SAN BERNARDINO, CA – The statewide 2016 #SchoolsNotPrisons Arts and Music Tour is coming to San Bernardino Thursday, August 25 to Saturday, 27, calling for less spending on punishment and more investment in education, health and support for young people.
“We are spending money on the wrong things,” said Ayla Lopez, a senior at Arroyo Valley High School and an Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) Student Leader. “Schools, not prisons, are what will keep our communities safe. The best thing we as a community can do to make positive changes is to vote.”
The week’s events will highlight three areas of action for the San Bernardino community: 1) Replacing harsh school discipline like suspensions with positive discipline that keeps kids in school; 2) Offering increased health services in schools, especially mental health; and 3) Increasing San Bernardino County’s investment in youth programs and services.
“We spend $144,000 a year to lock up a young person in San Bernardino County, but only $10,300 per K-12 student,” said Dina Walker, President/CEO BLU Educational Foundation. “That needs to change so our young people can thrive and reach their full potential.”
The week’s events are supported by a coalition of San Bernardino County organizations, including Time for Change Foundation, BLU Educational Foundation, COPE, ICUC, Life Center Church, United Nations of Consciousness, and Youth Action Project.
The week’s activities will begin Thursday, August 25, with a community roundtable bringing together school and city officials to discuss how San Bernardino can shift more public spending from punishment to prevention in schools and communities. The roundtable will be held at Inghram Community Center, 2050 N. Mt Vernon Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92411 and will begin at 11:30 a.m.
On Friday, August 26, ARTIVISM will take place at Anne Shirrells Park Community Center, 1367 N. California St., San Bernardino, California 92411 at 5 p.m. The youth exhibition, which will combine both art and activism, will provide local youth the opportunity to visually express their ideas for how to create safe and healthy communities.
The week’s events will be capped off by Saturday, August 27 with a arts and music festival at California State University, San Bernardino’s Santos Manuel Student Union. The festival will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will feature art, food, music and community presentations. There will be performances by Audio Push, Mistah F.A.B., The Occupation, Jasiri X and Low Leaf, along with local artists and special guests. All in attendance will be encouraged to vote and get involved in their communities.
“We’re hyped to be a part of this tour because we get to really stand behind something with substance,” said Oktane of Audio Push. “This isn’t just a concert for the money and a good time and then everybody leaves. This is really speaking for something bigger than all of us on that stage, and that’s always been what we’re about. A bigger purpose. We’re excited for what’s to come!”
The tour will support campaigns by San Bernardino youth and community leaders to create thriving, healthy and safe schools and communities. Right now there is too much harsh punishment in schools that’s harming San Bernardino’s young people, especially youth of color who are suspended most often. Last year, San Bernardino County schools suspended more than 22,000 students – that’s more students than attend California State University, San Bernardino.
Even one suspension increases the chances of dropout and getting in trouble with the law, and San Bernardino students need positive supports to help them when they get off-track.
A primary focus of the tour will be to increase peaceful activism and voting among California’s young people whose opportunities are being cut short by the overuse of punishment and overspending on jails and prisons.
“This week of activism will give our community an opportunity to share its vision of real safety with our elected leaders,” said La’Nae Norwood, Executive Director/Founder of United Nations of Consciousness. “Young people must be part of the decision-making process, and when youth vote, we see the power of their voices.”
The week of action is a time for San Bernardino to unite around the goal of strengthening our communities, said San Bernardino City Unified Superintendent Dale Marsden.
“We are grateful our community can come together to strengthen our systems of support for students,” said Superintendent Marsden. “Together we can make hope happen for every child.”
The #SchoolsNotPrisons Arts and Music Festival will be a free, all-ages event that will include art by San Bernardino youth, food and more. The event is free of drugs and alcohol. To attend the event, participants can RSVP at www.eventbrite.com/e/schoolsnotprisons-tour-san-bernardino-tickets-27058699298