Culture

This California High School Student Will Become The First Ever Latina Valedictorian At Her School

A nightmare scenario became a dream come true for Natalie Ramos this past week. The senior from Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo, California, is set to make history after her story went viral. Ramos will become her high school’s first Latina valedictorian after she allegedly had to fight for the distinction. This is how it all went down.

Jesse Bethel High School has changed course and will allow Natalie Ramos to enjoy her moment as valedictorian without sharing the stage.

Credit: Vallejo City Unified School District

“I am sending this message to address the many messages of concern we have been receiving regarding the selection process for the JBHS Valedictorian,” Cusi wrote in a letter addressing the viral controversy the school started. “Over the last few days, we have been working to ensure that the GPA calculations were done correctly. The selection process outlined in our handbook on page 14 reads as follows: ‘Valedictorian: The student with the highest ‘weighted academic GPA 9-12’ in academic classes from 9th grade through the first semester of senior year will be chosen the valedictorian for the class.’ Based on this criteria, and the updated GPA calculations, I am delighted to announce that Natalie Ramos is the Valedictorian for JBHS for the Class of 2019. I am looking forward to celebrating with Natalie and her classmates as they graduate in June.”

According to the Times Herald, the controversy started with Ramos’ counselor, who didn’t properly tell her that her GPA was the highest in her academy but not necessarily in the overall senior class. The high school is among many Vallejo schools divided into subject matter academies.

Natalie Ramos was supposed to be the valedictorian for her class but school officials tried to change things last minute and make her share the stage, so she pushed back.

Credit: Ivette Ramos/ Facebook

Ivette Ramos, Natalie’s mom, took to Facebook to get the word out that her daughter’s valedictorian title was being wrongfully taken away. She called out Principal Ramon Cusi’s intentions and says that it’s not fair her daughter has to share the title even if she had the GPA to show for it.

“My daughter Natalie is ranked #1 in her class with a 4.27 GPA,” Ramos said on Facebook. “She was told by her counselor that she would be the first Latina Valedictorian at Jesse Bethel High School and it seems like the Principal has a problem with that. Principal Cusi wants her to share the spot with 9 other students. This has never been done before at Jesse Bethel, why now? The moment a Latina becomes Valedictorian it seems to be a problem.”

Natalie’s sister even took to Twitter to show her support for her saying she “deserves the spotlight ” and urged followers to call the school to complain. The tweet’s replies were filled with replies calling out Principal Cusi for “discrimination” and “racism.”

Natalie would eventually issue her own statement in her mother’s Facebook post where she spoke up about the controversy.

“Knowing this, I know it makes it even more important to not share the spotlight with kids who don’t have the same GPA as me,” Ramos wrote. “Being the first is an honor in itself and I don’t want my light to be dimmed by having to share something that I worked towards all four years with others who have expressed to me that they wouldn’t feel right receiving the same honor as I have.”

Natalie’s story was spread all over social media gaining support from people everywhere.

Many online questioned the school’s decision to not solely honor Ramos for her achievements. One user said that the school’s principal “has a problem w/that b/c wants her to share the spot w/9 other students. This has never been done before. Why now? #NatalieRamos.”

Another Twitter user said this happened because Natalie was a minority. They claim that Ramos deserves the honor and shouldn’t have to share it.

“The rules always seem to change when history or greatness is accomplished by someone that is a minority in an institution. Why should Natalie Ramos have to share something she worked hard for the past four years with her classmates? “

Shortly after the story went viral, the school district responded with a letter explaining the controversy.

Credit: Vallejo City Unified School District

The letter explained how the students’ GPAs were calculated and claimed that three students had indeed qualified to be valedictorians. Natalie’s sister took to her Twitter again to point out that Natalie’s GPA had in fact been lowered since the story had gone viral.

The reaction from Ramos’s family and people online has been nothing short of positive for this great achievement.

Natalie’s sister took to Twitter to thank everyone for the support in the last week and for doing their part to get the story out there. She even called out those that talked down on Natalie during the misunderstanding.

“My family wants to thank each and every one of you who took the time out of your day to address this issue ! Si se puede! My sister has the highest GPA and thanks to all of you will be the first LATINA valedictorian at Jesse Bethel High School!” Ramos’s sister wrote. “AND for everyone who called my sister a liar and my family liars I’ve made you some humble pie!”

It was a crazy week for the Ramos family that started with anger and heartbreak over an achievement that should be celebrated. It goes to show the power of social media and what the support from family can do.

“I’m relieved,” Natalie told the Times Herald. “I think they’re doing the right thing now.”

READ:A Mexican Teenager Just Became The First Minor In 100 Years To Be Accepted Into A Post-Graduate Program At Harvard

This Candidate For DA In San Francisco Has A Plan To Tackle Racial Disparities In The Justice System

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This Candidate For DA In San Francisco Has A Plan To Tackle Racial Disparities In The Justice System

Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Chesa Boudin is running for district attorney in San Francisco. At a forum hosted by Project Rebound, Boudin was asked about the growing white supremacy in the U.S. and his plans to combat it. The candidate did not shy away from the question and attacked it head-on in English and Spanish to be inclusive. Here’s what he had to say.

San Francisco DA candidate Chesa Boudin is on a mission to tackle the growing issue of white supremacy in the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

The candidate was asked directly how he would combat white supremacy if he was the district attorney of San Francisco. To that end, Boudin sharted his answer with the audience in English and Spanish so everyone could be included in the discussion.

Before anything, Boudin started by discussing the history of the U.S. and the ingrained racism in the country.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

“We need to start with a history that goes way back before this country,” Boudin told the audience. “We need to recognize that in this country, the United States, racism has very deep roots. Very deep.”

Boudin added: “So when you talk about white supremacy, that’s not a joke. That’s what’s happening today in the White House.”

Boudin told the audience that we can’t ignore racism and white supremacy, which is everywhere.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

“That’s why I’ve committed toa whole series of policies that are on my website, to fight back against white supremacy and against racism,” Boudin said.

Boudin also committed to creating an immigration unit within the DA’s office to counter the issues facing the community.

His impassioned speech caught people’s attention across the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Project Rebound, the organization that hosted the forum, is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people to reenter society. Project Rebound helps people who were incarcerated by enrolling them in classes at the San Francisco State University and supports them on their journey. The organization strives to reduce recidivism rates through education and career building.

Boudin is the child of incarcerated parents. His mother and father were getaway drivers at the Brink’s robbery in Nanuet, New York in 1981. It was an armed robbery that led to the death of one Brink’s guard and two Nyack police officers. His mother was sentenced to 20 years to life while his father was sentenced to 75 years in connection to the crime. They were both members of the Weather Underground, a left militant organization.

Some people are celebrating Boudin’s unapologetic approach to discussing white supremacy and racism in the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Boudin ended his conversation about white supremacy and racism with a simple sentence.

“If we can’t name it, how are we ever going to beat it,” Boudin said.

Boudin has laid out how he plans to tackle racial disparities while in office.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Here are four points Boudin has committed to in his fight against racial disparity, according to his website.

  • Commit to transparent decision-making.  The criminal justice system can’t be fair if it isn’t also transparent.  And right now, it’s anything but. The office will publish data about the demographics of people stopped, arrested, jailed, convicted, and sentenced to increase the transparency and accountability of every agency involved in the system.  There is no excuse for obscuring this information from public view, and by forcing us to grapple more seriously with the racist outcomes the system produces, we will be better equipped to change them.
  • Require a racial impact statement in every case.  The racist outcomes produced by our criminal justice system will be less tolerable when decision-makers are regularly forced to confront them.  Accordingly, prosecutors will be required to state on the record–in open court and before the judge–the racial bias statistics relevant to the stage of the case being addressed.  For example, before asking that an African American defendant be detained prior to trial, a prosecutor must state on the record the percentage of African Americans in jail on pretrial detention and the percentage of African Americans who reside in San Francisco.  Before making a sentencing recommendation, a prosecutor must state the disparity in sentences among Black and White defendants.
  • Implement race-blind charging and plea bargaining.  We should do everything we can to make sure that neither explicit nor implicit biases impact decisions made by the District Attorney’s Office.  Prosecutors will not know the demographic information of people before filing charges. The office will explore applying the same process for plea bargains, having a second prosecutor review a file, blind to demographic information, before making an initial plea offer.
  • No more prosecuting racist gang enhancements. When a person is convicted of a felony, they may be sentenced to time in prison.  Under Penal Code § 186.22, part of the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP Act), prosecutors can seek additional prison time beyond that received for the underlying felony when the person accused of the crime is found to be gang-involved.  But here’s the thing: This mechanism, known as a “gang enhancement,” is racist, ineffective, and unnecessary. 

You can read Boudin’s full racial disparity plan here.

For Boudin, the integrity of the entire judicial system is questioned when racism prevails.

“When our criminal justice system treats people differently based on the color of their skin, the integrity of the entire system is undermined,” reads Boudin’s website. “Individuals and entire communities come to distrust law enforcement, making our city not only less just, but also less safe. Eradicating racism from our society is a long project, and one we need to take on much more seriously than we have. The criminal justice system, capable of producing incalculable harm, is an important place to start.”

Some people are thankful for someone who is willing to move the conversation forward using inclusivity.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Boudin’s plan is bold and has voters excited as the Nov. 5 election for the San Francisco district attorney fast approaches.

You can watch the full video below and see what Boudin has planned.

White Supremacy?

(sound on) We were at a candidate forum organized by Project Rebound and Professor Jose B Cuellar, wearing a Brown Beret t-shirt asked a question about white-supremacy. Here is how I break it down – in English and Spanish. #antiracist #LanguageAccess #Boudin4DA #TeamBoudin video by @Natasha Florentino

Posted by Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney on Friday, October 4, 2019

What do you think about Boudin’s plan to tackle white supremacy and racism?

READ: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Is Literally Out Here Trying To Deny White Supremacy After The El Paso Shooting

Doorbell Camera Shows A Woman Seeking Help From Neighbors As Captor Pulls Her Away

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Doorbell Camera Shows A Woman Seeking Help From Neighbors As Captor Pulls Her Away

There is a disturbing video out of Arcadia, California that shows a man attacking his estranged girlfriend. The footage was captured on a neighbor’s Ring doorbell as the woman ran for help. The culprit, Robert Michael Mendez, 27, has been charged with suspicion of attempted murder, kidnapping and false imprisonment after Arcadia Police say they received footage of him dragging and assaulting the women. 

Ring doorbell surveillance footage shows Richard Michael Mendez dragging away his estranged girlfriend from a neighbors front door. 

The doorbell video shows the woman running to a neighbors front door and knocking for help. Mendez then runs up to her, grabs her by the hair and drags her away as she screams.

Authorities received the Ring doorbell footage taken from a home in the area of Santa Anita Avenue and Camino Real Avenue at around 11:40 p.m. that appeared to show a man, later identified as Mendez, dragging the woman who had showed up at the home begging for assistance. 

“The extent of the female’s injuries were severe enough to warrant hospitalization,” a police news release said. “Investigation also revealed that the female victim had been held against her will inside the residence since late (Sunday) evening.”

Many people have been shocked to see the disturbing footage that has made rounds on national news. 

Credit: @kandisscronetv / Twitter

The homeowners of where the attack happened sent the video to the police who then began searching through the neighborhood for Mendez. Upon knocking on his door, authorities identified him as the suspect. They also found the woman inside his home and she was quickly rushed to the hospital with significant injuries. Mendez was taken into custody without incident. 

Authorities say the woman was being held against her will at Mendez’s house since September 29. While fellow neighbors said that Mendez had kept to himself, they did notice numerous cars coming in and out of his house.

“I thought she was going to die,” Arcadia neighbor Tammy Raycraft told KCAL/KCBS, noting that she saw the entire incident go down. “We looked out the side window over here and witnessed him stomping on her, pulling her by her hair … it was awful. It was really traumatic to watch.”

The surveillance footage was provided by Ring, the Amazon-owned technology company, which has partnered with more than 400 police departments nationwide. But some people say this might infringe on privacy rights.

Credit: @mayawiley / Twitter

This incident is an example of how Ring and other tech companies have helped law enforcement agencies across the country find similar fugitives. As of now, Ring has stated that they are working with 405 police departments nationwide. The goal of this partnership is to convince people to not only buy the device but also sign up for its neighborhood watch app. In return, police get access to your Ring video footage with your permission. 

While the technology partnership has support, some worry about certain privacy issues. Police can still request video footage directly from Amazon if it has been uploaded to its cloud and the request is sent within 60 days of recording. This can happen even if an individual denies police access to that video footage.

While this only applies to users who live near law enforcement agencies that are working with Ring, it does set precedent for future surveillance technology. In this case, it helped lead to an arrest that might have never happened if it wasn’t for the video footage.

READ: Lupita Nyong’o Wrote A Children’s Book About The Prejudice In Favor Of Lighter Skin Color And It’s Out This Month