Every year, thousands of households in Fresno County are evicted from their homes. Evictions are unfair, especially due to huge disparities in legal representation between tenants (1%) and landlords (73%).
Perhaps most alarming is the correlation that Matthew Desmond, Princeton sociologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” found between evictions and suicide among single mothers.
Aaron Foster is among those trying to provide a second option for Fresno’s most trigger-happy citizens. Its name is Advance Peace, a program for reducing gang-related gun violence that Mayor Lee Brand and the Fresno City Council must find a way to fit into the 2019-20 budget. In fact, I’d argue city leaders can’t afford not to.
San Joaquin Bishop David Rice said the pilgrimage, a march to raise awareness about the plight of undocumented persons and refugees, will begin May 4 after a celebration of the Eucharist and a blessing at St. James Cathedral in Fresno. From there, pilgrims will walk north approximately 17 miles per day, until they reach Sacramento, the state capital, on May 20, and join with other activists and faith groups in observance of California’s Immigrant Day of Action.
Two years ago Aaron Foster reached out to Advance Peace, a nonprofit that has a controversial approach at reducing gun violence. Ever since then he’s been trying to get them to come to Fresno.
Since 2010, nearly a dozen social justice organizations have sprouted in Fresno, harnessing community power to spark change. These groups, many of which are led by educated women of color with deep Valley ties, have mobilized coalitions that stood up to local politicians, combated vicious attacks and emerged with political victories.
The purpose of the event is to expose systemic oppression centered around the prison industry complex, especially private prisons. The conversations will include a look at policies and laws that are in place, a discussion on some of the “startling statistics” and a talk about the trauma and restrictions faced by people once they are released from prison.
“Fortunately, one of the best ways that we have to counter this is our expressions of love, and here in the Fresno region and the Central Valley, it’s not hard. We have such a beautiful interfaith community that comes together both in wake of tragedy, but also just because we love each other," said Rabbi Rick Winer.
“The passion, expertise and focus that Dr. Nadine will bring to this critical body of work will bring the necessary attention and light to propel forward our collective work to address and end disparities in our communities,” said Pastor Trena Turner, executive director, Faith in the Valley.
It may be time to stop thinking of the Central Valley as the downtrodden sibling to California’s coastal powers. By some measures, the Central Valley outperformed the Bay Area and Southern California in 2018, according to state population and economic figures.