Anoosh Jorjorian is the Coordinator for Safe Yolo and Yolo Rainbow Families, as well as the founder of the Yolo Justice and Action Network, and a member of Davis Phoenix Coalition and the Parents for Equity for Davis Teachers.
Safe Yolo is a group founded after the election, in order to protect those directly in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. They work closely with the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network (YIIN), and Sacramento ACT, who are working to help families prior to detention, and during ICE raids. Sacramento ACT, in particular, provides legal observer training for those interested, and does so in partnership with the ACLU and People Power groups. Safe Yolo is focused on aiding families during incarceration, particularly providing legal aid to detainees, since studies show that those with legal representation are less likely to be deported. They are in the process of securing a grant that would allow for a public defender in Yolo to act on the behalf of undocumented immigrants in detention.
Rainbow Families is a subset of the Davis Phoenix Coalition, focused on providing support and advocating for LGBTQIA families – parents, children, and extended family. At its inception, the group provided support to gay and lesbian parents, but since the passage of marriage equality, queer parents haven’t needed the same levels of support, and the group has shifted its focus to advocating for trans and gender nonconforming kids in Davis Joint Unified School District. They plan to branch out to other districts, particularly Woodland, once they feel that trans students in Davis have a secure footing and are well represented to the district and board at DJUSD.
Anoosh advocates for teachers, as well as kids. The Parents for Equity for Davis Teachers is a group dedicated to advocating for better wages and benefits for the teachers in DJUSD. Davis’ teachers are paid the lowest wages of the surrounding areas, despite Davis being a very affluent community. Davis teachers often can’t afford to live in Davis, and those that are retiring are leaving spaces that are difficult to fill. Davis has a high turnover rate, which hurts kids who don’t have continuity in their teaching staff. At one Davis school, a classroom has started its school year without a full time teacher, which will mean inconsistency for the children until the vacancy is filled.
In doing all this advocacy, Anoosh noticed that there wasn’t a lot of coordination between groups, who often had the same end goal in mind. In the spirit of collaboration, and in the hopes that groups could pool resources and better affect change, she created the Yolo Justice and Action Network for progressive causes in the Yolo area. It is a facebook page where she amplifies progressive actions going on in the Yolo community, and something you can follow to get updates on actions you can take in your community.
She’s always looking for people to help manage the Yolo Justice and Action Network page, particularly since the UC Davis school year has started up, and the number of events has skyrocketed. If you’d like to get in touch with her, you can message the YJAN facebook page, or any of the other groups she’s affiliated with, or shoot her an email. Davis Phoenix Coalition is always looking for volunteers, as well, and they are easily accessible through their facebook page. Sacramento ACT has a facebook page, as well, and you can call or text their ICE hotline at (916) 245-6773.
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