“The House I Live In” Drug War Documentary Screening THIS FRIDAY at V.I.P

the-house-i-live-inOn FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 13TH at 7pm Valley Improvement Project’s “Dinner & a Movie Night” will feature the new documentary from Eugene Jarecki (Reagan, Freakanomics, Why We Fight, The Trails of Henry Kissinger) and was executive produced by Danny Glover, Brad Pitt, John Legend, and Russell Simmons.

From thehouseilivein.org: “As America remains embroiled in conflict overseas, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage on future generations of Americans. Over forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for more than 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Filmed in more than twenty states, The House I Live In captures heart-wrenching stories from individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America’s longest war, offering a definitive portrait and revealing its profound human rights implications.

While recognizing the seriousness of drug abuse as a matter of public health, the film investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have meant it is more often treated as a matter for law enforcement, creating a vast machine that feeds largely on America’s poor, and especially on minority communities. Beyond simple misguided policy, The House I Live In examines how political and economic corruption have fueled the war for forty years, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic, and practical failures…

Since Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs 40 years ago, millions of people have been incarcerated for low-level drug law violations, resulting in disproportionate impacts on poor and low-income communities and communities of color, a growing epidemic of drug overdose fatalities, and increased rates of addiction and misuse. The drug war plays a major role in feeding the crisis of mass incarceration, where an ever-increasing number of Americans are imprisoned or placed under criminal justice supervision for low-level offenses – costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year. It will take a drastic shift in public consciousness and perception to create the change needed to effectively and successful end the war on drugs. The House I Live In provides an opportunity to educate and engage policymakers, faith and community leaders, and individuals working in the public and private sectors about the colossal failure of the drug war.”


10th Annual CVAQ Lobby Day

Members of Valley Improvement Projects were pleased to participate in the 10th Annual Central Valley Air Quality (CVAQ) Coalition Lobby Day at the California State Capitol in Sacramento!



–August 27, 2013

Central Valley Air Quality Coalition celebrated their tenth annual lobby day by traveling to the state Capitol building on Monday. CVAQ’s annual lobby day focuses on bringing attention, empowering residents, and lobbying for better air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. This year the coalition focused on mobilizing residents and community leaders from across the valley and allies from all over the state.

Together, the members of various organizations arrived at the Capitol early on Monday morning looking to embark in a long day session of legislative visits. During the visits these members explained to members of the legislature about many of the air quality concerns that are very present in the San Joaquin Valley and continue to harm our communities. Pushing for a legislative packet that CVAQ deems would make considerable improvements to the valley air quality, those members began meeting with representatives and staffers.


View original post 484 more words

V.I.P.’s 1st General Assembly THIS SUNDAY!!

Valley Improvement Projects will be holding its 1st monthly (and 2013-07-25_15-31-16_800eventually weekly) General Assembly open to the public to discuss and identify needs in the community and ideas for projects and actions to fulfill those needs.

Where: 400 12th Street Suite 14 Modesto, CA

When: SUNDAY, AUGUST 25th – 3pm

A few items we will be discussing at the meeting:

-New developments, intro to the Center (if you’re new)

-Our attempt at acquiring a low-power FM Radio Station

-Sat Aug 31st protest against NSA spying programs

-An alternative mental health meeting & a moderation group for alcohol & substance use

-Upcoming music shows

-Ongoing events and calendar organization

-Schedule for office hours shifts

-Funds and materials needs for the Center and activities

Community members are welcome to bring up other issues and ideas for events and other actions! See you there!


Justice for Trayvon!

This is why the V.I.P. Community Center for Social and Environmental Justice is needed in Modesto. A place for people to meet, converse, plan, organize, and take action against many of the injustices put upon our young and marginalized comm…unity members. The organizing we do before an injustice occurs will determine how successful we are in our struggle for justice afterwards. The only secure community is an organized community!

Grand Opening of The V.I.P. Community Center for Social & Environmental Justice

Valley Improvement Projects presents the Grand Opening of our Community Center dedicated to Social and Environmental Justice. Please join us for an evening of celebration, networking, planning, and having an all around good time!
When: Saturday, July 27th, 2013 6:00pm until 10:00pm
Where: V.I.P. 400 12th Street Modesto, CA
Any food, monetary, or material donations are greatly appreciated!

Covanta Pollutes the Central Valley’s Air, Then Sponsors Modesto’s Earth Day

The Covanta Waste-to-Energy Garbage Incinerator in Crows Landing Pollutes Our Air! The incinerator emits dangerous toxic chemicals & toxic metals into the air, including dioxin. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals know to science. According to the U.S. EPA, incineration of municipal solid waste & medical waste are major sources of dioxin.The incinerator cannot completely or safely destroy all the waste being burned &, in fact, creates dioxin & emits it & other toxic chemicals & toxic metals into the air. Major studies prove that even low levels of dioxin can cause illnesses like cancer & birth defects. Stanislaus County officials claimed Covanta was here to serve Stanislaus County, however, non-household waste is imported from other counties & states to be burned & landfilled on the West-Side of Stanislaus County. We need more recycling & refuse of waste – not incineration.


Covanta burns about 800 tons of solid waste PER DAY! The waste & garbage is imported long distances from various counties like Alemeda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Mariposa, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Solano, Tuolumne, & Yolo & other states including Washington, Oregon, & Nevada.

Covanta & the Fink Road Landfill imported 27,507 tons of waste in 2003 from outside of Stanislaus County. In 2001 the incinerator tried to import medical waste from across the state to be burned here, but concerned residents stopped that toxic threat!

covanta20energySpeak Out for Clean Air & Environmental Justice! Stop the Incinerator!

Valley Improvement Projects’ Mission Statement

Valley Improvement Projects Mission Statement

To improve the quality of life of underrepresented and marginalized residents of California’s Central Valley, by promoting social and environmental issues through youth outreach, education, technology, and art.