Supervisor Phil Serna visits Encina High School to talk about saving lives
Each year, county supervisors are presented with data showing child death rates in their areas. In Sacramento County, African American children make up 12 percent of the population, but are dying at more than twice the national rate of children of other races or ethnic groups. More than a third of those deaths occur in the womb or during first weeks of life.
Recently, Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna came to Encina High School to talk to students about the work he’s doing in the community to address the issue and to help teach students how to gather data for research.
“When I first learned about it, I got the distinct impression that there was very little effort that had been applied to deal with it in the past,” Serna said to a classroom of students. “That’s why I engaged right away and why it’s so important that it’s not just about me … it’s got to be owned by the community.”
Serna said groups like the Black Child Legacy Campaign, led by the Mutual Assistance Network, will work to connect African American residents in Sacramento County with resource partners to help address the root causes of this disparity. Ten of the students Serna addressed also serve as interns for the campaign.
Students prepared questions in advance for Serna’s visit and took notes during his talk. They also read a report put together by the Sacramento County Blue Ribbon Commission on the issue.
“It’s always nice to have somebody stand-up for others in need and to empower others,” said Adian Al-Maliki, a senior and youth intern with the Black Child Legacy Campaign.