History Meets the Present: The Continued Resilience of East Palo Alto

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History has a way of centering us in our truth. It opens windows and doors into a deeper part of us and others. We begin to understand how things came to be, why your now citizen father grits his teeth every time he crosses a border, why there was a golf course in your neighborhood gated by a 20 foot fence that you never questioned, and even why you are determined to remain grateful no matter what life hands you.

It is one thing to visit a community, shop at their local grocery store, question what others have told you of this place and admire the warmth this community radiates. However, it is an entirely different experience to spend weeks gathering historical information about a community and then make eye contact. The closest comparison I can think of is accidentally opening East Palo Alto’s (EPA) diary, where they stored hopes, where they drew their future, and all the tear stained pages where they wrote about their trauma. There I sat flipping pages that looked like news articles, academic papers, and magazine spotlights that detailed the most intimate and violent experiences that this community had endured.

Through my research I learned about the redlining of EPA, and how this practice which backs mortgage lending to certain White neighborhoods and excludes others that house minorities, shaped what EPA would become. What this practice meant for residents was that they could not secure access to mortgages or capital so their property values were capped, and their access to gaining generational wealth was stifled. It also hardened racial divides, and left African American folk with limited options for where they could live.

The research revealed many personal stories of the first African Americans moving to the county and their neighbors protesting their arrival outside their homes and creating an environment of hostility so toxic that there was no choice but to move.

Additionally, there were also stories of folks moving to EPA and finding community, raising their children among family and developing strong social and community bonds.

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Health System and Partners Bridge Communities to Wellness

EMM Message Card 2May is Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM)! All month we will be working with our community partners to raise awareness about mental health and substance use issues and the importance of getting help. Check out this Health System press release for more on MHAM and why we are taking a special focus on our Coastside communities this year. Don’t forget to stop by the Art of Wellness Festival this Friday for free food, art activities and performances, resources and more!

May 1: Parent Education Night – Westmoor High School

On Tuesday May 1st, Westmoor High School in Daly City will be hosting a Parent Education night for May Mental Health Awareness Month. This will occur between 6:30-8:30 p.m. Panelists will talk about different concerns that students may face such as student stress, mental health concerns, and suicide. This is a great opportunity for parents to gain additional information and support. A FREE dinner will be served, and there will be Spanish interpretation services available as well. RSVP Links Below!

Please let your community and networks know of this free event!

English RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Ezg_0C4ozLFxiAyNRmAquHlUEwt5Sw7ojv6brTmOWJU/viewform?edit_requested=true

Spanish RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KKBNMC07j4VzsGDwzVYtU_hZ6xEn7z-0-W-IGuU6eFI/viewform?edit_requested=true

May 8 – Join a Community Conversation on Cannabis

Join Supervisor Warren Slocum on May 8 for a conversation on marijuana, featuring local experts.

Lived Experience Academy Participants Graduate

Apr 10 2018 LEA GraduationThe Office of Consumer and Family Affairs recently completed a Lived Experience Academy session. The Lived Experience Academy teaches clients and family members with lived experience to share their stories to empower themselves, further the healing process, reduce stigma and educate others about behavioral health conditions.

“I loved LEA,” said one graduate. “It taught me how to tell my story and made think and feel deeply. I loved this group.” Read more

Talking to Your Child About Cannabis

Group of three happy teenagers studyingYoung people have an incredible capacity to learn, grow and experience new things. Cannabis use can negatively impact a young person’s development. San Mateo County is hosting free cannabis education workshops for parents. Join local experts to learn how marijuana use can affect your child’s health, safety and educational outcomes. Find out what you can do to prevent underage use. See dates, locations and additional information below. Read more

Are Implicit Bias Trainings Enough to Actually Stop Incidents Like Philadelphia Starbucks?

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On 4/12, two black men were sitting at a table at Starbucks without making a purchase and were arrested when declining a store manager’s demand to leave.

Since then, Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson has announced changes to its policy including mandatory implicit bias tests, shutting down all US Starbucks stores on May 29th. This opens larger conversations about what is implicit bias, how it can be harmful, and whether Starbucks’ implicit bias test can actually make a difference.

Implicit bias refers to the automatic associations people have in their minds about a group of people, including stereotypes. They are formed subconsciously and unintentionally, but result in the prejudiced behaviors, attitudes, and actions for or against a person or group of people.

According to CNN, studies have shown that implicit bias contributes to “shooter bias”, the tendency for the police to shoot unarmed black suspects more often than white ones

Starbucks’ Implicit Bias training intends to combat the issue of implicit bias. However according to Cornell professor, Michelle Duguid’s research, sometimes implicit bias trainings have a negative effect on its audience; by explaining to people that stereotyping is common, people are sometimes actually more likely to express those biases.

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