Fresno // Session


- What were 3 themes you heard today?
Session A:
The good jobs aren't there or don't seem accessible. Even if you have a degree and should be able to get a higher paying job, the applicant pool is huge for a small number of spots. And often times you
Issues around low wage jobs: they cut your hours so you don't get healthcare and you have to rely on a lot of temp agencies around Fresno to get access to them.
Childcare is another huge issue. It's crazy expensive, but the affordable ones have huge waiting lists.
Session B:
Education is seen as a way out. But education is hard when you have a language barrier or are working erratic or long hours.
Even if their jobs are less desirable, they told us they couldn't strike like Jerry in the video, because their employers would just fire them. They also said a lot of employers are racist against hispanics, so they were scared of losing their job because they weren't sure they could find another.
They didn't feel they could successfully advocate for themselves. They talked about speaking up and being dismissed. The working Reading and Beyond is doing with Parent Navigators is amazing, because those people who we had in the room were the people advocating for them and their children.
- Were there any stories that particularly resonated with you?
Can't think of any right now :(
- How would you want to change the next session (if at all)?
Keep the same:
One point person for the venue
Recruit folks that are already heavily interfacing with the advisors/CBOs
More stimulus (either concepts or ways of statements) for brainstorming against.
Take video from IDIs into the next one
Get time with translators before the session starts to walk them through everything, expectations, etc


- What were 3 themes you heard today?
// Session A
"There is just way too much going on in my life right now to care about this abstract idea of voice." I'm stuck in this daily routine that's it's impossible to look outside of my own consider and advocate for the bigger picture. Even if I spoke up, I don't think anyone is listening. I have so much to say...just getting the slightest bit of feedback that I was heard is a win. 
Education isn't necessarily a way out. I go to school and accumulate all of this debt, but the jobs that would actually help me pay this off aren't available. Or, they want people with "more experience" for entry level positions. 
Something around re-skilling or going back to school mid-life. The sacrifices mothers and fathers have to make to grow their opportunities. A huge bet that ultimately may not pay off. 
Something around raising a family and building strong resilient children despite parents having very little control over their children's environment and influences. 
// Session B
Not having papers leads to a lot of fear and anxiety in everyday life. When It comes to speaking up about abuse or neglect from employers, teachers, etc. they can only say so much...and often say nothing at all out of fear of being reported. 
Legal status is seen as the key to wealth, comfort, and security. "I want to have x but because of my status it's not possible." Are people constantly conscious of that barrier and does it limit their drive to do better?"
This group found really creative ways to make money while supporting others in their community. For instance, making tamales and providing childcare. Members of the community can provide relief to those who are out working long hours. 
- Were there any stories that particularly resonated with you? Why?
See SR
- How would you want to change the next session (if at all)?
See SR


session A themes
“the struggle is real”
> In high school, nobody tells you how hard real life is going to be
stay positive; keep positive people in your life
goals help me grind
> yes this is hard, but I just put my head down and do it because that’s what I need to do to get what I want… custody of my daughter, a better job, a house, self sufficiency, etc.
each next step gets me closer
> save up some money… get a car… save time commuting so I can work more… save faster… fight my ex-husband in court for custody of my daughter
setbacks are devastating and very hard to recover from
> divorce after years of being a stay-at-home mom
> injury
> illness
my past doesn’t define me, but it definitely shapes my opportunities
> felony conviction shows up on every job application
> yes, I was an alcoholic, but now I’m in recovery
I don’t speak up because people don’t listen to someone like me
> there’s a lot of hateful stuff on Facebook; racism and trolling; if you speak up or share your opinion you will be attacked
> As a felon I can’t vote, so people won’t even engage in a conversation with me

session B themes
every problem goes back to being an immigrant
> you need a SS# for everything
> can’t drive
> can’t get a decent job
> if I could speak english I could get a better job
> I could express my needs to my boss
hard work is nothing
> if I could get the work, I wouldn’t mind working night and day

ITERATE (applies to both sessions)
+ 1 on stimulus
We need *ways of* statements for the ideation activity. Too hard to get a brainstorm going without some structure and kindling. 
That voice question… it’s still too hard to grok. How about something more like this: 
Think about the decisions other people make that affect you and your community — work, local regulations, laws, etc. What prevents you from having more influence in those decisions?


Session A Themes
The Catch-22 of education
Many people expressed a desire to go back to school or find some kind of training to allow them access to better paying jobs, however due to the cost of education itself, like tuition, books, transportation, or the cost of not working while a full time student, a higher education remained out of reach.
Importance of a support network
To fill the gaps in between services like job training or education services, the support provided by friends and family was invaluable. We heard a story about how Ciro's friend's car broke down, and as a result he borrowed Ciro's car, enabling him to not lose his job and save enough money to find a better paying job.
Racial bias
Some people told stories of how simply changing their name from a Latino sounding name to an easier to pronounce version granted them many more call backs for jobs than before. Just getting their foot in the door seemed like a challenge.
Session B Themes

Being Undocumented
Because of not being documented, jobs were hard to come by, and when they were often times they were discriminated against and paid less than their documented peers. Transportation was also an issue because they couldn't legally drive to work. However, we heard stories of resilience – how many found ways of making money either through selling homemade tamales or using their own tools to fix their apartment building in exchange for cheaper rent.
A few of the people we talked to never went to school and weren't comfortable writing. One woman felt self-conscious about her lack of education and vowed to obtain her GED to make her kids proud.
Maybe not a theme, but an interesting note. One of our participants expressed how hard it was to be self-motivated, especially because of being undocumented and uneducated. 
I liked the dreams and aspirations we heard from our Session B participants. When they talked about owning a house and filling it with flowers or writing a book about what it was like to work and live in the US, they lit up with excitement.
- The questions were hard to understand (as stated above), especially the political one. 
- Kim and I had good success with bringing in their dreams and aspirations as a way of getting them to brainstorm ideas for addressing their challenges
- Basically what Dave and Sarah said.

Jonathan Ota