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The State of California Forced or Coerced Sterilization. Victims Can Be Compensated.

Last year, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) wrote and introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1007 that proposed the program and served as the basis for funding the policy, which was included in the state budget after negotiations with legislative leaders.

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Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) wrote and introduced the bill to compensate victims. Facebook photo.
Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) wrote and introduced the bill to compensate victims. Facebook photo.

By Tanu Henry, California Black Media

People who the State of California had a hand in forcing or coercing to undergo vasectomies or get their tubes tied are now eligible for compensation. The payments will come from a $7.5 million state fund.

Some of those victims, both men and women, were sterilized without their consent or knowledge.

“California is committed to confronting this dark chapter in the state’s past and addressing the impacts of this shameful history still being felt by Californians today,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom last week when he announced the program which began Jan. 1 and is included as a line item in the state’s 2021-22 budget.

The governor’s office estimates that there are about 600 survivors, eligible and alive, who underwent the now-illegal method of birth control either at state medical facilities or in prison.

The survivors have until Dec. 31, 2023, to apply for compensation. About $4.5 million of the fund will be used for payments evenly divided among people who apply and are approved. Each will receive a check for an amount up to $25,000 dollars.

Another $2 million will be used for public information campaigns promoting the program. About $1 million will be used to create and install commemorative plaques at locations where “the wrongful sterilization of thousands of vulnerable people” happened, according to the governor’s office.

Last year, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) wrote and introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1007 that proposed the program and served as the basis for funding the policy, which was included in the state budget after negotiations with legislative leaders.

Carillo said the launch of the program represents a victory that “comes to fruition after decades of advocacy.” She also highlighted the fact that most of the victims were low-income, living with disabilities, or were people of color.

“We often discuss a woman’s right to choose, which includes the choice of becoming a mother, to become a parent. California’s eugenics laws have taken that away from many people,” said Carillo. “This is only the first step in addressing this wrong.”

She was referring to the practice, legal in California, that authorized state-run healthcare facilities to sterilize people that they considered “unfit for reproduction.”

“The compensation finally admits that California was in violation of human rights and reproductive justice. As a state, we must and can do more to recognize the horrific impact of eugenic sterilization programs on California families, and the devastating consequences of this failed attempt to eradicate populations.”

California’s sterilization law remained in effect from 1909, when the Assembly approved it, until 1979 when it was overturned. During that period, an estimated 20,000 people were sterilized.

In 2003, Gov. Gray Davis issued an apology to survivors.

“California led the way in eugenics as legislation was copied across the United States and used as a model for Adolf Hitler throughout World War II,” according to a statement Carillo’s office released.

State-sponsored sterilizations, however, continued in California prisons at least until 2010, according to the State Auditor’s office. That policy was banned in 2014.

Survivors can apply for payments through California’s Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program, according to Gov Newsom’s office. The California Victim Compensation Board is responsible for administering the program.

The board says the identities of applicants will be kept confidential and payments will not impact a claimant’s trust, or Medicaid or Social Security status or benefits. The state will also not consider compensation survivors receive as income for state tax or child support purposes.

Newsom said the program is part of a broader state initiative to redress historical injustices. “While we can never fully make amends for what they’ve endured, the state will do all it can to ensure survivors of wrongful sterilization receive compensation,” the governor said.

To apply, survivors should visit www.victims.ca.gov/fiscp, reach out to CalVCB at 800-777-9229, or send an e-mail to fiscp@victims.ca.gov to obtain an application. They can also send a letter to P.O. Box 591, Sacramento, CA 95812-0591.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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ICAC Invites Community to Benefit from Safe Car Park Program

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland. The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

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Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."
Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."

by Post Staff

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland.

The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

Rev. Chambers said additional support for the program will also come from Bishop Bob Jackson, Pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church and Pastor Phyllis Scott, head of the Oakland Police Chaplaincy Program.

Chambers said, “ICAC’s goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe.”

David Longhurst, a member of Oakland Temple LDS Church and an ICAC board member, said

“We can make the city of Oakland safer, one block at a time, by connecting our community and neighbors.”

Chambers said ICAC has a $450,000 grant commitment from the City of Oakland and a $2.5M grant request has been presented to Nate Miley, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley to cover and expand ICAC’s Safe Car Park Program located at West Side Missionary Baptist Church to additional locations including Center Street Baptist Church, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Corinthians Baptist Church, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Acts Full Gospel Church, and other congregations.

Dr. Ken Chambers said he and ICAC are assisting congregations on how to receive a one-time $5,000 grant. “ICAC has plans for several tiny homes with kitchens, living space and bathrooms that we hope will become available this fall in partnership with the State, County and City of Oakland.”

Chambers is appealing to the public to help with transitioning the unhoused populations into tiny homes or affordable housing. “If you or anyone you know is living out of a car and needs a safe place to park overnight, visit interfaithAC.org, call 510-239-6681, or stop by the ICAC hub at 732 Willow Street, Oakland, CA 94607 between the hours of 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.”

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Calif. Leaders Discuss Foster Care Reform Strategies for Black and Brown Youth

Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

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Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)
Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)

By Lila Brown, California Black Media  

 Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

During National Foster Care Month in May, Harris visited the Sanctuary of Hope in Los Angeles to host a roundtable meeting with current and former foster youth, many of whom, like Harris, have beat the odds and become successful professionals.

According to the federal government’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there are nearly 370,000 American children and youth in foster care.

Nationally, Black children are overrepresented in foster care. According to datacenter.kidscount.org, Black children represented 14% of the total child population in the United States. However, they represented 23% of all children in foster care. Harris pointed out that one out of every four foster youth go homeless upon exiting foster care in California. Across the state, there are nearly 65,000 children in foster care, he added. Of the 65,000 children in foster care across California, 14,000 of them are Black American.

Harris also announced a new effort already underway to push for the removal of the term “case” in L.A. County when referring to foster youth during the roundtable which featured Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Janet Kelly, the Founder and Director of Sanctuary of Hope. The session focused on solving problems foster youth face.

Sharing personal stories, insights, and various visions for policy changes, the participants discussed numerous solutions and addressed specific concerns about ongoing challenges with the foster care system.

One top priority was how to close the foster care to homelessness pipeline for the disproportionate number of Black and Brown children in LA County’s and the state’s foster care system.

“When you see the direct connection between the disproportionate rates of Black children in foster care and the disproportionate rates of Black people in the general homeless population, there is a very clear connection there in which our foster youth are coming out of care,” stated Harris during opening remarks.

Kaka said the governor has been intentional about making sure that foster children are homeless prioritized as the state addresses homelessness.

“This is a critical moment for foster care,” said Kaka. “The systems that are working together are looking at leveraging federal, state and local funds.”

Harris said he has already begun efforts in San Diego County to drop the word “case” when referring to homeless youth.

“We are asking for a 90-day public input period, in which the county CEO and leadership can facilitate discussions with the community on replacement terminology. There’s plenty of ideas,” Harris elaborated.

Kelly said a majority of the youth who go through the Sanctuary of Hope program are young people who have experienced some form of housing instability or housing crisis.

“The goal of the work that we do is really centered around helping young people leave here with leadership skills and other forms of what we call protective factors in order for them to continue on with their stabilization journey and become loving, caring and active citizens in this world,” Kelly said.

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