We 'Ced Youth Media
Merced's youth voice


July 18, 2017

#SchoolsNotPrisons comes to Merced

By Layla Ornelas
Photos by Layla Ornelas
Editor’s Note: Statewide social justice campaign #SchoolsNotPrisons held its first event in Merced, Calif. on July 8, bringing nearly 300 people out in support of dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. The event was co-hosted by We’Ced Youth Media and Building Healthy Communities, Merced and featured local music acts, letter-writing and community discussion. We’Ced Youth Reporter Layla Ornelas was on hand that night, documenting the event in a photo essay that showcases the power of a community working together. 
Everyone was hustling about to try and get the last preparations done for the #SchoolsnotPrisons event.
The doors opened and the first early birds began to make their way into the venue.
This is the beginning process of the #SchoolsNotPrisons mural being made by local artist Kuta One.
This was the letter writing table where you coul write letters to your loved ones who are incarcerated.
Here you can see the #SchoolsnotPrisons swag table that was being handled by Cassandra Avitia, one of our reporters, and her younger sister.
Here is a piece that was made by the talented Elizabeth Arrellano, a youth leader in the community.
This is another piece that was made by the very talented Claudia Gonzalez, We’Ced’s Program Manager and Editor.
Here you see Alex Salas, another youth reporter, holding down the popcorn table and serving one of many customers.
The #SchoolsnotPrisons mural was finally finished near the end of the event.
These are all the panelists who took part in the event and helped make it all more enjoyable.

About the Author

Claudia J. Gonzalez
Claudia J. Gonzalez was raised in the Bay Area and has lived in the Central Valley for the last two years. Before becoming We'Ced's Program Manager & Editor, Claudia worked as our Beat Reporter. She has a background in youth organizing, focusing on issues of mass incarceration, police brutality, and gangs. Transitioning to journalism has allowed her to better understand the Merced community and connect with its younger residents. Claudia is looking forward to completing her education at UC, Berkeley and later attending journalism or law school.



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