Community

Thomas Weiler / Faith in Fresno

Faith leaders from all over the world have traveled to Modesto this week for a meeting dedicated to social justice. FM89’s Kerry Klein says it’s the first event of its kind in the U.S.

It’s called the World Meeting of Popular Movements, and it’s convened by The Vatican--though Pope Francis won’t be making an appearance. The meeting is a chance for faith leaders and advocates to discuss migration, workers’ rights and housing, and the environment. 

National Archives / https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/japanese-relocation/images/order-posting.gif

On February 19, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Oorder 9066 which led to the forced removal of Japanese-American citizens from their homes and farms on the west coast, placing them in internment camps. Many of the families that were rounded up and sent to the camps came from the San Joaquin Valley. Many stayed there for years, and some lost their homes and farms.

Magelene Hope Facebook page / Mercy & Memorial Hospitals Bakersfield

A new coffee shop in Bakersfield offers more than just lattes and blended drinks – it also seeks to raise awareness about human trafficking. In fact, many of the people who work at the Rescue Grounds Coffee Company at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital are victims of human trafficking themselves. It’s all part of a project from the Bakersfield non-profit Magdelene Hope. It’s founder Doug Bennett joined us on Valley Edition to talk about how the women the group is helping and the way the community has responded to the new coffee shop. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The Fresno City Council has voted to enact a rental housing inspection program aimed at cracking down on slum housing in the city.

The 4-3 vote came after more than two hours of public comment. Most people spoke in favor of the program, including the influential Apartment Association of Greater Fresno which represents owners and managers, as well as tenants’ rights advocates like Matthew Gundry.

He told the council stories about homes and apartments with untreated pest infestations, black mold, and more that goes ignored by landlords.

Caltrans Central Valley District 6 Facebook

A series of traffic collisions involving around 50 vehicles closed Highways 41 and 198 this morning near Lemoore. CHP Officer John Tyler says dense fog was a major factor in the crashes.

Tyler says visibility was 100 to 200 feet from the front of each car this morning out where the accidents took place on Highway 198 around 8:30 AM this morning.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

The song “Burn, Baby Burn” was originally written about the Watts Riots – a series of deadly protests against police brutality in 1965 – but it later became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 assassination. The songwriter, Jimmy Collier, now lives in Fresno. But in the 1960s, he worked alongside Dr. King, using his music to organize civil rights activists. He wrote about the experience in a book published last year on the Chicago Freedom Movement. Here, he speaks with reporter Kerry Klein about the book and what it was like to work with Dr.

Carmen Vargas

Every year in America, around 42,000 people kill themselves. Suicide is the second most common non-illness related cause of death, but prevention advocates say the issue remains hidden and stigmatized. Recently, a series of high-profile events have recently brought suicide into the spotlight in the Central Valley. Many suicide advocates are now saying that the key to prevention is talking about it.

Three Clovis West High School students, a newly elected Bakersfield City Councilmember, and a Bakersfield LGBT activist all have taken their own lives in the last six months.

Proterra

Communities like Kerman, Firebaugh, Selma and Kingsburg will soon have an eco friendly transit option. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

With a goal of improving air quality in the Valley the California Air Resources Board is providing funding for 15 zero-emission electric buses from a company called Proterra. Kent Leacock runs government relations for the group. He says the project will eliminate 15 tons of greenhouse gases in the region.

 

Kerry Klein/KVPR

A prominent migrant rights activist from Mexico spoke at Fresno State on Monday with insight into why Latin Americans flee and what can be done about it.

Father Alejandro Solalinde is a Catholic Priest from Central Mexico. He’s known for his dogged advocacy for the rights of Latin American migrants, who commonly suffer harassment, abuse and rape on their journey to the United States. He runs a shelter in the state of Oaxaca for migrants and was exiled from the country for two years following death threats.

Library For London Facebook

The Tulare County public library system is opening its 16th location this weekend.

The new branch will serve the rural unincorporated community of London, located near Dinuba and Kingsburg. The community’s 1,800 residents are predominately Latino, and almost half fall below the poverty line. County librarian Darla Wegener says London residents advocated hard for this branch.

"People know they need it and we believe they need it," she says, "and they’ve been just the most wonderful community to work with during this whole process."

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