Dr. Manuel Pastor, author and distinguished professor at USC, briefed The L.A. Trust Board on healthcare inequties and demographic dynamics impacting student wellness.
The coronavirus crisis and healthcare inequity topped the agenda as members of the Board of The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health gathered online for their annual retreat August 6-7.
The objectives of the retreat were to understand the current landscape for student health and wellness in Los Angeles, assess the status of The L.A. Trust and its strategic plan, understand the priorities of L.A. Unified, and identify opportunities to pivot.
Board members and officers also welcomed a new member, Jordan Keville of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, who will replace Dennis S. Diaz effective January 1.
Dr. Manuel Pastor, distinguished professor of sociology and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, opened the retreat with a detailed overview of demographic dynamics impacting California and student and community health, including the impact of coronavirus on communities of color.
Pastor, author of State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Mean for America’s Future, noted that California is a majority people of color state, and the nation will follow in its footsteps in the next two decades.
“Racism in our society is a feature, not a bug,” he said. “We must teach young people to be racism ready and racism resistant – that is, able to stand up for themselves and understand that racism is a system” that must be fought.
Students tell it like it is
Members of The L.A. Trust’s Student Advisory Boards from Crenshaw, Locke and John Marshall High Schools shared with the Board their personal and candid accounts of life during lockdown.
One student had tested positive for COVID-19 and was isolated from her parents, who were taken ill with virus. She said she had lost several loved ones to the COVID-19.
Other students reported being family caregivers while their parents worked outside the home, and a few said the lockdown had enabled them to get closer to their families.
Asked how things could be improved, one student said, “Youth have a lot of stuff happening. Slow down the (school) demands.” Another student said he would like to visit his campus in person one time. Students were concerned that classmates were falling behind. “Most of our friends have not finished all their classes, they have to go to Saturday school to make it up.”
One student was concerned about “foster kids or very poor kids who didn’t have food, electricity or rent. A lot of my peers haven’t been eating.” Her biggest frustration was not being able to go out to her school and community to help.