Transportation connects people to places. Millions of people in the Bay Area rely on our public transportation system to get to school, to work, to health clinics, and back home to their families. Whether we use it or not, we are all affected by how well — or poorly — our public transit systems operate.
The Transportation Equity Allied Movement Coalition (TEAMC) is a coalition of ~20 organizations working to advance transportation solutions that promote social equity, public health and safety, and environmental protection in San Mateo County. Right now, SamTrans is working to put a sales tax measure on the November 2018 ballot to raise $80 million annually for projects that improve our transportation system in San Mateo County. We are actively working to ensure that the proposed sales tax funding benefits those with greatest need, including low-income families, people of color, youth, seniors, immigrants, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
This movement will build power for those historically underrepresented in transportation decision-making, so that transportation planning happens with us and for us.
Help us spread the word! You can learn more about TEAMC by following our Facebook page.
For more information, contact: Montzerrat Bedolla at email@example.com.
Peninsula Advocates Investigating Debt Traps (Financial and Economic Justice)
Payday lenders are ubiquitous in low-income and minority neighborhoods, but you’ll rarely see them in more affluent neighborhoods. Why? Because these notorious financial predators target folks who are struggling to make ends meet, greedily taking advantage of their misfortunes. With outlandish interest rates (sometimes over 400%), these loans often lead to repeated cash shortages that force people to take out successive payday loans, trapping them in vicious cycles of debt.
In 2014, PAID youth leaders in Daly City and South San Francisco helped to pass policies that limit the number of payday lenders that can operate in their community, and in 2015, secured a city resolution in support of federal regulations of the payday lending industry in Daly City. In 2017, Pacifica youth leaders built upon past successes, and scored another policy win limiting payday lending in their city. This FB Live video captures youth leader Karina Gamez speaking before City Council, and this blog post shares the incredible story of how she became involved in the the PAID campaign.
San Mateo County Youth Commission
The San Mateo County Youth Commission was established in 1993, and is a recognized entity of the county government. The Youth Commission strives to address issues affecting youth in San Mateo County and close the gap between adult and youth perspectives. By placing youth in committees and on County Boards and Commissions, the Youth Commission increases awareness of and advocates for youth issues, advises the Board of Supervisors, presents policy recommendations, and creates projects that serve the community.
The Youth Commission is made up of 25 young people, ages 13-21, from across the county’s 5 districts. It is funded by the Health and Policy Planning Unit of the County’s Health Services, and reports to the Board of Supervisors. As program lead, YLI has worked to ensure that there is equitable representation across the county, and particularly from underrepresented areas such as, east palo alto, the coast, and from public schools.
The program begins each year with a full-day retreat where freshly minted Commissioners work alongside returning Commissioners to review the California Healthy Kids Survey — a document that identifies areas of need for youth in the county — and receive training on cultural humility and equity from San Mateo Health Policy and Planning. This past year, the youth broke out into 5 committees to address the diverse issues facing San Mateo’s youth. These include:
- Health & Wellness – partnering with the county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, this Committee is conducting research on the county’s youth, aged 12-25, to gather insights about marijuana use. The research involves surveys, interviews, and focus groups, as well as a town hall meeting, to be held March 31st. Data collected will be used for a local educational social media campaign, which will eventually serve as a model for the the California State Department of Health’s state-level campaign. The Commission is also working on a county-wide Social Host Ordinance, which works to prevent underage marijuana usage by holding adults responsible for underage marijuana use in their households. Modeled on the Marin County Youth Commission’s policy win in 2017, the Ordinance would include restorative justice approach for young people caught using the substance.
- Environmental Justice – partnering with the Office of Education, this Committee is building a network of “green clubs” — school programs for students who are interested in environmental issues — across the county. The clubs will work together to organize a youth component for the Environmental Education Summit, hosted by the county’s Environmental Literacy Initiative on April 30th.
- Education & Economic Development – working closely with the Marin County Youth Commission, this Committee is working to organize a Regional Convening of youth commissions in late Spring. Last year, the Committee brought together 32 commissioners from San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, Marin, and Fresno to network, share best practices, and learn about projects and campaigns taking place across the region. One direct result of the Convening is the Social Host Ordinance currently being developed by the Health & Wellness Committee, inspired by and modeled on the Marin County Youth Commission’s policy win in 2017.
- Human Rights – this Committee is moving forward with creating a mentorship program, pairing women with diverse professions across county with young women to offer inspiration, support and guidance to follow the career of their choice.
- Immigrant Youth – building on the momentum of work being done across the state — and the recent win in San Francisco — this Committee is partnering with a number of community-based organizations to draft recommendations and an ordinance that would change Columbus day to Indigenous People’s Day. The change would be reflected in county calendars and official correspondences. The Committee has also established the San Mateo County Youth Commission’s Passion, Dedication, & Determination: Immigrant Youth Scholarship, which honors 2 young people each year with a $500 scholarship to be used for higher education.
Take a look at this blog post for the Youth Commission’s accomplishments from last year, and read this case study about our participation in the Get Healthy San Mateo County collaborative, which is advocating for health equity across the county.
Commissioners are appointed by the Board of Supervisors in July for 1-year terms with a 4-year term limit. Interested San Mateo youth, ages 13-21, may apply here in early spring — commissioners are appointed by end of May. All youth are welcome to participate, but only appointed commissioners can vote. Commissioners are expected to attend an annual day-long retreat, followed by bi-monthly meetings during the school year. At least 10 hours of participation in community events is also required.
For more information, please contact: Adam Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org
San Mateo County Friday Night Live Network
With chapters in 52 counties across California, Friday Night Live (FNL) is a statewide organization that seeks to address the critical issue of underage substance abuse by providing safe spaces and educational activities for youth as an alternative to drinking and partying. Operating out of school sites and other youth centers, the chapters support youth to become active leaders and resources in their communities.
In San Mateo County, there are currently 13 Friday Night Live chapters across the geographically diverse county from semi-urban South San Francisco in the North, suburban Redwood City in the South, and rural Pescadero on the Coast. Each FNL Chapter is run and staffed by local Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) who are trained by YLI to introduce youth to YLI’s social justice framework. Young leaders emerge as youth participants identify issues in their communities, conduct research, and implement media and policy campaigns to address these issues.
YLI-led chapters include:
- San Mateo County Youth Commission is also part of the FNL network.
- Coastside Youth Council
Interested youth can contact Program Coordinator Eduardo Gonzalez for more information. Most chapters meet weekly.
For more information contact: Eduardo Gonzalez at email@example.com.
Coastside Youth Council
Coastside Youth Council (CYC) has been leading environmental prevention and community change efforts for over 4 years in Half Moon Bay. They focus on solutions that impact underage alcohol use, access, and messages. This year CYC focused on reducing the alcohol messages that youth are bombarded with every day. CYC conducted youth-led action research through observational assessments at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival and their retail environment by assessing 8 convenient stores located near schools and youth-centered spaces. They also conducted a photovoice project, using powerful images collected from their homes and neighborhoods, to illustrate how unhealthy behaviors are reinforced and normalized within communities.
CYC is comprised of youth leaders from Half Moon Bay High School, Pilarcitos Continuation High School and the College of San Mateo between the ages of 15-20. Youth leaders come from working-class communities, immigrant families, and first-generation college backgrounds. Community service, social action activities, participation in advocacy for safe and healthy environments, and promotion of healthy policies are organized by youth to appeal to youth.
For more information contact: Shalin Craig firstname.lastname@example.org
- Are We Sweet Enough?, which passed an ordinance that required food establishments in Daly City and South San Francisco to provide water as the default option for Kids meals.
- Nutrition Soldiers partnered with South San Francisco Unified High School District Nutrition Services to improve packaging for meals for better taste and quality at Parkway Heights Middle School.