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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: 1 hour 14 min ago

Playlist: Post-Stress

March 8, 2019 - 4:18pm

It’s been a tough season for everyone. With school picking up the pace, the seasons changing, and just continuing to live life in this world, things can get hella overwhelming. This playlist was made to just vibe, relax a little bit, and enjoy some of the simple things like just listening to music in your room <3

Old School – Arin Ray Who Hurt You? – Daniel Caesar Troop – Tobi Lou Flea Market – Tierra Whack Cable Guy – Tierra Whack Chillin Wiv Da Man Dem – Dizzee Rascal Honeywheat – VanJess I Really Like You – Alexandria U Times 2 – Wintertime

The post Playlist: Post-Stress appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Oakland Teachers’ Strike: The Latest in Nationwide Movement

March 8, 2019 - 11:43am

In the latest indication that public school teachers are leading a national labor movement, Oakland teachers ended a seven-day strike last week. Mayor Libby Schaaf called it a “historic day” for the city.

The teachers in Oakland Unified School District had been without a contract for over a year. With support from students, community advocates and fellow teachers from outside the district, they were able to secure an 11 percent salary increase over four years and one-time three percent bonus. The district also agreed to gradually reduce class sizes, starting with the most at-risk schools.

While the union endorsed the agreement, many Oakland teachers and students feel shortchanged, especially after the board of education cut more than 20 million dollars from next year’s budget a few days after the strike ended. The cuts will affect social programs for restorative justice and foster youth.

Oakland’s controversial settlement begs the question: how does this deal compare to other strikes from across the country?

Almost half a million workers across industries went on strike last year, according to U.S. Labor Department data. 2018 saw the highest number of strikers in over 30 years, and teachers are prominent leaders of this new labor movement.

The wave of high-profile teacher strikes began in West Virginia just over a year ago. In February 2018, public school teachers from across the state took to the picket lines. West Virginia teachers had not received a raise since 2014 and were among the lowest paid in the country. After nine days on strike, teachers won a contentious battle, winning a 5 percent pay increase and a pause on increasing health insurance premiums. (Recently, West Virginia teachers voted to strike again if a new education bill in the state legislature becomes law.)

West Virginia teachers sparked strikes in several other states including Oklahoma, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Colorado.

The largest teacher strike came shortly after the 2018 West Virginia protests: in April of that same year, 81,000 Arizona teachers and school staff walked out for six days. While they didn’t meet all of their goals — such as an increase in counselors, nurses and librarians — teachers won a 20 percent salary increase over the next three years, according to The Associated Press.

The first wave of teacher strikes in 2018 were often referred to as “Red State Revolts.” Many took place in predominantly conservative states facing cuts to education spending. They hit before the midterm elections and served as major political talking points for candidates seeking office.

The latest round of strikes in 2019 are happening in a very different political climate and in places with progressive leadership, like Denver, Los Angeles, and Oakland. When I interviewed teachers in Oakland, they described downtrodden conditions in schools. “The students are not getting the things that they need, which is like paper, pencils, rulers, markers, basic necessities. We don’t have soap in our bathrooms,” said Elena Martyn, 30, a math teacher at Life Academy.

Until the mid-90s, teacher pay was comparable to that of other educated workers, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute. Over the past 20 years, teacher pay has sharply eroded. As of 2017, teachers were paid more than 18 percent less than comparably educated workers.

Other teachers described the difficulties of surviving in the Bay Area on teachers’ wages. “Our two teacher salaries are not enough for daycare and preschool for two children, rent for a two bedroom apartment. We just can’t make ends meet in the city that we teach in,” said Mitch Singsheim, 35, a science teacher at Castlemont High School who is married to a fellow Oakland educator. His family plans to leave the Bay Area this summer.

The post Oakland Teachers’ Strike: The Latest in Nationwide Movement appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

The Gig Economy Is Gonna Break Your Heart

March 7, 2019 - 11:42am

Finding a good job can be tough, which leads to a lot of people to make ends meet in the “gig economy.”

Apps like Lyft and Instacart have made it possible for more people to either get extra cash moonlighting or just piece together a living without a traditional job. In fact, since 2014 about 3.7 million more people have started freelancing, according to a report commissioned by Upwork and the Freelancers Union. With that freelancing statistic covering everything from writers to domestic workers, gig economy workers are definitely in that mix. These aren’t always great jobs, but there are plenty of people in cities big and small who use them to keep their long-term dreams alive.

Yet there are two forces that, working together, could turn those dreams to nightmares.

First there’s automation, which HBO’s John Oliver dedicated a whole “Last Week Tonight” episode to this past weekend.

As Oliver points out, automation is nothing new — and since the Industrial Revolution we’ve seen one type of job go away only to be replaced by another. What his segment didn’t dive into too deep is how the cutting edge of automation could potentially impact freelancing gigs.

It’s no secret that Uber is looking into self-driving cars, which would knock out the need for drivers. The industry that would get hit hardest by self-driving technology would be the trucking business, but technologists dream of cities where the roads are filled with self-driving cabs that are networked via blockchain. That may read like a mass of buzzwords, but it’s something that is actually being worked on, and could disrupt the already disruptive ride-sharing industry.

Blockchain technology allows for decentralized transactions over an open network. Which could mean that independent operators could run autonomous vehicles without relying on companies like Uber. That could be a boon for small investors, but it also cuts out the need for a driver. How much this would impact all those Prius and Civic drivers who moonlight on the apps would depend on just how much an autonomous vehicle would cost consumers. (Assuming they would even be sold or leased that way.)

For now, gig job apps like Instacart and Task Rabbit are less vulnerable, if only because automation can’t do something as complex as assemble an IKEA bed or shop and deliver groceries. Still: delivery robots are a thing now, and in the San Francisco Bay Area you can find start-ups working on robot baristas and burger-making droids. It may only be a matter of time before drone delivery from the Amazon-owned Whole Foods is just a matter of course. Which would liquidate the Instacart part of the equation.

Which brings us to the second force: Wall Street.

Amazon’s history provides us a valuable lesson — Wall Street’s willingness to stick with companies that reduce costs at every step of the way. For years the online shopping giant operated at a loss, but investors looked the other way and kept pumping money into the stock on the promise that one store could rule them all. In the wake of Amazon’s investor-fueled success, chain stores shrunk back and malls took a massive hit, taking retail jobs with them.

Uber autonomous vehicle Volvo XC90 in San Francisco. (Photo: Dllu/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

This matters because gig economy darlings like Uber and Lyft are having trouble showing a profit. Lyft lost almost a billion dollars on its operations in 2018, and Fortune reports that “its average revenue per ride is tiny: $3.56.” Meanwhile Uber lost $1.8 billion, on $50 billion in bookings according to Reuters. (That’s along with all the regulatory issues and corporate scandals that have plagued the company.)

Uber and Lyft are getting ready to put up their stock for public trading for the first time, and these initial public offerings are expected to be some of the hottest in years. I.P.O.s are what made companies like Google and Facebook into what they are today: nearly unavoidable parts of everyday life.

Part of the allure of Uber and Lyft for Wall Street is the possibility of a future where there are very few employees, just machines churning out profit the same way that Amazon’s increasingly automated warehouses do. A burst of I.P.O. money could speed up their efforts, and given the recent history of other tech companies that have gone public, it almost certainly will.

Of course, the opposite could always happen. Wall Street could blink and the I.P.O.s could tank. While that’s not likely, it would mean the end to much of the app-powered gig economy overnight.

It could be that in not too long, the gig will be up for those who made app-driven jobs an essential part of their income.

So what’s a job seeker to do? 

In Oliver’s segment he closes with a bit where he gives elementary school students a little career advice. It basically boils down to: focus on things automation could never do. There are other economic waves that are happening, known as the craft economy and the experience economy.

In the former, the focus is on creating more labor-intensive goods and selling them at a premium precisely because they are handmade. That can cover everything from Etsy stores to cake decorating. In the United States people spent $43 billion on “creative products” in 2016 according to the Association for Creative Industries, which tracks the U.S. craft and hobby markets.

As for the experience economy, immersive pop-ups and companies like Meow Wolf and the Museum of Ice Cream are turning pop-art experiences into can’t-miss destinations that are powered in part by the people who work at those venues, much in the same way retail once worked. The escape room fad, which turned into a fixture, is part of this mix too. Only in these jobs, personality goes even further as they are essentially entertainment gigs.

While automation can be a vicious cycle, there’s a virtuous circle counterpart in the craft and experience economy. The more effort and energy people put into craft-made goods and interpersonal experiences, the more value is created. That’s a kind of cultural shift that is very much in the hands of those who are seeking out something more than the fleeting economic interactions that app-driven gigs can provide.

The post The Gig Economy Is Gonna Break Your Heart appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Inside the Industry – Artist Manager Cristela Rodriguez

March 6, 2019 - 4:48pm

In this edition of YR Media’s Inside the Industry, we get to know Cristela Rodriguez, manager to Chicago rappers, Saba and Joseph Chilliams.  She tapped in to give us details about her job, her specific experiences working on the business side of things and what it’s like to work so closely with a musical artist.

Throughout the interview, Cristela hooks it up with some great advice and an insider perspective on the music industry for anyone interested in the business side of the game.

Jess: What made you get into management? And how did you wind up becoming Saba’s manager?

I got into management when I was working at this company in the Bay Area called Ineffable Music. They were a service management company — kind of doing anything on the management side from booking flights, to getting artists shows, to advancing those shows. I started working there in 2014 as an assistant my sophomore year of college, and ever since then I’ve been working in the music industry. I met Saba, I got put on to him through a friend, and I was just a really big fan. Then I met him at a show in Oakland at Leo’s and I hit up his manager at the time to see if they had an intern position available. I worked alongside his then manager for a little bit and then eventually I just became the manager.

Jess: What would you say is the most important part of your job as a manager? Can you describe a typical day on the job?

CR: The most important part of my job is just double and triple checking a lot of details like contracts, flight reservations, scheduling appointments, or making sure that I have proper contacts necessary to do a show or an interview or anything like that. Then my everyday life as a manager — I usually wake up around 8:00 and I’m responding to emails by 9:00; I usually sit in front of my computer until 5:00 or 6:00 pm with little breaks in between to get on the phone or do anything like that. It’s a lot of emails and a lot of phone calls. It definitely gets really hectic just because things have sped up a lot. So sometimes I’ll be on back-to-back phone calls from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and then I get really flustered because I feel like I’m so behind and I’m barely starting to respond to emails until noon because I’ve been on the phone all day. It’s just trying to find a balance like, okay this is the time I’m gonna set aside to be on the phone, this is the time I’m gonna set aside to do emails and all that stuff. Time management!

Jess: What are some things you wish you knew before starting in your role?

CR: Oh, that’s a good one. I don’t know if anyone’s ever asked me that before. I wish I knew the specifics of how label contracts work. I feel like that’s something nobody really teaches you. Obviously, the music industry is changing so much because of streaming and record companies are having to get really creative with what they’re able to offer artists. But I wish somebody told me that. Something that nobody talks about as well is the difference between mechanical royalties and publishing royalties. Nobody teaches you that, you have to learn it on your own or go seek out that information. Which is cool — you should always be seeking out information — but I think those are two things that should really be taught first and foremost. There are so many things that go into it.

Jess: I see Smino’s a big supporter of Saba, how did you guys end up making that connection?

CR: Saba and Smino met ’cause Smino’s from Chicago. Well, he’s from St. Louis but he’s been in Chicago for a really long time, so they kinda have just known each other through that and music. They have a bunch of unreleased stuff that hasn’t come out which is really dope. Yeah, that’s like family.

Jess: Have you made any mistakes on the job? If so, what have you learned from them?

CR: Hell yeah. All the time. I’ve booked an incorrect flight before which always sucks because they try to charge you hella money to fix them, but I usually always get out of that because I can be very convincing with airlines. Things like that feel like the end of the world, but you just kind of calm down and figure out a way to figure it out and move on. You’re going to make mistakes for sure. It’s kind of like a balance of knowing when to just be honest and fess up to or just try to wing it and figure it out. Sometimes there are situations I have to talk to the team and be like “Yo, I messed up here’s what happened.” Other times I figure it out and nobody even knows that something went wrong.

Jess: Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into artist management?

CR: The advice I have is to ask ALL the questions. Always ask, even if you think there is, there’s no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to this stuff. Always ask questions — any little question that you have. The smallest details can really be the biggest thing so it’s always better to just ask.

The post Inside the Industry – Artist Manager Cristela Rodriguez appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Remix Your Life Artist Spotlight: Edel

March 5, 2019 - 4:27pm
Oakland DJ / Producer / Engineer / A&R  Edel is a part of Remix Your Life’s behind-the-scenes team

The post Remix Your Life Artist Spotlight: Edel appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Bay Word of the Day: “Fonk”

March 4, 2019 - 6:18pm

The post Bay Word of the Day: “Fonk” appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Kehlani’s Latest Mixtape “While We Wait”

March 4, 2019 - 4:43pm

Kehlani has never shied away from being open and personal in her music. She makes sure every lyric written, every tune sung, comes straight from the heart. “While We Wait” is her first project since her debut studio album “SweetSexySavage” and it is her most honest and expressive project to date. The album showcases her growth not only as an artist but as a woman as well.

Fans have been highly anticipating this mixtape for nearly two years, but the pay-off was worth it. “While We Wait” ingeniously incorporates the ’90s, ’00s, and contemporary R&B to blend into a singular sound that is completely organic to Kehlani. Touching on topics such as love, heartache, and self-assurance, Kehlani matures her playfully sassy attitude into confidence from a force to be reckoned with.

Footsteps (feat. Musiq Soulchild)

Kehlani sings, “Cheers to being honest/Neither of us knew what we wanted,” setting up the mood for “While We Wait,” an album focused on her dysfunctional relationship. “Footsteps” serves as the reflective intro, assessing what caused the relationship to stop working. The song is fully equipped with nostalgic 90’s production over sounds of waves, bringing out the best in Kehlani’s raw vocals. After breakups, most of us are faced with emotions and despair. She doesn’t sulk but instead, voices her gratitude. Kehlani, mature in her standing, gives thanks to her partner for the time and lessons learned within the relationship. In an album that centers around an unhealthy relationship, Kehlani lets the listener know that her growth is what was the most important thing learned in the relationship.

Too Deep

Kehlani sings about the complexities that come with situationships on “Too Deep.” The two are clearly not on the same page as she talks about communication issues and one-sided feelings. Kehlani’s partner demands more than what she’s willing to give, as she’s not looking for a relationship with them. She knows that if they continue on the path they’re on, it is inevitable that they will hurt each other.

“Too Deep” is a smooth yet contagious song, reminiscent of a conversation with oneself. The beat goes hand-in-hand with Kehlani’s soulful, captivating voice, it’s the kind of song that’s almost impossible not to sing along to.

Nights Like This (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)

Kehlani’s heartfelt emotions shine through on this track, utilizing her signature melodious voice to showcase a sentiment that’s true.  In “Nights Like This,” Kehlani tells an unfortunate love story about still yearning for an ex-lover, despite having been hurt and misled in the relationship. The heartbreak and betrayal are amplified in the song’s music video, where Kehlani plays a scientist that repairs an android and begins to form a close bond with her, only for the android to later kill her and take over her body.

RPG (feat. 6LACK)

Kehlani’s cry for love is recognized on “RPG,” the centerpiece of While We Wait. The song’s lyrics locate the initial disconnect that spurred the conflict of the relationship between Kehlani and her partner, who is played by 6LACK. The dispute comes down to a difference in understanding of what it means to love another person. Kehlani doesn’t feel loved, while she tells her partner, their actions aren’t reassuring enough to show love. There is no reciprocation of affection. “RPG” represents a commonality in relationships where needs aren’t met, partners feel as if they need to overcompensate then end up draining themselves for one another. Kehlani shows us that love shouldn’t be a task, but, love should be effortless.

Love Language

The inspiration for Kehlani’s “Love Language” came from one of the song’s producers, Super Duper Brick, who learned to speak Portuguese to communicate with his girlfriend.

In “Love Language,” Kehlani sings about a partner that she feels an intense connection with, but who speaks a different language from her. She asks about his interests, trying to figure out all the things they can do together. Unable to stress just how much she wants to keep learning about this person, Kehlani makes it clear that “Love Language” is about devotion. The track features a sweet melody backed by a dancehall-esque beat, ending the project with a bang.

The post You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Kehlani’s Latest Mixtape “While We Wait” appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

How The Performing Arts Helped Me Overcome My Shyness

March 3, 2019 - 8:00am

Growing up I was known as the quiet, shy girl. The performing arts helped break me out of my shell, into who I am today.

I used to be super-shy. I remember asking a friend how I came across to new people. She told me I seemed distant, uninterested–and maybe even a little rude.

When I was five, my parents enrolled me in classes for piano and theater. And I loved it. Now, I continue to dance, sing, and play the guitar. For more than a decade now, I’ve consistently performed in front of hundreds of people.  

The shyness didn’t go away overnight. But music and theatre gave me opportunities to put myself out there and be vulnerable.

When I get in the zone, the audience disappears. I am focused on my task at hand. After the shows, complete strangers come up to congratulate me. Once you’ve performed in front of a crowd, speaking to strangers doesn’t seem so daunting.

So often, in school, there’s emphasis placed on the core curriculum over the arts. But my time performing has given me life skills that are just as valuable as anything I might learn in school.

The post How The Performing Arts Helped Me Overcome My Shyness appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Bay Area Gen Zers: What We Want From a 2020 Presidential Candidate

March 2, 2019 - 5:30am

While Election Day is well over a year away, the 2020 presidential race has already begun. And it seems to be growing more crowded by the minute: 15 hopefuls have already announced their candidacies in the past month, from high-profile senators like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, to Marianne Williamson, Oprah’s “spiritual guru.”

Despite politicians’ attempts to appeal to every last voter, there’s one demographic that is often neglected: young voters. In 2020, that blind spot could be costly. Young voter turnout skyrocketed in the 2018 midterms, with a 188 percent increase from the 2014 midterms.

So, who does Gen Z — the people born from 1997 on — want to lead them into the future? Here’s what five young people from the Bay Area, ages 15 to 17, had to say.

1) They Want a President Who Works for the People

In general, these young people want to know that their politicians care about their constituents’ well-being and can relate to everyday citizens. This can often mean connecting to people outside their own racial and socioeconomic circles.

Hannah Cornejo, a 16-year-old from Berkeley, California, says she wants a candidate who exhibits “compassion” and can focus on issues that are “important for everyday people.” Benicia resident Chris Weldon, 17, agrees. He wants someone who is “kind, respectful, willing to listen to others, has a big heart and takes in all the facts.”

2) They Value Human Rights and Want the Same from Their Leaders

Gen Zers were quick to say what they didn’t want in a president: “A racist. And a homophobe. And a woman-hater,” said Mila De La Torre, a 16-year-old who lives in San Francisco. After hearing hateful comments from politicians in the past, many young voters are looking for a change.

Young voters tend to be more diverse than older generations, according to the Pew Research Center. Almost half of Gen Z is composed of racial or ethnic minorities. They want politicians to represent them, not just respect them.

Aaron Jackson, 17, from Oakland, California, remembers how excited he felt to see his identity reflected in Barack Obama. He hopes to see another black candidate win.

3) Immigration is a Major Priority

Immigration and border control have been touchy subjects for years. After so many alienating debates, young voters want tangible change. For the teens we interviewed, this doesn’t mean a wall.

Oakland resident Victoria Bella, 15, criticized the current president’s rhetoric, which condemns many undocumented immigrants as criminals, when they statistically commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born citizens. “We shouldn’t be deporting people who have family in America,” Bella said. She wants elected officials to have compassion for immigrants. “People come to America to have a better life,” Bella said.

4) They Don’t Want Divisive Politics 

“Things I don’t want in a presidential candidate?” Weldon asked. “Scandals, lies, … illegal contributions.”

After years of polarizing politics, young voters are tired of political division. One thing they noted was negativity: instead of tearing down others because of differing opinions, young people want a president with a positive platform who can bring us together.

Bella is looking for a candidate “who isn’t trying to divide us, but really trying to make America better as a community.”

5) Identity Politics Don’t Matter as Much as You Think

While many young people would prefer to see more women and people of color in office, most are more focused on a particular candidate’s commitment to equality.

At the end of the day, these young voters say they care more about policies than identity politics. “I don’t think it really matters, as long as they actually show that they’re passionate about helping all people,” De La Torre said.

6) They Want a Change from 2016

While they may be young, Gen Z voters still remember the polarizing presidential race of 2016. Many remember a slew of sensationalized debates, Twitter feuds and scandals. In 2020, they want to focus on the policies, not personal attacks.

“I hope that [both political parties] take a deeper look this time and endorse the right candidate,” Weldon said. “A better candidate.”

“I don’t want it to be focused around who can be the most sensational and who can make [a] media circus, instead of focusing on the issues and what’s really important,” Cornejo said. “And I don’t want Russia to hack it.”

The post Bay Area Gen Zers: What We Want From a 2020 Presidential Candidate appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Striking Teachers Aren’t Being Paid. How Do They Make It Work?

March 1, 2019 - 1:19pm

*Since this post went out, a tentative agreement has been reached between the Oakland teachers union and the school district.

Teachers from Oakland Unified School District went on strike last week, after working without a contract for over a year. Negotiations between the school district and the teachers union are ongoing.

Teachers are demanding higher wages, smaller class sizes and more support for their students. After only the first week, however, many are already struggling financially. They’re faced with the paradox of the strike: to fight for higher wages, they’re striking without pay.

Here’s what four OUSD teachers told YR Media’s Lucy Barnum about the financial struggles of being a teacher.

Elena Martyn, 30, math teacher at Life Academy

“I’m just lucky in the sense that I don’t have any student loans. Most of my money goes to cost of living. Which is paying for car insurance, paying for groceries, paying for rent. So I have been able to save some. I’m in the unique position where I have enough saved for maybe a month or two, but I don’t also want to have to dip into savings. Beyond that, I will have to take out loans. And I really hope that it doesn’t come to that. If we can’t afford to live in our own communities, then it’s hard to stay here.”

Mitch Singsheim, 35, science teacher at Castlemont High School, married to a fellow teacher

“We can pretty much no longer afford to live in Oakland, so this is our last year teaching in Oakland Unified School District. We’re moving to Southern California this summer. It was a very easy decision, because we just didn’t have any other options. We both love Oakland — my wife has lived here for over 10 years, I’ve lived here for 15 years — we’ve definitely built a huge community here, we have tons of friends. And so we don’t want to leave. If we didn’t have to we wouldn’t leave. Our two teacher salaries are not enough for day care and preschool for two children, rent for a two-bedroom apartment. We just can’t make ends meet in the city that we teach in. It makes literally no sense to stay here.”

Aly Kronick, 32, English and academic literacy teacher at Oakland International High School

“Given the cost of living in Oakland, it’s pretty impossible to do the work that we do, and do the work that our students really deserve. My partner is also a teacher at Oakland International, so we’re in it together, which I think is helpful. We both understand the struggle that we’re in and figure out how to make it work together. But at the same time, it’s really difficult because we both have the exact same salary. I felt confident that I would be okay without a week of pay. But beyond a week, having additional assistance is necessary.”

Revaz Ardesher, 38, history teacher at Hillcrest Middle School

“I decided that I was not going to live in Oakland this year, that I was going to live close to my hometown in Concord and not deal with rent this year. It’s bittersweet. I want to be a teacher who works and lives in Oakland. … I mean, that’s my plan. But I’m critically looking at it because it’s hard to stay in Oakland. You can get paid more in San Leandro or in Berkeley or in Marin or Redwood City or anywhere else. [Oakland] is a deeply special city — that I think a lot of us grew up in — and it’s a place that’s starting to maybe not feel so much like home anymore.”

These interviews were edited for length and clarity.

The post Striking Teachers Aren’t Being Paid. How Do They Make It Work? appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Living Paycheck to Paycheck Sucks. Here’s How to Save.

March 1, 2019 - 5:30am

If you missed two paychecks, would you be able to pay all your bills? If not, it might not surprise you that nearly 80 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a CareerBuilder report.

But there’s a better way. Financial advisor Jasper Smith has tips for how to build wealth now — even if your paycheck isn’t as big as you’d like — by creating a balanced budget. Watch the full video to learn how to stack your chips.

The post Living Paycheck to Paycheck Sucks. Here’s How to Save. appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Remix Your Life Artist Spotlight: Hanif

February 28, 2019 - 7:11pm

The post Remix Your Life Artist Spotlight: Hanif appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Colorado Might Require Sex Ed That Covers Consent

February 27, 2019 - 5:21pm

The Colorado Senate will hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that requires public schools teach kids about consent and bans abstinence-only sex education. The bill, H.B. 19-1032, also mandates lessons about consent, gender identity, the use of gender pronouns, and what relationships between heterosexual, bisexual, gay and trans people can look like.

“Sex education should include all forms of sex. Not just sex between a man and woman,” said Reece Norberg, 17, a senior at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. “We also cannot ignore the fact that people have sex. Abstinence is not something that should be taught anymore.”

If passed, the bill would affect state-wide sex education curriculum as early as Dec. 1, 2019.

Thirty-seven states require schools to cover or emphasize abstinence in their curriculum, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Compare that to the only 13 states that require sex ed to be “medically accurate.”

But as the #MeToo movement has gained traction over the last two years, a new conversation has emerged within schools about whether sex ed should teach consent and appropriate sexual behaviors. If the Colorado bill passes, it will be the ninth state in the country to require that consent be taught in schools.

But some parents and students are concerned about the bill. Under the legislation, Colorado charter schools would lose the ability to apply for waivers from the curriculum, a right these schools currently have.

Parents can still take their children out of a sex education class on an individual basis, but some are concerned about bullying if they do so.

“I really don’t think schools should be involved in [sex education] at all. It is the parents’ right to teach their child what they believe,” said Weston Imer, 15, a ninth grader who is homeschooled and who was the co-chair of President Trump’s 2016 campaign in Jefferson County, Colorado.

“My young cousins will be affected by this and it could cause problems when they grow up,” Imer said. “They could become sexually active at too young of an age and being taught these things in school could lead to inappropriate behavior in them.”

The bill includes language requiring curriculum to be “age appropriate,” but opponents like Imer say it’s too vague.

One of the biggest opponents of the bill is Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila. In a Jan. 27 letter that was read at Catholic masses around Denver when the bill was first introduced, Aquila said the new sex-ed curriculum “contradicts human nature and is inconsistent with Christian values.”

“We know that God made us male and female, in his image and likeness, but the comprehensive curriculum route which most schools will likely adopt teaches innocent children this is not true,” Aquila wrote. “Public schools would have to promote abortion as an equal option to life, and parents wouldn’t be notified before lessons were presented on gender-identity and sexual orientation. Each of us must do our part to fight this legislation.”

Several students testified in support of bill last month, according to the New York Times, including Clark Wilson, 15, a high school freshman in Denver. In his testimony, Wilson recalled a lesson in his eighth grade class, in which his sex-ed teacher rolled a piece of tape on a table until it lost its stickiness. Wilson told the Times the lesson was that “people are like tape and once they have sex they’re dirty and can’t have meaningful relationships.”

After a heated 10-hour House debate in January that was attended by hundreds of people, the bill passed 39-23. If it’s passed by the Senate, it’s expected that Democratic Gov. Jared Polis — the first openly gay man elected governor in U.S. history — will sign the bill into law.

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Categories: Blog

Do Oakland Principals Support the OUSD Teachers Strike?

February 26, 2019 - 5:06pm

After more than a year without a contract, the Oakland teachers’ strike for higher wages and improved classroom conditions kicked off last week. Negotiations between teachers and the school district are ongoing.

For school administrators, however, the strike poses a difficult question: do they side with the district or stand with their teachers?

The day before the strike officially began, 75 Oakland principals signed an open letter to show their support for the striking teachers. Some administrators also drove to Sacramento to lobby for their teachers at the California State Capitol. They asked the state for three things: to increase per-student spending, to forgive OUSD’s $100 million debt to the state (the result of a 2003 bailout), and to review and revise charter school legislation.

YR Media’s Lucy Barnum talked to Cliff Hong, the principal of Roosevelt Middle School, about the challenges of leading his school during the strike.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Lucy Barnum: Why do you support the teachers’ strike?

Cliff Hong: Actually, I share the position of most principals in Oakland — if not all principals — which is that the most important worker in our district are the teachers. And we need to make sure that the turnover rate of our teachers is low so that teachers can stay and build their craft and their skills [and] our young people are able to thrive. For us, a big part of that is their wages. All teachers want a wage that insures that they can pay rent in Oakland and buy a home, and right now the wages that they’re earning [do] not let them do that.

LB: Has teacher turnover been a big problem?

CH: In middle schools, in general, the turnover is higher than in high school and elementary school. At Roosevelt, we have one of the lowest turnover rates out of the middle schools in OUSD, and still, it’s half a dozen or more teachers each year.

LB: How does that turnover impact students?

CH: Well, schools are not supposed to be factories, schools are communities. When you have turnover like that, it’s hard to build those relationships and trust within the staff. And for the students, they’re looking for stability and familiarity, especially students who experience trauma — there’s many in Oakland. To have new faces every year can add to that trauma. It’s definitely a big problem that we’re trying to address.

LB: What was it like to talk to state legislators in Sacramento about public school funding?

CH: It was great. I was really proud of my colleagues. We’re not just facilitating learning for students, but today was a giant learning experience for us, too. I mean, none of us have done lobbying work like this before, and so we were all really taking a learning stance ourselves and learning how the process works.

LB: How are you holding your school together during the strike?

CH: You know, nobody knows what’s going to happen. I just have faith that we’re all on the same page. We’re all on the same team, all the educators and students and families in Oakland. At the end of the day, we all want the teachers to get a healthy pay raise and we want the students to be safe and to be thriving. We’re really happy that the vast majority of our staff are exercising our rights to strike and we hope that there’s a good resolution.

LB: Are you going to be on the picket line?

CH: I’m not sure. It kind of depends on the number of students. If all 575 students show up and I’m the only person in the building to take care of them, I will probably have my hands full.

LB: What do you think your biggest struggle will be during the strike?

CH: I don’t want the teachers to be soured by the process. I hope that it’s an empowering thing for them, as opposed to something that makes them feel like the school district doesn’t care about them. That’s something that I think about.

LB: Are most administrators like you, standing with their teachers?

CH: I don’t know. My sense in talking with my fellow administrators is that they do support the teachers. They recognize that we were all teachers, too, at one point, and we dealt with the same low wages as well. I think the principals want to see our teacher colleagues being able to have more stable lives as well.

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Categories: Blog

This “Black Panther” Actor Was Undocumented

February 26, 2019 - 12:29pm

You might know that at the 2019 Oscars ceremony, “Black Panther” went home with three Academy Awards. But you might not have known that one of the film’s actors was undocumented and is now protected by DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

If you’ve seen NBC’s “The Good Place” or the opening scene of “Black Panther,” where T’Challa kicks the asses of a group of bad guys, then you’ve come across actor Bambadjan Bamba.

In late 2017, Bamba came out as undocumented and a DACA recipient. This was around the time President Trump pushed forward his plans to terminate DACA, an Obama-era policy that grants temporary legal status for two years to some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were children.

These undocumented people have sometimes been called “Dreamers” and could qualify for citizenship under specific circumstances set out in the DREAM Act, a bill that has been in the works since 2001 but has never passed.

“I realized that I couldn’t stay quiet anymore, especially now that I have a daughter who at the time turned 1,” Bamba said.

“I was like, ‘Man, am I just going to sit here in fear and just wait for this thing to be terminated and be separated from my family?’” Bamba said, referring to the DACA program. “That’s when I had to get some guts … and use my platform to help make a difference.”

Bamba said some people warned him against talking about this part of his life out of fear that Trump could take specific action against him. But he didn’t let that stop him.

Other famous people who’ve also made headlines for being undocumented include rapper 21 Savage and journalist Jose Antonia Vargas. “Orange is the New Black” actress Diane Guerrero knows the pain of being separated from one’s family, as her parents were deported.

Actors like Bambadjan Bamba help show that the DACA community is wider than people likely think, and that other DACA recipients aren’t alone.

“Ultimately I was at peace with that decision [to talk about my status]. I took a leap of faith. Thank God I’m still here,” Bamba said.

The full interview with Bambadjan Bamba will be featured in Season 2 of YR Media’s podcast, “Adult ISH,” which is dropping in late Spring 2019.

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Categories: Blog

Bay Word of the Day: Green

February 25, 2019 - 6:48pm

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Beautiful Drawings of Black History Heroes

February 25, 2019 - 3:43pm

In honor of Black History Month, The kNOw, a Fresno-based youth media outlet, has been releasing illustrated profiles of black changemakers. The Instagram project balances a mix of well-known figures like jazz singer Billie Holiday and baseball legend Jackie Robinson, with more obscure figures like Marsha P. Johnson, a New York drag queen and gay rights activist, and Charles Drew, a scientist who made important discoveries about blood transfusions.

Ruben Diaz, the 16-year-old illustrator behind the project, said he first started drawing because he was bored in his bio class.


Diaz credits The kNOw for helping him discover he’d like to pursue illustration and graphic design as careers. A comic artist first, Diaz said he draws to entertain people and likes to put a positive spin on real life.

Besides Oprah, Barack Obama and Jackie Robinson, Diaz said he wasn’t familiar with many black changemakers before he started the project. So he came to know about many of the figures he drew for the first time.

And he gained a lot of respect for the people he featured, which include chemist Alice Ball, who developed an early treatment for leprosy, and Frances Albrier, a civil and labor rights activist who fought to become a welder at a shipyard during World War II.

Diaz said he “admires the perseverance, endurance and motivation” the people he drew had to demonstrate in order to make a positive change in their communities and in the world.

Check out Diaz’s illustrations below.

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Categories: Blog

After a Gunshot On Campus, My School Went Into Lockdown

February 24, 2019 - 8:00am

In 3rd period English class, there was an announcement over the intercom: “Lockdown, we are in lockdown.” I looked up to see the fear in my teacher’s eyes. When I heard the stress in his voice as he told us to get down, I knew this wasn’t a drill.

I sat in the far corner of the room, my back pressed against the wall. My hands were shaking as I texted my parents. I told them we were in lockdown and that I loved them. That I didn’t know what was happening, but I loved them. I can’t count how many times I said that in those next few hours.

My classmates and I sat on the floor and watched a livestream of the local news from someone’s phone. We watched police cars pull up, and helicopters circling overhead, and cops storming the campus with giant rifles.

Another classmate downloaded a crime app. Every couple minutes it sent us updates about video surveillance showing the suspect removing his red hoodie, and paramedics tending to an injured victim on campus. Finally, we heard a voice on the intercom, “We are about to evacuate the building. Please be ready.”

We were a jumbled stampede fleeing campus. Outside, crowds of parents waited for us. Several news trucks and police cars were lined up down the street. I ran to my mom and hugged her and let out a cry. I’ve never been so relieved.

Returning to school the next day, especially to my English class, made me anxious. I kept looking back at the corner where I sat during the lockdown. Just 24 hours ago, I had been gripping my phone, not knowing how the ordeal would end.

Since that day, we learned that there wasn’t an active shooter threatening the student body. The gun went off accidentally. But even that accident created a lockdown and led to someone getting injured. Now I have a new feeling of vulnerability that pervades everything. It feels like anyone can carry a gun, anywhere. No place is safe.

An abridged version of this commentary aired on KCBS.

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Categories: Blog

Playlist: Settling into a New City

February 22, 2019 - 6:07pm

At this time in my life, it’s been bit hard to create a new sense of home for myself. These songs have each given me memories of home in a comforting way, providing the optimistic headspace I need to navigate a new environment. I kept it eclectic to cover the different moods new cities can stir up.

Patrick Paige II – On My Mind / Charge It to the Game

Patrick Paige II writes this song to his sister in a heartfelt song, with both sadness and love coming through. The emotions are heavy for such a vibrant track.

Travis Scott – AstroThunder

Travis Scott collabed with the insanely talented Thundercat on this one, and it’s definitely my favorite track off ASTROWORLD. It brings me memories of the countless times I slapped it to death while driving around the Bay.

Tierra Whack – Dr. Seuss

Tierra Whack an album with a run time of like 30 seconds, but this song def stood out to me the most, and is worth you looping it.

Kadhja Bonet – Mother Maybe

Kadhja Bonet is a damn star and I’m so glad to have stumbled upon her music, cause this track brings funky throwback vibes, and she’s from Richmond!!

Michael Seyer – Show Me How You Feel (Eros)

Michael Seyer brings a calm and collected mindset with this track that helps me relax and unwind!

Beach House – Lemon Glow

Beach House does sad but great new wave-type music like no one else honestly, and this album has many gems. This song in particular resonated with me very dearly though.

Ruthven – Hypothalamus

Ruthven is a new product of the “Paul Academy” which is Jai and A.K Paul’s lovechild. It’s beautiful. Just listen, and it gives a little taste of the very-much-missed Paul touch.

Noname – Part of Me

Noname actually sat me down with this song and props to her for still building her artistry. And sound. This song is dope.

Blood Orange – Saint

Blood Orange is that weird blend of pop, 80s and ambience. Listening to this song helped put me in a different headspace to be a little introspective! I remember listening to this in the Bay and now linking it over to a new city just feels right.

Mac Miller – Objects in the Mirror

When Mac Miller tragically passed away it actually shook me a bit more than I thought it would. This track was always my favorite from him and I think its profound, sad lyrics mixed with Pharrell production keeps it on repeat for me. This was one of the first albums that actually captivated me off of production alone when I was just learning to make beats… Even though I didn’t listen to him a lot in general, respect to him and this beautiful song.

      I hope this list provides you with some musical comfort no matter where you are. I believe it’s important we satisfy ourselves with a soundtrack to our moods, because being in touch with yourself and your feelings is how we are going to overcome our anxieties. Remember to make memories with your music, so that you always have a taste of home wherever you are.

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Categories: Blog

Where Do Elementary Students Go During the Oakland Teacher Strike?

February 22, 2019 - 4:37pm

Many Oakland families are supporting the Oakland Unified School District teacher strike by keeping their children out of school. “Our families will not cross the picket line,” Michael Viola, the parent of a second grader, told KPIX.

During the strike, high schoolers can support teachers by not going to school, and joining marches or picket lines instead.

And even younger elementary school students have been absent during the strike.

The vast majority of students at Garfield Elementary of East Oakland haven’t been in school since the strike started Thursday. Leslie McLean, a literacy coach at Garfield, estimates that of the roughly 680 students who attend Garfield, 80 were present on Thursday, and only 35 showed up Friday.

McLean wanted to clear up rumors suggesting that students might be punished for skipping school during the teachers’ strike. “Students will not be suspended or expelled for participating in the strike,” she said. She blamed the confusion on mixed messaging from the district.

Parents in favor of the strike have the option of sending their children to solidarity schools, which are informal childcare spaces geared towards elementary-aged kids. Ivelisse Diaz of YR Media visited the solidarity school at Mosswood Park, which has portable classroom spaces and playgrounds. Mosswood served students from Emerson Elementary and Piedmont Avenue Elementary. 

Nell Schafer, Ben Muchin and Maya Ades were three students from Oakland Technical High School who spent the second day of the OUSD teacher strike volunteering at a solidarity school. (Photo: Shawn Wen/YR Media)

On Friday, about 50 children were in attendance at Mosswood, where they were supervised by a group of parent volunteers and high school students from Oakland Technical High School.

“I’m here because I know that during the strike, the community needs all the help it can get,” said Ben Muchin, 17, an Oakland Tech senior. Muchin was looking after a group of younger elementary school students, where he helped with snack, recess and general play. “We need to chip in where we can,” he said.

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