Yahushua Nyerere Robinson (courtesy photo)

Yahushua’s Law: Senate Advances Bill to Protect Students From Extreme Weather

In a significant move towards student safety, the California Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill (SB) 1248, also known as Yahushua’s Law, on April 3.

The bill is named in memory of Yahushua Robinson, a 12-year-old student from Lake Elsinore, who tragically died due to a heat-related illness during a physical education class in 2023. It is a pioneering effort to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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Authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) and co-authored by Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. (D-La Mesa), SB 1248 directs the California Department of Education to develop comprehensive guidelines for schools regarding student activity during all extreme weather conditions.

“No student should ever lose their life on campus to extreme weather when we can take steps to protect them by preparing statewide plans to minimize exposure to the most harmful elements of exposure,” Hurtado said after introducing SB 1248.

The bill stipulates that schools must implement safety measures which include monitoring weather forecasts, postponing or relocating outdoor activities during hazardous conditions, and ensuring students have proper hydration and access to shade. It also requires schools to establish clear communication plans to keep parents, teachers, and students informed about potential weather hazards.

Thanking Hurtado for introducing this crucial legislation, Weber said, “The story of Yahushua Robinson last year was heartbreaking. We have protections for farm workers and other industries in the case of extreme weather, now climate change is forcing us to also extend similar protections to students at school.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Issues Statement on Deaths of Humanitarian Aid Volunteers in Gaza 

On April 2, a day after an Israeli airstrike erroneously killed seven employees of World Central Kitchen (WCK), a humanitarian organization delivering aid in the Gaza Strip, a statement was release by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12).

“This is a devastating and avoidable tragedy. My prayers go to the families and love ones of the selfless members of the World Central Kitchen team whose lives were lost,” said Lee.

“This is not only an attack against WCK. This is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the direst situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” said Erin Gore, chief executive officer of World Central Kitchen.

The seven victims included a U.S. citizen as well as others from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Palestine.

Lee has been a vocal advocate for a ceasefire in Gaza and has supported actions by President Joe Biden to airdrop humanitarian aid in the area.

“Far too many civilians have lost their lives as a result of Benjamin Netanyahu’s reprehensible military offensive. The U.S. must join with our allies and demand an immediate, permanent ceasefire – it’s long overdue,” Lee said.

LAO Releases Report on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in California Child Welfare System

Racial inequalities in California’s child welfare system disproportionately impact poor Black and Native American children, according to a report released April 3 by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

The report, which was presented to the Assembly Subcommittee No. 2 on Human Services — chaired by Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Moreno Valley) — states that the proportion of low-income Black and Native American children in foster care is four times larger than other racial and ethnic groups in the state.  Half of the children from each racial group has experienced some level of child welfare involvement before reaching legal age.

Jackson is a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

“Racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparities are present within initial allegations and persist at all levels of the system — becoming the most pronounced for youth in care,” the report states.

The disparities have persisted over the last decade across the state, the LAO found, adding that Black children living in poverty are more likely to enter foster care. State data shows that there is a correlation between poverty and foster placement in each county.

“Throughout all levels of the child welfare system, families experiencing poverty are more likely to come to the attention of and be impacted by

the child welfare system,” stated the report.

Overall, the report revealed that more than half of the families affected by the state child welfare system earn $1,000 per month, significantly less than the national average of $5,000 a month.

The financial disparities highlighted in the LAO report align with existing research indicating that poverty is among the main factors contributing to the likelihood of child maltreatment. State anti-poverty programs include cash aid, childcare subsidies, supportive housing, and nutrition assistance.

(Courtesy photo)

Call for Nominations: The 2024 California Diversity Awards  

Organizers of the California Diversity Awards are now accepting nominations for its 2024 ceremony, which will be held June 27 at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento.

Hosted by the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce, the California African American Chamber of Commerce and the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the awards ceremony “recognizes committed corporations, public officials, and nonprofits that are moving the dial in creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable California.”

“Awardees are recognized at an invite-only luncheon with California’s business, political, and community leaders,” according to a joint press release from the three chambers of commerce.

The deadline for accepting nominations is Monday, April 15, 2024, at 11:59 PST.

In 2023, the awardees included California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, the Banc of California, and the California Farmworker Foundation.

Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate Tara Lynn Gray and T-Mobile Corporation were the recipients in 2022.

Public officials who are nominated must be an active elected or appointed “state official who is currently serving California and have demonstrated their commitment to improving the quality of life within diverse communities through focused, innovative, and inclusive initiatives and policies.”

Corporate nominees must have “demonstrated a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) through impactful actions that create advancement opportunities for diverse communities in California.”

Other criteria include the organization’s or individual’s commitment to philanthropy, community engagement and promoting diversity in leadership, procurement and among employees.

To submit nominations, visit CaDiversityAwards.com.