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UNEARTHING TRUTHS & PROVOKING MOVEMENT

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2021 EQUITY REPORT

Following the painful challenges that our community faced last year, we looked forward to 2021 as a beacon of hope to rebuild safer, more equitable communities and environments. We expected the City of Pomona, a diverse civic community, to lead by example in reimagining and redefining our fiscal values, punitive policies, and distribution of public resources. Unsurprisingly, the city has compromised the momentum our communities wielded in their resilient efforts to achieve a more just society. We have witnessed an unprecedented rise in volunteerism, mutual aid, peer education, and solidarity from intersectional members of our community -- yet, our civic leaders and public officials have chosen to remain complacent, stabilizing systems of power as a return towards normalcy. 

 

These past two years alone have not been easy on communities like Pomona, and if this year has reinforced anything to this board, it is that our communities remain resilient and steadfast in the wake of adversity. While we celebrate our community’s growth and influence in bringing change, we recognize that every day there are gears in motion for a system designed to economically, politically, and socially limit members of our marginalized communities. Our organization has not and will not shy away from addressing the unethical and harmful challenges we face as a community, and we purpose this report to provide our community with honest and critical interrogation of our community’s political agenda. 

 

We hope you will join our continued fight towards achieving a public budget and political agenda for the City of Pomona that aligns with the wellness and social mobility of our vulnerable community members. Gente Organizada is prepared on several fronts to serve as a vehicle for the change we want to see for our community, and we hope you find our organization as a space rooted in collective growth, wisdom, wellness, and prosperity. 

 

In Solidarity, 

The Gente Board of Directors

Before downloading this report, we ask that you consider making a donation to Gente Organizada to support the work of our grassroots organizers and researchers that made this report possible. Thank you for your interest in our work and your consideration!

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The Los Angeles Police Department, New York Police Department, and the Chicago Police Department, to name a few, have notoriously had some of the worst policing practices. This past summer, after George Floyd’s death, thousands of people took to the streets nationwide demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice. Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) are most affected by policing practices directly linked to centuries of systemic oppression and White supremacy. Despite the ongoing training police officers receive, including the use of body cameras, the push to diversify the police force, and other efforts to “reform” the institution of policing, these efforts have failed to effectively reduce police brutality and disparate harm of BIPOC (Vitale, 2017). Policing malpractices and deaths at the hands of police officers persist, not to mention police brutality that permeates institutions of learning and consequently pushes young people out of school.

 

This report highlights the disproportionate arrests of Black and Latinx youth by the Pomona Police Department (PPD). Our goal is to center the malpractices of a police department that does not receive the same attention as a large metropolitan police department yet suffers from similar systemic issues of racial injustice and police brutality. In response to the question “Where is justice needed most?” justice is needed most for Black and Latinx youth in Pomona, California. We honor the work of youth, parents, and community activists, as well as a social action nonprofit organization, Gente Organizada, who together have demanded accountability from its city leaders and PPD for the mistreatment of youth. 

                                 - Dr. Bianca Haro & Frank Guzman Jr.

"A COMPASSIONATE CITY"

Before downloading this report, we ask that you consider making a donation to Gente Organizada to support the work of our grassroots organizers and researchers that made this report possible. Thank you for your interest in our work and your consideration!

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PPD'S CRUSADE AGAINST YOUTH

In 2021, Gente Organizada released a first-of-its-kind report on racial profiling practices in local law enforcement in the City of Pomona. Pomona Police Department’s Crusade Against Black and Latinx Youth presents clear evidence of the Pomona Police Department (PPD)’s longstanding history of discrimination and harassment focused on BIPOC youth.

Using quantitative data sourced from the PPD, the 18-page report examines trends in the arrests of young people— both juveniles and transitional-aged adults— under the age of 25 between January 2016 and June 2020. In addition to highlighting racial disparities in policing, the report also calls out patterns in youth arrests according to race, sex, charge level, and charge categories.

Among the key findings:

  • More than 22% of all youth arrested are Black, despite that group representing only 5.6% of Pomona’s population

  • Black and Latina female youth account for 88.9% of all female youth arrested, despite representing only 77.3% of Pomona’s population.

  • 33.4% of all Latinx youth arrested are charged with a felony, which is significantly greater than each of the other racial categories except for Asian youth. This is especially significant because Latinx youth make up 70% of all youth arrests.

 

The report also includes a list of demands featured in the report, including the establishment of an independent civilian body with oversight over PPD; the creation of a new city fund dedicated to investing in Black Lives and Black Futures; and a commitment from the City to shift funding from PPD and reinvest in true evidence-based community safety. To view full list of demands, please download original complaint letter here. 

Before downloading this report, we ask that you consider making a donation to Gente Organizada to support the work of our grassroots organizers and researchers that made this report possible. Thank you for your interest in our work and your consideration!

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From social uprisings demanding racial justice to a global pandemic, 2020 has challenged our community in unprecedented ways. Every year has a few defining moments, but this past year has had many world-changing, paradigm-shifting developments that have required us to reimagine and redefine how we combat systemic oppression that permeates our community.

 

We also witnessed the courage of those who stood up and sparked a wave of nationwide uprisings that have shaken the racist foundations of this country and affirmed that Black Lives do Matter. We reckon with the year we have had, a pivotal year that has directly challenged white supremacy, state violence, and institutional racism. A year where the outcries for justice have asked us to reimagine a world where we defend Black life and dignity. As an organization, we remain in steadfast solidarity with this movement and acknowledge Black liberation must be achieved to begin to liberate all other marginalized communities. As real confrontations to oppression continue to escalate, it is important to amplify voices against white supremacy, especially those of the youth, working class, and Black and immigrant communities we seek to uplift.

 

We recognize these are troubled times and as we move forward, we will continue to face unprecedented challenges. Despite these challenges, our commitment to serving the community of Pomona and challenging institutional systems of oppression remains stronger than ever. We advance this commitment with this equity report, which was created to shed light on the inequities faced by Pomona's disadvantaged communities and also to inform, agitate, and inspire community members into action.

Lastly, we would like to thank the students, parents, activists, and volunteers for their time, energy, and labor that contributed to the creation of this important document. Still, every single one of us has a role to play. Together, we must forge the path toward a more inclusive, humane, and sustainable future, for our collective liberation. Let us honor the lives lost this year and continue paving the way for lasting transformative change in the City of Pomona.

 

In solidarity,

The Gente Board of Directors

2020 EQUITY REPORT

Before downloading this report, we ask that you consider making a donation to Gente Organizada to support the work of our grassroots organizers and researchers that made this report possible. Thank you for your interest in our work and your consideration!

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OUR RIGHT TO RESOURCES

In 2019, youth organizers at Gente Organizada discovered that their school district was illegally spending funds reserved for foster youth, English learners, and low-income students (“high-need students”) on school police and security. Outraged, the students organized and ran a campaign to stop it. After months of advocacy, they ultimately convinced their district to stop spending those funds on law enforcement and to reinvest them instead in additional counselors.

Concerned about how common such illegal spending might be, Gente Organizada, Public Advocates, and the ACLU Foundations of California launched an investigation looking at how all 136 school districts in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties were spending their funds. The study uncovered a disturbing trend: more than 40% of the school districts were illegally spending funds meant for high-need students on law enforcement or other school hardening measures, costing more than a million high-need California students their right to tens of millions of dollars in positive supports and services.

The groups documented their findings in a February 2020 report, Our Right to Resources: School Districts are Cheating High-Need Students by Funding Law Enforcement, which examines the true cost of such illegal spending, including the harmful impacts the presence of law enforcement in schools has on high-need students and students of color. The report also proposes alternative, evidence-based solutions that effectively support high-need students, such as school-based health and mental health resources (e.g., school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, and school nurses), restorative justice programs, and positive behavior interventions and supports.

For an overview of the findings and recommendations, download a 2-page summary of the report (available in Spanish).

Before downloading this report, we ask that you consider making a donation to Gente Organizada to support the work of our grassroots organizers and researchers that made this report possible. Thank you for your interest in our work and your consideration!

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This report – with a special focus on youth and low-income and immigrant families – was created to both shed light on the inequities faced by Pomona's disadvantaged communities and inform, agitate, and inspire community members to act. Due to systemic oppression, marginalized people in Pomona are often ignored and/or tokenized by the very systems that claim to empower them. Yet, these systems never define how these communities can actually wield their “power”.

 

The purpose of this report is to motivate more leaders to challenge the fact that 59% of our youth are not reading at grade level. To challenge the fact that our city budget only includes one line item that intentionally is directed towards youth, this line item totals $175,403. And to challenge the fact that our local mental health agency does not currently have a program designed to address migrant-related trauma that is currently paralyzing our community. While this report highlights many statistics, our collective experience is more powerful than the data alone. We are agents of change and organizers who inform these data points with our lived experiences; these narratives can be used to challenge the status quo.

 

We wish to acknowledge that this report does not fully capture or encompass the current state of our community. However, it does reflect the limited amount of information and data that is available to the public. This report is only a snapshot of our community and should be a conversation starter regarding our collective vision. This report is a living document that will be updated, expanded, and adapted to best fit the needs and interests of the local Pomona community. We consider the creation of this document to be the first of many steps towards an equitable Pomona.

 

Lastly, we would like to thank the students, parents, activists, and volunteers for their time, energy, and labor that contributed to the creation of this important document. And we proudly credit parent organizers from our social action group, Padres Unidos de Pomona, for their visionary leadership that directed the creation of the Gente de Pomona Equity Report.

 

In solidarity,

 

The Gente Board of Directors

Before downloading this report, we ask that you consider making a donation to Gente Organizada to support the work of our grassroots organizers and researchers that made this report possible. Thank you for your interest in our work and your consideration!

2019 EQUITY REPORT