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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

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

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

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!

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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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Beverly Hills, one of the most well-known destinations in the country and world has long been a thriving and prime area for real-estate. Long before it was colonized by the Spanish, and was largely populated by rich white elites, the Indigenous people of California known as the Tongva, thrived there.

Hundreds of years later, in the 1830s, when the area was colonized, Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the granddaughter of Spanish colonists Luis and Maria Quintero and the great-granddaughter of an African slave was granted the original 4,500-acre of Beverly Hills, then known as El Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

Yes, as it turns out the foremother of Beverly Hills was a Black Latina!

During her ownership, Maria Rita oversaw cattle ranching and farming.

According to LA Magazine, Rita “was well known for holding a yearly celebratory rodeo under a famous eucalyptus tree at what is now Pico and Robertson boulevards.”

Sadly, after working the land for so much time, three Indigenous Californian outlaws attacked the ranch in 1852. The attack led to a shootout amongst “a grove of walnut trees at what is now Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase drives” and eventually in 1854 Maria Rita decided to sell the area to investors Henry Hancock and Benjamin D. Wilson for $4,000.

Perhaps there’s a chance for justice for Maria Rita in the end.

Recently, Los Angeles County officials revealed that they were contemplating returning a beachfront property that was seized from a Black family nearly a century ago.

According to the Guardian, Manhattan Beach used “eminent domain” in 1924 to force Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, of the land where they lived. “The Bruces also ran a resort for Black families during a time when beaches in the strand were segregated,” explained the Guardian in a recent report. “Part of the land was developed into a city park. It is now owned by Los Angeles county and houses lifeguard headquarters and a training center.”

Manhattan Beach county Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that she was looking into ways to restore justice for Bruce family. Options include delivering the land back to the family, paying for losses, or potentially leasing the property from them

“I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this terrible wrong,” Hahn explained in a recent interview with KABC-TV.

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Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

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Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Americans are still waiting for the $1,400 check from the federal government to make good on the $2,000 promise In the meantime, some Californians will get extra help from the state government. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $9.6 billion stimulus package for state residents and undocumented people.

Low-income Californians will be eligible for a $600 stimulus check from the state government.

Gov. Newsom and California lawmakers have agreed on a $9.6 billion relief package for the Golden State. The relief package is offering much needed relief to businesses, individuals, and students. The relief will come to Californians in different ways.

According to a statement, the package is making good on the promise to help low-income Californians, increase small business aid, and waive license renewal fees for businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the package “provides tax relief for businesses, commits additional resources for critical child care services and funds emergency financial aid for community college students.”

The relief package is aimed at helping those who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”

The package will quadruple the assistance to restaurants and small businesses in California. Small businesses and restaurants will be eligible for $25,000 in grants from a $2 billion fund.

Undocumented Californians will also receive a boost from the state government.

Low-income Californians will receive a one-time payment of $600 while undocumented people will be given a $600 boost. The money will be sent to tax-paying undocumented people in California.

According to the California Budget & Policy Center, undocumented people in California pay $3 billion a year in local and state taxes. Despite paying taxes, the undocumented community has not been ineligible for relief payments from the federal government. These payments will give needed relief to a community overlooked throughout the pandemic.

“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and millions of Californians continue to feel the impact on their wallets and bottom lines. Businesses are struggling. People are having a hard time making ends meet. This agreement builds on Governor Newsom’s proposal and in many ways, enhances it so that we can provide the kind of immediate emergency relief that families and small businesses desperately need right now,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said in a statement. “People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors. We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Learn more about the relief package by clicking here.

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