Advocating for Social and Environmental Justice in Stanislaus County and the Central Valley
1 – Environmental Justice and Public Health: VIP works to promote the good health of people and the planet by emphasizing natural and sustainable agriculture and environmental practices.
– Participates in national, state-wide, regional, and local environmental justice movements and organizations that advocate for clean air, water, and soil as well as more efficient and green community development and transportation methods including Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, California Cleaner Freight Coalition, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Greenaction, Catholic Charities, Peace and Life Center, Anti-Monsanto movement, and Anti-Fracking movement.
– Houses a “Bicycle Workshop” that receives donations of bikes and bike parts, provides tools and assistance in bike repair and maintenance, as well as general promotion of bike-riding as an alternative means of transportation.
– Hosts weekly “Mindful Distress” meetings for alternative and secular mental health discussions and peer support.
– Provides assistance with the storage, preparation, and meeting space needs for the weekly “Modesto Syringe Exchange” which aims to stop the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C, and help with other health problems.
2 – Youth Outreach and Alternative Education: VIP works to provide local young people, and other community members, with productive recreational activities and with socially and culturally relevant and accurate educational workshops and literature.
– Hosts monthly “Hip-Hop Appreciation and Education Night” which gives local youth, and community members access to poetry workshops, Hip-Hop literature and documentaries, turntables, microphones, beat producing programs, dance floor space, paint, and other art supplies.
– Provides weekly tutoring hours to help individuals or small groups with basic elementary and high school subject matter.
– Periodically hosts small concerts and musical events where local youth and community members are encouraged to, not only attend, but participate with their band and/or talents.
– Maintains an on-site “Alternative Education Library” containing hundreds of books and other reading material on subjects such as people’s history, political movements, social struggles, and environmentalism.
– Hosts monthly “Dinner and a Movie Night” where youth and community members can watch and discuss educational and informative documentaries and films, as well as share and enjoy good food.
– The before mentioned “Bike Workshop” largely serves local youth with free bikes and repairs.
3 – Homeless Outreach and Empowerment: VIP works with community members that are without stable living conditions to help find the resources they need.
– Hosts monthly “Free Market” where donations of non-perishable food, clothes, coats, shoes, blankets, and other necessities are accepted and given away for free to those in need.
– Provides on-site computers, internet access, phone access, and information on additional community resources and services.
– Provides “Know Your Rights” information, resources on local anti-homeless ordinances, and assistance with law enforcement harassment.
– The before mentioned “Bike Workshop” and “Syringe Exchange” projects are predominately utilized by the local homeless population.
4 – Tenant/Worker Rights and Solidarity: VIP works with local residents being harassed or treated unfairly by their landlord or boss and assistance in building solidarity amongst them.
– Participates in “Modesto Solidarity Network” project that uses solidarity and direct action to help workers get unpaid wages, unionize, and/or stop employer harassment and intimidation as well as help tenants get held security deposits, needed repairs, and/or stop harassment and illegal lockouts.
– Provides tenant and worker-rights literature, information, and other community resources.
– Networks with national and state-wide organizations assisting workers (especially non-unionized, migrant, fast-food, etc.) deal with employer intimidation, become unionized, and fight for living wages.
5 – Law Enforcement/Prison/Immigration Accountability: VIP works to ensure police, immigration, prison, and jail officials and institutions are held accountable for their actions in cases of abuse and corruption.
– Hosts monthly “Know Your Rights/CopWatch Night” that provides informative literature, videos, and resources to educate local community members about their rights when stopped, detained, or arrested by law enforcement as well as how to record and document police interactions and/or abuse.
– Participates in, attends events, demonstrations, and meetings for state-wide and regional coalitions against police abuse.
– Organizes “CopWatch” groups that observe and record interactions between law enforcement and local community members to ensure fair and legal treatment.
– Assists local community residents with complaints of abuse and mistreatment by police, prison/jail personnel, and immigration officials.