Tag Archives: Oakland

Teens Ask Us to Save Our Saviours

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, a Bellarmine College Prep junior, Rishabh Saxena, like everyone else, became increasingly concerned. He wanted to do his part and started the Save your Saviors campaign in early March to equip healthcare workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help them win this fight.

Around the same time, Shivina Chugh, a junior at MSJHS in Fremont, was becoming increasingly worried as well. Rishabh and Shivina joined forces to help raise awareness for this cause as both their moms have been at the front line fighting this war and wanted to do their part to save people’s lives at the front line. After researching how the risks faced by frontline workers could be mitigated, they found that, in addition to other PPE, reusable and washable bio-suits helped keep the infection rate low among the healthcare workers in South Korea. Their research indicated that these bio-suits were already used in a few emergency rooms in hospitals across the United States but were not readily available.

They ran the idea of sourcing the bio-suits by their moms, a few Intensive Care Unit directors, and infection control personnel in a few hospitals who saw this project’s great value. At this point, they started contacting a few more hospitals to explore an interest in bio-suit as a way to increase protection for their staff. Not only was this idea well-received by the hospitals they contacted, but they also started getting referrals.  

Health Professionals wearing Bio-Suits given by Save Your Saviours.

Seeing a high demand for bio suits and other PPE, they decided to set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds. Fremont Bridge Rotary Club also contributed to this cause by raising money for this project. Together they raised $4,050 and were able to work with a few vendors to get bio-suits and other PPE promptly and pilot it in a few hospitals.

These bio-suits were delivered to Medical staff in ICU’S of Kindred Hospital and St. Rose Hospital. In addition, handing over bio suits to Alameda Highland County hospital in Oakland, CA, was immensely satisfying to the team because these residents provide care for the indigent patient population and, with bio suits, could avoid the high risk of catching infections that can prove fatal.

Dr. Steven Sackrin, at Alameda Highland County Hospital, said, “I want to extend our sincere thanks to your organization, Save your Saviors. The contribution of personal protective equipment is deeply appreciated. The bio suits are a particularly great addition to our supplies. The bio suits offer a superior degree of protection. It is so nice that they can be cleaned and reused. Most of our patients already have immense challenges, medical and especially non-medical. And our environment is already a bit threadbare and not on many people’s radar. But a sense of mission generally infuses the facility. It was so great that your organization was willing to share its efforts and contributions with this institution. Thank you very, very much for your generosity, thoughtfulness, and the grit/work that it took to accomplish what you have done.”

Dr. Evelyn Nakagawa at Kindred hospital echoed similar sentiments “Save your Saviors has provided bio suits that offer an extra layer of safety and help healthcare workers focus on their work with peace.

Shivina and Rishabh give materials to Highland Hospital.

Save your Saviors campaign initially raised money and helped save lives of Health care workers to buy Bio suits and launch them in several Intensive care units of Bay Area Hospitals. After finishing their first phase of helping Bay Area Health care workers, they have furthered this campaign to help some other segments of society who are greatly impacted in this COVID crisis time. They have done several drives to raise money to provide food and personal items required for the homeless shelter and domestic violence survivors. They are immensely thankful to several families in the Bay area who generously contributed to such a noble cause. One of the drives with their contributions, approximately worth $2000, has been shared with the vulnerable survivors in dire need.

Whether they are health care workers or underprivileged people in society like domestic violence survivors or homeless shelters, the fight to save people’s lives continues forward by these students’ efforts. They continue with their efforts during this unprecedented time. You can help their efforts here


Shivina Chugh is a rising senior at Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, CA. She is very active in her school clubs, Relay for Life, DECA, Peer Support Group and is the co-founder of the Save Your Saviors, which has helped the medical community during times of COVID-19 and continues to do so. 
Rishabh Saxena is a senior at Bellarmine College Prep School in San Jose, CA. He grew up building lego puzzles, tennis, and skiing. He is passionate about helping people. He founded Save your Saviors to serve the community. 

US and India Benefit From the Same Democratic Process

Although many feel the democratic urgency of voting this election cycle in the US, it is not uncommon to hear, “My vote won’t count anyway.”

Associate Professor of Political Science at SFSU and Researcher, Jason McDaniel addresses the importance of local elections as a “foundation for democracy” and a “pathway to racial-ethnic equity.” Whether it be, city, county, or state jurisdiction, local law supersedes federal law and can more accurately represent the sentiment of its community. 

However, at the local elections in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Leandro, your vote actually has more bang for its buck. 

Why? Because of their implementation of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).

Entrenched in the SF Voting Data, McDaniel cautions that RCV can be a contributor to the confounding nature of ballot response but its results are that of a lower democratic deficit. He finds that complexities within the SF local election and lack of information lowers voter turnout for communities of color.

The US follows the First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system, in which you vote for one candidate and the candidate who receives the most votes wins the election. At the Ethnic Media Services briefing on October 6th, McDaniel reviewed Rank Choice Voting, also known as Instant Runoff Voting. 

When RCV is used, candidates are ranked from 1-10 (depending on the number of candidates). If a candidate immediately has an outright majority (50 percent plus one), then that candidate is declared the winner of the election. However, if none of the candidates have an outright majority, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are redistributed based on their voters’ second choice rankings. The process continues until one candidate’s adjusted vote number hits an outright majority.

Dr. Jason McDaniel’s example of RCV from the Mayoral Election in SF (red indicates eliminated candidate)

Ranking candidates requires more knowledge of all platforms and of RCV. McDaniels comments, “Reformers who want to change democracy often overestimate what voters care about…The vast majority of voters don’t have strong preferences for more than one or two candidates.” The idea of voters having multiple informed preferences in nonpartisan, local elections is quite novel, unheard of, and is likely a barrier to participation. Research shows that it is possible to recover the loss of voter participation.

Benefits can outweigh the implications of using RCV in a few ways:

  1. This particular method of voting can mitigate “spoiler” candidates, where a candidate that may be a third choice wins an election to a split vote.
  2. The candidate that wins better represents the majority.   
  3. Voters can cast “sincere” votes, unbridled by the burden of a “wasted vote”. Independent third-party candidates can be represented by a genuine vote, but if they are dropped during the process of RCV, then another candidate with a similar platform can receive that vote.
  4. It can reduce negative campaigning because it may lie in the interest of multiple parties with resembling platforms to advocate for one another.
  5. It can reduce polarization by rewarding moderate candidates. There is no research to support this yet.

Why stop at local elections?

India, which generally employs FPTP voting, explored a version of Rank Choice Voting in electing their 14th and current President, Ram Nath Kovind. President Kovind is only the second Dalit president elected in Indian history. RCV secured a notable win for someone like Kovind, who overcame countless adversity in his path to a presidential win, while accounting for the public vote in a substantial way. After his win, Kovind addressed the Indian populace, “My win should prove that even honest people can get ahead in life.”

An ongoing dialogue around voting processes can be beneficial for our communities and for reform. If not to change the process, then to better educate everyone around us. 

Anni Chung, SF resident and CEO of Self Help for the Elderly, “Rank Choice Voting has always been a mystery to me, even now, after all these years.” 

Voting can only be effective if understood. Keep the conversation going and go out and vote this November 3rd!


Srishti Prabha is the Assistant Editor at India Currents and has worked in low income/affordable housing as an advocate for children, women, and people of color. She is passionate about diversifying spaces, preserving culture, and removing barriers to equity.

Sankara Eye Foundation presents “Klose To My Life”

A  fundraiser concert to eradicate curable blindness in India

Sankara Eye Foundation is bringing the Magnificent Musical Extravaganza of the year.  Legendary singers Sonu Nigam & Neha Kakkar with Live Symphony Orchestra of 45 Musicians at the beautiful Oracle Arena on June 15th. All this is for a magical cause of brightening this world. Your entertainment will help someone’s dreams come true as they get their eyesight restored.

Sonu Nigam & Neha Kakkar Concert

June 15, 2019 

7:30 pm

Oracle Arena, Oakland

Tickets starting at $39

Tickets available at www.giftofvision.org/events

For more information, visit www.giftofvision.org or call 1 (866) Sankara.

Established in the Bay Area, SEF is a non-profit organization that has been working for the past twenty years for the cause of eradicating curable blindness in India. Driven by the truly inspirational cause, SEF has currently established 9 community hospitals and soon embarking on three new hospital projects. By far the most unique and remarkable characteristic of SEF is that they provide free eye care for those unable to afford it, those members of the rural poor, and this accounts for 80 percent—which is approximately 200,000 people per year—of the surgeries performed at their hospitals. The tireless efforts by the SEF team since inception, has enabled 1.95 million eyes to receive the gift of vision, utterly free of cost.  Also, it has maintained the top rating from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management for seven years

SEF will focus its fundraising activities for 3 new projects, Focus Mumbai, Focus Hyderabad and Focus Indore.  Become a Founding Donor and leave a legacy – get your name on the Wall of Founders. Double the impact of your gift with company matching. Join our cause, volunteer and share in the joy of bringing light to someone’s eyes. Please visit our website at www.giftofvision.org for more details.

 

This article was provided to India Currents by Sankara Eye Foundation

Oakland Ballet Company’s Presents Jangala

The story is a familiar one.  It begins with one lost boy. The boy is adopted by a pack of wolves. He is then kidnapped by a band of monkeys, rescued by his bear and panther friends, briefly cared for by a woman mourning the loss of her son and finally defeats the power hungry tiger that is determined to destroy him.  Of course, the boy is Mowgli and the story is from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”.

15 March 2018; San Leandro, California, USA: Members of the Oakland Ballet Perform Jangala at the San Leandro Performing Arts Center

While the story may be familiar, the Oakland Ballet Company’s presentation of this classic story is not.  In a reimagining of the standard narrative, OBC Artistic Director Graham Lustig – in partnership with Nadhi Thekkek and Nava Dance Theater – has created an incredibly innovative new work blending classical south Indian dance and modern ballet to tell a story of longing, friendship and acceptance.  Danced to an all-Indian musical score that includes classical ragas and bhangra, “Jangala” fuses the centuries old tradition of bharatanatyam with contemporary ballet. Drawing on the breath and the depth of Indian music plus the exquisite beauty of classical Indian dance “Jangala” is unlike any other performance of this well-known story.

Nava Dance Theater – a bharatanatyam dance company based in San Francisco – uses this classical Indian dance form as medium for artistic reflection and discovery.  The dancers of Nava believe that this classical form can be used to illuminate both traditional and contemporary themes. In addition to “Jangala” the artists of the Nava Dance Theater and the Oakland Ballet will be presenting a new work as part of this year’s program. This new work will be inspired by the poems of the Nobel Prize winning Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and the Pulitzer Prize winning American poet Mary Oliver.  Rabindranath Tagore was known and highly regarded for his sensitive, fresh and lyric verse while Mary Oliver was praised for poems that carefully observed the quietly meaningful moments of the natural world. Although of seemingly disparate backgrounds both poets shared a profound appreciation of nature as a source of spirituality. As with “Jangala” this new work will be performed to live Indian music. It will feature three of the women of Nava Dance Theater partnered with three male dancers from Oakland Ballet.  The Nava Dance artists will also present their own new piece showcasing their dancers in the classical style of bharatanatyam.

This program is family-friendly, colorful, exciting, and certainly a must-attend event.

Performances are:

San Leandro

15 March 2018; San Leandro, California, USA: Members of the Oakland Ballet Perform Jangala at the San Leandro Performing Arts Center


Wednesday, May 22, 7 pm
San Leandro High School Performing Arts Center
Free for San Leandro residents
Tickets available on a first-come-first-serve basis that evening

Livermore
Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 pm
Bankhead Theater, Livermore
$20-30
Tickets can be purchased at https://lvpac.org/event/oakland-ballet-company-jangala/

Oakland
Thursday, May 30, 7:30 pm
Friday, May 31, 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 1, 3:00 pm
Saturday, June 1, 7:30 pm
Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center, Laney College, Oakland
$15-30
Tickets can be purchased at http://oaklandballet.org/wp/jangala/