Anthony Beron, editor of macksmack, accepting one of 6 journalism prizes
by Janaya Andrews
Winning 1st place award in environmental reporting, macksmack journalists swept a total of 10 awards in the California Press Women high school journalism contest.
“What an awesome win,” said Pamela Tapia, one of the blog’s advisors and a McClymonds graduate.
“We were competing against the wealthiest, best-funded, most tech-savvy suburban, private and parochial high schools in California,” she added.
First place in environmental writing went to Sana Saeed, a 2013 graduate, who tackled the toxins in lipstick in her piece “Is My Lipstick A Lethal Weapon?” Her story was also entered in the National Federation of Press Women high school contest.
Two seniors won top photo awards, Jonae Scott with a 2nd place in sports photography and Luckie Lovette with 3rd place in feature photography for a photo essay on tattoos.
“We pulled it off with the least expensive cameras — sometimes borrowed — and without high tech devices, lighting equipment or digital enhancements,” said Tapia.
Senior Lee Benson won 3rd place in environmental writing for writing “Eco-cool”, which discussed a rising trend in students bicycling to school.
Macksmack editor Anthony Beron racked up six awards, including 3rd place in news writing for a piece on the murder of classmate Denzel Jones in February. He won 2nd and 3rd places in environmental reporting, 3rd place in sports for a piece on the lone male cheerleader at McClymonds and 2nd place in opinion writing for a piece on vegetarians eating in the school cafeteria-
He also won an honorable mention in feature writing for a piece on the digital divide hurting student grades.
The awards ceremony took place at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism on March 12.
Sustainable Future for Oakland: Students Care
by Anthony Beron
Oakland High senior Kasey Saeturn relies on the bus for the long trek to school every day. It’s already overcrowded and unreliable.
Her nightmare could end: an alternative plan known as Scenario 5 could make Oakland more “sustainable” while investing more money in buses to restore service to levels that existed in the past, she told at an environmental impact report hearing on April 16.
“Buses are overcrowded,” she said. She also supports “eco-friendly buses.”
Saeturn was one of several students to testify at the hearing about the Environmental Impact Report, which analyzed several alternatives to Plan Bay Area.
In their testimony, students supported Alternative 5, touted as “the environmentally superior alternative,” which would decrease greenhouse gases and particulate pollution that triggers asthma. It would also budget more money for affordable housing and buses.
The other students were graduates of McClymonds, Street Academy and Bentley high school, who are now attending college. The Rose Foundation’s summer program “New Voices Are Rising” had stirred interest in the plan.
Woody Little, a student at UC Berkeley who grew up in Rockridge, urged that any plan avoid displacing people from their current neighborhoods and create more affordable housing.
Plan Bay Area is a long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan for the entire San Francisco Bay Area. It includes the Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan (updated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission), and the Association of Bay Area Governments’ demographic and economic forecast.
This is the first time legislation is asking MTC and ABAG to adopt a Sustainable Communities Strategy, which will coordinate land use and transportation in the regional transportation plan. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light-duty trucks in the nine-county region. If the plan succeeds in getting people out of their cars, there would be more people riding buses and BART.
Pamela Tapia, a McClymonds graduate, told the story of her family’s displacement: that her mother now has to travel four hours to work and spends $60 a day. “The EIR fails to factor in the impact of gentrification on housing costs in neighborhoods that historically have been home to low-income residents.” Another McClymonds graduate, Devilla Ervin, talked about his foster mother having to move to Sacramento to find affordable housing.
Brenda Barron, who graduated from Street Academy and now attends San Francisco State, testified about changes in transportation: there are no buses near her home after 10 pm. She said that public transit should be more affordable and frequent and matters to younger people.
Another public hearing is scheduled in Fremont on May 1 at 6 pm at the Mirage Ballroom.
Posted in air pollution, asthma, campaign, changes, Commentary, community activism, commute, Debate, East Oakland, ecology, Education, Environmental Justice, EPA, leadership, opinion, Racism, School News, speakers, toxins, Youth
Tagged bus, EIR, environmental justice, Fremont, gentrification, MTC, Oakland, Plan Bay Area, public hearing, Rose Foundation, sustainability, transportatuion