April 2023

“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.”” – Ijeoma Oluo

The month of April rolled through fast and strong and kicked off the month wrapping up our branch participation in a number of Environmental & Climate Justice Initiatives. We collected over 750 survey responses in our CA/HI State Branch EJC initiative and closed out my participation in the PG & E Resilient Together Advisory Cohort. This was a huge opportunity to work with regional organizations like United Way of the Wine Country, Graton Day Labor, Lake Family Resource Center and North Coast Opportunities. We welcomed Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Agency to our April 3rd meeting and our Executive Committee voted to enter into a MOU with RCPA to continue collaborating on our Environmental and Climate Justice efforts in Sonoma County. Over the next few months, we will begin to receive the data analysis collected from a number of community engagement efforts. 

Ijeoma Oluo was the featured speaker at Sonoma State University’s Social Justice Lecture Series co-hosted annually by the School of Education and School of Social Sciences. It was a great evening to hear her authenticity and reminding institutions to do more beyond ‘checking the box.’

Her wisdom and insights carried the room and affirmed that all of our efforts in community are on track to address the systemic challenges and inequities. It was great to be in attendance with NAACP Officers, Human Rights Commissioners, and the Office of Equity Team.

The CA/HI State Branch held our Spring Resolutions meeting, click here to view the status of the resolutions. The items that are moved forward will be included in the parliamentary process at the National Convention in July. 

I attended the Grapevine Youth Leadership’s (Petaluma Blacks for Community Development) monthly meeting to hear about their experiences in school and share about how our branch provides advocacy and support for students experiencing racial harassment and discrimination. Every student and family should familiarize themselves with their Title VI Civil Rights protections! 

I then had the opportunity to deliver the keynote for the 34th annual Press Democrat Youth Service Awards. The room was filled with 146 high school seniors(+families) and I shared my own journey through leadership, service and social justice advocacy. 

After many weather delays the Forestville Skatespot was finally able to host the “Skate, Music, & Art” event to honor Tyre Nichols. These committed  community members have been working for the last 9 years to try and get a skatepark built in Forestville. We are excited to see this idea become a reality in the near future and appreciated the invitation to join the celebration of life for Tyre Nichols.  

We closed out the month with a focus group with our YouthWorks Committee facilitated by Santa Rosa’s Violence Prevention Partnership (our June meeting speaker) to hear about their experiences in school and community. I also had the opportunity to close out the Civil Rights and Social Justice Unit taught by Dr. Rodney Fierce at Sonoma Academy sharing about the NAACP’s national and local history and how we have continue to fight for inclusion and equity across Sonoma County. 

Respectfully Submitted by Kirstyne Lange, President