Lo Importante No Es Solo Estar Presente, Es Mucho Más

July 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

La residente de Boyle Heights Nydia González recuerda vívidamente el día que su hija de 4 años le recordó la importancia del “tiempo de calidad”.

La pequeña Yaretzy había llegado de la escuela y comenzó a hablar acerca de su día con su madre quien apresurada hacía la cena, y lavaba los trastes, distrayéndose con el quehacer y el ruido del agua.

Sosteniendo sus mejillas con las manos en modo de desesperación, Yaretzy “me dijo, ‘¡Mamá estoy hablando, por favor, mírame a los ojos!’” González recordó recientemente.

Read this article in English: It’s More Than Just ‘Being There’ That Matters

Esa fue mi llamada de atención, le dijo a EGP. “Mi hija quería atención”.

“Dejé todo lo que estaba haciendo y me senté a escuchar lo que ella había aprendido en la escuela”, entendiendo por primera vez la importancia de compartir “tiempo especial” con su hija, dijo González.

El valor de tiempo especial, o tiempo de calidad, es una de las muchas herramientas que González aprendió junto con otras madres en un taller de 6 semanas ofrecido por el Centro de Alegria en Boyle Heights.

Ya sean cinco minutos o una hora, los padres deben establecer una hora específica para cada niño y dejar que el niño elija lo que quiere hacer, “dentro de los límites de seguridad y la razón”, dijo el director del centro, Ray Ramírez.

Centro de Alegría es uno de los dos centros de educación infantil bajo el cargo de Proyecto Pastoral, una organización no lucrativa que sirve a latinos de bajos ingresos en Boyle Heights. El centro ofrece cuidado de niños de 18 meses a 5 años a bajo costo o sin costo que es relevante y culturalmente sensible. También lleva a cabo talleres para ayudar a los padres a adquirir las habilidades que necesitan para ayudar a que sus hijos prosperen académicamente y socialmente.

No hay duda que los padres aman a sus hijos, pero he visto padres que ni siquiera saben si su hijo puede sostener un lápiz, comentó Ramírez, explicando la importancia de enseñarles cómo se desarrolla el cerebro de un niño, lo que les enseña el centro durante sus cursos.

Los niños de Centro Alegría comparten tiempo especial casi todos los días. (EGP Foto por Jacqueline García)

Los niños de Centro Alegría comparten tiempo especial casi todos los días. (EGP Foto por Jacqueline García)

Minerva Belén ha tomado el curso y le dijo a EGP que aprendió cómo establecer una mejor relación con su hijo de 4 años, Dereck.

“A veces creemos que sabemos todo, o que pensamos, ‘[mi hijo] es muy chico y no entiende’, y no ponemos  ningún esfuerzo en su desarrollo”, Belén le dijo a EGP.

Cuando un niño se siente cómodo, es más sociable y eso es lo que quiero para mi hijo, dijo Belén, agregando que ella practica en casa lo que ha aprendido.

Belen dice que los talleres le han enseñado la importancia de los abrazos, las caricias, mirar directamente a su hijo a los ojos y decirle “te amo”.

“Esa es la mejor parte de mi tiempo especial con mi hijo”, dijo con una sonrisa.

Algunos padres piensan que están demasiado ocupados para pasar tiempo de calidad con sus hijos, o no tienen tiempo para tomar clases de paternidad, pero aunque sea 5 minutos pueden ayudar a crear lazos afectivos entre padre e hijo, de acuerdo con First 5 LA—una agencia del Condado de Los Ángeles que aboga por los niños y es financiada con dinero de la Proposición 10, el impuesto del tabaco en California.

En su nuevo sitio web para padres, First 5 LA ofrece algunas formas fáciles de pasar tiempo de calidad con el niño y explica los beneficios que se pueden obtener.

“El 80 por ciento del cerebro de un niño se desarrolla a los 3 años, lo que significa que el éxito de un niño en la escuela y la vida comienza desde los primeros momentos—antes del nacimiento, en casa, y con sus padres y cuidadores”, explica First 5 LA en su sitio web.

La vinculación es de vital importancia debido a que un bebé aprende a confiar que sus necesidades serán satisfechas al pasar tiempo con los padres y cuidadores, explica Barbara DuBransky, directora de desarrollo de programas de First 5 LA.

“Cuando un bebé se siente seguro junto a los cuidadores a través de la vinculación, mejora su desarrollo y crecimiento en los primeros cinco años de vida y más allá”, DuBransky le dijo a EGP vía email.

Estudios han demostrado que lo que ocurre con los niños pequeños de hoy tendrá un impacto en la sociedad en el futuro.

A través de las relaciones con el cuidador principal, generalmente la madre, el bebé desarrolla expectativas sobre el grado en que puede adquirir y mantener relaciones seguras, así como las creencias acerca de la fiabilidad en relaciones con los demás, escribe el Dr. Peter Ernest Haiman en (La publicación de la familia unida).

“Más recientemente, investigaciones han demostrado que el tipo de unión formada durante la infancia afecta el desarrollo del lado derecho del cerebro”, afirma. “Un fundamento biológico que puede durar toda la vida”.

Es por eso que las acciones básicas, como sostener, abrazar, cantar, leer y jugar con un niño son importantes para hacer que se sienta protegido.

Se estima que hay 800.000 niños menores de 5 años en el Condado de Los Ángeles —un tercio son latinos—y muchos están en familias de clase trabajadora donde los padres trabajan largas horas. Un tercio de los niños son latinos.

Jennifer Alonso, 19, trabaja en el Centro de Alegría como maestra sustituta; su hermana de 4 años de edad, también está inscrita ahí.

Jeniffer Alonso (der.) dibuja con los pequeños estudiantes incluyendo a Yaretzi Hérnandez (centro). (EGP Foto por Jacqueline García).

Jeniffer Alonso (der.) dibuja con los pequeños estudiantes incluyendo a Yaretzi Hérnandez (centro). (EGP Foto por Jacqueline García).

Alonso le dijo a EGP que asiste a los talleres para padres—aunque ella todavía no es madre—para que pueda enseñarle a sus hermanas lo que su madre no tuvo tiempo de enseñarle a ella debido a sus largas horas de trabajo.

Es fácil para los padres asumir que saben lo que siente su hijo, pero realmente no entienden, dijo Alma Guerrero, profesora clínica asistente de pediatría de la Facultad de Medicina David Geffen de la UCLA durante una presentación de educación infantil el mes pasado en Hope Street Family Center en Los Ángeles.

“Les damos de comer, les decimos qué hacer, pero en realidad no estamos pasando tiempo con ellos”, dijo. Se aconseja a los padres que hagan preguntas que no requieren un sí o un no como respuesta. “Haga que sean más explícitos, dígale ‘dime más’”.

González dijo que pasa por lo menos 20 minutos de tiempo de calidad al día con cada una de sus hijas. Mientras que a la más pequeña le gusta ir a jugar afuera con su scooter o con sus juguetes, la mayor de 11 años de edad, le gusta jugar juegos de mesa y “le gusta ganar”.

Belén dijo que pasa una hora casi todos los días con su hijo en diferentes actividades.

“Jugamos a la pelota, vamos al parque, nos subimos a la resbaladilla”, dijo, añadiendo que “se siente como niña otra vez”.

Los cambios que Belén ha realizado han ayudado a que su hijo se sienta más seguro, y ahora le dice “mamá te amo” y la abraza y la besa, dijo.

González le dijo a EGP que ha aprendido mucho acerca de la importancia de la paciencia.

“Tener un hijo después de los 30 años es más difícil y para mí fue una gran ayuda para aprender algunas estrategias”, anotó.

Los niños funcionan mejor cuando hay una fuerte sensación de seguridad y conexión con los adultos, especialmente los padres, explica Ramírez.

Sienten más de lo que entienden, dijo, señalando que “lo que usted dice tiene mucho más significado [dependiendo de] cómo lo dice”.

Este articulo fue escrito como parte de una asociación con New America Media.

—-

Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

County Parks Need More Money

April 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Parks in Los Angeles County need more money to pay for everything from better lighting and equipment to more police and recreational programs, according to a needs assessment report being finalized for county supervisors.

The findings, compiled from feedback received from residents during 178 public meetings across the county will be presented to supervisors May 3 to help them determine whether there is an urgent need to place a parks funding proposition on the November ballot.

“We’ve all benefited from little and big open spaces,” said Jane Beesley, district director of the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District at an Earth Day news briefing/environmental justice forum hosted by New America Media.

“We need our parks and now our parks need us,” Beesley said.

Over the last two decades, funding for county parks was supplemented through Proposition A — a county parks tax approved by voters in 1992 that expired last year. A supplemental levy approved in 1996 is scheduled to expire in June 2019.

Since 1992, the Regional Park and Open Space District – which administers Prop A revenue – has funded almost 1,500 park-related projects across the county. In addition to ongoing maintenance, the special parcel tax has helped pay for projects like a new Olympic-sized swimming pool at Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles and the restoration of the Griffith Park Observatory and Hollywood Bowl.

A similar ballot measure to pay for future maintenance and improvements was narrowly defeated in 2014. Critics at the time said the measure was too vague and lacked community input. Advocates for a new funding measure say those issues have been addressed, citing the hundreds of public parks meetings conducted countywide between December 2015 and February of this year to gather public input in preparation for a possible ballot measure asking voters to pay for park improvements.

El Sereno Arroyo Playground was transformed from a vacant lot to the ‘gem’ of the northeast community. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

El Sereno Arroyo Playground was transformed from a vacant lot to the ‘gem’ of the northeast community. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“We asked them to dream and they did,” said Rita Robinson, project director for the county’s Parks Needs Assessment, noting that more than 5,000 people took part in the workshops.

“How many times have you seen government ask what would you like?”

Meetings held in low-income Latino, African-American and Asian-American neighborhoods were packed, environmental groups pointed out during the forum.

While no specific details of the report have been released, Robinson said more than 1,700 specific projects were recommended. Activists said many of the proposals were generated in communities of color.

Robinson made it clear that the executive summary being presented to supervisors next week would show most county’s parks have high and very high needs.

Keshia Sexton, director of organizing for Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, said residents she spoke to during the outreach portion of the study had a long “wish list” that included dog parks, swimming pools, community centers, gardens, soccer fields and skate parks. Some residents even went as far as to ask for a new park, she said,

“What we heard across the board was there is a need,” Sexton said. “They also made it clear they hope this was not just another study but that there would be action.”

Pamela Marquez is one of those who has witnessed first hand that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” For decades, she and other residents of El Sereno demanded that a vacant lot on the outskirts of their predominately Latino eastside Los Angeles neighborhood be converted into a park – but one that fits the needs of the community.

“We were given the opportunity to design the park of our dreams and it has made a difference,” Marquez told EGP. The El Sereno Arroyo Playground is now the gem of the community, she said. Park amenities include walking paths, children’s playground, solar lights, security cameras and other features. The park has even increased property values, Marquez added.

She said having a park nearby “makes a difference” in one’s quality of life. “My husband lived near a park and joined sports, meanwhile we have friends who joined gangs” because there was no park to offer an alternative, she said, recalling her experience growing up in Boyle Heights.

For many residents and environmental activists, parks are a way to engage and build community. Several speakers emphasized the critical role parks play in a community’s health.

Belinda V. Faustinos grew up near Lincoln Park and said the park was the only place many parents could afford to take the entire family.

She emphasized fixing bathrooms and other amenities that make park-goers feel safe and comfortable.

“We need to make sure all parks have that no matter where they are built,” she said.

Andrew Yip with Bike SGV said high rates of obesity and diabetes are often found in underrepresented communities that often lack a park or open space.

People in these communities often just want the basics, like better lighting and paved streets, he said.

(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Rosalio Muñoz volunteers at Ernest E. Debs Regional Park in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Montecito Heights and believes safety measures are needed at the park which includes acres of open space and hiking trails.

The bodies of two young women bludgeoned to death were found at the park a few months ago and according to Muñoz the park would benefit from more lighting and a dedicated park ranger and added staff.

He worries, however, that a Metro transportation bond on the same ballot might hurt the park proposal’s prospects.

According to county officials, however, 69 percent of voters polled said they would support passage of a park funding measure even with a transportation bond on the ballot

“It’s very crowded, but people are committed to parks,” said Beesley.

The Critical 0 to 5 Learning Years

April 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles resident and mother Gesele McGlothin enjoys her role as educator to her two children, ages five and one. Spending time talking, reading and singing has created a stronger bond with them, she said, explaining she wants her children to excel in school and “have better opportunities in life.”

According to McGlothin, she tries to make learning fun. “We go to parks, museums; we go to the zoo,” she said Monday during a panel discussion on the importance of early childhood education hosted by New America Media: Participants included early childhood experts, parents and ethnic media reporters who county officials hope will get the word out to parents — especially in immigrant and low-income communities of color—that how they engage with their children during the critical learning years of birth to age three is key to brain development.

Lea este artículo en Español: Del 0 al 5 Son los Años Críticos de Aprendizaje

There is a growing body of evidence that the experiences parents and caregivers provide during the first three years can make a major difference in a child’s future.

McGlothin told the audience she reads a lot to her 1-year old. “I ask him some questions as if he can answer me,” the African-American mother said, proudly adding that her 5-year-old reads at a second grade level because she did the same with him.

A fifteen-year investigative study found that early learning is more than just acquiring cognitive skills. The study, What More Has Been Learned? The Science of Early Childhood Development, looked at the scientific foundation for learning during a child’s first three years of life and concluded that early relationships, biology and environment are all significant.

We don’t have to have the “nature vs. nurture” debate because both are very significant, explained Barbara Andrade Dubransky, director of program development for First 5 LA.

Gesele McGlothin says she reads and sings to her children every day to improve their learning skills. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Gesele McGlothin says she reads and sings to her children every day to improve their learning skills. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

When parents talk, read and sing they are supporting the nurturing part, she said.

A child’s brain and early learning, however, can also be affected by problems at home, such as stress, domestic violence, mental health and/or poverty issues, she emphasized.

Joshua Lozano, 26, came to understand those problems first hand when his former partner’s drug use left him the sole custodian of his two children. The idea of educating a 5-year and 16-month-old alone was stressful and challenging, he said.

He knew, however, that his boys’ education was important and said with help from his parents he found ways to give them better educational experiences.

Lozano explained that he took time to research what was available, which led him to enrolling his oldest son in an early childhood program offered by the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) before starting kindergarten. His younger son will soon start an early starters home-based program, which Lozano said not only teaches the baby but the parent as well.

I spend as much time as possible with the boys, he told EGP.

In a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California, 68% of Californians surveyed said attending preschool is very important, but 42% said affordability is a big issue.

Lozano and McGlothin said early childhood programs and reading materials can be expensive, and agreed that parents have to re-examine their priorities to find ways to pay for it.

Sometimes you have to give up something—like going out or shopping—to give your kids an education, McGlothin said.

There are about 800,000 children aged five and under in Los Angeles County. Of those, 47% of are children of immigrants, according to the panelists.

(EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

(EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Immigrants are usually reluctant to use professional childcare and instead “choose family or friends” to care for their children, Dr. Margaret Lynn Yonekura with LA Best Babies Network said.

“Parents feel like childcare places don’t love their children as much as a family member,” she told the audience. “[But] you have to think how language rich is that family member” engaging with your kid, she said.

There are many early education programs available in the county, through groups like First 5 L.A. Welcome Baby, Opening Doors-Abriendo Puertas, LA Best Babies network and Crystal Stairs, panelists said. Low-income families can apply for subsidies to help them pay for the programs through an Alternative Payment Program (APP) or access free services available through the L.A. Unified School District, they explained.

The Welcome Baby program, for example, offers personalized support and education from pregnancy until the baby reaches 9-months of age. Mothers get help with breastfeeding, doctor visits, health care coverage issues and other community services.

Crystal Stairs helps families from different income levels reach self-sufficiency by helping to find childcare, quality early learning and preschool, and teaches parents about advocacy to benefit childcare.

LAUSD programs, starting with the Early Education (for potty trained kids) to Extended Transitional Kinder (ages 4 and 5), and then kindergarten (5 and up) are considered a safety net for many little ones.

“Kids not only come to socialize but are also learning in these programs,” Martha Godinez, L.A. Unified’s attendance improvement program coordinator told EGP Tuesday.

This Saturday, LAUSD is partnering with other agencies to bring the “L.A. Unified Early Childhood Linkages to Wellness and Pupil Services” to the East Los Angeles community in the Roybal Learning Center from 8-3pm.

The objective is to “empower the parents” and show them they can teach their kids at an early age and don’t have wait until they go to school, Godinez said.

They also want to show parents methods in their native language they can use to teach their children, which doesn’t have to take place in a public setting, Ezequiel de la Torre, specialist with LAUSD’s early childhood linkage to wellness program.

He explained that sometimes parents are unaware of the services LAUSD provides and they want to keep them updated.

“This is very important for the children’s academic success,” he said.

—-

Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Groups Organize Around New Citizenship Campaign

September 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The city of Los Angeles has joined local organizations and other cities across the country to promote Cities for Citizenship, an initiative to encourage more eligible, lawful permanent residents to become U.S. citizens.

The goal of the national campaign is to increase the number of immigrants eligible to vote before the 2016 Presidential Election.

Saul Montoya, a lawful permanent resident eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship, resisted taking the step for 35 years, believing he would one day return to his native Mexico to live.

But that day never came and last week during a round table discussion hosted by New America Media in collaboration with the New Americans Campaign at Los Angeles City Hall, Montoya said he was tired of the negative remarks made by politicians and anti-immigrant groups about people like him and decided it was time to become a citizen.

Community groups met last week at Los Angeles City Halll to organize a new citizenship campaign.  (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Community groups met last week at Los Angeles City Halll to organize a new citizenship campaign. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

The purpose of the roundtable was to expose ethnic media outlets to the political impacts of naturalization and the challenges that keep immigrants from applying.

In Montoya’s case, his wife, children and grandchildren are all U.S. citizens; he was the exception.

Joining in the discussion were representatives of Latino, Asian, and other ethnic media outlets as well as representatives of Mayor Eric Garcetti, NALEO Educational Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, to name a few.

Disparaging remarks made by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and others convinced Montoya it was time for a change.

“I realized then that instead of demonizing these politicians, we should register to vote,” said the 62-year-old new citizen.

What really heightened his sense of urgency, however, was his wife being diagnosed with cancer.

He wanted to help her, but instead she asked him to help himself by becoming a citizen.

“[She] said, ‘If I die first, I don’t want to leave you in this situation,’” he recalled.

He applied in March and was sworn-in this past June.

It’s estimated there are 800,000 lawful permanent residents in Los Angeles County who are eligible to become citizens: About half live in the city of Los Angeles city alone, said Linda Lopez, Garcetti’s Immigrant Affairs chief.

“There’s a high need for individuals to become citizens, to make their voices heard” in the upcoming elections, Lopez said.

Nasim Khansari, Citizen Project Director with AAAJ-LA, said there are a number of barriers that keep people from going through the citizenship process. The reasons range from the cost of the naturalization process to language barriers, or simply not knowing where to go to fill out the application.

For example, “there are immigrants who want to become citizens but can’t because they can’t afford the $680 process fee,” she said.

But now applicants have options for overcoming this hurdle. Some banks offer micro loans to with very low interest rates to pay for the application, according to Khansari.

Fee waivers are also available under the following circumstances:

—If the applicant receives government benefits such as food stamps or Medi-Cal.

—If the applicant makes 150% below poverty level.

—If the applicant has an extreme hardship to show that he/she can’t afford to pay the amount.

Applicants, however, should take in consideration that some countries, like Cuba, Bolivia and Paraguay, do not accept dual citizenship.

Lopez said the city’s 73 public libraries have materials that can help with the application process, ranging from test booklets, DVDs and CDs to online resources “in a variety of languages.”

Many even offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and intense citizenship courses to help people pass their citizenship exam.

Citizenship is not only being promoted in libraries and through nonprofits, but also in the workplace, added Laura Barrera with the National Workforce Forum said

For example, the Ralphs grocery chain will hold four forums where they will provide information to their employees on the process to becoming a citizen, she said.

Once eligible lawful residents become citizens, they need to vote, emphasized Elisa Sequeira, Director of NALEO’s National Civic Engagement Programs.

New citizens are less likely to register to vote than U.S. born, she said. They need information on where to register and to know who the candidates are.

“New citizens are more likely to vote if they are invited and encouraged,” she explained.

Sept. 17 Citizenship Day and many organizations across the country will be hosting workshops to help permanent residents through the process.

Community partners such as AAAJA-LA, NALEO, the International Rescue Committee, CHIRLA and the Youth Policy Institute are among the groups that regularly hold workshops to help people apply for citizenship, register to vote and to learn how to be more financially stable.

Today, Montoya is happy that he finally took the step to become a legal citizen of the country where he established his roots nearly four decades ago.

“This is the country where I have worked, where I bought my house and where I raised my children,” he told EGP in Spanish. “It may be a little too late for me, but not for other [younger] people.”

Delincuentes Pueden ‘Limpiar’ Su Record Criminal Bajo la Prop. 47

June 18, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Para Joseph Barela, residente del Este de Los Ángeles, el crecer en una familia de adictos le facilitó el camino para terminar en su misma situación. Entrando y saliendo de la cárcel desde que era un adolescente, la última vez que Barela fue encarcelado en 1999 cumplió una condena de ocho años.

Ahora, a los 50 años, Barela dice que ha “crecido y madurado mucho”, pero lamenta que sus condenas pasadas de múltiples delitos graves y menores le continúen haciendo la vida difícil.

Él tiene esperanza en la poco conocida Proposición 47 que le podría ayudar a cambiar su futuro.

Read this article in English: Felons Can ‘Clean’ Old Criminal Record Under Prop. 47

“La última vez que estuve en la cárcel fue por un delito no violento”, Barela le dijo a EGP, explicando que fue declarado culpable de recibir propiedad robada y resistir arresto.

Bajo la Prop. 47, aprobada por los votantes en noviembre pasado, algunos delitos de bajo nivel no violentos, como la posesión de drogas y los delitos de robo menores de $950, se pueden reducir de delitos graves a delitos menores.

La Prop. 47 permite a los californianos como Barela peticionar para remover los delitos de sus antecedentes penales, pero sólo hasta el 5 de noviembre de 2017. De tener éxito, las personas beneficiadas pueden abrir nuevas puertas para tratar de cambiar sus vidas, mejorando sus oportunidades en la búsqueda de empleo, ayuda económica, vivienda y el derecho a votar.

Sin embargo, activistas de derechos civiles, están preocupados de que la información no está llegando a las personas que pueden beneficiarse de la modificación de la ley. Durante una mesa redonda en el Museo Americano Japonés en Little Tokyo el pasado viernes—organizada por New America Media—expertos legales, ex reclusos y periodistas hicieron hincapié en la importancia de que delincuentes no violentos inicien el proceso para limpiar sus antecedentes penales pronto, como lo establece la ley.

Joseph Barela, explica que su record criminal le ha causado problemas para adaptarse en la sociedad. (EGP foto por Jacqueline García)

Joseph Barela, explica que su record criminal le ha causado problemas para adaptarse en la sociedad. (EGP foto por Jacqueline García)

“Porque no tenemos ninguna garantía de que habrá una extensión, lo más importante es saber que no hace daño entregar su aplicación” si usted cree que califica, Hillary Blout, directora de implementación de la Prop. 47 con Californianos por la Seguridad y Justicia, le dijo a EGP. El proceso varía de un condado a otro, “algunos condados tienen un atraso de tres meses, y algunos pueden ser un mes”, agregó.

La reducción de delitos graves a delitos menores es una experiencia que cambia la vida, dijo Rochelle Solombrino, quien pasó 18 meses en prisión tras ser declarada culpable de una persecución vehicular a alta velocidad con la policía y resistir arresto.

“No creo que era una mala persona, sólo estaba haciendo cosas malas”, le dijo a la audiencia.

Solombrino dijo que se sentía derrotada cuando salió de la cárcel, dándose cuenta de que sería difícil tener una vida normal con su registro de antecedentes penales.

Solicitó vivienda de la Sección 8 pero dijo que se le negó debido a su antecedentes penales.

Solombrino se enteró durante una clínica legal gratuita que bajo la Prop. 47, cuatro de sus delitos graves podrían ser reclasificados como delitos menores.

Completó un programa de rehabilitación de drogas en la organización no lucrativa Fred Brown Recovery Services con sede en San Pedro, donde más tarde consiguió un trabajo. Ahora es coordinadora de operaciones del programa.

“Se me dio la oportunidad de ser mejor y empecé a ayudar a la comunidad”, dijo con orgullo.

Bajo la Prop. 47, ciertos cargos pueden ser borrados (eliminados) del registro de una persona, ya sea a través una nueva sentencia o reclasificación.

Bajo la “nueva sentencia” un individuo que cumple condena en la cárcel, prisión o esta en libertad condicional o supervisión obligatoria o comunitaria después de la liberación, puede solicitar ser sentenciado de nuevo bajo un delito menor.

El proceso puede variar según el condado, pero por lo general implica una audiencia y el solicitante muy probablemente necesite ser representado por un abogado.

Bajo “reclasificación” o cambio de record, los individuos que ya no estan en custodia o en libertad condicional o bajo palabra, pueden solicitar que su condena original cambie de un delito grave a un delito menor—si la condena fue en California.

Los solicitantes deben trabajar con un abogado o una clínica legal durante el proceso, según los expertos.

“Tener un delito menor sigue siendo público, pero podemos intentar borrarlo”, puesto que ya no esta abierto al escrutinio público, dijo Paul Jung, abogado con Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

“Una vez que expulsas el delito menor, el empleador no está obligado a solicitar los registros”, añadió.

Aproximadamente un millón de californianos tienen delitos no violentos en sus antecedentes penales, de acuerdo a la organización Californianos por la Seguridad y Justicia. Como resultado, se enfrentan a restricciones de trabajo, vivienda o educación a pesar de que han cumplido su condena, dijo el grupo. Para el 73% de estas personas, puede equivaler a una suspensión de por vida.

En el caso de los inmigrantes, el 60% de todas las deportaciones son debido a una condena por delito grave, dijo Blout. La gente necesita saber que la presentación de la solicitud es segura, “no hay represalias por presentarla” y la información no se comparte con oficiales de inmigración, dijo.

La presentación de la solicitud de la Prop. 47 es gratis, añadió.

Con la reducción del costo de encarcelamiento—$60,000 por recluso por año versus $8,500 por la educación de un estudiante—el Estado va a tener más dinero para proveer programas de tratamiento de drogas y servicios de salud para las personas en el sistema criminal de justicia. También aportaría dinero para pagar por programas para estudiantes en riesgo del kinder al 12 grado, y servicios a las víctimas, de acuerdo con Californianos por la Seguridad y Justicia.

Esta es una buena noticia para Barela, quien dice que alrededor de cinco de sus delitos graves se pueden reducir a delitos menores. En sus palabras, a pesar de que no ha cometido ningún crimen en años, empleadores potenciales todavía lo ven como un criminal y “nadie quiere contratar a un ladrón”.

“Si la Proposición 47 hubiera existido en ese entonces, las prisiones no estarían tan llenas”.

Para obtener más información sobre el proceso, llame a (213) 974-2811 o visite www.MyProp47.com/LA.

—-

Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

 

 

Copyright © 2019 Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews, Inc. ·