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India Tops World Hunger List with 194 Million People

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In this Aug. 25, 2014, photo, tea worker Puliya Mahali looks in vain while sitting in her house in Bundapani, 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Siliguri in the Indian northeastern estate of West Bengal. When the Bundapani tea estate closed last year, death arrived soon after. Puliya, seeming 20 years older than her 50, sat emaciated on the floor, her tiny arms mummified by malnutrition. She cannot move anymore, so her husband Ramesh cannot leave her to look for work.  (AP Photo /Manish Swarup)

In this Aug. 25, 2014, photo, tea worker Puliya Mahali looks in vain while sitting in her house in Bundapani, 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Siliguri in the Indian northeastern estate of West Bengal. When the Bundapani tea estate closed last year, death arrived soon after. Puliya, seeming 20 years older than her 50, sat emaciated on the floor, her tiny arms mummified by malnutrition. She cannot move anymore, so her husband Ramesh cannot leave her to look for work. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup)

(India Times) – India is home to the highest number of hungry people in the world, at 194 million, surpassing China, according to United Nations annual hunger report.

At the global level, the corresponding figure dropped to 795 million in 2014-15, from 1 billion in 1990-92, with East Asia led by China accounting for most of the reductions, UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in its report titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015’.

India too saw a reduction between 1990 and 2015, it added. In 1990-92, those who were starved of food in India numbered 210.1 million, which came down to 194.6 million in 2014-15.

“India has made great strides in reducing the proportion of food insecure persons in the overall population, but according to FAO, it still has over 194 million hungry persons. India’s numerous social programmes are expected to continue to fight hunger and poverty,” the report stated.

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Groups Unite to Oppose Landmark California Mental Health Legislation

“With broad support from California’s state Senate, CARE Court is one step closer to becoming a reality in California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, “I am also grateful to have the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Downtown Association, and 21 local chambers of commerce join our ever-expanding CARE Court coalition, which includes a diverse group of supporters focused on tackling the challenge of severe mental illness that too often leaves individuals on our streets without hope.”

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The proposal, introduced in February by Senators Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would create a supportive alternative to the criminal justice system in California for people who are mentally ill or suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder.
The proposal, introduced in February by Senators Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would create a supportive alternative to the criminal justice system in California for people who are mentally ill or suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder.

By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

Senate Bill (SB) 1338, also known as the CARE Court Program, is attracting growing resistance as it makes its way through the legislative process. Some legal advocacy and civil rights groups say the law would negatively African Americans and other minorities.

The proposal, introduced in February by Senators Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would create a supportive alternative to the criminal justice system in California for people who are mentally ill or suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder.

Focused on the state’s unhoused population, SB 1338, would mandate treatment for people diagnosed with mental illnesses. About 40% of homeless adults and children in California are Black, a number nearly seven times higher than the total percentage of Blacks (5.6%) in a state with about 40 million people.

Opponents of the legislation say SB 1338 dangerously expands judicial power and empowers the criminal justice system to commit people to mental health treatment that is sub-par – and often against their will. There is also the potential for misdiagnosis, they warn.

“CARE Court promotes a system of involuntary, coerced treatment, enforced by an expanded judicial infrastructure, that will, in practice, simply remove unhoused people with perceived mental health conditions from the public eye without effectively addressing those mental health conditions and without meeting the urgent need for housing,” read the Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) opposition letter.

“We urge you to reject this bill and instead to take a more holistic, rights-respecting approach to address the lack of resources for autonomy-affirming treatment options and affordable housing,” the letter said.

SB 1338 unanimously passed in three Senate committees before the full State Senate approved it in May.

The legislation is currently making its way through the Assembly, where the Committee on Judiciary is reviewing it.

“Given the racial demographics of California’s homeless population, and the historic over-diagnosing of Black and Latino people with schizophrenia, this plan is likely to place many, disproportionately Black and Brown, people under state control,” HRW’s letter continued.

Some members of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations share HRW’s opinion, claiming that the program would “disproportionately affect people of color by imposing another unnecessary court process on an already overloaded and biased system.”

SB 1338 does, however, have support from various California-based organizations.

“With broad support from California’s state Senate, CARE Court is one step closer to becoming a reality in California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, “I am also grateful to have the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Downtown Association, and 21 local chambers of commerce join our ever-expanding CARE Court coalition, which includes a diverse group of supporters focused on tackling the challenge of severe mental illness that too often leaves individuals on our streets without hope.”

Jennifer Barrera, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, expressed her support for the bill.

“The California Chamber of Commerce and our colleagues from throughout the state are pleased to support Governor Newsom and his vision to provide support for those suffering from severe mental illness and substance use disorders through the newly proposed CARE Court plan,” she explained.

Barrera says that CARE Court is a thoughtful, measured response to the tragedy of untreated mental illness impacting thousands of individuals. California employers have a clear stake in seeing the success of CARE Court as many business owners and their employees experience, first-hand, the impacts of inadequate policies that fail to address the needs of those individuals suffering on our streets and in our communities.

Disability Rights California (DRC) is also voicing its opposition to SB 1338.

“CARE Court is antithetical to recovery principles, which are based on self-determination and self-direction,” read the DRC’s opposition letter. “The CARE Court proposal is based on the stigma and stereotypes of people living with mental health disabilities and experiencing homelessness.”

DRC proposes an alternative solution to the problems CARE Court is attempting to address.

“The right framework allows people with disabilities to retain autonomy over their own lives by providing them with meaningful and reliable access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing combined with voluntary service,” read the letter.

The HRW expressed concern about how the program might impact personal rights.

“In fact, the bill creates a new pathway for government officials and family members to place people under state control and take away their autonomy and liberty,” HRW warns.

About a month before Umberg and Eggman introduced SB 1338, Gov. Newsom foreshadowed the bill’s arrival in his January budget proposal.

“We are leaning into conservatorships this year,” the governor said. “What’s happening on the streets and sidewalks in our state is unacceptable. I don’t want to see any more people die on the streets and call that compassion.”

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Activism

Advocates Pressure Gov. Newsom to Fund Health Equity, Racial Justice in Final Budget

“Our state boasts a staggering $97 billion budget surplus,” said Ron Coleman, managing director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “If not now, when? Given the devastating impact of racism on the health and well-being of Californians of color it’s a travesty of the highest order that racial justice isn’t even mentioned in the Governor’s budget proposal,”

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Attendees were encouraged to contact the governor’s office and the Legislature to keep the pressure on them to include the fund.
Attendees were encouraged to contact the governor’s office and the Legislature to keep the pressure on them to include the fund.

By Edward Henderson, California Black Media

On June 8, community leaders, public health advocates and racial justice groups convened for a virtual press event to urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to support the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund (HERJ Fund).

The initiative supports community-based organizations addressing the underlying social, environmental and economic factors that limit people’s opportunities to be healthy — such as poverty, violence and trauma, environmental hazards, and access to affordable housing and healthy food. Health advocates would also address longstanding California problems related to health equity and racial justice problems.

The fund cleared a significant hurdle last week when the state Legislature included $75 million in their joint budget proposal. This means both the Assembly and Senate support the HERJ Fund and they will go into negotiations with the governor to seek his support to approve it.

“Our state boasts a staggering $97 billion budget surplus,” said Ron Coleman, managing director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “If not now, when? Given the devastating impact of racism on the health and well-being of Californians of color it’s a travesty of the highest order that racial justice isn’t even mentioned in the Governor’s budget proposal,”

Last Wednesday’s virtual community meeting and press event capped off a series of rallies held by supporters in cities across the state calling on Newsom to make room in his budget for the HERJ Fund.

Coleman facilitated the online event featuring representatives from service organizations speaking about their support for the fund and presenting plans for how the money would be used to support their shared mission of providing services to minority and underserved communities in California.

Jenedra Sykes, a partner at Arboreta Group, spoke about inequalities that exist in funding for smaller grassroots nonprofits and how traditionally larger, white-led nonprofits use state funds to subcontract with grassroots nonprofits to provide services to communities of color at lower costs.

“The faith-based non-profits on the ground have the relationships, the access to those who are most vulnerable and marginalized among us who disproportionately have poorer health outcomes,” said Sykes. “This bill also evens the playing field a bit. Instead of going through the middleman of the established larger non-profits, funding will go directly to the people who are doing the work. The passion, the heart, the skills, the talents are there. It’s about the resources to fund these talents”

Coleman gave attendees an update on the status of the HERJ Fund’s path to inclusion in the state budget.

Now that the state Legislature has included the fund in their spending proposal for Fiscal Year 2022-23 (it was not included in Newsom’s “May Revise”), it must survive negotiations with the governor’s office before the June 15 deadline to finalize the budget.

A final budget needs to be in place by June 30, the last day for the governor to approve.

HERJ Fund supporters remain hopeful that funding for their program will be included in the final budget.

Updated mechanisms about the budget were added to the HERJ Fund’s proposal to alleviate those concerns and supporters of the fund believe that Newsom is out of excuses.

“Our best shot at getting the HERJ Fund in the budget is now. We are hoping that all of you will keep the pressure on the governor to ensure that this becomes a reality,” Coleman said. “If he does care about the intersections of health equity and racial justice then we will see funding.”

Attendees were encouraged to contact the governor’s office and the Legislature to keep the pressure on them to include the fund. You can visit herjfund.org to learn more about the proposal and the effort to include it in the state budget.

Nadia Kean-Ayub, executive director of Rainbow Spaces, shared details about the valuable events and services community-based non-profits provide. She said there is no shortage of families in need who want to participate in their organizations’ programs but, due to limited funding for transportation, many people never access services meant to help them.

“This tells me that when things are created in our communities, they are not making the impact we need in our Black, Brown and API communities,” Kean-Ayub said. “I will continue to fight. To really make this grow, we need the state to understand that the true impact comes from the community and the people who are living these issues and who know how to help them.”

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Activism

Youth Uprising Approaches Mental Wellness with Fun, Education and Job Opportunity

Youth Uprising offers education support, job readiness, counseling for healing and health: holistic wellness, physical health, sports and recreation, free style music classes, video and film production, dance, performing and visual arts. Classes are from 3:30 -5:00 and is open to all youth.

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Youth Uprising CEO Y’anad Burrell. Photo courtesy of Y’anad Burrell.
Youth Uprising CEO Y’anad Burrell. Photo courtesy of Y’anad Burrell.

Black Mental Health: Part 8

By Tanya Dennis

Youth Uprising provides comprehensive, fully integrated health, wellness, educational, career, arts, and cultural programming to Alameda County youth and young adults, ages 13-24. Located at 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in East Oakland. Youth Uprising has taken a mind, body, spirit approach to mental wellness.

Y’Anad Burrell, CEO of Youth Uprising, says that “It was essential we offered a mental wellness program at Youth Uprising because we saw the unfortunate outcomes of social isolation and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to broaden our programs to not always think of wellness as a room and counseling, but instead think of how we could incorporate wellness in our everyday life dance.

“We have full-time clinicians but elevate the narrative of wellness that is interactive and fun. We check in with our youth on how they are adapting to this new social structure created by COVID-19,” she said.

Mental health clinicians Tamikia McCoy and Rica Rice offer services Monday thru Friday. For service contact Tamikia McCoy at – tmccoy@youthuprising.org

Youth Uprising offers education support, job readiness, counseling for healing and health: holistic wellness, physical health, sports and recreation, free style music classes, video and film production, dance, performing and visual arts. Classes are from 3:30 -5:00 and is open to all youth.

Currently Youth Uprising’s “Wing Wednesdays” is held at their Café, but there are plans for “pop-ups” and “A Taste of Oakland,” student event in August where 10 to 15 students will showcase their food.

Burrell says that “A Taste of Oakland” is providing an opportunity for learning the elements of the culinary industry in classes teaching cooking and the business side of the café. Each station in the café will have an adult teacher to guide them on how to serve, how to greet the customer, work the cash register weekly, cleaning and sanitizing the café, and understanding the elements of being a chef.”

Burrell is especially proud of Youth Uprising’s Delinquency Prevention Network (DPN) conducted by Javion Robertson. DPN is a job readiness program training up to 20 youth reduced from 50 due to COVID safety.

Every 90 days students are taught communications, public speaking, resume writing, time management, professional dress, workplace employer relations and prepare youth before they are placed.

DPN is Youth Uprisings most popular and well attended program and is conducted Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m.. To enroll contact Javion Robertson at jrobertson@youthuprising.org

Burrell noted that, “Youth Uprising belongs to our community and our youth, so we deliver on our original purpose and design. Our goal is to develop youth into leaders, and that they leave aware of how the system impacts them and are prepared.

“Our mission statement is “We believe that if we provide youth with relevant services and programs, meaningful engagement with caring adults, and opportunities to practice leadership they will become change agents and contributors to a healthy thriving community. This formula for change maintains that healthy, involved people can influence policy and ultimately create healthier, safer, and economically robust communities. It recognizes that youth are inherently resilient, and that risk can be reduced with the right set of supports, services, and opportunities.”

For more information contact Danielle Parker, Youth Uprising’s Executive Assistant dparker@youthuprising.org or call 510-777-9909.

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