Spring 2017, Issue 1
The BCC VOICE
Violent Protest: Does it work?
Smashed windows at Mechanics Bank. Berkeley, CA Photo Credit: Katie McCluer
ON THE COVER: Bri Lamkin is a western Colorado based artist. She received an Associate's Degree from Brigham Young University - Idaho with an emphasis in photography. She has been behind a camera for over ten years. Her recent work is primarily collage and attempts a lighthearted approach to discussing heavy topics such as mental health, feminism, and earth conservation.
See more of her work at brilamkin.format.com
Check her out on society6.com/brilamkin
Find her on Instagram @brilamkin
THE BCC VOICE is produced by English 14/15 students at Berkeley City College, with funding from the Associated Students. A special thank you to the ASBCC, the BCC English Department, administrators, faculty, and students who make this school great!
Black Bloc protesters crashed the UC Berkeley protest, smashing in the windows of corporate businesses such as Wells Fargo, Starbucks and Chase Bank in the midst of downtown Berkeley on Feb. 1, 2017. The Black Bloc is the name given to protesters that conceal their identities while creating property damage in order to avoid criminal prosecution. I’d come to UC Berkeley hoping to peacefully protest the hate speech of Milo Yiannopoulos; the Facebook event page said it would be a dance party.
By 8pm, public trash bins were lit on fire and the words “Kill Trump” were spray painted across the windows of Walgreens. The black bloc protesters carried crowbars and wore bandanas to hide their faces. As I stood on the corner, watching them bash in the windows of the high rise Chase building, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Does this help our cause?”
Mark Rudd doesn’t think it will. Rudd is an ex-member of The Weather Underground, a militant radical organization known for violent protest during the Vietnam war. Rudd was involved in violent civil disobedience in the latter half of the twentieth century, and after all that first hand experience, he realized “[he’d] spent a decade of [his] life vainly pursuing violent revolution, only to find that [his] efforts worked against the larger mass movement, the anti-war movement.”
Rudd was attending Columbia University in 1965 when he joined the SDS, Students for a Democratic Society. He was so successful in the SDS that he became the chairman of the chapter and in 1968, Rudd “formed a faction in the national SDS that wanted more and more confrontation and militant action.”
Rudd regrets the decisions he made when he was in the Weather Underground, and believes “property damage only works against the creation of mass movement. Mass movements are what ended the Vietnam War, got rid of segregation in the South, brought equality and human rights to women and gays and disabled,” said Rudd.
McKay Williams, protester and political activist since 2002, believes political resistance in the form of violence and property damage can be effective. “The easiest example is the Boston Tea party, which when you remove the patriotic glitz and glimmer, really was a bunch of angry people destroying property in a protest. Nelson Mandela attacked a nuclear plant in the fight for South African civil rights. The French Revolution destroyed a whole lot of Paris. Violence is often times effective,” Williams said, “the question is at what price?”
Often times, the “price” is giving the government a reason to instigate violence themselves. “For example, when a tiny number of protesters in Seattle in 1999 broke a few windows, it did call attention to the World Trade Organization protests, but on the other hand, it justified many millions of dollars to militarize police forces throughout the United States in the years following. In a very short time the government was able to label demonstrators as "terrorists" because of these few broken windows,” said Rudd. So while Williams has no ethical problem with property damage and doesn’t “mourn for broken windows and burnt generators when [his] fellow countrymen can be gunned down in the street for the color of their skin, when [his] fellow countrymen aren’t given agency over their own bodies, or are marginalized because of who they love,” he still doesn’t believe violence and property damage will create the desired effect, socially or in legislation.
Yiannopoulous used the violence at the Berkeley protest as a way to justify his hate speech. “He wasn’t coming thinking he’d be well received by the students and community at Cal, he was coming because he knew there would be protests and there was a high possibility of violence, and it would further his cause,” said Williams. According to CBS SF, Yiannopoulous plans to return to the UC Berkeley campus again to finish his speech.
So, if not property damage, then what actually works? Rudd believes the best path for civil resistance is through “mass movements and use of democratic mechanisms, such as elections.” Stephanie Wells, who worked for UNESCO, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization said, “Vote because yes, it does count and it does matter. Go to a rally or a protest. Be counted. Politicians wants data. They want to know the number of people who supported a certain cause by attending a rally, by liking a social media post or page, and certainly by calling and writing.”
3 Violent Protest: Does it Work?
Berkeley Protest Against Milo Yiannopoulos Takes a Violent Turn
4 Serve & Protect or Punish & Injure
Militarized Police Use Sonic Weapons Against Opponents of DAPL
5 A Cabinet Full of Fools
The Future of Education and Trump's Russian Link
6 Now Showing at BAMPFA
Hippie Modernism — The Struggle for Utopia
David L. Laidig
8 Slow Travel to Sacramento
Car-Free Fun at the State Capital
9 Free Money: Get Some
How to Find Your Edge and Win Scholarships
10 Dispelling the Myth
Non-Profit Lawyers on Heart and Soul
12 Herding Cats to Save Human Lives
Mountain Lions in the Bay Area
Derek Chartrand Wallace
Berkeley Protest Against Milo Yiannopoulos Takes a Violent Turn
By Katie McCluer
Inside This Issue
BCC Voice - Spring 2017 - Issue 1
Graffiti on Walgreens. Berkeley, CA.
This photo was taken below Turtle Hill on November 24, 2016 while Water Protectors tried to pray while standing off against Morton County and private security.
President Trump's cabinet choices include many controversial people, such as Betsy DeVos, who some fear will gut public education. DeVos narrowly squeaked by her confirmation hearing in a historically unprecedented tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence in early February, which put down any notion of rebellion within the Republican party. DeVos claims to support promotion of school choice, charter schools, and school voucher, but according to the Associated Press, she has no experience in education and has never held a government position. DeVos supports privatizing education and is now positioned to dismantle our education system by removing federal funding.
During her senate confirmation hearing in mid-January a few weeks before the confirmation vote, Bernie Sanders asked whether it was true that over the years her family donated over $200 million to the Republican Party.
“That's possible.” DeVos replied in a C-Span recording. Senator Sanders continued to press, asking whether or not she would be there if her family was not a multi-million dollar contributor to the Republican Party, to which she deflected with a smile and a statement about being a voice for parents and students, particularly low income students. Many advocates for education find her statement on helping low income students hard to swallow. In general, the consensus among progressives like Bernie Sanders is that you can't be in favor of privatizing public education while at the same time saying that you are in favor of helping low income students; those two things are contradictory to each other.
"The DeVos appointment to head up the Department of Education represents a significant shift in Federal philosophy concerning public education in the United States. DeVos has a history of favoring a voucher-driven funding approach to charter and private education," said Matthew Freeman, BCC's head of Political Science, when asked how students may be affected by DeVos' confirmation. "Her history of favoring this approach, combined with Congressional Bills already in Committee, such as HR 610, which replaces all public education funding with vouchers only, increasing inequality between private and public schools by allowing people to use public funds for private education, and HR 899, which terminates the entire the Department of Education, will have a negative impact on public education. A "voucher only" approach (such as HR 610) to pay for public education will hurt the fiscal capacity of BCC and other publicly funded schools to maintain current levels. In addition, eliminating the Department of Education will put the entire financial burden of paying for public education exclusively on states, which already can't afford to pay for public education on their own."
Another member of Trump's cabinet (briefly) was former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned in late February, amidst calls to investigate Trump's Russian ties, which some speculate could lead to the president's impeachment. Flynn resigned after lying to Congress and the press about discussing US sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador, according to Politico.
A bipartisan probe into Trump's Russian ties has been blocked by Republicans, according to the Associated Press. Allegations concerning Trump's potential ties to Russia first arose during the campaign when Russian hacking targeted the DNC (Democratic National Convention), and exposed it as working against former candidate Bernie Sanders, in favor of Hillary Clinton.
“Trump's potential ties to Russia are important to understand because they may affect his judgment as he makes US foreign policy," said International Relations Coordinator Charlotte Lee of BCC, "It matters because of possible conflicts of interest that may cloud his ability to act in the best interest of the American public in US-Russia relations. This is a president who has not released his tax returns and who has not fully divested himself from his business operations, so we do not know, for example, how he might stand to gain financially from his approach to Russia. Beyond the ethics of this, constitutional experts in the US are still trying to determine whether Trump has violated the US Constitution.”
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A recent straw poll of 50 Berkeley City College students showed 90 percent of the population against Trump, while a remaining 8 percent were neutral, and just 2 percent were for his policies. None of the students polled were strongly in favor of Trump's policies. (Online poll was conducted informally by the BCC Voice, and while it may be accurate, due to self-selection and sample size, it should not considered a scientific representation.)
In conclusion, DeVos represents an overarching threat to the domestic life of many Americans engaged in the public education sector, and we should expect a major overhaul of the education system. Her controversial policies, as well as her lack of experience cast a shadow over the Trump administration.
However, the bigger shade, eclipsing the administration's big orange sun, is its emerging Russian ties. Since Flynn's resignation, it has been discovered that multiple White House officials have met with Russians including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner. As the story of Trump's ties to Russia becomes clearer, we the students must stay actively engaged and aware of the rapid changes happening at the national level. We must not ignore the onslaught. We must stay informed in order to resist.
The Future of Education and Trump's Russian Link
Illustration Credit: Rory Barber
Photo Credit: Dennis F. Martinez Jr.
By Joel Efferson
Militarized Police Use Sonic Weapons Against Opponents of DAPL
Serve & Protect or Punish & Injure
By Chris Do
A Cabinet Full of Fools
Officer Friendly is dead. Now we have some jackbooted thug in riot gear laughing to his buddies as he shoves his knee into your back, grinds your head into the pavement, and pepper sprays, tasers, or maybe just shoots you. Hyperbole? Unfortunately for you and me, this scene is becoming increasingly more common and all too real. Especially for those who exercise the First Amendment right to free speech or who dare to stand in the way of "progress."
Author Frank Herbert said, "The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future." This concept of progress is a terror that protesters of the North Dakota Access Pipeline have been standing up to and facing the violent repercussions.
According to Energy Transfers Partners, this 1,200 mile, $3.8 billion dollar pipeline is being built to move North Dakota’s oil through South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois and "The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is the safest and most environmentally sensitive way to transport crude oil from domestic wells to American Consumers."
After lengthy legal battles and protests the Texas-based Energy Transfers Partners received approval from the US Army Corp of Engineers to continue construction on February 8, 2017. Construction has restarted despite the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement and in total disregard of the people who will have to live with the pipeline carrying tons of crude oil through their indigenous lands and ancestral burial grounds.
"The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux say the $3.8 billion pipeline threatens their drinking water, cultural sites and ability to practice their religion, which depends on pure water" said Jake Nicholson of the Associated Press. The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River tribe, as well as the Oglala and Yankton Sioux of South Dakota, have filed multiple legal briefs attempting to force the Army to revoke its permission to continue construction, all of which have been denied. These pipelines are far from being 100% safe. A nearby pipeline in Iowa owned by Magellan Midstream Partners burst on Wednesday February 14, 2017.
"A 12-inch pipeline has ruptured in North-Central Iowa, and has leaked 3,300 barrels (almost 140,000 gallons) of diesel fuel onto a nearby farm" according to Tom Cahill of US Uncut. If a spill like this occurred to the DAPL it would poison the drinking water of millions of people in multiple states.
People have come together from all around the country to protest the legal decisions and construction and, as often happens when police and protesters collide there has been violence. Numerous lawsuits have been filed suing the police because of their brutal tactics and excessive use of force, as well as entering appeals against the Federal Court decision that allows the use of such violent crowd control measures as tear gas and rubber bullets. Despite their inherent cruelty, rubber bullets and tear gas are a widely used and accepted form of crowd control and dispersal, and have been for decades. But while such abuse of American citizens has been traditionally deemed acceptable the unsavory tactics being deployed by 11 different police agencies against opponents of the DAPL is anything but.
Protesters have suffered beatings, warrantless searches, night raids, having their cars run off the road, and countless other injustices, and in addition to all that, they are now facing police armed with military gear like sonic weapons and concussion grenades.
Police aren't just equipped with military hardware, they are carrying out gangland-style tactics. Police forces around the country receive weapons and gear from the military. The Department of Defense has authority to "transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition" according to Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act. These small arms and ammunitions include assault rifles, hollow point rounds and concussion grenades, and they are using these weapons for crowd-control equipment against unarmed protesters?
"By providing law enforcement agencies with surplus military equipment free of charge, the NDAA encourages police to employ military weapons and military tactics" said Taylor Wofford in an article for Newsweek. With incentives like that it is no surprise that police forces look for any and every opportunity to use their new toys.
But what can we do? We can stand up and say that this is wrong. Vote and write letters to the lawmakers deciding to arm our nations' police for war against its own citizens. Social media can be a tool for ensuring that these abuses aren't being swept under the proverbial rug. There is much that can be done, but the worst would be to do nothing. After all, police and policymakers may be just doing their jobs, but they work for us.
Photo Credit: Clay Geerdes
Now Showing at BAMPFA
Hippie Modernism — The Struggle for Utopia
Heading for the Hippie exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum, I was expecting a flashback to 50 years ago. What I saw, besides the groovy art and a focused history lesson, was an assortment of fanciful ideas and plans from the past, predicting a different future. The show offers an accessible look back to a period when dreamers searched for any way they could to confront increasing commercialization and senseless military action.
Open until May 21, 2017, “Hippie Modernism—The Struggle for Utopia” assembles an international mix of art, costumes, publications and film/video from the mid 1960s through the 70s.
Entering the main gallery, I encountered the “Knowledge Box,” a closed environment designed for sensory overload. Inside, 24 slide projectors throw images of familiar heads from the 1950s and 60s on the floor, ceiling, and all walls as the great voices of that era—from Nixon to Castro—pontificate. When the info barrage is over "EXIT" is projected to show the way out.
Outside the box are many display cases, a small group of mannequins, a geodesic dome and several wall- mounted video displays.
The mannequins display “Family Sweater” (one garment for four persons) by Vancouver weaver/artist Evelyn Roth. A video explains how she crocheted a car cozy and other items from 3-inch video tape salvaged from the trash of a local TV station.
I had never heard of Drop City, a long-gone commune. Writing on the wall goes into great detail about their short history in Southeast Colorado. What I will remember is their art inside the dome: a spinning wheel lit by variable strobe. Different flashing frequencies freeze the figures in distinct ways.
A large display box holds a jumble of seemingly unrelated items. They are from Aspen, first published in 1967. Sporting different themes, editors and designers, each issue of this “Magazine in a Box” includes a variety of printed articles in a range of papers and formats, perhaps accompanied by small sculptures, super 8 film, flexi-vinyl audio disks, posters and postcards. The project was discontinued in 1971, after 10 issues, due to "disregard for U.S. Postal Service regulations for magazine circulation.”
A prolific producer of silk screen posters, Sister Corita Kent used her graphic arts training for high impact anti-war statements. Most notable here is “Yellow Submarine.” If you take time to decipher the reversed, sideways and upside-down type, it reads: “MAKE LOVE NOT WAR— VIETNAM—What has it done to the home of the brave?”
Another source of published matter in the show is Superstudio, a group in Italy’s Radical Design movement. They produced photo collages sourced from popular magazines and travel brochures illustrating two concepts: society, following its current path, would find itself in a dismal global monoculture of multi-national consumerism or, conversely, there would be a world-wide grid providing shelter, communication, and everything nomadic people of the future needed for survival. They expounded on these ideas in two 1970 films, video versions shown here.
Architectural plans for space-age living pods were designed by the British group Archigram. In 1968 one of this group proposed “Info-Gonks” with cumbersome mini TV screens. As documented in photos, they look clumsy compared to today’s Google Glass. They also proposed an “Enviro-Pill” to change one’s perception so change need not be physical.
The lower level gallery has a more political flavor.
The Provos in Amsterdam and the Diggers in San Francisco both operated in anarchist mode. Free bikes, food and housing in Holland. Street theater, free food and subversive publications in California.
On October 6, 1967, Diggers celebrated the end of the Summer of Love, staging “Death of Hippie, Birth of Freedom” by carrying a coffin down Haight Street into the park. Filmed by Allen Willis, a noted African-American documentary film maker, a video rendition of this event is on display along with artifacts from this prolific group.
In Theater 2, a small viewing space near the lower level reading room, short films by Allen Willis and others are showing. Times are posted next to the door.
A special free screening of "Festival Express" will take place on a big outside screen at the corner of Oxford and Addison, on April 29, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. The movie is about a 1970 trans-Canada train trip transporting the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, and other top name groups between venues from Toronto to Calgary as they party all the way.
The Berkeley Art Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, and located just one block away from Berkeley City College at 2155 Center St.
If you are under 18, or it's the first Thursday of the month, entrance to the galleries is free, otherwise, BCC students pay $10 or $8 for films in the Pacific Film Archive.
For more information about films and talks connected to the museum exhibit, check out:
Photo Credit: David Laidig
Now Showing at BAA
Now Showing at B
By David L. Laidig
Poster boys for the exhibit, The Cockettes (above) were a quintessential San Francisco tribe. Their flamboyant, elaborate costumes (right) are also on display. On April 21, 2017, the Pacific Film Archive, an integral part of the Berkeley Art Museum, will screen a restored 16mm color print of Steven Arnold's 1971 film “Luminous Procuress” featuring “a gender-bending funfest” according to the program guide.
The entry hall inside BAMPFA displays 35 concert posters, many familiar to those who lived through the psychedelic era, such as the one above by Gary Grimshaw.
Photo Credit: David Laidig
(Above) Superstudio satirically projected visions of relentless, intrusive cybernetic access and a world of total urbanization dominated by commercial bliss.
(Above) Community Memory, a wooden relic of the past was originally set up inside Leopold’s Records to facilitate information sharing. Reading was free. To enter information about past or future events you needed to deposit coins. According to a plaque on the wall, it’s now recognized as the first ”digital social network.”
How to Find Your Edge and Win Scholarships
Photo Courtesy of : Keiko James, Scholarship Manager at the Peralta Colleges Foundation.
By Tamara Sherman
The start of the year has been eventful, and for some, stressful. Why not get out of town and take some time for self-care with a short affordable trip? Instead of logging on to the Internet to look for the cheapest plane ticket to Mexico or sitting behind your steering wheel driving for hours, join the slow travel movement, an alternative to air and car travel, where you travel shorter distances, focus on your experiences, and sit back and enjoy the journey. Just a few hours north, Sacramento offers car-free, walkable, outdoor fun and cultural events for all to enjoy.
How to Get There
Amtrak’s Capital Corridor offers a convenient and comfortable way to get to Sacramento. Just shy of a two-hour ride, you can sit back and enjoy the scenery, catch-up on that novel or study for your next exam. Free carry-on luggage, free WiFi, and all trains are equipped with bicycle racks so you do not have to box your bike. A regular price ticket is $29/one-way, and students (age 12-25) receive 15% off. Children (age 2-12) receive 50% off ticket price, with additional discounts available for seniors (age 62 and up), military personnel, and AAA members. If you don’t want to go alone, Amtrak’s current promotion through June 30, 2017, is to buy one full-fare fare ticket for Saturday travel and get another ticket free.
You can catch the Capital Corridor from the Emeryville Station, accessed by the free Emery-Go-Round shuttle from MacArthur BART. The Berkeley Station, accessed by AC Transit 51B, FS or G and the Richmond Station accessed from Richmond BART.
Where to Stay
Walking distance from the Amtrak’s Sacramento Station (five blocks), is Hostel International (HI) Sacramento. The Victorian mansion, built in 1885, is located in Old Town and near the downtown and midtown neighborhoods. Dormitory style accommodations starting at $32, not only give you a place to rest but a chance to meet other travelers passing through Sacramento. Single rooms with a twin bed start at $58, double bed and single bunk above start at $69, double room with a double bed start at $76. You get access to a fully equipped kitchen, game room, on-site laundry, free WiFi and a daily light complimentary breakfast.
You can also find an AirBnB shared room, private room or apartment with prices starting at $27-$75; however, not many are within walking distance from Amtrak and downtown.
What to Do
Sacramento Heritage Organization offers self-guided walking tours highlighting historic landmarks, heritage homes and buildings designed by famous architects such as Julia Morgan and Rudolph Herold. You can stroll around the Capitol Mall and take a free tour of the State Capitol Museum.
If you did not bring your bike, you can rent one from Practical Cycles and roll along the Sacramento and American Rivers on the car-free Two Rivers Trail or Jedediah Memorial Trail. Pack a blanket and picnic for your ride and stop off in one of many park areas for lunch.
Take yourself on an art tour and check out local artist pieces at the Artist Collaborative Gallery cooperative then head over to Wells Fargo History Museum and explore the Old Sacramento Historic District.
After a day out and about, wet your whistle at The Underground Wine Tasting with one of their red, white, or dessert selections from two local Sierra Foothill wineries. For the beer enthusiast, Big Stump Brew Company has Ale, Stout, Hefeweizen, IPA and Wit on tap.
Love the theater? Check the upcoming shows at the Sacramento Theater Company during your trip to cap-off the evening. Student tickets are $15 and regular weekend tickets are $38.
When to Go
Anytime you need a quick getaway. However, during the summer months, temperatures can range upward of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. April to June or September to November offer cooler weather for your walk-about
Slow local travel is about appreciating the journey and slowing down to enjoy what is on offer.
Free Money: Get Some
$75,000. That is how much scholarship money was available to Peralta College students this semester. Did you win any? If the answer is no, what is holding you back? Scholarships can help pay for your tuition, books, supplies, transportation, housing, study abroad, even your groceries.
The cost of community college alone has risen by over 31% and keeps on climbing, saddling students with debt, or causing many to drop out altogether, according to Time Magazine. Different from loans, if you win these funds, they never have to be paid back. Scholarships are as close to free money as you can get as long as you’re willing to put in the effort, which, according to Keiko James, the Scholarship Manager at The Peralta College Foundation, many students aren’t doing, despite most having “a good chance of qualifying for scholarships that range from $200 to $1,000” often more, up to $5,000, with a successful application.
What separates a successful application from an unsuccessful one? James says that the biggest mistake she finds when going through applications is the use of “text language” and a distinct lack of proofreading as if the applications are being submitted via smartphone. There is no reason that any application should be filled out through your phone. If you don’t have access to a computer at home, stop by one of the beautiful computer labs on any campus and complete your submission there.
Another portion of the application process that many students struggle with is the personal statement and essay section. Take advantage of your campus writing center; it is staffed with people to help you. Schedule face time with an English teacher who will help proofread and teach you ways to have your essay stand out from the rest. James stresses that “English teachers are our biggest allies.” If you are taking an English class, ask your teacher to make writing personal statements a class assignment. That way you get a grade, invaluable feedback, and take the first step towards your final application. James also makes herself available to students for appointments and is just a call or email away.
Securing a great letter of recommendation is another crucial piece of the application process that intimidates students. If a majority of your classes are online, or you just haven’t made a connection with any of your teachers, they aren’t the only place to look. If you have strong ties to your work or community, ask a church leader, a volunteer coordinator, your boss or someone else you have a solid relationship with, who isn’t related to you, to speak on your behalf.
You don’t have to be a straight-A student to qualify; there is a scholarship out there for everyone, you just have to look. There are scholarships for freshmen, transfer students, first-generation college students, international students and others” says James, “Scholarships are awarded on merit, need, and achievement in academics, athletics, the arts [and] other categories.” Chances are that one or more of these apply to you. According to James, a good portion of these scholarships are privately funded, many from former community college students who have graduated, found success, and are now looking to give back. These philanthropists have a genuine desire to help students reach their goals. All you need to do is go into the application process with a positive mindset and a plan.
Here is a tip checklist for you to reference going forward:
Take note of important dates. The window for applying is generally from the mid January to late February in the spring and mid August to late September in the fall. You can find these dates and other relevant information at: peraltafoundation.org
Now that you know the dates and requirements give yourself ample time to complete them. Set aside time each day during scholarship season to break the application up into manageable pieces.
CONTINUED on page 11
Practice. Print the application and do a run through before filling out a final product.
Follow instructions. It is worth double checking to ensure you didn’t miss any steps that would disqualify you on a technicality.
Proofread, proofread, and proofread again. A grammar mistake could be the difference between you and someone else when the competition gets fierce. Go to the writing center, get a second set of eyes, and make sure what you send in is polished. Consider downloading Grammarly, a proofreading site, onto your computer. You can copy and paste any text into the site and have it check for grammar mistakes for free. It doesn’t take the place of physical proofreading, but it’s a good place to start.
Make your essay stand out with a strong opening paragraph. Talk about your future plans and the steps you’ll take to get there. Don’t be afraid to talk about your hardships. They are what make you who you are, and what will speak to the committee that selects the winners.
Call or email Keiko James! You can reach her at 510-587-7809 or by email at email@example.com. She can look over your application, help you upload your letter of recommendation, show you how to attach your transcript and more.
For BCC students, consider attending one of the regular scholarship workshops put on by the service community at the school where you can learn to avoid many common mistakes and put funding your education into your own, capable hands.
The best thing you can do for yourself, and your wallet, is dive in to the scholarship process headfirst and come out with free money at the end of it. Utilize every tool available to you and put yourself a step ahead of the rest.
Map by Chris Dao and Tamara Sherman
By Alex Burt
Car-Free Fun at the State Capital
Slow Travel to Sacramento
Dispelling the Myth
Jora Trang Managing Attorney At Worksafe
Are you interested in helping the homeless, the environment, women, low-income households, veterans, immigrants, or susceptible seniors? Lots of lawyers are, and do. But most nonprofit lawyers don't fit the stereotype, and they aren't making the big bucks. The number of hours and energy you put in working as a lawyer for a non-profit is the same as in big law firms or Silicon Valley tech companies.
“It is about having your heart out there,” says Jora Trang in a recent interview with the BCC Voice. Trang is a Managing Attorney at Worksafe, Oakland, a non-profit that administers workplace safety guaranteed by Occupational Safety and Health Act.
For the prospective lawyer who is already at the sharp edge of life, facing a huge amount of debt from law school tuition, finding a job is the top priority. “I was fortunate to get a position just out of college.” says Deylin Thrift-Viveros, attorney at Centro Legal de la Raza. “A lot of the more prestigious non-profits, like the ACLU, are very selective in who they hire, and sometimes require similar requirements to the most competitive law firms, such as federal judicial clerkships.” In bringing the new personnel to the team, non-profit requirements can include a strong interest in the advertised field and experience with a community at risk. That is why it is important for novice attorneys to go out and get involved with the community.
In this line of work, the number of hours required from a professional can be odd and it can get hard to balance work and family life. Trang points out “The most challenging thing is preserving your energy as you work on issues that people’s lives depend on; you have to pace yourself and figure out ways to take care of yourself while engaging in social justice work.”
Aspiring non-profit lawyers should start by understanding what help their community is in need of. Nicole Marquez, a staff attorney at Worksafe recalls, “With my law school class not being very diverse and the professors also not coming from diverse backgrounds, the hypotheticals, it stands to reason, were not reflective of diverse experiences. And so when I got into the practice of law, and the majority of my clients were all people of color, from lower income backgrounds, immigrants, non-English Speaking, the way I applied the law sometimes did not quite turn out how you would imagine.”
Engaging with your community has a direct effect on your work as a lawyer. The consequences of your actions could have a positive or negative effect, which is best to judge through knowledge about the community. “You can’t always assume that litigation is the best answer for everybody. There are many ways to solve a problem,” says Trang.
A lawyer’s job consists of a lot of reading and applying the law to the real situations in life. As a lawyer your thoughts and analysis will be put in writing. Your reader oftentimes is a sophisticated client or the court."Legal, logical and rational writing is very important,” says Trang.
Each summer law school students intern at different organizations. “It's important to make connections in the field that you're interested in. This can even just mean getting internships and showing your passion for the work,” says Thrift-Viveros. And Marquez further advises students, especially those from diverse backgrounds, to pursue a career in law. "In my experience there were only two African Americans and seven Latino students out of a graduating class of 320," says Marquez, "This was astonishing to me, but it’s due to a lack of access, not one of desire. There is no pipeline. Many students of color are not exposed to the legal profession.”
When asked about the most inspiring work she has done as a non-profit lawyer, Trang recalled her experience working on day laborer empowerment project, designed for “engaging in civic activities like lobbying for their rights, marching, engaging in community politics, trying to get ordinances and resolutions to protect themselves.”
Marquez recalls her experience working on a complex class action case against Walmart: “It was a wild experience going D.C. for the first time and attending a hearing at the Supreme Court, for a case I worked on with dozens of my colleagues. Although, we lost, it taught me that litigation isn't always the solution and that you have to be creative in your advocacy for civil rights and social justice.”
People become lawyers for different reasons. Young attorneys who are inspired to practice in the public interest sector might qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Go here to find out more:
Photo Credit: Aigerim Dyussenova
Non-Profit Lawyers on Heart and Soul
A CABINET FULL OF FOOLS: continued from page 5
HERDING CATS: continued from back page
By Aigerim Dyussenova
FREE MONEY: continued from page 9
Mountain Lion? Cougar? Panther? Which is correct? None of the above. Puma concolor is the scientific term for the secretive and solitary felid, native to the Bay Area, but that’s not her true name. Since European colonization she has been given such colloquial nomenclatures as “sneak-cat,” “catamount,” and “ghost walker.” Here in the Bay Area, she is known to the native Ohlone as tammala and she stalks the night, robbing deer of their lives and homeowners of their poodles. In spite of such conflicts, this has been her home base since the time of ekwena nii heentikma okse (“there were no people here long ago”). She once lived amongst sacred indigenous sites upon which Ikeas were built, and deadly concrete freeways poured, fragmenting her ancestral hunting grounds. Now, new scientific discoveries are highlighting how humans could pay the price in the long run, if we continue to disregard, disrespect, and destroy tammalas’ natural way of life.
In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared tammalas’ Eastern seaboard cousins extinct. How much longer until she faces the same fate here in our golden California due to urban sprawl, industrial development, “depredation” hunting to protect non-native livestock, and last-resort inbreeding? A 2016 study by “Proceedings of the Royal Society B,” predicted a 99.7 percent chance that tammalas’ Santa Monica Mountain relatives face this threat within the next 50 years. “You can look at genetics and you can say we aren’t seeing as much variety in the genes as we would expect,” says Dr. Veronica Yovovich, Wildlife Conflict Specialist at the Mountain Lion Foundation, in a recent interview with the BCC Voice. “They don’t see the kind of variety that they expect to see and so they can tell the population is becoming isolated.” This “gene-pileup” can lead to birth defects such as male infertility and holes in their hearts, a fast track on the road to ruin for a species that already has a low-level population in these bubbles. What’s the best way to keep fresh genes flowing and new cougar kittens coming? Animal corridors, also known as wildlife bridges or greenways, have been proven to help critters cross over lethal freeways. During our interview, Yovovich perks up at the mention of this kind of solution. “One of the really new and exciting projects going on is that the Santa Cruz Land Trust, the California Department of Transportation, Pathways for Wildlife, and other conservation groups have gotten together and secured land on either side of Highway 17, which bisects the Santa Cruz Mountains.” They are planning to install “a wildlife crossing structure specifically for wildlife to bridge the two sides.” Those of us here in the Bay Area, who travel that route from Silicon Valley to the near-mythical beaches below, might soon get a chance to see some real-life cat herding in action!
As great as this will be for tammala and her extended family, to leave their home turf to widen their gene pool, the physical and financial benefits to humans can’t be overestimated. Since mountain lions play an important role in regulating the population of prey species such as deer, this translates into fewer vehicle collisions for us. So, with safe passage over freeways, greenways not only let tammalas roam free over a wide range of territory, but also allow them to thin the herds to keep deer from leaping suicidal through our windshields on the highway to the danger zone.
“On the East Coast, we’ve gotten rid of wolves; we’ve gotten rid of mountain lions, and what that’s done is to allow the deer to become hyper abundant,” says Yovovich. “Collisions have become much more frequent on the East Coast than they used to be. That certainly doesn’t end well for the deer— getting hit by a car—also it’s really hazardous for motorists to hit a 150-pound animal on the road. And there goes your car!”
Another benefit to humans is wildfire mitigation. If tammala and her kind do not regulate the herds of hungry urban ungulates, their numbers rise until saplings and underbrush are decimated.
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Calamity ensues as pine trees burn too hot or not enough, their resin unable to chemically release precious seeds inside, which normally go on to create replacement condominiums for insects, birds, and mammals.
In the words of the Ohlone, that would be ekeT —bad, bordering on sinful. The ripple effects of the death of just one mountain lion can be felt throughout an entire ecosystem. Eliminate an apex predator and it makes the meso-carnivores in the middle level of the food web more abundant.
“We’ve got more coyotes now on the East Coast than there used to be,” says Yovovich. “That suppresses the red fox population. The way this influences people is that red foxes eat small rodents. These small rodents are good vectors, carriers for diseases such as Lyme disease, which has [consequently] become much more common on the East Coast than it used to be.”
Why is there such fear of tammala, our animal neighbor, and misunderstanding about the vital role she plays in the web of life? Much of it is due to mountain lions’ supposed anti-social nature, coupled with folklore bordering on tales of the supernatural. Campfire yarns about midnight marauders akin to land sharks outnumber stories of their wildfire mitigation. But in reality, this twilight predator avoids human contact at all costs. There have only been three confirmed sightings in the past seven years here in the East Bay—Hayward in 2010, Danville in 2011, and Pleasant Hill in 2012, according to a "Puma Sighting Map" on the Bay Area Puma Project's website. Despite the phantom feline’s attempts at anonymity, bad public relations have turned this nocturnal ninja into one of California’s Most Wanted. But you can help.
For BCC Voice readers concerned about the fate of the tammala, one of the easiest, most accessible things you can do is to write a letter to the editor of any media source who publishes sensationalistic reporting about the dangers of local carnivores. Students who care about animals should speak up, says Yovovich. “It’s helpful to push back on predatory, fear-mongering, irresponsible reporting.” Bans on trapping, avoidance of using rat poisons, supporting funding for open space and habitat connectivity, and good conservation practices by your state’s wildlife management agency, together could help save this majestic creature from extinction.
Mountain Lions in the Bay Area
By Derek Chartrand Wallace
Herding Cats to Save Human Lives