Entries by Jacob Simas

Jacob Simas

CA Youth Document Launch of Lady Gaga's New Foundation

By Jacob Simas, Mar 6, 2012 12:03 PM

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Last week, Lady Gaga launched her new Born This Way Foundation with a massive kickoff at Harvard University in Cambridge. A number of celebrities turned up for the pop star’s big event -- Oprah Winfrey was on hand, so you know this was big – and hundreds of youth leaders were assembled from across the county, including four youth reporters from California representing New America Media.

The foundation, led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, was created last year with the objective “to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated.” Appearing unexpectedly at a youth forum at Harvard on the day before the actual launch, Gaga described the organization specifically as a “youth empowerment foundation,” drawing loud cheers from the young audience.

“I don’t believe I have the answers,” said Gaga. “I believe you do.” More cheers.

Gaga’s down to earth conversations with the youth and her rationale for wanting to start a foundation – building a more loving and accepting world is part of the foundation’s mission statement – come across as refreshingly straightforward, intelligent and genuine, in a world of celebrity that more often than not emphasizes conformity, consumerism and superficiality.

For an in-depth peek at the events, including written reports, photos, video coverage of Gaga’s speech to the youth delegates and a panel discussion that included Gaga, Oprah, Deepak Chopra and more, you can visit BornBraveCA, a youth-produced blog facilitated by The California Endowment and created to document the experience of California youth attending the launch of the Born This Way Foundation.

New America Media congratulates the four youth reporters who represented our organization so well in Cambridge: Edgardo Cervano-Soto from Richmond Pulse;Tony Aguilar from Coachella Unincorporated; Jaleesa Vickers from The kNOw Youth Media and Luis Pacheco from The kNOw Youth Media.

Jacob Simas

SF Schools Make Strides

By Jacob Simas, May 17, 2011 11:19 AM

The San Francisco School Alliance held their third annual Spring luncheon at the Mark Hopkins Hotel last week, an event that was co-chaired by Mayor Ed Lee, Warren Hellman of the investment firm Hellman and Friedman, and SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia, with the latter presenting recent data on academic achievement in San Francisco Schools.

Jacob Simas

Mexican President Taps Consul in San Jose for L.A. Job

By Jacob Simas, May 12, 2011 3:20 PM

David Figueroa has left his position as Mexican Consul in San Jose to assume the same post at the higher-profile Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, reported San Francisco’s Spanish-language weekly newspaper El Mensajero.

Jacob Simas

Cesar Chavez's Bay Area Roots

By Jacob Simas, Apr 8, 2011 6:00 PM

Although the Cesar Chavez federal holiday has already come and gone, people in the Bay Area will have a chance to honor the iconic co-founder of the United Farm Workers at a parade and festival on
Saturday, April 9, in San Francisco.

Jacob Simas

El Mensajero Prods Mayor Quan on Gang Injunction

By Jacob Simas, Mar 1, 2011 12:29 PM

El Mensajero asked Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan how she plans to tackle issues of particular importance to Latinos, who account for roughly 25 percent of that city’s population.

Jacob Simas

Radionovela Portrays Latino Teens Coming Out

By Jacob Simas, Feb 15, 2011 1:00 AM

San Francisco State University is partnering with Proyecto Poderosa and Radio Bilingüe on a new “radionovela” (a Spanish-language radio soap opera) that addresses LGBT issues in Latino communities. The new series, entitled “Bienvenidos a Casa” (“Welcome Home”), is airing on eight Radio Bilingüe stations in California’s Central Valley through March.

Jacob Simas

Cesar Chavez Work Could Displace Day Laborers

By Jacob Simas, Jan 20, 2011 11:10 AM

Local bilingual newspaper El Tecolote reported on the city’s planned redevelopment of a busy stretch of San Francisco’s Cesar Chavez Street.

Jacob Simas

Latinos in San Jose Have Suggestions for Next Police Chief

By Jacob Simas, Nov 17, 2010 12:25 PM

In the coming months, San Jose City Manager Debra Figone is expected to name the next chief of police, and South Bay residents want to make sure their voices are heard on the matter. Although the city organized public forums back in August to do just that, those events were not very well attended, prompting community organizers in San Jose to host their own series of meetings where the city’s immigrant and non-English-speaking residents would have a greater voice in the conversation.

Jacob Simas

Day of the Dead Very Much Alive in Bay Area

By Jacob Simas, Nov 1, 2010 4:45 PM

Despite its origins in Mexican and indigenous Mesoamerican cultures, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, crossed the border long ago and has acquired a distinct flavor in the United States, including the Bay Area, where lots of events are scheduled for the coming week.

Jacob Simas

UC Berkeley Partners with Mexico on Health Care for Migrants

By Jacob Simas, Oct 27, 2010 11:15 AM

Health officials from the central Mexican state of Zacatecas announced earlier this month that they are working with UC Berkeley to establish health clinics in California to serve low-income migrants, according to a report published by Frontera Norte-Sur, an online news source about the US-Mexico border published by New Mexico State University.

Jacob Simas

Immigrants Don't Bring Crime, Berkeley Study Finds

By Jacob Simas, Oct 21, 2010 2:20 PM

 A report published this month by the University of California, Berkeley, shows that crime statistics in California have decreased, even while immigration to the state has continued to increase, according to an article in the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión.

Jacob Simas

Folk Music Connects Bay Area to Flood-Battered Mexican State

By Jacob Simas, Oct 20, 2010 11:05 AM

 When Mexico’s gulf coast was battered recently by a series of tropical storms and floods, a group of Bay Area musicians took special notice. That’s because the type of music they play has direct ties to the Mexican state of Veracruz.

Jacob Simas

East Palo Alto Schools Running Out of Budget Options

By Jacob Simas, Sep 21, 2010 9:40 AM

Student bodies are growing and budgets are shrinking, and while schools in East Palo Alto have managed to stay afloat without cutting teachers or courses so far, officials in this ethnically diverse part of San Mateo county fear they are running out of options.

Jacob Simas

Santa Muerte at Home in Mission

By Jacob Simas, Sep 14, 2010 9:15 AM

Her shrines have been bulldozed by the Mexican Army. She has raised the ire of the Roman Catholic Church. Her image has been linked to drug cartels, gang members and prostitutes. Yet the ranks of her devotees are growing, and San Francisco is the latest city to come under the spell of La Santa Muerte – Saint Death or Holy Death, reports El Tecolote.

Jacob Simas

Graffiti Spikes in San Jose

By Jacob Simas, Sep 14, 2010 7:10 AM

Graffiti taggers in San Jose appear to be enjoying a golden age, canvassing city streets with their illegal craft despite a high-tech crackdown by the police department, reports Guadalupe Bellavance in the bilingual biweekly Alianza.

Jacob Simas

Neighborhood Fruit Trees Feed the Hungry

By Jacob Simas, Aug 26, 2010 9:00 AM

The excess fruit growing in your backyard is no longer for the birds. The Mission District’s bilingual print and online newspaper El Tecolote recently ran an audio slideshow that follows young food justice activists making their way around town with tree clippers, looking for fruit they can “glean” from trees growing in San Francisco’s private backyards.

Jacob Simas

School Merger Worries Mission Parents

By Jacob Simas, Jul 20, 2010 12:00 PM

Middle school students and high school students in San Francisco’s Mission District might soon be sharing a campus and the idea that 17-year-olds could be sharing hallways with 11-year-olds has many parents worried about safety issues, from gang recruitment to harassment.

Jacob Simas

Does New Miranda Ruling Put Immigrants at a Disadvantage?

By Jacob Simas, Jun 4, 2010 5:15 PM

On Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of softening Miranda rights, they also appear to have dealt a direct blow to the civil rights of non-English speakers.