Things That Matter

Schools, Weed, And Crime. Here’s Why Californians Should Register To Vote Beyond The Presidency

Today, Oct. 24, marks the last day you can register to vote for the upcoming Nov. 8 election in California. If you’re too lazy to fill out an application by hand, you can register to vote here. And while the state is already in the win column for Hillary Clinton (California hasn’t voted Republican since 1988 and that won’t change in 2016), that doesn’t mean that your vote doesn’t count. Quite the contrary. There’s a lot at stake on the ballot that directly impacts you. Here are some propositions that makes your vote more meaningful than you think.

Legal Weed

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Credit: “Black Sheep”/Giphy

In California (and in the rest of the country, technically), possession of marijuana for recreational use is illegal. If passed, Proposition 64 would make  California the fifth state behind Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Beyond legitimizing something that everyone already does anyway, the passing of Proposition 64 would be a big blow to the federal “war on drugs,” which has disproportionately wreaked havoc on communities of color.

Bilingual Education

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Credit: Voto Latino/Giphy

In 1998, California passed Proposition 227 and got rid of bilingual education. As the Los Angeles Times notes, part of the reason why that proposition passed was anti-immigrant sentiment. 18 years after that vote, Californians have the option of bringing bilingual education back. This is a good thing. Bilingual education has proven to be an effective way of getting kids who don’t speak English to pick up the language. There’s also a lot of research that suggests that bilingual people are likely smarter than those who only speak one language. Who wouldn’t want smarter kids?

Less Crowded Jails

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Proposition 57 might be the most consequential measure on the ballot. If passed, Prop 57 would do two things: 1) it would make it easier for those in prison for a non-violent crime to get parole, and 2) it would leave it up to judges to decide whether a minor gets tried for an adult. The first would make it easier for those who were convicted of a nonviolent offense to be paroled and go through rehabilitation instead of sitting in an overcrowded jail. The second, perhaps more importantly, is that it would prevent overzealous prosecutors from trying to make an example out of kids and try them as adults. Proposition 57 could have serious impact on the Latino community given that we are disproportionately jailed more than our white counterparts.

PLEASE PLEASE VOTE!

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Credit: “Lemonade”/Giphy

Your vote really does count. Plus, Beyonce is asking you to go do it, and you want to listen to Queen Bey on this.

READ: This Burrito Truck Will Bring You To Tears

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This Sacramento Bar Is Being Accused Of A Racist Dress Code Many Are Calling A ‘Whites Only’ Sign

Things That Matter

This Sacramento Bar Is Being Accused Of A Racist Dress Code Many Are Calling A ‘Whites Only’ Sign

The way we dress says a lot about who we are. Style and fashion often get called superficial but think about it… Every morning (or afternoon if you’re a late riser like me) we each make a conscious decision on what we’re going to wear. So, of course, our style choices are a reflection of ourselves as people.

And, of course, there are restaurants and bars and clubs that have dress codes.

But one Sacramento restaurant/bar is being accused of targeting a specific style that is well known to be popular among certain communities. The new dress code is being called racist and the modern day version of a ‘Whites Only’ sign.

A popular Sacramento bar has faced a serious backlash after many accused it of creating a racist dress code.

Many people are criticizing a new dress code enforced by a Sacramento, Calif., bar that is accused of targeting African-Americans and whose critics consider it a “Modern Day ‘WHITES ONLY SIGN.’ “

The popular Barwest recently posted a new dress code that lists certain clothing such as sports wear “gang colors,” chains, grills, baggy clothes and track pants that should not be permitted after 10 p.m. in the midtown area bar.

While people say they are used to Sacramento bars banning certain types of shoes, they believe Barwest, which is known for its “burgers, wings and nightlife.” is addressing a certain group of people.

In an interview with CBS Sacramento, Charlene Bruce said “I’m just trying to figure out, who they’re trying not to have come to their establishment. Just say that.”

Bruce said she was shocked when she saw the sign when she was eating at a place next door to Barwest.

And if we needed any evidence that this was specifically targeting people of color, Black Lives Matter says people who aren’t black have bypassed the dress code.

Sacramento Black Lives Matter leader, Sonia Lewis also shared her thoughts about the bar’s new rules, revealing that she was disappointed. 

She told the outlet that the Black Lives Matter chapter used to hold meetings at the bar every week. She said she also spoke to Barwest management about serving people of color in the vicinity as well.

“How could they be taking steps backward was my first reaction,” Lewis told the station. “Like I said, I’m not surprised. It’s very much indicative of the midtown experience.”

While many on Twitter wanted to remind us all that California has long faced the issue of racism.

For many in the Black community, this so-called dress code was just another form of discrimination towards a community who has faced discrimination for decades. California, despite its reputation as a liberal haven, has long dealt with blatant racism. From a failed criminal justice system that unfairly targets people of color to police brutality and unfair housing and employment practices, people of color face an uphill battle in California.

Some suggested that the bar would accept a certain type of apparel over others…

Yes, Sacramento is the capital of left-leaning California but much of the state, including parts of Sacramento, have often embraced racist ideals. In fact, California’s ‘Trump Country’ extends into parts of the city.

Many on social media suggested that not only was the dress code sign likely racist but it was also likely to encourage MAGA-wearing patrons to choose the bar over other options in the area.

Reactions on Twitter ranged from complete and total outrage…

This Twitter user makes a great point. Yes, it’s quite obvious to many that this instance of a strict dress code is being used to target a specific racial group, dress codes are also often used to segregate the classes.

To complete and total ignorance.

This isn’t about dressing like an adult. This is about targeting specific forms of dress that are popular among certain communities. Communities of people who have historically been targeted based upon their appearance, skin color, and form of dress. I mean, ‘no grills?” Seriously? That’s way to specific to just say that they want people to ”dress like an adult.”

Gen Z Is Rallying For A Younger Voting Age In California, Which Would Undoubtedly Shake Up The Upcoming Election

Things That Matter

Gen Z Is Rallying For A Younger Voting Age In California, Which Would Undoubtedly Shake Up The Upcoming Election

Gen Z are constantly finding ways to make millennials, like me, proud. Young activists in California have mobilized to pass assemblymember Evan Low’s bill, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 or ACA 8. The amendment lowers the voting age in California to 17 years old in statewide elections. On August 26, the legislation passed the state Assembly and is now headed to the Senate for a vote.

Should the national voting age be lowered? Age requirements have been an ongoing debate for decades now. The whole point is that in Democracy, we’re supposed to be equal. (Any marginalized person knows that isn’t true in practice, but in theory, we’re all meant to be equal.) In order to vote, there is no barometer for intelligence, and now there is no gender requirement, no race requirement (allegedly, we all know about gerrymandering), and no property requirement. The only real stipulation is age. 

This issue is complicated and obscured by what the collective culture believes is “old enough.” Who is really an adult and who isn’t? Let’s take a closer look.

Gen Z wants a say in their future. 

Fair enough. It’s not like adults have been doing a great job running the world. We’re living in a climate emergency that, regardless of whether we act or not, is going to have massive and disastrous effects on every person on earth. We have President Trump in the states rolling back environmental regulations and President Bolsonaro in Brazil allowing the Amazon to burn. It’s no wonder young people are fed up with not having a say.

In fact, its not the first time the voting age has been questioned. Up until the Vietnam War (1964 – 1973), it was 21. The war which drafted tens of thousands of young people to their deaths, who were unable to vote for or against the war, was one of the most gruesome wars fought in U.S. history. It was young people who mobilized in protest and passed the 26th Amendment in 1971 which lowered the national voting age to 18. 

Meet the people of color leading the charge. 

The 17-year-old activist Tyler Okeke and Luis Sanchez, Executive Director of Power California, penned an op-ed in Teen Vogue advocating for a lower voting age. With Sanchez’s help, Okeke spearheaded a resolution that directed the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District to report on the feasibility and costs of allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in school district elections. In April, the resolution was passed. 

In Berkely, California, 2016 voters approved Measure Y1 lowering the voting age to 16 in school board elections. A similar measure was narrowly defeated in San Francisco, but California is paving the way for this important national conversation. You can now even pre-register to vote online in California at 16 and 17. 

Young people of color are most prepared to vote.

Lower voting age is also a matter of immigration status. Many teenagers are citizens but have parents who are ineligible to vote. A measure like this would be a huge win for immigrant families who would now have family members able to advocate for their interests. 

“Today’s young people, and young people of color, in particular, are ready to use their voices and their votes to bring about positive change, according to recent research,” Okeke and Sanchez wrote. “At 16, young people can drive, pay taxes, and work for the first time without major restrictions. Many young people from working-class communities also shoulder major responsibilities, such as contributing to family incomes, taking care of their siblings, or translating important information for their parents.”

But are 16-year-olds “smart” enough to vote?

Okeke and Sanchez believe 16 is an age where teenagers are more stable and have a good enough civics and government foundation to participate. 

“Research suggests that when young people vote in their first few consecutive elections, the habit sets in — ultimately strengthening our democracy. And statistical evidence has found that the average 16-year-old has the same level of civic knowledge as someone who is 21,” Okeke and Sanchez wrote. 

I am sorry, but have you heard of Malala Yousafzai who wrote an op-ed at age 11 about living under the Taliban occupation and advocated for women’s education? Malala was such a threat to the status quo as a teenager that the Taliban attempted to assassinate her at 15. They failed. When she was 17 she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Have you heard of Emma González? When she was 18 years old, this Latinx survived the horrific Parkland shooting. She then co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD. 

Teenagers have to suffer the trauma of living in a world that adults exploit and oppress, but then they don’t get a say on how to solve any of the problems they’re subjected to? I don’t think so. There are countless examples that demonstrate how intelligent, compassionate, and organized teenagers can be.