Chico residents again plea for a ceasefire resolution Some students say they're facing harassment

photo by Natalie Hanson
Yahmo Aqhba: “[The war is] affecting people, killing people we know and love.”

by Natalie Hanson
posted March 21

A group of Chico residents again have called on city leaders — in a third effort — to pass a ceasefire resolution that would show support for the Palestinian community amid Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

At the meeting earlier this week (March 19), activist Rain Scher stepped to the podium to present a revised ceasefire resolution to the City Council. Scher, a member of Chico Jews in Solidarity with Palestine, pointed out that the new resolution calls for declaring that all human life is “precious.” Scher told ChicoSol that the resolution “explicity names both the Palestinian and Israeli casualties.” read more

Unsheltered, Tom Covington faces hostility and sometimes violence Unhoused are not protected under hate crime law in California

photo by Leslie Layton
Tom Covington was struck by a flaming bag as he slept in a doorway.

by Natalie Hanson & Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 21

Tom Covington curled up to sleep in a downtown Chico doorway on a January night near another unsheltered man. Both men were awakened around 2 a.m. by a flaming bag that was tossed on them and that burned Covington’s sleeping bag, hand and his right side.

Covington was able to slap the fire out, but the men were disgusted and angry to find that the bag was full of feces. Covington’s wheelchair had been taken by one of the two men who had been lurking around them when they bedded down. read more

Unhoused people say they’re targeted, misunderstood A BB gun shooting interrupts an autumn morning

photo by Leslie Layton
Campers believe the hole was caused by gunfire aimed at them.

Sidebar to part II in ChicoSol series on homelessness in 2023.

On a Friday morning in September, North State Shelter Team (NSST) volunteers keep the mobile shower unit running during their weekly visit to the alternate site campground. Hope Commons Church has brought coffee and rolls for unhoused campers. Suddenly, a ping ping ping interrupts quiet conversations.

Then, a tide of irritation and indignant anger rolls through the encampment with the realization that there has just been a BB gun shooting aimed at the group from a passing car. No one was hit, but any of us – from the unhoused to the community volunteers to a pair of ChicoSol journalists on assignment – could have been. read more

Chico parents form anti-racism coalition Parents demand zero tolerance for discrimination

Mele Benz

by Natalie Hanson
posted Oct. 31

Chico Unified parents who demand that their school district crafts stronger protections for students and faculty against hate speech say they are forming an anti-racism coalition.

Mele Benz is one of numerous parents in Chico who say they want children to have better protection from discrimination and hate speech. She is one of three parents who head the board of what is now the NorCal Anti-Racism Coalition, which represents about 100 family members and allies. It asks that Chico Unified School District (CUSD) demonstrate no tolerance for hate speech or discrimination on its campuses. (See sidebar on increased bullying in California schools here.) read more

Activists turn from personal pain to community healing Marginalized and minority communities see uptick in threats, harassment

photo by Leslie Layton
In the last several months, Bethel AME Church has been the target of “cryptic messages.”

by Natalie Hanson
June 12

At a time when hate-fueled speech, crime and violence are threatening marginalized communities nationwide, it often falls on grassroots community movements to create change and promote healing from injustice, experts say.

Chico has tragically faced numerous incidents of hate against people who have historically faced discrimination. The city’s oldest Black church, Bethel African Methodist Episcopalian Church (AME), has reported repeated vandalism since 2020. Art by indigenous organizers has been vandalized. Unhoused people face ongoing verbal harassment and death threats. Anti-Semetic flyers have been delivered to homes across the city several times this year. Stonewall Alliance Chico says it is aware of growing fears of harassment, particularly among LGBTQ youth who face calls for public schools to repeal codes protecting their privacy to avoid discrimination. read more

Chico man: Incident with police began with racial profiling State of California gathers data on policing practices

photo by Karen Laslo
Steve Eaton wants to discuss policing in Chico.

by Leslie Layton
posted May 31

Steve Eaton is still troubled by what happened to him on the last day of March as he drove down an unmarked residential street in the part of old Chico known as The Avenues.

When he was pulled over by a Chico police officer, he remembers telling himself to stay calm and be polite. Surely whatever problem there was would be resolved quickly. But Eaton says his California driver’s license and an obliging attitude didn’t satisfy Officer Juan Valencia, who contended from the start that the 44-year-old African American man had been driving “erratically.” read more