkeley Protests: From Calm to Chaos

August 27, 2017 - 4:22pm

This weekend, two rallies — one in San Francisco and one in Berkeley — were expected to draw white supremacists to the Bay Area, but things didn’t turn out quite how some people expected. San Francisco’s demonstration turned into an anti-hate dance party. Berkeley’s demonstrations… didn’t.

Clouds of tear gas over crowds at #BerkeleyProtest. Here’s the scene from Allston and McKinney pic.twitter.com/UN9ULRTzdG

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Thousands of people showed up to Berkeley on Sunday to protest — not all of them peacefully. As the afternoon wore on, violence broke out with police deploying what appeared to be tear gas on some sections of the crowd. As of 4 p.m. we’re hearing there have been around ten people arrested. But lets back up.

Members of the Bay Area Rally Against Hate holding a wall at Oxford and Addison. #Berkeley pic.twitter.com/drt3dps9R1

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

The day started out peacefully enough, with clashes between pro-Trump supporters and anti-hate counter protesters still resembling discussions. Police barricades at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, across the street from Berkeley High School, helped officers screen attendees for weapons and other banned items.

 

President Trump supporter made his way to Berkeley from LA County in the name of free speech. pic.twitter.com/ytsDiuft7w

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Full body pat-downs and bag checks happening at all MLK Park checkpoints to enter #Berkeley #protest pic.twitter.com/pqzsli5geb

— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) August 27, 2017

There were a few minor scuffles early on, but police officers or non-violent protesters quickly stepped in to intervene.

This man was asked to leave for being involved in an altercation #BPD #Berkeley #MLKPark pic.twitter.com/t3LpV74vXz

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

People shout “No violence” as protestors and counter protestors push each other #Berkeley #MLKPark pic.twitter.com/STrJ5fx1HT

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Even early on, anti-hate counter protesters greatly outnumbered the small groups of original demonstrators. Many demonstrators in pro-Trump gear were escorted out of the park as people around them chanted, “Go Home, Nazis.”

 

“Our strategy is to directly confront white supremacists until they leave. And so far it’s been very successful.”-Richard Alejandro Alvarado pic.twitter.com/nUK3eWuHtF

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Free speech rally protestors being escorted out by #berkeley police #MLKPark #BerkeleyProtest pic.twitter.com/YbAY9pguT2

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Trump supporters now boxed in at #MLK park in #Berkeley pic.twitter.com/7Z6SpxJEYw

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Outside the park, a separate group of counter protesters in black began to amass around noon. Police officers detained several people wearing masks, as crowds grew.

 

Huge crowds on both east and west sides of #MLKPark at #BerkeleyProtest. Heavier AntiFa presence on the west side pic.twitter.com/w0R4ga2kPR

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Woman arrested with her service dog at #mlkpark in #Berkeley. Service dogs are allowed but masks are not #BerkeleyProtest #bpd pic.twitter.com/VCoi5M9Pvs

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Trump supporter being called nazi and told to go home. Some ppl are telling him to go over the barrier or yelling “Let AntiFa deal with him” pic.twitter.com/Zb5qT96q33

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

#Berkeley police have their gas masks on pic.twitter.com/ksd5Vt9XQ4

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Around 1:30 p.m. a group of protesters broke through the barricades and made their way into the park. Police deployed what appeared to be tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowd. The scene became more chaotic from there.

Black bloc is here #Berkeley #MLKPark pic.twitter.com/AGPbsBFfiI

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

Trump supporter chased out and beaten after pepper spraying people. pic.twitter.com/KCI2XbT7e7

— Shane Bauer (@shane_bauer) August 27, 2017

Police aiming tear gas at antifa crowd after fight breaks out outside #Berkeley MLK park pic.twitter.com/XetlMBMX9x

— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) August 27, 2017

Everyone is running down Allston Street. #berkeley pic.twitter.com/IYsPgqUJN4

— Lizzie Johnson (@lizziejohnsonnn) August 27, 2017

“Take his camera, take his phone,” they are shouting at a journalist. #berkeley pic.twitter.com/hvsQ5eXalE

— Lizzie Johnson (@lizziejohnsonnn) August 27, 2017

So how did we get here again? Youth Radio reporter Pablo De La Hoya, who was on the ground during the protests breaks it down:

Wondering how the #BerkeleyProtest went from calm to chaotic? Reporter @pablodelahoya8 breaks down the day pic.twitter.com/u9NN0FHbKF

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 27, 2017

On the scene reporting by Youth Radio reporters Sayre Quevedo,Pablo De La Hoya, and Haldun Morgan.

Categories: Blog

Students Respond to White Supremacist Presence in the Bay Area

August 27, 2017 - 12:01pm

Young people express their feelings about white supremacists rallying in different parts of the Bay Area on the weekend of August 26th, 2017.

Categories: Blog

San Francisco: The Clash That Wasn’t

August 26, 2017 - 3:38pm
The “Peace, Love, and Understanding Rally” at Civic Center in San Francisco, CA on the afternoon of August 26th Image: Pablo De La Hoya

SAN FRANCISCO, 4:30 PM AUGUST 26th, 2017

With tensions high across the country in the wake of Charlottesville, a planned far-right rally at San Francisco’s Crissy Field–dubbed the Patriot Prayer by its organizers–attracted national headlines.

Fears ran rampant across the Bay, seemingly on all points of the political spectrum, that a violent clash was in the works between white supremacists who could be attracted to the rally’s rhetoric and anti-fascist (aka Antifa) counter-protestors eager to publically defy Nazis and their ilk.

That is, until the Patriot Prayer organizers–unhappy with the nature of the attention they were getting and how their rally was being characterized (rightly or wrongly)–blinked. In a surprise move they canceled the Crissy Field gathering and declared that they would have a press conference in SF’s Alamo Square.

That area is closer to SF’s Civic Center, where a counter-demonstration was planned. SF authorities denied a permit for the press conference, and shut the Alamo Square area down on Saturday. In the end the Patriot Prayer organizers held their press conference in Pacifica, CA–21 miles southwest of Crissy Field.

The counter-protest, which operated under the Peace, Love, and Understanding Rally name still went on in SF’s Civic Center with other pockets of resistance to openly operating white supremacists and the current presidential administration’s policies popping up in nearby neighborhoods like the Castro.

Youth Radio reporters spent the day in the field in San Franciso, gathering images and speaking with demonstrators. Here are some of the highlights from our social media feeds.

 

Crissy Field — The Canceled Patriot Prayer Rally

A group of Refuse Fascism protestors mobilizing towards Crissy Field, San Francisco pic.twitter.com/39yjSOzTB4

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

Rafael Kadaris celebrates with the small crowd at the sight of an empty Crissy Field. pic.twitter.com/W8qWaQXtbR

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

SFPD has issued a warning to protestors for carrying a sign made from pipes. pic.twitter.com/WqrIF7haA2

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

As per our on-the-site reporter there are about 25-30 people in this protest group. #CrissyField https://t.co/SY5wfe8qjt

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

SFPD on horseback watch the protestors go by here in Crissy Field. #CrissyField #goldengatebridge #sf #protest pic.twitter.com/NSx5LQ1k8V

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

Protestors continue to march in Crissy Field #CrissyField #sf #protest pic.twitter.com/HpX8RoT3YD

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

For those not in the Bay Area: Pacifica is 21 miles SW of Crissy Field and in San Mateo County, not SF. https://t.co/oWwkqjzWtX

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

Civic Center — The Peace, Love and Understanding Rally

People are prepping the stage in front of SF City Hall. A crowd is starting gather at the Peace, Love and Understanding rally pic.twitter.com/YNEUSLZSs5

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

"Because I am a minor it is my future that I have to look out for, and I don't want my future to be full of hate." -Jessica Scott, 16 pic.twitter.com/S20cpvAEzt

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

Checking in with Bronte Sorotsky, Youth Radio reporter, at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco, CA. #sfciviccenter #CivicCenter pic.twitter.com/N1evlyrwHL

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

A counter-protestor greets attendees of the Peace, Love, and Understanding Rally at Civic Center, San Francisco. pic.twitter.com/8uQI4XzYUM

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

"There's a lot going on in the world…it starts here. I want this city to be a place where everyone feels welcome."-Filani, 21. pic.twitter.com/o9fpe1fmDJ

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

Civic Center Rally has turned into a celebration pic.twitter.com/qEziG00eAk

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

Civic Center Rally has turned into a celebration pic.twitter.com/qEziG00eAk

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

Annabel, 26, is feeling heartened after seeing everyone at this rally.
"Now is the time to show up and show solidarity." #sf #civiccenter pic.twitter.com/uwLgInx363

— youthradio (@youthradio) August 26, 2017

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