By Alfredo Camacho for South Kern Sol
This past Thursday South Kern Sol attended the Building Healthy Communities Central Table Meeting, a community-wide collaboration opportunity informing members of local issues, such as proposed changes to discipline in area schools, addressing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, neighborhood security, and environmental issues. Parents and students also decided on an action plan for the future funding of area schools. The meeting was held in the Veterans Hall in Arvin, Calif.
Building Healthy Communities is a community initiative comprised of over 1,200 residents, youth, business and organizations to make positive change in the communities of Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch, and the unincorporated areas of Southeast Bakersfield.
South Kern Sol asked attendees, “What would you like to see improved in your community in one years’ time?”
“I’d like to see improved schools, especially those in Vineland. I want students to at least have cool water to drink in the summer when it becomes really hot.”
— Juan Morales Garcia
“I’d like to see new schools, new administration, teachers, personnel, and our environment needs to be improved. Our children shouldn’t have to suffer physical symptoms from our bad air quality or drinking water.”
— Petra Villanueva
“There’s so much that needs to be improved. I live near a park in Lamont that just isn’t safe, children don’t feel safe playing there, I don’t feel safe letting my kids go out and play. Crime, above all, needs to be addressed.”
— Concepción Hernandez
“Safety and security in the neighborhoods and in town, there are so many robberies, police don’t do much. We need vigilance in the streets, in the parks, especially. Once it becomes dark, without much light it becomes even more dangerous.
— Alejandro Villanueva
“I would like to see more parent involvement in the schools, a healthier community, and healthier water.”
— Dr. Michelle McLane
“I’d like to see improvements in the park, for one. But also, [Weedpatch] floods really easily, and the roads need to be better maintained.”
— Virginia Melchor
“I’d like the community to be more involved in the projects of Lamont and Greenfield, there needs to be a greater presence of the community.”
— Maritza Jimenez
“I would like the community to be cleaner and I want our residents to be healthier.”
— Minerva Contreras
“A lot is being done to make parks a safe environment for kids, like passing the no smoking law, but much still needs to be done.”
— Mayra Magaña
“Communication between Latino community, the Anglo community and the indigenous community. We have Spanish speakers and English speakers but no representation or resources for the indigenous. I speak Mixtec but I want there to be access for Mixtec and Zapotec.”
— Alfonso Sanchez