Your Monthly News & Updates, Vol. 41
In Memoriam
Dr. Stanley Eugene Clark

Dr. Stanley Clark, a long-time supporter and partner of Building Healthy Communities-South Kern, passed away April 12, 2018. A true champion of social justice, Dr. Clark dedicated his life to  develop strong, young leaders. As a political science professor at California State University, Bakersfield, he taught thousands of students and encouraged them to demand justice and hold elected officials accountable. In the early years of Building Healthy Communities-South Kern, Dr. Clark served as a member of the steering committee, helping guide the work of our action teams.
Dr. Clark was not only a partner in the movement, but also a good friend to many of us. He will be missed. Please click here for information about Dr. Clark's services
Show Up to Support Students and Education Partners

Join your BHC Kern education partners at the next KHSD Board Meeting Monday May 7th at 7:00 pm to give voice to the redistricting discussion. The meeting will be held in the Board Room in the EOC Administrative Building, 5201 Sundale Ave.


Kern Students Demand Gun Control

Students at Delano's Kennedy High School participate in March for Our Lives
On Wednesday March 14, Kern County high school students joined thousands of students nation-wide when they walked out of class at 10:00 am. The demonstration was meant to serve as both a tribute to the students killed in the shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school in February, and to demand that lawmakers take steps toward serious gun control.

Students from schools around the county, including BHS, East, Foothill, Frontier, Highland, Independence, and Stockdale High Schools participated in the 17-minute walkout, one minute for each of the Parkland victims. At each school, students personalized the tribute and message they wanted to send.

Shaping Kern for the Next Generation

Right now, Kern County is gathering information to inform the County's General Plan for the next 15-25 years. This plan prioritizes fiscal allocations, including investments in health and safety for all Kern communities. It essentially becomes the County's road map for spending and prioritizing how our communities are built, including affordable housing, parks, public transportation, grocery stores, community centers, libraries, industry, schools, and business.
Members of Comunidades Unidas 
review land use maps

From January to June 2017, 20-30 South Kern residents, including both youth and adults, attended monthly General Plan workshops hosted by the Kern County Planning Department and Planning Commissioners to provide critical feedback regarding their vision for growth and healthy communities. Residents lifted up many priorities, including investments in parks, recreation, safe and affordable housing, healthy and equitable land use planning, community centers, complete streets, clean air, and clean water. The County will continue to invite direct feedback from community residents to help the County shape the general plan. The Kern County Planning Department plans to create round tables  to receive more input, and plans to release a draft general plan document towards the end of 2018.

Get involved!  In May, there will be an opportunity for the public to meet in person with the Planning Department, as well as participate in a variety of work groups to provide comments on specific topics like safety, economic development, healthy communities, and water. These work groups will help shape specific policies and programs included in the draft General Plan, which will be released at the end of this year. To learn more, attend a  Comunidades Unidas meeting which meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month. If you would like to be a part of this process, please contact Patricia Leal at (760) 899-2871 or Adeyinka Glover at (661) 843-7677.

Using Technology to Achieve A Healthier Kern

Bakersfield College's Public Health Department hosted the second annual Health and Social Justice Hackathon April 12-14. With a focus on health equity, the event partners local students a nd professionals with backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) with health professionals to identify, design and build 
Design team for the BHC Kern app, improving community health through technology and collective expertise
technology tools that respond to specific community health needs. 

BHC Kern participated in the event for the second time. Last year a group of students worked on a prototype for a BHC-specific app. This year, the same students were awarded a grant to make that prototype a reality. This locally built app will allow BHC partners to communicate in a more nimble manner than email. During the Hackathon, the team revealed the latest version of the app, which they plan to have finalized by June.  

Kern County Earmarks $2 million for County Parks

Thanks to the efforts of local organizations and residents, the County set aside $2 million in the 2017-2018 General Fund specifically for Kern County parks and recreation. In November 2016 the Kern County Board of Supervisors eliminated the Parks & Recreation Department, moving the governance and budget to the County Administrative Office's General Services Division. This move made many people concerned that the already substandard parks in many neighborhoods would deteriorate even further.

While not all of the funds have been allocated, about one-fifth of the funds have been designated for South Kern parks - Rexland Acres, Greenfield, and Lamont will each receive $115,000 to go toward improvements such as resurfaced playgrounds and basketball courts, shade structures, and parking areas. These improvements are scheduled to be completed this summer.

BHC Kern partners are continuing to advocate that the rest of the dollars are spent on park maintenance and infrastructure improvements in the most disadvantaged communities. Organizations including the Leadership Counsel, the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network are working with youth and adult residents to prioritize investments such as park maintenance, lights, soccer facilities, and youth and senior recreational programs.

Director of the Center for Social Justice 
Weighs in on Kern County Redistricting
We have the power to build healthy communities for the next generation! 

A #HealthyKernCounty benefits us all.