After closing down the Valley Improvement Projects Community Center for Social & Environmental Justice in late 2014 V.I.P. volunteers have been working to determine the best way forward and ensure we stay true to our mission statement of improving the quality of life of underrepresented and marginalized residents of California’s Central Valley by promoting social and environmental justice issues through youth outreach, education, technology, and art. At our first meeting of the year 15 local citizens got together to discuss new and ongoing projects that V.I.P will be involved with in the new years and possibly years to come. Some were original founders of V.I.P. while others were joining one of our meetings for the first time. A wide variety of topics and issues were brought up and discussed, including but not limited to: – The need for resources and drop-in centers for local youth, especially those with mental health issues. – Drawing inspiration from actions in Ferguson, New York, and others around the country, organizing around issues of police brutality, accountability, racial profiling, incarceration, and other related problems. – Working with the California Environmental Justice Coalition to reform California’s Department of Toxics Substances Control which is overseeing the sites contaminated with barium in Modesto. – Working with the California Cleaner Freight Coalition and the California Air Resources Board to help our state’s process of transporting goods becomes a zero-emissions system. – Assisting and supporting the documentary being made about Modesto homelessness and offering support to the local homeless population in general. – Working with and supporting Californians Against Fracking and other organizations fighting to move away from fossil fuels and the influence of the oil corporations in our state. As part of this support V.I.P. volunteers and other local resident attended the largest Anti-Fracking demonstration in the country so far. Over Almost 10,000 people marched in the sunshine and the rain in Oakland on Saturday, February 7th. Check out pictures and a video below:
In trying to keep with our previous schedule, V.I.P. will continue to facilitate monthly general meetings on the last Sunday of the month. Our next meeting is on Sunday, February 22nd at 1:30pm in the Yosemite Lanes Bowling Alley conference room. Our January meeting was also held there and gave us the opportunity to hang-out, bowl and have some fun after the meeting. Join us next time!