2016:  Making our Vision a Reality

In 2016, the presidential election cycle presents a moment when Americans are listening and considering the challenges facing our communities in a heightened way.  The politics of fear and division are begin promoted loudly.  At a moment when racial divides are becoming clearer every day, Sacramento ACT is committed to engaging in difficult conversations about race including structural racism and oppression, and implicit bias. ACT believes that until these conversations happen, we will be unable to dispel fear and replace it with a vision of hope and abundance. ACT raises the voice of diverse faith communities with a united moral vision, proclaiming and acting upon this shared moral imperative in the public square.

In the past year we have developed stronger coalitions across faith, labor, direct service providers and grass tops leaders to ensure that we are not pitted against each other. Our voices are unified in support of justice and equity for all Sacramentans.

Civic Engagement

ACT has a commitment to faithful citizenship, and this includes voting.  Every year ACT does voter registration and get out the vote efforts.  In 2016 these efforts will be maximized, since the largest number of ballot initiatives are decided at the ballot box in presidential campaign years.  ACT leaders will hold conversations and lead community efforts to re-invigorate the most oppressed communities and our youth with a spirit of hope in the election process. 

How we spend our public resources as a community reflects our values.  We will hold forums with candidates running for office and ask elected officials and those seeking office how they will spend public dollars, how they will prioritize them, and how they will work with and include communities most impacted by the pain.

County Budget

As ACT leaders conducted research in 2015 with people in positions of power to make change, we commissioned 3 independent reports to better understand the County budget.  ACT approaches research from three perspectives: qualitative, speaking to people closest to the pain; quantitative, gathering data; and relational, building relationships with people in positions of power to make change. This research revealed that many of the issues concerning our communities intersect at the county level:  healthcare, mental health care for residents including homeless residents, mass incarceration, and immigrant detention.

Recognizing that budgets are moral documents, we are calling and advocating for a budget that transforms our community -- a budget reflecting our faith values that shifts the focus from punishment and control to investment in prevention and rehabilitation. We will advocate for investment in health and human services over incarceration.  We seek more servicing and less warehousing. 

Live Free Campaign

Our Vision

Our communities will thrive and be safe from violence and crime.  We will be a community that provides resources for youth development, for economic opportunity, for mental health and trauma treatment, and for rehabilitation and re-entry.  People of color must be humanized, embraced and protected equally as we develop a positive, thriving relationship with law enforcement.

The Current Reality

We are suffering a crisis of violence in our community that particularly impacts and endangers our young people, especially our young people of color.  Young people face the reality that they may be either a victim of violence or of racial profiling by police.

While law enforcement is rightly concerned with whether their actions are legal, we need to further examine whether their actions are also procedurally just, and recognize and address implicit racial bias.

We find that there is a return pipeline to prison which results from the reality that our re-entry and rehabilitation services are inadequate, leading to recidivism.  Offenders can serve their time and pay restitution, but with a felony on their record and inadequate services, they are likely to return to prison.  In addition, there is particular need for re-entry services for African American women, currently the fastest growing segment nationally of incarcerated community members.

Creating Change in 2016

We are working on the implementation of Proposition 47, assisting formerly incarcerated members of our community to change their records, and connecting them with re-entry and rehabilitation services.  We are conducting listening campaigns to focus especially on the unique needs of formerly incarcerated women. We will engage and train the formerly incarcerated to advocate for increased re-entry and rehabilitation support targeted at women. We are working with community partners to increase funding for rehabilitation and re-entry.

In both North and South Sacramento, ACT listening campaigns are seeking seeking the best ways to address violence in our communities.  Time and time again Ceasefire is mentioned as a best practice.  In 2016 ACT leaders are advocating for a return of Ceasefire.

We are working to continue to deepen the work of Restorative Justice in community organizations and congregations, organizing to reduce violence, and giving tools to engage in systemic, structural conversations.

We are working to ensure that procedural justice training and reform is extended beyond Sacramento City law enforcement into Sacramento County law enforcement. 

Police Accountability

 

Immigration Campaign

Our Vision

Our community will recognize undocumented residents as valuable contributors. We lift up the dignity of our undocumented brothers and sisters and expose the links between mass deportation and mass incarceration and the common struggle of the Brown and Black communities.  We work in partnership with the Diocesan Immigrant Support Network (DISN) on many issues.

The Current Reality

While health care was restored for 3,000 undocumented immigrants last year, there are many more in need of health care access.  In particular, undocumented elders over 64 are not currently eligible for County coverage, leaving them without access to health care as they age.

We have conducted research on undocumented detainees in the County jail.  This has revealed that they can be detained for low-level offenses for long periods until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decides to deport them.  Documented immigrants or citizens would have far shorter sentences for the same offense.  In addition, there is currently a financial incentive to incarcerate undocumented residents due to the contract between the County Sheriff’s department and ICE which pays per detainee: the more people arrested, the more money the County makes.  

Undocumented detainees, as well as other inmates, are subject to poor conditions at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC).  There is inadequate access to legal counsel.  Visitation by family is hampered by the lack of public transportation to the RCCC.

Creating Change in 2016

In 2016 we are looking at the impact of creating revenue based on the incarceration of undocumented residents.  We will work to get physical conditions and access to legal counsel improved for those incarcerated at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center, as well improved access for family visitors.  We will research the unique needs of incarcerated undocumented women and the impact of family separation.

We are working with ACT’s Health Campaign to extend county healthcare coverage for undocumented residents beyond the initial 3,000 who were covered in 2015, as well as to expand eligibility to our elders by eliminating the age cap which excludes people over age 64 from coverage.  

We facilitate the dissemination of information about access to drivers’ licenses (AB60), DACA and DAPA when it is implemented.  We engage in the work of the Campaign for Citizenship which calls for a roadmap to citizenship

Education Campaign

Our Vision

Parents will be part of the process to make decisions affecting the education of their children.  Schools will partner with the community to provide an excellent and equitable education for every child, offering the support that our children need to be successful.  Our community will support the growth of Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice in our schools and end the school to prison pipeline.

The Current Reality

After a few years of preparing the groundwork, we have arrived at an important moment in shaping education for our children in Sacramento. The implementation of Proposition 30 in 2012 led to the development of the Local Control Funding Formula which allocates extra funding for children who are low-income, in the foster care system or English Language Learners.  It is now time to make sure that this funding is actually allocated to meet the true needs of our children and that parents and youth have a voice in these decisions.

While Sacramento City Unified School District has policies supporting Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice, boys of color still face suspension at three times the rate of white boys.  We must take action and build power at the school board and school site level in order to build a movement of parents who are engaged in advocating for their children’s education.  The leadership of this movement belongs in the hands of parents and students.

A crisis of mental health is affecting children from all backgrounds in Sacramento. The system is complicated and hard to navigate, and services are scarce.  Schools should be a place to connect students in need of mental health support with needed services and care.

Creating Change in 2016

Building on our work in 2015, ACT is working in the Sacramento City Unified School District to identify dedicated funding for social emotional learning and mental health social workers in schools. We are pushing to get new administrative regulations regarding discipline implemented at each site. In addition, we will be active in raising issues of concern to the community in the 2016 school board elections.

In partnership with Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP), ACT is working with the parents of English Language Learners to identify and address their needs.  Initially, we are working to increase the number of bilingual counselors in schools.

In partnership with Way Up, ACT is working in seven schools in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento to create a strong team of parent and youth leaders that can ground and mobilize a network of parents and youth to engage with their schools, promote community pride in their schools, and advocate for the resources schools need to be successful. Schools are critical institutions in neighborhoods. By mounting a concerted effort at seven schools in the Oak Park neighborhood, the foundation is laid for change in the whole community. 

We will collaborate with the faith community to deepen the understanding of and commitment to Restorative Justice, bringing it to the heart of the congregation.  Through this work, parish, church and synagogue leaders will continue to think about the needs of the whole child and become supporters of the social safety net.  

Sacramento ACT Education Platform related to the 2017 Sacramento City Unified School District Budget & LCAP

Health and Mental Health Care Campaign

Our Vision

Our County will make preserving the health and well-being of its residents its number one priority.  All Sacramentans will have the opportunity to lead healthy, thriving lives and have access to health care, including mental health care. 

The Current Reality

Sacramento County sees its primary responsibility as creating public safety through criminal justice.  We argue that the County can best create public safety by investing in the health and well-being of the residents of our county.  This creates strong communities and supports people in leading healthy, productive lives.

While health care was restored for 3,000 undocumented immigrants last year, there are many more in need of health care access.  In particular, undocumented elders over 64 are not currently eligible for County coverage, leaving them without access to health care as they age.

Mental health care resources are especially limited and difficult to access in the community.  While there has been some increase in funding for mental health care, the need continues to outpace the availability of care.

Our lack of investment in mental and behavioral health means incarceration is used as a first option instead of a last resort for people facing addiction or facing violence in the midst of trauma.

Creating Change in 2016  

Through our education work, we are working to expand access to mental health social workers for students in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

We are working with ACT’s Immigration Campaign to extend county healthcare coverage for undocumented residents beyond the initial 3,000 who were covered in 2015, as well as to expand eligibility to our elders by eliminating the age cap which excludes people over age 64 from coverage.  

ACT leaders are working to have mental health and behavioral services integrated deeply into our county health system, so that those struggling with addiction and other behavioral illnesses have the opportunity for treatment before incarceration.  Resources should also be offered to individuals upon their release from jail, recognizing that individuals with mental health issues are currently often jailed rather than treated.  We advocate for increased access to transitional housing paired with mental health services to improve support for stabilization and re-entry.  We also advocate for increased navigation services to connect people with mental health resources and quality treatment programs.

We have commissioned an analysis of the County mental health system and we will work to understand and expose the ways the County could save money and improve health outcomes by shifting money from incarceration to prevention, services and treatment.

Homelessness Campaign

Our Vision

Our County budget will provide necessary resources and support to end homelessness.  Homeless residents of Sacramento County will have access to services, including health and mental health care, in a way that addresses the barriers of their lack of housing.  Ultimately, every homeless resident will have access to safe and affordable housing.

The Current Reality

Homeless people have a high rate of need for mental health services and yet have the least access to services.  County mental health crisis centers are only available to people who are housed.  People who encounter chronically homeless people with mental health issues have have very limited options for referral:  the police or emergency rooms.  While there are some mental health navigators to connect homeless people to services, there is need for more.

There is a need for homeless service providers to synergize their efforts.  ACT supports the work of Sacramento Steps Forward to be a convener of these entities.

Creating Change in 2016

In 2016, our priority is increasing access to mental health care for homeless individuals who currently have the least access to mental health care, in spite of high rates of mental health issues.  In addition, we will work to have incarcerated homeless people connected to resources when they are released from jail.