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Justice Department Releases Scathing Report on Ferguson Police Department

in The Word is Text by

By Henry Solis

A U.S. Justice Department investigation into the Ferguson Police Department found that the city budget was dependent on the revenue collected by municipal fines and fees. The City Officials constantly told Chief Jackson to help generate more revenue through enforcement; by handing out more citations to people who do not deserve them. This has affected the community in many ways, it has caused minorities to become targets.

Just in the year 2013, the court issued over 9,000 arrest warrants in which a large portion of those cases were for minor violations. Even though many people did not deserve to even be arrested let alone incarcerated, Ferguson’s Municipal Court issued warrants and ordered these people to be arrested for minor fines.

After the Death of Michael Brown in August of 2014, there has a been a major increase in the distrust of the Ferguson Police Department from the residents of the neighborhood especially the African American Neighborhoods.

The statistics compiled in this investigation show that there is an undeniable racial targeting among African Americans. Some of the statistics that were found are as followed:

Data collected by the Ferguson Police Department from 2012 to 2014 shows that African Americans account for 85% of vehicle stops, 90% of citations, and 93% of arrests made by FPD officers, despite comprising only 67% of Ferguson’s population. African Americans are more than twice as likely as white drivers to be searched during vehicle stops even after controlling for non-race based variables such as the reason the vehicle stop was initiated, but are found in possession of contraband 26% less often than white drivers, suggesting officers are impermissibly considering race as a factor when determining whether to search. African Americans are more likely to be cited and arrested following a stop regardless of why the stop was initiated and are more likely to receive multiple citations during a single incident.

Clearly, African Americans are victims of inequalities in the Ferguson Community. They are being searched and charged at a larger rate compared to their white counterparts. Even though African Americans are being racially profiled by the Ferguson Police department, they have been caught in possession of an illegal weapon or substance less than White people; so why is it that even though this is true, they are still being targeted and searched by police far more than white people?

This has affected the community in many ways. The residents of Ferguson no longer trust the authorities. In some instances people have even lost their jobs. For example, in the case of Michael, 32 year-old African American, who was just sitting in his car after a basketball game; he ended up getting arrested and receiving 8 charges. This not only forced him to pay the fines but he even lost his job as a contractor with the federal government that he had for years. African American citizens live in constant fear of being targeted; an African American minister of a church does not allow his two sons to drive through Ferguson out of “fear that they will be targeted for arrest”. There have been many counts of people who have complained about being verbally abused by police officers and they have also been intimidated. It has been reported by many of the residents that the officers routinely have had there hands on their guns during a traffic stop, it has even gotten to the point where an officer is pointing his gun at the suspects he is talking to.

When the police officers mistreat its citizens it causes a lack of trust within the residents and the police department officers. This eventually leads to individuals resisting cooperating with law enforcement. The only way that the police department can improve the community trust is by ensuring that its officers are obeying the law and they need to treat all of the residents equally regardless of their race, gender, or ethnicity. Even when people have called to the police department to ask for help, they have often times been arrested. One victim of this had called the police to report a domestic disturbance. After the incident, she was arrested and jailed for the violation of a home occupancy permit. An officer reported she stated that she “hated the Ferguson Police Department and will never call again, even if she is being killed”. Instead of the police officers using these disturbance calls as a way of regaining the trust from its citizens, they are abusing their power and arresting the victims.


Food and Consequences

in The Word is Text by


by Freddy Lopezmapfood of bell gardens

Google Map of Bell Gardens



According to the Center of Disease Control, Latino adolescents in the United States are classified as obese. There can be many factors to why this is happening. It can be anywhere from what they eat, lack of outside activities, lack of neighborhood safety, and a lot of television being watched and not monitored properly. All though this happens everywhere in the United States, I will be focusing on two cities in the Los Angeles County to show and compare why Latinos have by far a higher percentage with their youth being over weight.

Truth is that Latinos are ranked second highest with obesity rates within the United States. According to the Los Angeles Times in 2011 the city of Bell Gardens had the highest rate for child obesity, formerly Manhattan Beach had the lowest rate in the Los Angeles County. 96 % of the population in Bell Gardens is Latinos; with an annual income of thirty six thousand dollars per household. One factor that needs to be considered is fast food restaurants. Incredibly just within a 1.9-mile distance on Florence Ave, we are able to get any type of food we would like. There’s a KFC, Sam’s Burgers, Donut shops, 7-11, pupuseria, two taco stands, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr, Dominos pizza, and a Torta stand to say a few. It isn’t crazy that there are so many greasy places to eat , but these places are within minutes from five schools!  One high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools are minutes away from these unhealthy spots. Unfortunately, it seems that fast food chains will keep opening more locations in cities like Bell Gardens since they know people there will buy their food because its cheap and affordable. On the other hand  Manhattan Beach, a more affluent city, there are only a few fast food restaurants and there are more healthy places like Flame broiler and Jamba juice.

Another factor that may contribute to this high percentage is the location in which these cities are located.  For starters the city of Bell Gardens only has two parks or recreation centers. How are children supposed to get their daily activity when there are only two parks in the city? That means parents might have to go to other parks to register their children into some sports since the local parks don’t offer sport activities. Unlike Manhattan Beach there may not be as many parks but one thing that they do have is the beach. Children in Manhattan Beach may go for a swim, play on the sand, or just take a stroll. The fact that the city is also safer doesn’t have them worrying during their activities. Unlike Bell Gardens Latinos don’t necessarily feel safe and avoid going to the park or anywhere late at night. They know they that they risk getting robbed, assaulted, and simply don’t feel safe enough to be walking around neighborhoods in the city. Which can avoid people from their daily exercises.

It doesn’t look like obesity rates for Latinos will drop any time soon. The lack of resources and additions of these fast food restaurants in the lower income neighborhood is only going to make things worse.  If someone were able to buy ten chicken nuggets for 1.49 at Burger King, why would they go anywhere else to feed their children? The prices for at these fast food places are ridiculous but people will continue buying them. As such, the neighborhoods where we live impacts our health!

Undocumented Immigrant Parents and Fear

in The Word is Text by

by Kemberlyn Acevedo

In the community of Panorama City many families, women, and men are undocumented immigrants from all over Latin America. Many of the women and men in this community are undocumented immigrants who have kids that are born to be U.S. citizens. All over this community you see kids born here with parents who are undocumented. The questions throughout this topic will be, How do these undocumented immigrant parents have the capability to be with their family and knowing that one day they might get deported and will never be able to see their children again? What happens to the children of the undocumented immigrant parents?

According to Joanna Derby, “With more than 11 million unauthorized living in the country, these deportations affect a wide swath of population, including the undocumented and the citizen alike. Undocumented immigrants do not live in separate and walled-off lives from the documented, but instead live side by side in the same communities and in the same families. A total of 16.6 million people currently live in mixed-status families-with at least one unauthorized immigrant-and a third of U.S. citizen children of immigrants live in the mixed-status families.” Knowing that many of the community is made up with families of undocumented parents are high throughout California. It is stated in the previous quote that many of us may be living right next to a family of undocumented parents.

Many of the children are asked what scares them? Replying with “Knowing that their parents are undocumented and their fear is separation of either parent also that the parents loose custody of them,” which is stated by Derby. Also what is included is what happens to the children when the parents do get deported. “They leave children in foster care, they create large number of single mothers struggling to make ends meet.” What ‘they’ means is authorities’ who have the capability of creating these issues on children of undocumented parents. The issue that these children face is fear not only of “separation of parents” but also the fear of “children growing up in fear of the police.” If something were to go wrong in this child’s life something severe like child abuse, who are they suppose to be trusting not ‘they’ because these children are clearly afraid of police. Can children feel comfortable with the support from schools and teachers, and can they be the people who can trust.

Teachers and school are the second caregivers to these children only because they children spend almost half of the day throughout elementary, middle school, and high school. Based on the book Paying the Price raids of undocumented immigrants. Raids are invasions of ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcements) where the undocumented immigrants are at work and ICE may walk in and invade the work place and ask for proof of ‘papers’ this invasion puts the parents of the U.S. citizens at risk of leaving their children. In the book it states, “School officials hoped to prevent children from learning about the details of the raids and the potential loss of a parent or loved one while they were still at school.” It shows how the school faculty finds ways to protect children from understanding what raids mean and what happens if one day the parents do not come home. Also it states, “Bus drivers were instructed not to drop children off at homes where their parents or other trusted adults were not present.” Therefore it is showing that not only are the schools being protective in school also outside of school, they have the care of make sure that these kids don’t go home to no one being there.

I spoke with was Daisy Mercado who is an elementary school teacher in Sylmar. I asked Ms. Mercado if she has encountered or noticed any student that is afraid of their parents being deported, and is it being shown in academic work or any signs emotionally. She states, “I have a student whose mom is undocumented and has separation anxiety.  She fears that her mom will be taken back to Mexico.  There has been days where she cries when her mom leaves or when her mom is not here to pick her up on time. This anxiety does affect the way she performs in class as well as how she relates to her peers.” I also asked what is the fraction in the class that she teaches students who are from undocumented immigrant families, Ms. Mercado states “there are seven students who have parents that are undocumented immigrant and there’s twenty-seven students therefore one third of the classroom”.  Ms. Mercado then mentions that the school provides programs like Hathaway, “At our school we have mental health services through Hathaway.  There are a few students I have referred to the program but their parents who are undocumented are afraid of giving any type of information to the counselors in fear of being deported.” What she mentions at the end goes back to how these children have resources but are afraid of them because of undocumented immigrant parents.

In conclusion we this issue of undocumented immigrant parents who may one day be deported creates a fear in children and creates a structure where children shouldn’t be afraid of issues like these. These children need the support of their parents always, no child should ever be separated from their parents, this creates traumas mentally. Also it shows how children are not alone at home but also where they spent the other half of the day, which is at school. As the parents should have a full say on what happens to the children the undocumented immigrant parents are still parents and have the decision to make for their underage child.

Works cited

Derby, Joanna. “How Immigration Enforcement Polices Impact Children, Families, and Communities.” A view from the ground. WEB. (2012).

Latina Mathematicians

in The Word is Text by

by Melida Paz

“The women perceived themselves as being stubborn, ambitious, hard working accomplish, determined, outspoken, dedicated, tough and smart” (Anderson 17). Over the last 95 years women have accomplished so much: the right to vote, Frances Perkins is sworn in as Secretary of Labor, they join men in society and the work force, women join the military, the pill was approved for contraceptive use, abortion is legalized and gives women control over their own bodies, Sandra Day O’Connor the first woman seated on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court rules that sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, and you begin to think women have accomplished equality. In a very similar situation women are beginning to be accepted in the mathematics world. In 2011, 47% of the mathematical occupations were occupied by women: 36.2% actuaries, 23.3% mathematicians, 48.1% operations research analysts, 50.2% statisticians, and 51.8% miscellaneous mathematical science occupations. However, this is an overall percent, which is great for female empowerment, but women of color are still being underrepresented in this field especially Latinas. Only 6.1% of the mathematical occupations were occupied by Latinos: 2.7% actuaries, 0.0% mathematicians, 6.9% operations research analysts, 6.2% statisticians, and 2.9% miscellaneous mathematical science occupations; this is the statistics of the overall Latino representation, who knows what the percent of Latin women may be. There are only 3 possibilities of the percentage of women occupying mathematical careers, either its equal to the percent of Latinos, Latinas have a greater percent than Latinos, or Latinas have less percent than the Latinos. No matter which case is provided Latinas are still being marginalized in the mathematical field.

Reinstating the lack of Latinas in the mathematical field, lets compare the differences between other women mathematicians and Latinas, why is it that Latinas are discouraged to pursue a career in mathematics? In the article “Voices of Women Mathematicians: Understanding Their Success Using a Narrative Approach to Inquiry”, author Dawn Leigh Anderson, explains the reasons for the success of 6 women mathematicians. One out of the six was of Latin decent, Teresa is a doctoral at a large research university of the age 28, states that her parents were always very supportive of her career options.

50 Shades of Brown: Central American in Medicine

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by Imani Medina

Even before I came into existence, there was no hope for me. I would be destined to come into a world where people who did not share my skin tone would treat me like an outcast and as for the ones who did, would think I’m “weird”. I grew up being asked by Latinos/as and even Americans, “why do you have that last name? Medina?” I come from a place I am proud of, Belize. I am blessed to have the support I do in my life. Since I was in the 3rd grade, I gained interest in the Medical field…YES, the Medical field. You don’t see to many people of my color being apart of that field. No matter how much the “odds are against me”, I am determined to prove otherwise. I will be successful and give hope to those people who feel helpless and unworthy. The moment I tell someone that I’m in college, they act shocked to see someone like me accomplishing the things that I am. I can identify with many others like myself, such as Latinos/as and people with that background. Although we make up so much of the world’s population and are continuously increasing, we are continuously casted out and belittled. Society lifts up beauty, ie. Blue eyes and blonde hair. But do we ever mention true issues? Issues like Latinos/as trying to further their education… No, we don’t put light to what matters. In reality WE are the future. The Medical field alone is a field that is continuously growing and there will always, without a doubt, be a need for it. Being that the Latino/a population is growing at a steady pace, we will either be needing more doctors or we will be needing more treatment. Either way Latino’s are a factor. So I want to explore the medical field and see the percentage of Latinos/as in medicine and what’s really going on behind the scenes.

50 Shades of Brown: Making a Difference

in The Word is Text by

by Imani Medina

Let’s make a difference! Let’s make a change! Let’s have a positive impact on someone’s life! Si Se Puede! Yes WE can!

Do people settle for less or do they settle because they are limited? In my opinion, the reason we don’t see many Latinos/as and/or Central Americans in the Medical field is because we are limited. Limited in what we are able to do if we are undocumented, limited because in a sense we are “inferior” to other races, and limited sometimes due to small barriers such as language and professional appearance.

Regardless of race, sexual preference, religion, etc. people come to America with hope for a better lifestyle and to live up to the dreams they’ve longed for their whole lives! When people immigrate to America from Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, etc. they have hopes and goals. There is a reason for everyone who risks so much just to get to the US, and that’s the dream they have imagined their whole lives. Many of those people have hopes of entering the medical field, becoming nurses, doctors, dentists, and more. But when they step foot here, they are cast out, making it hard for them to find resources and build up towards their dream.

I speak for those who have no voice but I also speak for those who want to pursue a career in medicine. Ways we can help the Latino and Central American community to expand in the medical field is to offer resources to those who have a hard time finding support and these resources. We can start non-profit organizations and support groups. We could have weekly sessions on what the medical field consists of and the many branches it comprises of. There’s so much we can do, we just need to find the people who want it and who have the passion. I even watched a piece on Ted’s talk about “Freeman Hrabowski who marched with Martin Luther King and is now president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he works to create an environment that helps under-represented students — specifically African-American, Latino and low-income learners — get degrees in math and and is now president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he works to create an environment that helps under-represented students — specifically African-American, Latino and low-income learners — get degrees in math and science.” We need more resources like this. We need support, we need a hand and a “well done”.

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