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Author Archives: WSS News

Uninsured Californians Will Pay Tax Penalty

Though young and in good health, Marcus Sesay of Riverside enrolled for health insurance in 2015 to fulfill the mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Sesay, a 35-year-old native of Sierra Leone, was not motivated by free services like an annual checkup and other health screenings, but wanted to avoid the tax penalty consumers will face if they fail to get coverage in 2016.

“Having insurance is the law, and I obey the law,” said Sesay, a security guard who has a plan with Health Net and pays $65 a month for his coverage. “Insurance also gives me peace of mind. We don’t know what tomorrow might bring.”

Protecting your financial tomorrow is one of the many reasons to sign up for affordable, high-quality health care.

“It’s impossible to predict when or whether someone will get sick or have an accident, which makes purchasing health insurance a wise decision for anyone,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “Now there’s another reason to get insured — taxes.”

The “shared responsibility payment” is a new tax penalty that Americans have to pay this year if they can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it. It is called a shared responsibility payment because everyone in the United States is now required to be part of our health insurance system — buying health coverage for themselves and their families rather than relying on others to pay for their care.

Those who do not buy health insurance in 2016 may be subject to the penalty, which is $695 per person in a household or 2.5 percent of their income, whichever is greater. That’s the stick the law can whack you with, but Covered California prefers offering most consumers a helping hand —financial help paying for coverage.

Of those already enrolled, almost 90 percent got financial help to cover their premiums. In 2014, consumers who qualified received an average of $5,200 to pay for their insurance. For more information and to find local, no-cost assistance, visit CoveredCA.com and click the “Find Local Help to Enroll” button in the middle of the page.

Youth Action Project Hosted YAP TALKS: An MLK Event

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SAN BERNARDINO, CA- On Friday, January 15, 2016, Youth Action Project hosted YAP TALKS: A Martin Luther King Jr. event, to commemorate and honor Dr. King’s life and legacy. This event was held at the San Bernardino Valley College Library Viewing room.

YAP TALKS strongly resembled a TED Talks. Four speakers were invited to deliver 15-minute speeches that incorporated the philosophies, teachings and principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to current issues experienced by San Bernardino community members and its youth. Each speaker projected a positive message by bringing awareness to these issues and by sharing their insight on how we can resolve them. The speakers consisted of:

Enrique Murillo, Professor at California State San Bernardino and Executive Director of Latino Education Advocacy Days (LEAD); Johnathan Buffong, co-founder of Buffong Consulting and Mental Health Consultant with the County of San Bernardino; Raihanah Medlock (Grand Terrace High School, Junior), Sheba Jennings (Summit High School, Junior), & DeVon Clay (California State University, San Bernardino, Freshman); Lolita Lyles, Professor at California State Long Beach and University of La Verne; and Rev. Dennis Brown, influential speaker who is also known as the “Voice of King.”

The event also featured a special guest, R&B sensation, Abraham McDonald. You may have seen him on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Voice. He graced everyone with his humorous personality and beautiful voice.

Jonathan Buffong, a speaker for this event, said, “To see the community celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King life’s work and dreams is always a great thing. Youth Action Project went an extra step when they did YAP TALKS, as each speaker not only analyzed King’s memory, but also forced the audience to look at ways to actualize how they can implement Dr. King legacy in their daily life. That’s when you will see true change in the way we engage with each other”.

Eleven-year-old student, Alexis Gallarzo, simply said, “I loved listening to everyone’s speech, especially since I am learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in class right now. The best thing about this event were the girls who free-styled their poems. It was so cool!”

Carol Flores, one of the event coordinators, said, “It was an honor working on an event that served as an agent to promote social change. My goal was to construct an event that would make people think about their current predicament and take action by fighting for social justice and equality as Martin Luther King Jr. did.”

Youth Action Project had one purpose in mind when planning YAP TALKS and that was to host a community event that would impact a diverse audience. C.E.O Joseph Williams closed the night with a powerful quote stating: “Youth Action Project was pleased to host this event. Our aim was to see Dr. King’s dream implemented. I believe we did just that.”

Assemblymember Brown Introduces the 47th Assembly District Youth Academy Members for 2016

Back row: Daniel Enz, Assemblymember Brown’s office; Garrett Dewhirst, Grand Terrace High School; Patrick Davis, Arroyo Valley High School; Ivan Gudino, Slover Mountain High School; Tatum DeMarco, W.A. Carter High School; Aastha Chaudhary, A.B. Miller High School; Michael Egiebor, W.A. Carter High School; Dominick Maiorca, Kaiser High School; and Ramses Jair Castro, Middle College High School. Front row: Lyzzette Martinez, Arroyo Valley High School; Johanna Silva, Alta Vista Public Charter; Rebecca Egiebor, W.A. Carter High School; Assemblymember Brown; Kalynne Brantley, W.A. Carter High School; Maria Mendoza, Kaiser High School; and Ashley Jones, Assemblymember Brown’s office. Not pictured: Josue Marin, Kaiser High School; Jordan Brown, Middle College High School; and Omar Moreno, A.B. Miller High School.

Back row: Daniel Enz, Assemblymember Brown’s office; Garrett Dewhirst, Grand Terrace High School; Patrick Davis, Arroyo Valley High School; Ivan Gudino, Slover Mountain High School; Tatum DeMarco, W.A. Carter High School; Aastha Chaudhary, A.B. Miller High School; Michael Egiebor, W.A. Carter High School; Dominick Maiorca, Kaiser High School; and Ramses Jair Castro, Middle College High School. Front row: Lyzzette Martinez, Arroyo Valley High School; Johanna Silva, Alta Vista Public Charter; Rebecca Egiebor, W.A. Carter High School; Assemblymember Brown; Kalynne Brantley, W.A. Carter High School; Maria Mendoza, Kaiser High School; and Ashley Jones, Assemblymember Brown’s office. Not pictured: Josue Marin, Kaiser High School; Jordan Brown, Middle College High School; and Omar Moreno, A.B. Miller High School.

SAN BERNARDINO, CAAssemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) held her first meeting with the 47th Assembly District Youth Academy on Saturday, January 23.  The Youth Academy, comprised of local high school students, will work together to create a legislative proposal and organize a community outreach activity. Additionally, they will participate in professional development classes and district field trips.

“The intended goal of the Youth Academy is to improve the quality of life in our communities, while enhancing our students’ leadership skills,” stated Assemblymember Brown. “Our students are very insightful and passionate about making a difference in their community. I’m so honored to work with them, and I look forward to a successful outcome.”

During the first meeting, students were given an overview of the program; learned about the legislative process; and participated in an open discussion about issues affecting youth in the 47th District.

“It was really great to understand the legislative process and know that I, along with other really brilliant minds, will be creating a piece of legislation that will hopefully impact our community,” said Johanna Silva of Alta Vista Public Charter in San Bernardino. “I really look forward to growing with the group, and helping solve some of the problems that face the 47th District.”

“I’m very thankful for this wonderful opportunity to work alongside peers from the 47th District, as well as our state Assemblywoman, Ms. Brown,” said Dominick Maiorca of Kaiser High School in Fontana. “I’m looking forward to helping the community through public policy and our outreach event. I cannot wait to begin our mission to gain leadership experience and to better the community we live in.”

This year’s Youth Academy members include: Garrett Dewhirst, Grand Terrace High School; Lyzzette Martinez, Arroyo Valley High School; Patrick Davis, Arroyo Valley High School; Ivan Gudino, Slover Mountain High School; Johanna Silva, Alta Vista Public Charter; Tatum DeMarco, W.A. Carter High School; Rebecca Egiebor, W.A. Carter High School; Michael Egiebor, W.A. Carter High School; Kalynne Brantley, W.A. Carter High School; Aastha Chaudhary, A.B. Miller High School; Omar Moreno, A.B. Miller High School; Dominick Maiorca, Kaiser High School; Maria Mendoza, Kaiser High School; Josue Marin, Kaiser High School; Ramses Jair Castro, Middle College High School; and Jordan Brown, Middle College High School.

For more information, contact Ashley Jones at (909) 381-3238.