Updated: Oct 26, 2018
Brogger Journal #1
Over the past year, rents in Stockton have risen 22% while wages have gone down 9%.
I heard this fact at a Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration meeting. It was sobering to hear that.
Today I am blessed to have a job that I love and that pays me well enough to live comfortably in this community.
My life was different growing up. My mom and I moved to the United States in 1982. She didn't speak any English. I was young enough that I picked it up fairly quickly. That worked out because I immediately became a translator for my preschool teachers and all the moms who didn't speak English. Things were different then and we didn't have educators who spoke our languages.
Back to the SEED meeting. Listening to Mayor Tubbs talk about his WHY this morning was moving. This is some of what he said: "This is incredibly personal. My mom was a single mother. I grew up in a working class community. My mom always worked, she worked hard and sometimes I didn’t get to see her at night. And despite working, despite her efforts, despite her not being lazy and waiting for someone to take care of her, she still struggled. Check cashing places, bills weren’t paid, sometimes we had to go without, sometimes she didn’t have time to spend with her kids…"
That story resonated with me because I grew up the same way. My mom relied on check cashing places to survive. There were times I came home from school and the water or electricity was shut off. I'd call my mom and tell her and somehow it would be back on a few hours later. My mom worked as a para educator at our neighborhood school while she was going back to school to became a teacher. We were working poor.
My story and Mayor Tubbs' story reflect the stories of so many other Stocktonians and people across America. People who live in the land of plenty, yet go without.
That's why I am excited about the Stockton SEED project. I saw a call for proposals for local storytellers earlier this year. I instantly knew that I wanted to be involved. Not just on a personal level, but as a public educator in this community. And as a multimedia educator? The possibilities were off the chain. So, I applied. And here we are at the press meeting ready to announce two local storyteller projects. One is with Stockton's Poet Laureate, Tama Brisbane. And the other is with us, Delta College Radio Television.
The project is tentatively named Stockton Story Series. Faculty are leading the process of students engaging as story collectors.The project is modeled after StoryCorps- think bite-sized audio files that paint a picture of what one person’s experience is.
The idea is that audio and storytelling can be powerful tools to humanize facts and data that otherwise feel impersonal and removed. In our project, students may contribute their personal narratives, but just as importantly, they will work to capture stories surrounding economic instability throughout Stockton. One of our key goals is to elevate the voices of Stocktonians from the perspective of other locals.
Delta College students enrolled in any of the audio courses (RTV 11, 12 and 13) will be working on this as part of their fall 2018 curriculum. All audio students will work on gathering stories. We hope that our work will encourage people to reconsider some of the myths surrounding poverty and negative stereotypes in our community.