This year's Junior Commissioners have created community service projects around many of the county's most pressing human rights issues. We will report back at the end of their term in May, but here is a sketch of what they are doing on behalf of our community.
Homelessness Ad hoc: In an effort to spread awareness around the issue of homelessness in our community, and to bring attention to the need for more housing, this committee is holding a public Youth Forum on Homelessness on March 29, 2017 at Chops Teen Center, featuring speakers from partner organizations that provide services to the homeless population and bring information of these services to those who need it most.
Human Trafficking Ad hoc: Once again, this committee is working to bring facts, stories, and statistics about the human trafficking that exists in our own community into global studies and human interaction classes in area high schools. In an attempt to address the misconceptions of victims and perpetrators, the group will create a documentary-style video to generate conversations about what human trafficking looks like, and to motivate other students to take action in ending this modern-day form of slavery.
LGBTQ+ Ad hoc: This committee is working to establish Safe Spaces for LGBTQ+ students in Sonoma County middle schools, by doing outreach to school administrators and educators and providing free Safe Space Program Kits. A letter was sent in February, and the ad hoc will follow up later in the year to assemble data reflecting the implementation of Safe Spaces.
Poverty & Food Insecurity Ad hoc: In 2016, the Sonoma Hunger Index stated that about 70,000 families, or 36% of all households, missed some 34 million meals even with the well-functioning assistance programs in place. To help address this issue, this committee has established a series of 24-hour Fights To End Food Insecurity In Sonoma County. Participants are asked to abstain from eating for 24 hours to truly understand how it feels to struggle with food insecurity. To participate or contribute to the Redwood Empire Food Bank, please visit http://www.socofoodinsecurityfight.org/.
Racial Equality in Sonoma County Ad hoc: With a goal of promoting awareness of the racial issues that exist in our community, this committee is conducting an anonymous, online peer-to-peer survey open to all Sonoma County high school students to evaluate racial climate in their schools. A letter was sent to high school administrators in Sonoma County requesting their help in promoting the survey. The survey is available in English and Spanish. The committee plans to present the data to school districts and school boards in May along with recommendations to improve school climate towards racial equality.
This committee also administrates the Facebook page Real Humans of Sonoma County, telling stories from our diverse community. https://www.facebook.com/realhumansofsonomacounty/