By Anthony Victoria and Michael Segura
For several years now the city of San Bernardino has looked more like an abysmal end result of improper management and apathy, rather than the prosperous military town that was once labeled an “All-American City”.
The youth have been disenfranchised by the lack of opportunity that has led to many high school and college graduates to look elsewhere for careers and other ways to prosper economically.
In addition to the efforts to reform the governing document that is the city’s current charter and to combat the bankruptcy that has stumped development in downtown, city leaders and law enforcement have to deal with the constant dilemma of dealing with homicides.
As residents there is no denying that a dark cloud hangs over the city. So what can we do to change that and where do we begin?
It’s safe to say that several people have already began to organize. In addition to the work that San Bernardino Generation Now has done to assist in park clean-up efforts, voter registration and provide a political consciousness to residents, other groups and organizations in the city are collaborating to bring long lasting change.
The Inland Congregations for Change (ICUC), for example, aspires to strenghten neighborhoods in the Inland Empire through community engagement. In San Bernardino, they have held workshops to inform parents about A-G high school requirements that are needed to gain acceptance to a California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) institution. On April 29 parent and student leaders presented extensive research on student graduation and suspension rates to show the needed teacher and administrative intervention to improve student performance. It has motivated SBCUSD board members like Michael Gallo to react. He has attended numerous ICUC parent meetings to hear their concerns.
Creating Hopeful Opportunities and Resiliency by Developing Skills youth program, more notably known as C.H.O.R.D.S., provides assistance to youth through education, music, art and performing arts. They focus primarily on children who are struggling academically and behaviorally by organizing workshops revolved around behavior modification, academic support, and leadership.
Young visionaries and entrepreneurs Rusty Palmer and Cesar Gomez aim to stimulate the local economy by developing a college culture in San Bernardino. The two, along with the help of several other college students have created The Revolve Project . The organization aims to provide CSUSB students interested in Business, Marketing, Public Relations, and community organizing with internships that will provide personal growth while exposing them to innovative technology that will have a great impact on our community for years to come.
Speaking of Young Visionaries, community organizer and gang-intervention coordinator Terrance Stone created the youth leadership academy of that name to help at-risk San Bernardino County youth enrich their lives through training in education, employment development, leadership, and teen pregnancy prevention to name a few. They also have a homeless shelter for youth--ages 17 and under that provides them a safe place to sleep, a place to wash their clothes, shower, eat a hot meal, at the small price of simply being willing to learn.
And how can we forget the Time for Change Foundation. Together our members have knocked door to door to inform the community about the first annual festival. Their tremendous work has managed to empower San Bernardino residents who were once battling with drug addiction, homelessness, family separation, mental and physical abuse, and the effects of incarceration. They are truly crusaders for peace and rehabilitation.
What these organizations have in common is the desire to want to bring change to the community. Whereas a proportionate number of residents believe San Bernardino has nothing to offer, San Bernardino Generation Now along with its partnering organizations aim to prove them wrong.
It’s evident that the aforementioned organizations have the same vision to help a dying community, where cultures are few and collaboration is rare. In the midst of darkness light always prevails. Just as everyone of these organizations shines their light on our city, Community fest will gleam bright at the end of the month and be the beacon of hope for all our community to gather around.
Community fest will be an event to provide the residents of San Bernardino a venue to vent their frustrations in positive manners and give residents the opportunity to network with organizations, vendors, musicians, artists, and leaders but most importantly one another to renew pride in our community.
We would like to thank the following organizations for helping us sponsor and promote this great event:
*San Bernardino Generation Now Director of Hospitality Jennica Billins contributed to this editorial.
Below is Matthew Greenleaf with two San Bernardino youth having fun at Perris Hill Park this month.