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Health

Merced County Adopts Social Justice Approach to Improve Community Health

Posted  December 6, 2016  by  Hannah Esqueda

To help change the inequality in access to care, Jensen said the department is looking to form a coalition with public agencies, private citizens, nonprofits and other community voices and address each of the three goals head-on.

The department’s stated goals are: ensuring “all individuals in Merced County have access to quality health care,” “optimizing social and physical environments to support healthy lifestyles” and increasing wellness in Merced County “by addressing the conditions that lead to drug and alcohol abuse.” The department has given itself until 2021 to achieve each of these goals.

While the scope of work may be daunting, department officials say they hope to achieve true healthy equity by incorporating a wide-spectrum of voices and community representatives in the planned coalition.

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Education

Amid Fears of Trump, Undocumented Students at UC Merced Find Courage to Speak Out

Posted  December 1, 2016  by  Hannah Esqueda

“I think a lot of people don’t really know what DACA is. People think [Trump] can’t really do anything about it, but they don’t really understand the difference between an executive order and the law,” she said. “He can literally just take that piece of paper and throw it in the trash and that will be it. It won’t mean anything anymore.”

Fear of a Trump presidency is in fact prompting many to shy away from applying for the program or from renewing their paperwork out of fear their information will be used by the government to initiate deportation proceedings against them.

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Community

Merced’s immigrant community prepares for Trump presidency

Posted  November 23, 2016  by  Hannah Esqueda

“The most important thing to remember, is that you may not have papers, but you do have rights. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to respond to immigration’s questions,” Davenport said. “If they ask where you were born or where you live, just say you’d prefer not to answer.”

The hope is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials will decide you are too much of a hassle and will not bother pursuing someone who shows they have a clear understanding of their legal rights, she said.

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Education

First-Time Voters Say They’ll Be Back, Despite Toxic Election and Ballot Confusion

Posted  November 19, 2016  by  Hannah Esqueda

“I’ve always wanted to vote and help pick the president,” says Alex Salas, an 18-year-old senior at Golden Valley High School in Merced. “It means a lot to me and I’m excited to be able to pick the person that I believe should run our country.”

Salas is a member of the city’s Youth Council, a youth counterpart to the Merced City Council. He says that while he’s disappointed with the Republican win, he still believes in the importance of exercising his right to vote.

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Community

Merced’s Lee Lor closes in on history as first Hmong woman elected to local office

Posted  November 18, 2016  by  Hannah Esqueda

“I got a lot of support from other people of color in the area, which I think is important,” Lor said. “Being in the community for so long, it was frustrating to speak but not be heard and to see but not be seen.”

Growing up in Merced County, Lor said she is intimately familiar with many of the struggles residents still face and has worked hard over the last 15 years to help strengthen the community.

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