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CHECK OUT THE LATEST NEWS FROM FAITH IN KERN
Daniel Rodela is Faith in the Valley’s newest organizer, leading efforts to build political power in rural communities of color in Kern County. Daniel has over 20 years of experience as an ordained elder in the Seventh-day Adventist Church tradition and as a non-denominational minister. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from CSU Bakersfield. Before joining our team, Daniel worked with us on immigration efforts, bringing resources to rural Kern communities, and he attended our clergy caucus. Today, he organizes in the towns of Taft and McFarland, focusing on relationships, community needs and building power.…
Our Work in Kern
In partnership with the Kern Educational Justice Collaborative (KEJC), Faith in Kern leaders have been working diligently to end the school to prison pipeline and keep restorative justice on the forefront. With partners, Faith in Kern leaders diverted two million dollars from policing to hire four PBIS counselors and 8 additional school counselors, and to allocate additional funding to parent centers and workshops. Faith in Kern leaders are currently supporting the implementation of PBIS, healing circles for students and parent participation in the classroom.
We are also laying the groundwork to shape the Kern Medical Center health plan to become the first pubic hospital in the Central Valley to provide preventative and specialty care for undocumented community members.
Faith in Kern leaders were also successful in securing the commitment of the Bakersfield Police Department to begin implementation of 21st Century Policing, building on our 8-year history of working with the Bakersfield Safe Streets Partnership.
Moving forward, we are advocating for more diverse hiring of police officers, implicit bias training and greater accountability and transparency, including advancing investigation and review of deadly force.
Our key issues include:
- Live Free/Heat: improving public safety and criminal justice reform (Prop. 47)
- Education Team: dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and influencing LCAP/LCFF to improve student education and success
- Health For Kern: organizing health coverage for the undocumented residents of Kern County
Our Key Accomplishments
Kern High School District hired more counselors in 2016 and invested less in campus police due to Faith In Kern efforts working with partners in the Kern Educational Justice Collaborative
The California Department of Justice launched a civil rights and police practices investigation into the Kern County Sheriff’s Department and Bakersfield Police Department as a result of organizing efforts led by Faith In Kern and families directly impacted by police killings
Featured in The Guardian’s 2015 documentary showing that Kern County had America’s deadliest police department. The Guardian series and Live Free organizing efforts led to the early retirement and resignation of Police Chief Greg Williamson in late 2016
Successfully organized with our partners to get Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green to sign off on U-Visa applications for undocumented residents—something Sheriff Youngblood refused to do