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Garcetti Urges Citizens to ‘Take Back Their Power’ at 2019 Conference of Mayors 

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti praised American mayors for moving their cities forward despite the chaotic politics in Washington D.C.

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By Jennifer Bihm

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti praised American mayors for moving their cities forward despite the chaotic politics in Washington D.C. during this year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors on January 24. Right now, he pointed out, there are two Americas, “Washington and the rest of us”. He urged citizens to remember the nation’s constitution and bring “power to the government” rather than the other way around.

“In 1961 when President [John F.] Kennedy challenged us to put a man on the moon, we launched more than Neil Armstrong. We launched investments in schools, in science and infrastructure. We secured decades of American leadership and secured a future for our kids,” Garcetti said.

“Today, that’s what other countries are doing but unfortunately we are not anymore. America right now is crying out for leadership.”

Fundamentally, he said, that is what government is supposed provide.

“But, can we count on Washington to adapt quickly enough as we prepare for the future,” Garcetti asked the audience of fellow mayors during his address.

“How are we falling so far behind? If you believe television, you would believe we are two Americas: red states and blue states, rural or urban, immigrant and non immigrant …”

But that’s not the real America, Garcetti explained. The real America is where he and other mayors reside in cities across the country, where teachers and other workers need to be paid living wages and fire departments need to be equipped and where infrastructures need to be properly maintained. That’s what real Americans care about, he said.

“As 60,000 teachers and their supporters were walking through my city in the pouring rain, their courage and enthusiasm led me out to the streets to start talking to some of them,” recalled Garcetti, as he spoke of the recent teachers’ strike and other protests in L.A.

“I took five teachers out to lunch, and one of them was telling me she was a thirty-year veteran, teaching in one of the poorest schools in one of the poorest neighborhoods next to a public housing project in Los Angeles. She said, ‘I still love being a teacher.’”

“’But with everything that’s happening in this country, and cut backs in our schools, I don’t love coming to work anymore. Some days I even hate it.’ I was so inspired to see those teachers out there and the Women’s March and the March for our Lives…

“But something is seriously wrong when hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans, are taking to the streets to demand leadership from our nation’s capital. The thing that that teacher told, me is a fitting metaphor for our country right now. I’ve never loved this country more than I do right now but I hate what its political system has become at the national level.”

But he urged mayors to keep moving their cities forward. At this year’s conference, Garcetti received a $150,000 grant as the winner of the USCM’s top award in the large cities category for his Universal Play program. The program is to promote health and fitness among L.A.’s children. His aim, he said, is to make L.A. one of the “healthiest cities in America.”

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel.

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Activism

Collaboration Key to Anti-Trafficking Efforts

According to District Attorney Lori Frugoli, community education is paramount in the work of the coalition. Student, parent, and teacher education is also something that MCCEHT strongly supports through the PROTECT program, coordinated with the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE). MCCEHT member Marlene Capra has worked with MCOE and the 3 Strands Global Foundation to keep efforts to stop human trafficking in the spotlight and teach residents and school educators about the realities of human trafficking.

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Many human trafficking victims are reluctant to report the crime as they are genuinely in fear for their life or that of their family.
Many human trafficking victims are reluctant to report the crime as they are genuinely in fear for their life or that of their family.

Local work t stop human exploitation coordinated through DA’s Office

Courtesy of Marin County

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Bay region and San Francisco are among the top sex trafficking areas in the United States. As the co-chair organization of the Marin County Coalition to End Human Trafficking (MCCEHT), the Marin County District Attorney’s Office is addressing the problem and working with partnering nonprofits and agencies to increase public awareness, prosecute those who commit the crimes, and put a halt to all types of slavery.

On Jan. 11, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to proclaim the month of January as National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Jan. 11 happened to be Human Trafficking Awareness Day as well. Video of the presentation is on the County website (skip ahead to agenda item #4, Consent Calendar A).

The DA’s staff has worked closely with key stakeholders to make sure the red-flag warnings of human trafficking are widely known, even using advertisements at bus stops to urge people to speak up and report potential exploitation.

According to District Attorney Lori Frugoli, community education is paramount in the work of the coalition. Student, parent, and teacher education is also something that MCCEHT strongly supports through the PROTECT program, coordinated with the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE). MCCEHT member Marlene Capra has worked with MCOE and the 3 Strands Global Foundation to keep efforts to stop human trafficking in the spotlight and teach residents and school educators about the realities of human trafficking.

A new nonprofit created by Capra arose from her community work. SpeakSAFE, with SAFE meaning Save Adolescents from Exploitation, assists with local fundraising for educational efforts and has provided online learning opportunities during the pandemic.

“With our coalition, the DA’s Office [has] been extremely supportive and helpful in partnering on our work and connecting us with law enforcement, service providers and community members,” Capra said. “It really is all hands on deck, and their involvement has been pivotal. Our work has always been a priority with them in supporting our youth.”

Frugoli said human trafficking is difficult to detect and rarely reported. Many victims are moved from county to county or state to state, making the trafficker harder to follow and the victim feel isolated and unfamiliar with surroundings.

“Many victims are reluctant to report the crime as they are genuinely in fear for their life or that of their family,” Frugoli said. “Our coalition’s mission is to develop our regional collaborative approach to end all forms of human trafficking. We’ve focused our efforts on education and outreach advocacy. We have turned several cases over to state and federal authorities because the conduct occurred over multiple jurisdictions.”

Cecilia Zamora, Executive Director of the Latino Council and Co-Chair of MCCEHT, emphasized the need to have the coalition’s work be grounded in multicultural best practices, ensuring that the messaging and resources are shared with our thriving Latino communities across the county.

“We do this,” she said, “by successfully utilizing our nonprofit members as partners in the education and outreach to their own constituents.”

The Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act (AB 1227) became California law in 2017 and provides a basis for localized anti-trafficking work. The MCCEHT Steering Committee meets monthly. MCCEHT’s quarterly online meeting on Jan. 19 will feature guest speaker Antonia Lavine of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking and County Supervisor Judy Arnold. The videoconference begins at 11 a.m., Spanish translation will be provided. Participation details are on the MCCEHT website.

Learn more about local anti-trafficking efforts via the PROTECT website or call the DA’s Office at (415) 473-6450.

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Activism

Foster Care and Sex Trafficking

On the program, experts will share their knowledge about coming into foster care, training for foster parents, and the struggles, successes and triumphs of the children who have experience with the foster care system. For information, contact Laurel Botsford, of Wisdom International: Help2Others at:laurel@wisdominternational.org

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The program is supported by the District Attorney of Marin County and the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.
The program is supported by the District Attorney of Marin County and the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

“The Nexus Between Foster Care and Sex Trafficking” a Zoom program, will be presented on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. by the Rotary Club of Terra Linda and Wisdom International: Help2Others.

On the program, experts will share their knowledge about coming into foster care, training for foster parents, and the struggles, successes and triumphs of the children who have experience with the foster care system.

Lori Frugoli, Marin County district attorney, will give the opening remarks.

The featured speakers are Cari Herthel, a tribal leader and survivor; Doris Gentry, a foster mother; Carly Devlin of the Huckleberry Youth HART Program; John Long of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking; Carletta Jackson-Lane, JD, executive director of the Sojourner Truth Foster Family Service Agency. A representative of the FBI will also be there.

This event is free. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-nexus-between-foster-care-and-sex-trafficking-tickets-248412557647Please join at 2:50 p.m. for a prompt start at 3 p.m.

For information, contact Laurel Botsford, of Wisdom International: Help2Others at:laurel@wisdominternational.org

The program is supported by the District Attorney of Marin County and the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

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Activism

Weber’s AB 1655 Would Make Juneteenth a Paid Holiday in California

“Here we are now in this century, in this time frame, in 2022, and we are talking about something that took place in 1965 in terms of the Voting Rights Act,” said California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. “Dr. King told us, ‘I see governors with the words of interposition and nullification dripping from their lips.’ In other words, ‘I see Jim Crow laws. I see governors trying to overturn federal law with regards to what is right and what is just in this country.’”

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California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who is a former chair of the CLBC, said “the crisis of democracy is center stage, we are still fighting for our fundamental rights.”

By Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media

Voting rights was the central theme at a virtual breakfast the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) held Jan. 12 to celebrate the sacrifices and impact of Martin Luther King Jr. on American life and politics.

“It is not enough to evoke Dr. King’s name on his birthday, post on social media and then take the day off,” said Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Inglewood), CLBC chair, reminding the audience of King’s activism and how his efforts led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Bradford said there are forces still attacking the rights of some Americans to vote, and more work needs to be done to make sure the voices of all Americans are heard and that all voters have access to the ballot box.

“His birthday should be about a day on, a day of activity in our community, of activism and continuing to push for real change in this country,” he continued.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who is a former chair of the CLBC, said “the crisis of democracy is center stage, we are still fighting for our fundamental rights.”

“In 1965, we secured [the vote] and now we find ourselves debating the same issue over again and with great concern about the fact that we are faced with the rolling back of what we had thought was just old stuff that people would never go back to,” said Weber.

Weber said there are about 400 bills making their way through state legislatures across the country that are attempting to restrict voting rights.

“Here we are now in this century, in this time frame, in 2022, and we are talking about something that took place in 1965 in terms of the Voting Rights Act,” said Weber. “Dr. King told us, ‘I see governors with the words of interposition and nullification dripping from their lips.’ In other words, ‘I see Jim Crow laws. I see governors trying to overturn federal law with regards to what is right and what is just in this country.’”

Civil rights activist and friend of Dr. King, Rev. James Lawson, also spoke at the virtual breakfast and encouraged Black leaders to fight for their communities.

“Black elected officials must support the community of Black people all around the country, organizing continuous campaigns,” said Lawson who shared intimate details of his work with Dr. King and how much King’s ideas, strategizing and activism secured the human rights of all Americans.

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