Today on the Youth Radio podcast, a growing project at the University of California at Berkeley helping undocumented students apply for legal status. Also a group of fourth graders are getting a crash course in immigration reform, while they try to figure out why their classmate is stuck in Mexico.
(Photo: Student Carlos Hernandez-Martinez in the "Dream Resource Center," part of the Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley. Credit: Luis Flores / YOUTH RADIO.)
Originally aired on KALW-FM and Stitcher Radio.
By Luis Flores
Tucked away in the student center at University of California Berkeley, the Undocumented Student Program is designed to be a national model. It makes college possible for students without legal status. Meng So runs the program. He's totally passionate about the work, and insists students here couldn’t wait for national immigration reform. “So we said, as the number one public institution in America, we’re gonna take a lead, and we’re gonna act when others won't,” said So.
That means: low cost housing, financial aid, and free legal services, on top of the in-state tuition and grants that California offers many undocumented students, who attended three years of high school.
All to support students like sophomore Carlos Hernandez Martinez.
"I'm actually I guess what you would call a dreamer," said Hernandez Martinez. "My parents brought me to this country when I was 4 years old. I grew up here my whole life in Oakland... Sometimes I feel more from here than from Mexico. My parents say that too, 'You were basically born here. You’ve done everything here.'”Read more...
As many stories as there are about juvenile detention centers, it's rare to actually hear from the young people who currently live in them. "Sending Messages," a podcast produced by Spy Hop, is changing that. Since 2012, Spy Hop has worked with youth in secure-care facilities in Salt Lake City, Utah to create half-an-hour-long shows on themes ranging from loyalty to childhood. Each episode is a variety of interviews, stories, and poetry. We've posted one of their episodes titled, "When I Get Out," below.
Each of us at Sending Messages plan, hope, and dream of one day. The day we get out. Getting a chance to experience freedom once more, to see our families, and hear those doors slam behind us. But it isn’t that simple. Once paroled, each of us face new challenges, new obstacles and expectations. How often is the dream we wish to obtain also the most frightening way to fail? In this episode, we try to tackle what that means. What are the hopes, dreams, and fears when we get out?
To find out more, listen below or check out the Sending Messages website.
By Joshua Clayton
I encounter youth violence almost five times a week in west Oakland. At a recent panel event, I spoke with some interesting people about the subject and ways they are working to stop youth violence.
Teresa Goines, Founder and Executive Director of Old Skool Café, opened her shop in response to the young people she encountered while working as a correctional officer. “I asked them what they needed,” she said, and the young people said: jobs and a place to call home.
I also spoke with Pastor Michael McBride, Director of the Lifelines to Healing Campaign, and Gonzalo Rucobo, Founder and Executive Director of the Bay Area Peacekeepers, Inc.. Rucobo grew up as a member of the Norteno gang, running the streets. “My wife and kids almost got shot over it,” he said. He told me that was a wake-up call.
I never knew these programs existed before this event. It was enlightening, knowing there are people out there trying to help my city get better.Read more...
In California, solitary confinement as a juvenile could mean being put away for a couple of hours, a couple of days, or even weeks. That’s because, according to an editorial published by the Los Angeles Editorial Board this weekend, there is no standard definition of how confinement is practiced in detention centers.
Solitary confinement, sometimes called “temporary isolation” is a widely used technique to protect violent or disruptive inmates from each other and from staff. But without a uniform best practice for the state, the article argues, the isolation can end up being anything but temporary. “Some officials say isolation is part of their treatment programs, but it can look an awful lot like retaliation, punishment or professional incompetence. The same is true in state youth facilities, where so-called temporary detention and even treatment programs can in effect be 23-hour-a-day lockdowns.”
And beyond the inconsistencies in the practice, the editorial also claims that by itself, solitary confinement is unhealthy for teens. “And if the juvenile is already mentally disturbed,” the author writes, “solitary confinement can further degrade his or her mental state. It can make treatment more difficult and, some studies suggest, suicide more likely.”Read more...
This story originally aired on Minnesota Public Radio.
College students in central Minnesota are learning a few life lessons on how government works. The subject at hand -- three new ordinances designed to control underage drinking in the city of St. Joseph.
Students were caught off guard by the new rules and now they're getting more active in city lawmaking. Will Moore, a graduating senior at St. John's University, has the latest installment in our Young Reporters series.
By Will Moore
St. Joseph is home to the College of St. Benedict, with a concentrated population of students from St. Ben's and St. John's University. In fact, college students make up more than a third of St. Joseph's population -- 2,380 students live in the city, which has a total population of 6,534, according to census figures.
The three new laws went into effect in March. The first requires landlords to sign a keg permit acknowledging beer will be served on their property. The second allows police to charge people who are drunk with a misdemeanor if they're uncooperative with police.
The third ordinance holds hosts responsible if any minors drink alcohol at their social gatherings. The social host law is getting a lot of attention from students 21 and over because they fear the repercussions of socializing with mixed-age groups.
Shane Schiavo, 22, is a senior at St. John's. Schiavo is originally from Marshall, but now lives in St. Joseph, and he believes the punishment for violating the social host ordinance is too severe.
"One silly mistake and you get a misdemeanor, mandatory court appearance, possible jail time, up to a $1,000 fine that sticks with you for the rest of your life and can haunt you in your job search, can haunt you in anything," he said. "The punishment does not match the crime."Read more...
By Chantell Williams
There is plenty of gray area surrounding statutory rape, as is evident in the case of Torrington, Connecticut, where two 18-year-old football players are being prosecuted for having consensual sex with two 13-year-old girls. In this interview with Professor Frank Zimring of UC Berkeley's Law School, Youth Radio’s Chantell Williams explores the confusion around statutory rape policies.
Listen to the story here:
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The following aired on KCBS.
By: Joshua Clayton
Before my older brother gets out of jail, I have a few things I need to get done.
Whenever my brother calls me from jail he asks me, ‘How are you doing? Are you still working? How is the family doing?’ I wish I could tell him we’re all okay and show him we still have his back.
I’ve got a year to make something happen and have things ready for my brother’s arrival. When he shows up I don't want to be on a tight budget or living at my grandma’s house. I have faith I can make it in the music scene, but in the meantime I’m trying to find a full-time job. I hope to have my music go far while I continue to work and save to get my own place. That way if my brother needs anything, he doesn’t have to do anything illegal for it.
When he gets home I want him to see that I can take care of myself. I want him to see that I’ve grown. My brother taught me a lot, and this is my way of showing him I was listening.Read more...
Originally broadcast on Marketplace, April 11, 2013
By: Ashley Williams
Seventeen year-old Andrew is filling out a job application for a Jamba Juice in Oakland, California. He’s making his way through the basics, filling out his name and contact information. However question five posed a challenge. It was a yes or no checkbox which read, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”
“I will check yes,” said Andrew, who requested anonymity for this story. When he was fourteen, a high school freshman, he took a gun to school. It is a shocking act for many, especially in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, but Andrew says he did it to be cool. Three years later he is haunted by that decision.
In the space below the checkbox where it asks for specifics, Andrew scrawled “weapon charges.” It’s pretty easy to imagine, what an employer would think reading those two words. Little did Andrew know, they are words he could have kept to himself, because in California and many other states, young people who are processed through the juvenile court system, are never “convicted.” Instead, they are “adjudicated.”Read more...
By Sayre Quevedo
Young people in Chicago who have been through the criminal justice system face plenty of obstacles when they get out, but educational attainment might be the biggest one. According to a new report by the American Sociological Association, “Among Chicago adolescents...73 percent of those arrested later dropped out of high school compared with 51 percent of those not arrested." That’s a 22 percent difference.
The report looks at laws and school policies that are intended to deal with ex-offenders in schools and how, intentionally or not, they’re decreasing the likelihood of graduation for these students.
The federal No Child Left Behind Act calls for for better learning environments in schools that are “persistently” unsafe. On the surface this seems like a good thing: safer schools, safer children, more learning. But schools in Chicago have begun to push out ex-offenders in order to comply with the law. The report states, ”Indeed, Mayer (2005) reported, on the basis of interviews with expert informants in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), that the primary reason principals work to exclude criminally involved students from school is accountability.”Read more...