Simas, Jacob

Latino College Enrollment Skyrockets, But Will Upward Mobility Follow?

By Jacob Simas and Vivian Po
New America Media

Maricruz Cabrera, a 17-year-old high school senior from Thermal, Calif., a rural community in the east Coachella valley that stretches from Indio to the Salton Sea on the southern edge of Riverside County, knows what it’s like to pick grapes under a hot desert sun. It’s back breaking. It pays little. In a nutshell, it’s hard physical labor for minimal return. Which is why Cabrera, the daughter of migrant workers, has her sights set on the one thing she believes will create job opportunities that her parents never had: a college degree.

Native American Activists Save Sacred Burial Ground From Bulldozers

By Jacob Simas

Hundreds gathered at Glen Cove, Calif., last weekend for a closing ceremony to celebrate what Native American activists and their allies are declaring a historic victory.

It was a victory over a city-park development that would have bulldozed the area for parking lots, plumbing and paved paths -- on one of the last undeveloped ancient burial sites of indigenous people remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Although their 108-day occupation of the land the Ohlone people called "Sogorea Te” had ended, the protest group hoped the action marks the beginning of a new chapter for the 15 acres of land surrounding an inlet of water now known as Glen Cove along the Carquinez Strait. The cove connects the Sacramento Delta to the San Francisco Bay.

“Sacred Fire”

More California School Children Qualify For Free Meals

By Jacob Simas
New America Media

Between 2008 and 2010, an alarming number of public school children in California became newly eligible for free and reduced-cost meal programs in nearly every county of the state, according to recently released data.

The new findings, published by, show that at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, more than 3.4 million children attending K-12 public schools in California were eligible for Free or Reduced Price (FRP) meal programs, representing a 5 percent statewide increase in eligibility, up from 51 to 56 percent.