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END INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE

Since our inception, our youth and parent organizers have worked tirelessly to eradicate the institutional violence that has plagued our community for generations. We have undertaken multifaceted organizing campaigns within the Pomona Unified School District and the Pomona City Council. By addressing the roots of systemic issues and advocating for transformative solutions, we are working to dismantle the chains of institutional violence, fostering a safer and more equitable environment for all students and families within our community.

TIMELINE

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INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE

Institutional Violence manifests in our local communities in a variety of ways, including:

POMONA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Criminalizing BIPOC Students and Families and Pushing them Out of School is Institutional Violence

Gente Organizada has examined data on school discipline from Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) to hold the district accountable for its responsibility to Pomona’s youth and immigrant families. The data show that staff too frequently respond to student behaviors with exclusionary discipline, including suspensions, expulsions, and calls to police. These practices criminalize BIPOC students and push them out of school, which are forms of institutional violence. Gente Organizada is committed to ending institutional violence by PUSD so that Pomona’s youth and immigrant families can thrive.

See Report

Failing to Teach BIPOC Students to Read is Institutional Violence

More Info & Report Coming soon

Allowing Adults to Hurt Students in Institutional Violence

Gente parents voted to conduct an investigation of abuse cases in 2020 because of Pomona Unified’s long history of employees abusing students, including a recent high-profile case involving Rubio Gonzales, a Pomona councilman who also worked as a substitute teacher for the district. Gente worked with Public Advocates and ACLU SoCal to file a California Public Records Act request in July 2020 seeking documents related to staff abuse of students. After 18 months of negotiation, Pomona Unified produced more than 20 employee files of current or former staff that had credible allegations of abuse filed against them from approximately 2011-2020.
 

See Report

Failing to Empower and Resource Students, Families, and Educators at Garey High School is Institutional Violence

More Info & Report Coming soon

CITY OF POMONA

Weaponizing Code Enforcement is Institutional Violence

Silencing community members through fines extends beyond the immediate consequences of legal penalties or fines. It contributes to a cycle of poverty, marginalization, and systemic discrimination, further widening the gap between privileged and marginalized groups.

Upholding White Supremacy through Overpolicing of BIPOC People is Institutional Violence

BIPOC communities like Pomona experience higher rates of police presence, stop-and-frisk encounters, and arrests compared to predominantly white neighborhoods. This unequal focus can result in increased tensions, fear, and a sense of being constantly surveilled. 

Systemic Displacement and Removal of People through Gentrification is Institutional Violence

Gentrification leads to the displacement of long-time residents due to rising property values, increased rent, or property taxes. As the City becomes more desirable for wealthier individuals or businesses, original residents, particularly those from marginalized communities, are pushed out of their homes and community.

Criminalizing Poverty is Institutional Violence

People experiencing poverty often resort to actions such as loitering, street vending, sleeping in public spaces, or panhandling due to being houseless or a lack of resources. Instead of addressing the root causes of homelessness or poverty, law enforcement penalizes these behaviors, essentially punishing individuals for trying to survive.

Gatekeeping Resources and Information is Institutional Violence

When certain institutions or individuals control access to essential resources or information, it creates and perpetuates systemic inequalities, disadvantaging certain groups and maintaining power dynamics. We see this through a lack of transparency on Public Records Act Requests and underinvestments in our youth – limiting our community’s ability to thrive. 

Allowing Our Community to Experience Environmental Trauma through Polluted Air is Institutional Violence

Environmental injustices, such as air pollution disproportionately affecting certain communities, often stem from institutional decisions and policies that result in unequal exposure to harmful pollutants including with the Waste Transfer Station in South Pomona.

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CREATING SUPPORTIVE AND SAFE SCHOOLS

END INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE TO KEEP STUDENTS SAFE AND PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH CARE AND SUPPORT.

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This original artwork is by A’Kailah Byrd-Greene, and is part of the California Partnership for the Future of Learning’s 2023 Arts & Culture series.

Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) has an obligation to keep its students safe from harmful adults in the classroom and school. Over the past decade or more, it has failed in this duty, resulting in trauma to students, loss of instructional time, and wasted resources. Pomona must do a better job at addressing complaints and preventing abuse of students in school. PUSD also has a duty to educate students and this duty is violated when PUSD excludes students from their classrooms and schools, pushes them out through formal and off-the-books expulsions, and criminalizes them through contact with police.

We call on our community to demand an outside investigation of student abuse and join us in developing an accountability strategy. We also call on PUSD to live up to its core values of Respect, Relationships, Responsibility, and Results by stopping the institutional violence of punishing students through exclusionary discipline and calls to police. Students and families demand: 

  • Full implementation of restorative justice in PUSD.

  • Full implementation of the community schools model according to the California Community Schools Framework.

  • Removal of police from schools.

  • Strengthened protections for students and families during interrogations at school.

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DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE CHALLENGES YOU JUST READ

If you are interested in working towards addressing any of the issues outlined above. Join our intergenerational movement to END INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE.

RESOURCES

Report Police and Government Abuse & Misconduct: Reports related to fraud, waste, abuse, corruption, and mismanagement in the Pomona Police Department, City of Pomona, Pomona Unified School District, and other community institutions are welcomed. 

Project Sister Family Services 24-Hour Hotline: If you are a victim of sexual assault or child abuse (including sexual, physical, or emotional neglect, witness to a violent crime, or experiencing physical or cyberbullying at school), then please call one of their 24-hour hotlines. 

  • Rape Crisis Hotline: (909) 626-HELP (4347)

  • Child Abuse Hotline: (626) 966-4155

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