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EPA Bans ‘Lethal’ Chemical in Consumer, But Not Commercial, Paint Strippers


EPA ban paint stripper

For the first time in 30 years, the EPA has updated section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — moving to ban toxic chemicals in consumer paint-stripping products. The rule, released late last week, will prohibit online or retail sales of any paint stripping products containing these chemicals. Latino and environmental groups recently took legal action to spur the EPA toward action. Multiple groups, including Salud America!, informed the public about this issue. However, the EPA did not make final decisions on methylene chloride use in commercial paint removers. Nor did the agency address the use of alternative substances. Latinos, who face the most significant levels of chemical exposure through work, remain unprotected by the new ruling, some experts ...

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Social and Emotional Learning Leads to 64% Drop in Expulsions


A teacher at work with a class at Fall-Hamilton Elementary Source Edutopia

How can school leaders address early-life trauma among their students, improve academic and behavioral outcomes, and reduce harsh disciplinary action? Check out Nashville’s trauma-sensitive revolution. Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) (23% Latino) has spent the past six years integrating trauma-informed practices, such as social and emotional learning and restorative discipline, to help students feel supported and understood, Edutopia reports. They even hired a full-time trauma-informed coordinator. “Our ability to accelerate achievement in the future is dependent on meeting the social and emotional learning needs of our students,” MNPS Director of Schools Shawn Joseph told The Tennessean. “We expect it, and the students deserve it.” The Need to Address Trauma ...

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The Road Diet that Can Curb Transportation Gluttony


IOWADOT 4-to-3 pedestrian road diet street road

U.S. streets are getting more dangerous and traffic congestion isn’t going away, so transportation leaders in Iowa are pushing a new idea to improve road safety. A road diet. A road diet takes away lanes, like converting a road from 4 lanes into a 2-lane street with a center turn lane, which usually slows traffic and improves safety and economic vitality, according to a new video from the Iowa Department of Transportation (IOWADOT) shared by Strong Towns. This thinking flies in the face of typical ideas of roadway expansions. "Curing congestion by adding more lanes is like curing obesity by buying bigger pants,” said notorious planner, Lewis Mumford. The Unsustainability of Focusing on Solving Traffic Congestion Our transportation network should protect and meet the ...

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Tucson Approves Complete Streets Policy, Thanks to Advocates



Incomplete streets cover Tucson. Sadly, each year, 50 people are killed and 5,000 injured on streets in this 43% Latino town. Half of major streets don’t have sidewalks, and people face dangerous congested roads and limited access to public transit to get to work, medical appointments, and more. But that could change soon. In February 2019, the Tucson City Council voted 7-0 to pass a Complete Streets policy to fund, plan, design, and build streets with all users in mind. How Advocates Pushed Complete Streets in Tucson Nationwide, cities are adopting Complete Streets policies. These streets meet the needs of people walking, people biking, people taking transit, and people driving, regardless of age or ability. These streets are especially needed in areas with large Latino ...

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Salud America! Members Provide 30% of Comments for Texas Transportation Safety!



Salud America! network members submitted 62 public comments urging the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to prioritize safety and wellbeing on state transportation projects. In August 2018, we asked people to submit public comments to TxDOT to shape transportation planning and spending across the state for the next 10 years, in what is known as the Unified Transportation Program (UTP). The UTP guides construction, development, and related activities for 13,000 projects. But some say it prioritizes traffic congestion relief over safety and connectivity. Salud America! filed an open records request with TxDOT and discovered 30% of all comments TxDOT got on the UTP were from Salud America! members! That’s 62 of 211 total comments, and a big jump from the 27 comments ...

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Study: San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA Students Exceed Average Math & Reading Scores



The first group of participants in the San Antonio’s full-day public preschool program performed better on state standardized tests than others in public preschools and those who didn’t attend preschool, according to a new study, San Antonio Express-News reports. Voters approved Pre-K 4 SA in 2012. In 2018, the first group of Pre-K 4 SA students reached third grade, when the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam is first given. How do Pre-K 4 SA students (76.3% Latino) compare statewide? Over 11 percentage points higher on reading scores and over 15 percentage points higher on math scores than students who didn’t participate in public pre-K, according to the report by University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) Urban Education Institute! Pre-K 4 ...

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The Epic Revitalization of a Latino Neighborhood from Housing to Social Change


Editor's Note: main photo above is of Esperanza Academy Charter School's mural via facebook.com/Esperanzausa and whyy.org.

Roberto Clemente Middle School shut its doors in 1994 and sat empty for more than 10 years years in Philadelphia's Hunting Park, a predominantly Latino neighborhood. Not anymore. Local faith-based nonprofit Esperanza has turned the former school into 38 affordable housing units, which opened November 2018, Plan Philly reports. The site also has 5,000 square feet of commercial space. “It will now once again become a community asset, providing quality, affordable housing to Hunting Park residents,” said David Ortiz, Esperanza’s vice president of housing and economic development. But the school-turned-affordable-housing project is just one part of Esperanza's neighborhood revitalization plans. Esperanza's Revitalization of Hunting Park Hunting Park has higher poverty ...

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Call for Help: Mental Health Helpline Launched in South Texas


Hope Famil Health Center mental health warm line

Struggling with behavioral or mental health issues? If you're in the Rio Grande Valley (~90% Latino), there is a phone number you can call to get help. The Hope Family Health Center in McAllen, Texas has launched a new service: A Peer Run Warm Line. This resource is for those in the community who are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, or any other non-crisis, non-emergency ailment to their everyday living. The Warm Line launched on January 21, 2019. "There may be somebody that will be going through a crisis or close to a crisis and need somebody to talk to and [they're] isolated and don’t want to call the hospital for help or don’t have the resource," Rebecca Stocker, leader of Hope Family Health Center in McAllen, told The Monitor. "They can ...

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Water, Milk Now the Default Drinks on Kid’s Menus in California


sugary drinks in schools

Water and milk are now the "default beverage" on kid's menus in California, thanks to a new law that experts say is a public health win against the devastating effects of sugary drinks. The Healthy-By-Default Kids’ Meal Beverages Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, makes California (39.1% Latino) the first state to require water or milk as the beverage automatically offered with kids’ meals at restaurants, according to Voices For Healthy Kids. The change also bans the display of sugary drinks on kid's menus and ads. A Win For California Parents The new law is the first of its kind. Bipartisan legislators and health advocates supported the law, including Public Health Advocates, a Voices For Healthy Kids grantee. Latino Coalition for a Healthy California also showed ...

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