Sara Nevis Photography: Blog en-us (C) Sara Nevis Photography 2019 (Sara Nevis Photography) Wed, 30 Dec 2020 07:31:00 GMT Wed, 30 Dec 2020 07:31:00 GMT Sara Nevis Photography: Blog 96 120 Sacramento activist advocates for gun safety Sacramento community activist Jamilia Land keeps her phone on at all times to assist families affected by gun violence after she herself received a call on New Year’s Eve 2013 from her best friend in Oakland, screaming that her daughter-in-law was shot and needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Land said she felt alone in that moment and wants to make sure other families do not feel the same in those moments of loss.

“I have lost five nephews, a niece and a daughter-in-law [to gun violence],” Land said. “I’ve been surrounded by guns and gun violence all my life. At 14 years old, I saw a close family friend being shot point blank in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun while I was coming out of the corner liquor store.”

Land, an Oakland native, is what some would call a local activist in Sacramento and self-proclaimed humanitarian who helps families that have been affected by police-involved shootings or community-involved shootings with her program, the Anti-violence, Safety and Accountability Project.

March6March6(left to right) Jamilia Land, family friend, and Sequita Thompson, Stephon Clark’s grandmother, at Tower Bridge during the March for Our Lives Too: Police Gun Reform, which started in the quad at City College, then to Crocker Art Museum, Tower Bridge, and finally to the State Capital Thursday, May 2, 2019. Photo by Sara Nevis | Staff Photographer |
Jamilia Land, left, founder of the Anti-Violence, Safety and Accountability Project, and Sequita Thompson, Stephon Clark’s grandmother, at Tower Bridge during the “March for Our Lives Too: Police Gun Reform” May 2, 2019. The march started in the quad at Sacramento City College, then to Crocker Art Museum, Tower Bridge and finally to the California State Capitol. (Sara Nevis)

Land started ASAP a year ago, but said she has been around activism and working in her community since she was 7 years old. Land’s parents were members of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary group founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale that challenged police brutality against the Black community through armed self-defense in Oakland and other cities, according to the National Archives on the Black Panther Party.

Homicides and gun violence have increased in Sacramento over the last year. Just in the last month Land has held vigils and press conferences for two separate families who lost loved ones to gun violence. Since Land started ASAP she said she has helped approximately 18-20 families affected by either police-involved or community-involved gun violence.

ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system that recognizes shots discharged from firearms every night in Sacramento, according to Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn. He said ShotSpotter has detected a 13.3% rise in guns being fired. According to a crime statistics report by the City of Sacramento there was a 31.5% increase in the number of victims shot from 2019 to 2020.

In 2020, overall crime in Sacramento is down 11.6%, but murder is up 33.3%, according to an email from Hahn. In the same email Hahn said there were 43 reported homicides in Sacramento this year, as of Dec. 11, compared to 34 total homicides in 2019. Aggravated assault, including shootings, domestic violence and child abuse, is up by 22.8%.

Recently, Land has been a spokesperson for the family of Michael Wright, who was shot and killed Nov. 4 by police officers, as well as the spokesperson for the family of 19-year-old Dewayne James Jr. and 17-year-old Sa’Quan Reed-James who were shot and killed at Arden Fair Mall on Black Friday.

She held a press conference and candlelight vigil, arranged a meeting with Mayor Darrell Steinberg to speak with the family and helped to get the James brothers back to their hometown in Louisiana to be buried.

Sequita Thompson, Stephon Clark’s grandmother (center with #StephonClark sign), and Jamilia Land, right, founder of the Anti-Violence, Safety and Accountability Project, on Tower Bridge during the “March for Our Lives Too: Police Gun Reform” May 2, 2019. The march started in the quad at Sacramento City College, then to Crocker Art Museum, Tower Bridge, and finally to the California State Capitol. (Sara Nevis)

Land’s daughter Jaysa Harrison, 18-year-old Sacramento State computer science major, said she has experienced so much gun violence and death in her life that it has made her become numb. Despite this, Harrison said everytime she hears of another gun violence victim it forces her to relive her personal experiences.

Land said it is hard to watch your children suffer with depression and anxiety.

“Jaysa doesn’t leave the house unless she has to go to the store or something for school,” Land said.

Land explained that Harrison is afraid of other youth because Harrison comes from a different background and does not act like a lot of her peers.

 “She’s not going anywhere with anybody because she’s afraid [of the world we live in]. Imagine living your life like that as an 18-year-old kid who is supposed to be in their prime.”

Land described Jaysa as an “old soul” who traveled across the country at the age of 5 by herself to meet up with her father, who is currently the special assistant to the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Land said Harrison has never been into social media, parties or drugs and maintained a 4.0 GPA her entire high school duration and graduated as valedictorian and just finished her first semester at Sac State, taking 17 units, with a 4.0.

“She has always been studious,” Land said via text message. “She has accomplished all that while battling an auto-immune disease that has hospitalized her several times.”

Harrison reflected on how society views her mother as an activist and not as a person who has gone through trauma too.

“Earlier this year, her father, my grandfather, passed away and she was still out helping people through their grief while still grieving on her own,” Harrison said. “A lot of people forget that she’s a person, too.”

Land said her self-care and therapy is being there for other people because in helping them, she helps herself.

“I have so much pain inside, that if I don’t do something positive and constructive with it, it will consume me,” Land said.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, right, and Jamilia Land, left , founder of Anti-Violence, Safety and Accountability Project, and others pose for a photo during the “Solidarity Walk” that started at the Oak Park Community Center and ended at the Shiloh Baptist Church June 3, 2020. (Photo provided by Jamilia Land)

Recently, Land and Hahn worked together after the death of George Floyd. Hahn said after seeing a photo of police officers walking with the community he reached out to community leaders like Land. One week after the protests started in Sacramento, they both were a part of the Walk for Solidarity that started at the Oak Park Community Center and ended at the Shiloh Baptist Church. Although Land, Harrison and Hahn believe education is the key to help reduce gun violence, they all envision a different type of education to be used.

A Sac State alumnus, Hahn said going to school and getting a degree helps reduce crime rates and build communities up. Hahn said he would like to see the education system equally funded across the board, so schools like Rocklin and Grant High Schools have the same opportunities.

Land said while she would like to get rid of guns entirely, she acknowledges that is not realistic. She said she believes gun education and safety is needed to reduce accidental shootings from mishandling weapons and to avoid situations like her 4-year-old nephew, who found a loaded gun underneath a pillow and accidentally shot himself in the head but survived. She suggested either going into schools or the community and teaching children on how to properly handle guns.

Harrison said families that have been affected by gun violence should tell their story to a wide audience so people become informed.

Jamilia Land, founder of the Anti-Violence, Safety and Accountability Project, speaks to the group gathered during the Black Women Matter rally organized by Empact Org. at Cesar Chavez Plaza in Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 26, 2020. Leia Schenk, founder of Empact Org., organized the rally to have a space to uplift Black women and have women share their thoughts and experiences. (Sara Nevis)

Land said that honest conversations on gun safety in the Black community, especially with children, are a great starting point.

Land said one stark difference she sees compared to the Black community is that people in the white community are taught to handle guns properly. Land said that Black children are mostly exposed to guns through movies or videos and see them as cool but are not taught what they are capable of.

Harrison said something needs to change with how accessible guns are because once they are brought into the community they can be passed to other people and end up in the hands of the youth who are not taught how to handle guns properly.

“We need the leaders of the communities to actually go into the communities and help because we can’t do it on our own,” Harrison said. “We also have to have better education on it [gun safety]. We have to start talking about them [gun violence-related deaths] younger because it’s young kids killing other young kids.”

Both Land and Hahn talked about ways to reduce gun and police involved violence and discussed their views on the defunding of the police that can be heard at protests. “Defund the police” is a rallying cry from the public to take some of the financial resources that law enforcement receive and redirect it into community programs or into the communities that are impacted by this type of violence.

“It’s never a race issue,” Harrison said. “It’s not a power issue. It is a people issue. That’s what it is, because at the end of the day, we just don’t know what it is to be genuine people anymore and to feel like you can take somebody’s life because you feel you’re more in power than they are just isn’t right. But it has nothing to do with them being policemen.

Land and Harrison have different views on this topic. Even though Land and Hahn are friends, Land said that does not color her view of police officers.

“Defunding the police is not going to make them kill us any less,” Land said. “We have to be realistic about that. At the end of the day, it’s not the funding that’s killing. It’s the law enforcement officers themselves.”

Some people suggest tearing down law enforcement and creating a new policing system because law enforcement has a history of racism.

Jamilia Land, right, founder of the Anti-Violence, Safety and Accountability Project, speaks during the 2019 Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce PROSPER panel at U.C. Davis in Sacramento, Calif., Nov, 18, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Jamilia Land)

“Law enforcement does have a history in racism,” Hahn said. “Every single thing in this country has a history of racism, so it’s true what they say. I just disagree on what to do about it.”

Any real long-term solutions to gun violence and police-involved violence will take time, planning and collaboration, according to Hahn.

“So if we go down the line of defunding the police, who’s going to actually be there to help get these guns off of the streets?” Land asked. “Then there is the flip side of the conversation, where you hear in the communities, ‘We just need additional funding and we’ll police ourselves.’ Well, do we need that funding to police ourselves or can we start that right now?”

With no single concrete solution agreed on by the masses, Land and Hahn are taking steps to help reduce gun violence in their communities. They are educating others on gun safety, telling their stories and encouraging young people to go to college.

I caution people don’t be so quick to jump on one side or the other,” Land said. “This is not a one-way conversation. This is a multifaceted issue that we have to be able to look at and approach in a sensible manner. And when you have extremes on both ends of the aisle we’re never going to get anywhere.”

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn and Jamilia Land, founder of Anti-Violence, Safety and Accountability Project [A.S.A.P.], pose for a photo at the annual MLK 20th anniversary legacy celebration dinner at Sac State (photo provided by Jamilia Land). (Photo illustration by Sara Nevis)

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn and Jamilia Land, founder of Anti-Violence, Safety and Accountability Project [A.S.A.P.], pose for a photo at the annual MLK 20th anniversary legacy celebration dinner at Sac State (photo provided by Jamilia Land). (Photo illustration by Sara Nevis)

Additional reporting by Mercy Sosa


(Sara Nevis Photography) activist advocate gun violence humanitarian police Wed, 30 Dec 2020 07:22:46 GMT
Food insecurity: a part of life for some students at City College As a student in 2015, Nyla Vaivai was a part of RISE, a group on campus that believes that every student can be successful in achieving a higher education and helps to make that happen. She noticed that a lot of RISE students were hungry.

“Whenever we put food out, they ate it—no hesitation,” Vaivai said. “You can just tell when you see your everyday students that were OK in food security than those that were in the food insecurity bracket. We saw a big number of that.”

California has a food insecurity rate of 11.7% which translates to 4.6 million people who do not have access to affordable, nutritious food, according to the California Association of Food Banks. It states that on average, one of every eight Californians does not know where their next meal will come from. According to Feeding America, there are 215,570 food insecure people in Sacramento County, 14.4% of the population based on a 2017 study. City College is no different.

Vaivai talked to her boss and decided to take action. She met with the Sacramento Food Bank in 2015. She did all the paperwork to set up a remote food site through the food bank, and in March 2016 City College launched its first food distribution. The college has continued it twice a week until recently. The only requirement is that students have to be Los Rios students who have hunger.

“When I did the sign-up for that week for people to come and get food, we had over 300 sign-ups just within one week,” Vaivai said. “From there it grew to where now we are serving close to 1,500 every week.”

A week before City College closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vaivai was determined to continue the food distribution and started to take precautions. She had the volunteers wear gloves and pass them out to the students picking up food. Students that walked up to receive food, Vaivai would have  them stand six feet apart. A few days later she had the students stay in their cars and had volunteers deliver bags or boxes of food to students.

“I feel that we could have still had it on campus because we were doing the distancing, and that is what everyone is doing,” Vaivai said. “Everyone that comes to pick up food has to remain in their cars, and that’s what we did. And this was before Sacramento was on a lockdown.”

When the campus moved fully online March 18, the food distribution was temporarily shut down as well. Vaivai included resources for food distributions in the Sacramento area on the Panther Paw Produce Instagram page. 

City College alumna Nyla Vaivai, student success and support program specialist at City, puts a box of food in a waiting open trunk at the food distribution at New Covenant Agape Ministries in Sacramento, California, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Vaivai started the food distribution at City College as a student March 2016. Since City College has been closed she has been volunteering at the New Covenant Agape Ministries which has food distributions Tuesday through Saturday from 9-10 a.m. (Sara Nevis/

Since the campus closure, Vaivai and five others have started to volunteer at other food distributions in Sacramento. She volunteers three to four days a week, depending on the site schedules and volunteers needed. But she has noticed that social distancing has removed the personal aspect that students received on campus.

“All of these food distributions I’ve noticed there’s a disconnect as far as a human connection,” Vaivai said. “Now, you don’t even know the people’s name that you see weekly picking up these food, and sometimes the faces change because volunteers come and go. You can’t sit and chitchat and have a conversation. Everybody is like come and go, come and go real quick because there are multiple lines, and then there’s that distance of 6 feet or better.”

Vaivai talked to faculty who volunteer at food distributions at other schools and learned that they are having low numbers of families showing up to receive food. She feels it has to do with some families not having vehicles or the limitations some food distributions have—that they must have a valid California ID or can only go once a month—unlike City College.

One of the food distribution sites where Vaivai volunteers is at the New Covenant Agape Ministries—held Tuesday through Saturday from 9–10 a.m. According to Lisa Maui, ministry manager, they serve an average of 350 to 550 cars a day or about 1,200 or more people since some cars get food for up to seven families.

Maui has been a part of this ministry doing food distributions for 15 years. The ministry, also partnered with Sacramento Food Bank, is able to provide food to everyone who comes through their line.

Traffic was backed up on Power Inn Road and around the corner on Elder Creek Road past the train tracks for the food distribution at New Covenant Agape Ministries in Sacramento, California, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The New Covenant Agape Ministries has had food distributions for 15 years and currently has them Tuesday through Saturday from 9-10 a.m. (Sara Nevis/

By 8 a.m. traffic backs up throughout the warehouses on Power Inn Road and around the corner on Elder Creek Road past the train tracks, cars of families waiting to receive food. According to Maui, this happens every food distribution day, so to get the line moving, they start to serve people as early as 8 a.m. once the traffic gets to the train tracks.

“Even in the times that our nation is in, throughout this hard ordeal, it’s our pleasure to serve people because that’s what we’re called to ministry to do,” Maui said. “Even though it’s kind of a risk, we don’t look at it like that because we know there’s a need out there. And if we can meet that need, we’re here to serve to meet that need.” 

Vaivai has a lot of volunteers who help at the City College food distribution, and her friend Tamara Knox is one. A City College graduate and instructional assistant in photography, Knox has volunteered for over three years.

“I felt it was empowering for the students and less stressful for them as well,” Knox said of the twice-weekly distribution. “Our campus was doing a very positive thing that helped students in need.”

Since the shutdown, Vaivai and Knox worry about some students with whom they have built relationships. City College was a convenient food pick-up point for students, especially with the light rail station next to campus.

“We’re like bartenders,” Vaivai said. “Everyone goes to the bartender and spills out their life story. That’s how it was for us. A lot of the time we were a part of their weekly lives.”

Knox said she has had students contact her, trying to find where they can receive food. 

“[It] has been heartbreaking,” Knox said. “There’s always the one student that makes it a routine. Seeing those particular students all the time, I feel like it was really important to them to stop [by the food distribution].”

City College student Phillip Darghty, sociology major, helps at the food distribution at New Covenant Agape Ministries in Sacramento, California, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Since City College closed due to COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders, Darghty has been volunteering at New Covenant Agape Ministries that has food distributions Tuesday through Saturday from 9-10 a.m. (Sara Nevis/

Vaivai remembers one student in particular who, at the time, had two young daughters and a baby boy. She noticed this student for months and would try to get her to come to the food distribution booth, but she always heard the same answer: “Nah, I’m OK.” One day Vaivai saw the student about to cross the parking lot in front of the bookstore with her three children and approached her again.

“Look, it’s free. It’s for everyone,” Vaivai said to the student. “And it’s not just for the poor. Look at it this way: Why would you go spend $30 on produce when you can get it here for free every week?”

The student was hesitant, but Vaivai asked the children if they wanted strawberries. The student responded, “Yeah, but there are people that are even less fortunate than me.”

“And there is and there always will be,” Vaivai said to the student. “But this is for everyone. We have faculty and staff that come in here because you just don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. And we have people come here that clearly don’t need it, but they take advantage of it. Because they’re thinking, ‘I’m going to save my money. Let me go over here and get it for free.’”

Emma Letoa, Pastor Koroseta Letoa’s wife, puts onions in boxes at the food distribution at New Covenant Agape Ministries in Sacramento, California, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. New Covenant Agape Ministries has food distributions Tuesday through Saturday from 9-10 a.m. (Sara Nevis/

Now that student is a regular and has been coming to the food distribution for four years. Vaivai and the volunteers know her and have seen her children grow up.

“For people like that it’s not so easy,” Vaivai said. “They’re ashamed, or they feel like there’s someone worse off than them, so they don’t come and take the food.”

Each semester Vaivai sees new students with this perception and continues to let the students know the food distribution is for everyone.

“Majority of them have the perception that ‘I shouldn’t take [this] because it’s for homeless students,’” Vaivai said. “They’re the ones that I will personally go up to. If I catch it at that moment, I drop everything and walk up to them, and I try everything to make them feel comfortable. This is not just for homeless students. This is also for people who do have a little something.”

Food distribution resources can be found at the Panther Paw Produce Instagram page: @pather_paw_produce_scc

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(Sara Nevis Photography) food food distribution food insecurity sac sac city Thu, 10 Dec 2020 16:00:00 GMT
City College athlete still applying best speed, despite cancellation of baseball season DennisBoatmanDennisBoatmanCity College pitcher Dennis Boatman (55) warms up in between innings against Mission College at Union Stadium Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Boatman pitched six innings and threw seven strikeouts with two walks in the game. City College beat Mission College 4-3. (Sara Nevis/

Music playing over stadium speakers, the buzz of the crowd, sunflower seed shells on the ground, the smell of hot dogs and the sound of the crack of a bat—it’s spring and time for baseball at Union Stadium. 

But this year is different because on March 19 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) canceled spring sports due to the COVID-19 quarantine. The team had only played seven conference games before the last 20 games were canceled.

Dennis Boatman, a 20-year-old pitcher at City College, known for having a 96 mph fastball, among other things, had the same reaction as the rest of his teammates when their baseball season was cut short. 

“We were devastated,” Boatman said. “We still haven’t met together as a team, since we’re not supposed to meet up in big groups yet.”

Boatman was one of many athletes who wanted to see how this season would play out.

“We knew that this was the team that was going to go all the way,” Boatman said. “This was the team—it had all the pitching, it had all the hitting. It just sucks that it had to end so quickly.”



Dennis Boatman comes from an athletic family, but he was the first one to play baseball. He has two older sisters—one played soccer, and the other ran cross country in high school. His dad was a big golfer and wanted his son to play golf as a kid, which he did for a couple years. 

But one of Boatman’s best friends was playing Little League, and the young golfer decided to see if he liked baseball.

“[My dad] was actually upset when I asked him to start playing baseball because of how much he really wanted me to play golf,” Boatman said. “But he ended up letting me play, and I don’t think he has any big deal with it now.”

Boatman stood out among other players due to his height and build. His freshman year in high school he was 6 feet 3 inches and threw a fastball in the low to mid 80s mph. That year he got a recruitment letter from UCLA, which made him realize he had a shot to play at the next level. He was a big recruit across the country. Coaches told Boatman he had a projectable frame, someone who would be able to put on a decent amount of weight even though he was still pretty tall, and had a lot of good qualities and characteristics for a good projected pitcher.

“Yeah, we can see you in two or three years when you’re at UCLA—you’re going to be a big starting pitcher,” UCLA recruiters told Boatman.

Boatman and his dad have always been big Pac-12 fans, but because UCLA is his dad’s favorite team, Boatman grew up a UCLA fan, too. Boatman decided to commit to UCLA the summer after his sophomore year.

“For [UCLA] to be the first school to reach out to me, that was super special for me and my dad and me and my parents,” Boatman said. “They were also the first school to offer me a scholarship, and I took it up right away. I was super excited.”

But in his senior year he started to struggle a little. 

“[I] wasn’t very consistent,” Boatman said. 

City College baseball head coach Derek Sullivan, who has been head coach for the last eight years, said that being a high profile athlete for so long might have put a lot of pressure on Boatman.

“I don’t know how much fun he had,” said Sullivan. “And when he started to struggle, that's a bad snowball.”

During Boatman’s freshman year at UCLA he had a leg injury, so he was redshirted and wasn’t able to play that year. 

“First couple outings I was honestly pretty scared because I hadn’t faced any competition in a while,” Boatman said. “And I expected to be off to a tough start, which happened my first three or four starts. I would go out and want to throw a lot of strikes, which would then put me in this bad situation.”

In some games he could go two or three innings in relief with no runs and a few strikeouts. According to Boatman, he realized his confidence wasn’t consistent because he had gotten to a point where he expected to fail.

At UCLA, head coach John Savage would have the consistent starters play in a Cape Cod Baseball League during the summer. But if a player was not ready for it Savage would send him to the Northwoods League in Minnesota, which is where he had Boatman play in the summer of 2019. While in Minnesota Boatman had an unsuccessful season that changed his path in baseball. 

“My coach at UCLA said, ‘I think it’d be best for you to go to a junior college for a year,’” Boatman said. “So we both decided that’s probably what would be best for me to try to get my confidence back, get some playing time again, so that I can be ready to go next year at UCLA again.”

Savage told Boatman there was an option to remain at UCLA but said, “You probably won’t be getting much playing time the way you are playing right now.” 

Boatman took the news hard. After he talked with his parents, they all came to the conclusion that going to a community college to play was the best option for him.

Sullivan recalled that he received a call from Savage during the summer of 2019.

“Hey, this might be an option for the kid. What do you think?” Savage asked Sullivan.

Sullivan agreed that it might be best for Boatman to come to a place like City College where he could pitch a lot, get better and develop.

“They didn’t see a ton of innings for [Boatman at UCLA],” Sullivan said. “The idea was, ‘We really want him back as long as Dennis wants to come back.’”

City College pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Deskaheh Bomberry, received a call from Savage, too. Savage said that he’d suggested that Boatman should play at City College. Bomberry remembered that he was driving to Lake Tahoe when he got a call from Boatman.

“I pulled over and spent 30 minutes on the phone with him,” Bomberry said, “just talking about what we could hopefully help him do and all the different ways we wanted to help him.”

Boatman is from Roseville, but he said he didn’t know much about community  college baseball programs in the area since he’d set his sights on UCLA since the summer after his sophomore year. 

Bomberry said since Boatman came to play for the Panthers, they’ve worked to clean up his arm action and make it a little more rhythmic. In high school Boatman pitched his fastball in the upper 80s. Last year his fastball stayed the same in the upper 80s, touching 90-91 every once in a while. 

“His arm action before was kind of violent, [and] it wasn’t super efficient. It just caused all sorts of breakdowns throughout the chain,” said Bomberry, who has been the Panthers’ pitching coach for 22 years. “At his release point there was nothing happening the way you’d want it to happen.” 

Bomberry made some adjustments to Boatman’s arm action.

“We started it right away, and he took to it really easily, and he’s made a lot of progress,” said Bomberry.

After the adjustments, Boatman was able to get his fast ball up to 96 mph and has become a more consistent pitcher.

“I remember the first time I threw it, I was out in the bullpen, and I was super excited,” Boatman said. “Upper 90s has been the goal my whole life, and I have been floating around 90 miles an hour for a few years, so having that big increase was super exciting for me.”

According to Bomberry, the most important factor in Boatman’s success has nothing to do with mechanics or pitching: Boatman is enjoying the sport again. 

“When was the last time you had fun playing baseball?” Bomberry asked Boatman.

During Boatman’s senior year in high school he started to focus on his success because he was talking to a lot of teams. 

“It turned into ‘I need to do well; I need to get drafted,’” said Boatman. “It turned into a burden of ‘If I don’t do well, I’m not going to be able to play baseball.’”

He put a lot of pressure on himself trying to get drafted.

“It shocked [me] realizing I hadn’t had fun since my junior year of high school,” Boatman said. “[Bomberry] told me that he didn’t care if I didn’t throw a single strike the entire fall. He said, ‘You are going to pitch every single week, and the only thing we care about is you having fun.’ And I had a very successful fall and spring.” 

Boatman was, until the cancellation of the season, focused on the team and winning games.

“Talent-wise, he’s right up there with the best guys we have, but he’s also right up there as a really great teammate,” Sullivan said. “That doesn’t always happen with guys that are going to come in and be here for one year, and they are trying to do some things for themselves.” 

Sullivan called Boatman “a sponge,” soaking up experience and learning a lot. One of those lessons is a City College baseball tradition—best speed. The idea, according to Sullivan, is for players to give their best effort with every breath. Both Sullivan and Bomberry said that Boatman is a good teammate, one who often assists other players, particularly pitchers.

“He wants to help people, wants to be a good teammate, wants to do the right things for the right reasons,” Bomberry said. “I think that’s been the most refreshing part of the whole thing—just the type of person he’s been since he’s been here.”



Because Boatman has played at City College, it opens him up to the Major League Baseball draft. Boatman was named one of the JUCO Top 10 2020 Draft Prospects, according to Perfect Game.

“The plan is still UCLA, but I’m not saying no to the draft yet,” Boatman said. 

Being able to play professionally is still Boatman’s ultimate goal. And he’ll have that opportunity, according to Bomberry.

“He’ll be drafted. It’s just a matter of how early in the draft it could be,” Bomberry said. “It’s just a matter of what he values more at this point in his life. Is it going to UCLA for another year and then trying to go back in the draft, or is it going into the draft this year and signing a contract this year?”

With the spring sports canceled, there are a lot of questions. According to Boatman, eligibility is still getting figured out for NCAA Division I as well as how the MLB draft will happen. 

The MLB will still have a draft but with changes. The draft date could be pushed back, and most likely have 5-10 rounds as opposed to 40. The MLB will limit the amount of the signing bonus and will distribute it out over the next two years instead of upfront, according to CBS Sports.

Now, Boatman has to focus on his unclear future. 

“Whether it’s pro ball, if I get drafted or UCLA or Sac City wherever I’m at,” Boatman said, “[my mindset has] changed more to [thinking more like] an individual rather than winning for the team.”

Still, Boatman is happy with his decision to play for City College. Even though the season ended early, he had an ERA of 2.77 with 25 strikeouts and eight walks.

“I think that’s probably been one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my baseball career so far because of how much I've been able to get better and how much I’ve changed,” Boatman said. “I’m just super happy that I made that decision. And I’m excited to go back to UCLA next year and just be ready to play.”

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(Sara Nevis Photography) baseball college draft mlb pitcher sac city training velocity Wed, 09 Dec 2020 16:00:00 GMT
Panthers football coach tackles journalism with his middle school classroom As 22 students from Rio Tierra Junior High School enter the classroom, it’s abuzz with excitement. With rap music playing in the background, their teacher, Jordan McGowan, greets each student with a hug, a warm welcome or a joke.

McGowan is the Panthers’ football wide receiver coach as well as the head basketball coach at Rio Tierra where he primarily teaches history. Last year McGowan was asked to create and began teaching a journalism class for the middle school for the 2019-2020 school year.  

He got the chance to do so because over the last three years teachers and administrators have been redesigning the curriculum, according to McGowan. There was an elective course that needed to be staffed, and Micah Simmons, Rio Tierra principal, asked if McGowan was interested in teaching it. 

“For me, teaching an elective class was always going to be about empowering students,” McGowan said. “And I thought, what better way to get the students to utilize their voice than through being journalists?”

Before the redesign, if a student in the special education program had service support as an elective, they didn’t get to take another, Simmons explained. McGowan has seven students receiving service support, and under the new curriculum, for the last three years every student has been able to take two electives.

“We have [journalism], we have 21st-century skills, we have a MESA program where they don’t have to stay after school. [The class is] taken during the school day,” Simmons explained. “Some kids who struggle can do their reading intervention and still have an elective.”

Though McGowan doesn’t have a journalism background, he has had writing published—poems and opinion pieces. Still, he had to design a curriculum for the new class. Simmons, McGowan and the school’s counselor came up with ideas about what the class should cover and how it should be approached. McGowan reached out to friends who were journalism majors and researched topics covered in college journalism classes.

“It’s a treat and dynamic of him to want to put himself out there and explore all of these [journalism skills and concepts] and not have a set curriculum,” Simmons said of McGowan. “It’s important for our kids to realize that our world is full of so much information that you do have to peel back the layers and [determine] what is the actual factual stuff. I think that is what he [is] trying to do.”


On a Wednesday afternoon in mid-March the students are working on the yearbook project that includes writing, photos and videos. The students sit in small groups, each with their own project to contribute to the yearbook. One group works on articles, another on photos and another on videos. McGowan walks around the classroom checking on each group, appearing pleased as he sees them diligently working and being self-sufficient.

Earlier in the school year the students started with print and photography work then started working on radio then video. The students produced their own video news program on a variety of different topics: school shootings, police brutality, gun violence, campus safety, dress codes and bullying. They researched, filmed and edited their segments with guidance from McGowan.

McGowan coached football at City College in 2013-14 and has been coaching  now since 2018. He said that as a young coach at City College he learned a model of building relationships from the other football coaches.

“Seeing when I applied it for myself when I was a high school coach, it worked for my team, seeing those relationships form,” says McGowan. “That’s what I do in my classroom.”

Rio Tierra is a Title 1 school, which means that it gets supplemental funds to help its low-income students meet their educational goals, according to

Because of the Title 1 designation, McGowan says, “There are so many negative things that come out about the school.” 

He has been trying to change that image.

McGowan had met Sabrina Silva, a reporter with “Good Day Sacramento,” when she interviewed McGowan’s 10-year-old son who was rapping at the State Fair. McGowan contacted Silva on social media to tell her about his journalism class, and “Good Day Sacramento” highlighted the class in a video segment

The idea of a journalism class being taught to middle schoolers intrigued Silva.

“When you see these kids being introduced to journalism and you see their interest, what he is doing at a young age is teaching them to respect the media,” Silva says. “He’s helping change the future of journalism.”

After their appearance on TV, McGowan notes, the students were motivated to produce more work. The students have worked on projects dealing with print media, radio and TV, as well as using social media to get their news out to the public on Instagram and through blogs and podcasts. 

“They are creating content that they are proud of and see themselves in a positive light,” McGowan says. “For the community to see themselves in a positive light was really a great moment for a lot of the kids.”

McGowan says that he’s pleased about the connection the kids developed with Silva and how she has continued to stay in contact with them.

“[She’s] a journalist who looks like them, who is not from this country,” McGowan said. “They have someone they can be like, ‘Wow, I can look up to, I can talk to, she’s tangible. If I can do it you can do it.’ That’s what she always tells them. [She] came here not speaking English.”


Despite its success and what it’s given students, the journalism class at Rio Tierra will end after this year, mostly due to budget constraints. 

“It’s also due to [the fact that] we haven’t gotten the academic impact out of being able to spend an additional half a million dollars on top of your regular allocation of teachers,” said Simmons, Rio Tierra’s principal. “It’s not going away from the lack of kids wanting to do it, our displeasure with it or ineffectiveness of it. It comes down to budget and the redesign of the school.”

Some of the students in the class are eighth graders who will graduate this year. But NeLynn, a seventh grader who enjoys writing, was looking forward to taking the class next year.

“It makes you feel good helping out the group and like you can do anything,” NeLynn said. “He [McGowan] has a connection to the students, and if you get something wrong, he will sit down and help you. Other teachers will tell you what to do and walk away.” 

Sabrina Silva agrees. 

“I think that Jordan is an amazing teacher, these kids really love him,” she said. “I’ve had teachers like this in my past, and they’re teachers I’ll remember forever, [who] have made a big difference in my life.”


As the news of the class’s demise hit the students, on March 13 they also learned that their school was closing because of statewide shelter-in-place policies to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“There were a few kids in tears,” McGowan said over the phone about his journalism class. “It really sucks because we find out this is the only year we’re going to have this class and then for it to abruptly end.”

McGowan plans to try to finish the yearbook in the now-online school setting.

“It will probably end up being a lot of work on my end because the students won’t have the iPad or those resources,” McGowan said. “Even if we only have a journalism program for one year, we were able to produce this material. So now for it to be cut short is really tough.”

Rio Tierra is still in the planning stages of incorporating material for the online school environment, but McGowan has other concerns than just lesson plans. He doesn’t want to rush to think about content or standards. He’s more concerned about how his students’ personal lives are being affected by the school’s closure.

“One of the journalism students wrote me a message, and he’s been going back and forth with getting caught up in his family’s involvement in local gangs,” McGowan said. “He’s been trying to fight that fight, and being home he realized he didn’t want that. Other students are taking care of little brothers or little sisters. Now they are caretakers. That’s what some kids are going through.”

Whether on the field or in a classroom, McGowan sees himself as an educator. Even though Rio Tierra has temporarily transitioned to an online environment, he hopes his students have learned certain things from his class.

“I’m hoping that my kids take away that they know how to research and how to effectively use their voice,” McGowan said. “Whatever they feel or want to share with people, they have that power. They shouldn’t be silent. Their voices matter.”


Article originally published at

Delta10Delta10City College wide receivers Coach Jordan McGowan argues a non call after Quinton Gaines (13) rushes for a loss of 1 yard during the fourth quarter in the game against San Joaquin Delta College at Hughes Stadium Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Delta College beat City College 32-15. (Sara Nevis/ jordan1jordan1Jordan McGowan, left, Rio Tierra journalism and history teacher, goes over what the agenda is for the day at the beginning of the journalism class at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/ jordan2jordan2The journalism class watching a video by the World Health Organization, WHO, declaring a pandemic regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/ jordan3jordan3The journalism class watching a video by the World Health Organization, WHO, declaring a pandemic regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/ jordan5jordan5Eighth graders Corazone, left, and Thressa work on their answers to the questions about the video by the World Health Organization, WHO, declaring a pandemic regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/ jordan6jordan6Students working on their answers to the questions about the video by the World Health Organization, WHO, declaring a pandemic regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/ jordan7jordan7Students working on their answers to the questions about the video by the World Health Organization, WHO, declaring a pandemic regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/ jordan8jordan8Jordan McGowan, right, talks with eighth grader David while he works on his answers to the questions about the video by the World Health Organization, WHO, declaring a pandemic regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/ jordan9jordan9Katey Graf, seventh and eighth grade science and AVID teacher, gets interviewed by eighth grader Laila and seventh grader Mahlaya records the interview on a phone at Rio Tierra Middle School Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Sara Nevis/

(Sara Nevis Photography) coach football journalism sac city teach teacher Mon, 07 Dec 2020 17:49:36 GMT
Sounds of giving back Published with The Stockton Record 


On the evening before Mother’s Day, music echoed across North Lake in Lincoln Village West in Stockton. Neighbors pulled up in their motorboats, paddleboats or inner tubes to the backyard of Dan and Peggy Massey MacDonnell, who hosted a concert on the manmade lake.

Dan MacDonnell, a Stockton musician, has sung and played guitar at many local venues since the late 1970s.

“I headed the Islander at one point, the Hatch Cover, every venue around town,” he said. “Then I moved out of the country.”

MacDonnell bought a catamaran charter business on the island of Saipan in Micronesia. There he got the nickname Captain Dan, a name that lives today in his musical group, the Capt. Dan Band.

“When I was living in Asia, I became an executive director of resorts in Saipan, Guam, Phuket, Bali. We had offices in Japan,” MacDonnell said. “Everywhere I went, I would do side gigs and still play.”

Ever since they’ve lived on North Lake, the MacDonnells have wanted to have a concert on the lake.

“We wanted to do it when nothing was going on in the world, like this pandemic, and we just thought this is the most wonderful time to do it,” Peggy MacDonnell said. “All of our neighbors are just thrilled to get out and look forward to something.”

The MacDonnells hand-delivered flyers to all 71 residents around the lake to invite them to their COVID-19 Relief Concert.

“This will be a good opportunity for our neighbors and friends and an opportunity for me to be not so rusty and keep my chops,” Dan MacDonnell said with a laugh. “Now with the COVID-19 and everyone’s locked up in their houses, I thought this is the perfect opportune time.”

Around the lake, neighbors lounged on their decks, in their backyards or on boats, kayaks and inner tubes anchored behind the MacDonnells’ property to listen to him play guitar and sing in his gazebo.

Music has been a part of MacDonnell’s life for a long time. After getting a guitar for his eighth-grade graduation and teaching himself how to play, he formed his first band as a freshman in high school. Ever since, through his many careers and making a family with Peggy, he has found music to be a stress reliever.

“I would go and I would perform at a club, and everything just melted away,” MacDonnell said. “And it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, it just fills the soul.’ I think that’s what we need right now.”

Before the stay-at-home orders, MacDonnell was singing to the residents where Peggy works, Somerford Place Memory Care, as well as the retirement community of Rio Las Palmas, both in Stockton.

“He just started for like three months, then this happened, but he’ll go back and do it,” she said.

Even though MacDonnell has been a musician for many years, he said he still finds himself nervous every time before he plays.

“It’s very important to me,” he said. “I want to give to everybody. I want to share this, and, hopefully, I can spill some good and joy across this lake today.”


Concert3Concert3Dan MacDonnell blows the conch shell to signify the start of the free concert for their neighbors at North Lake in Lincoln Village West in Stockton, California, Saturday, May 9, 2020. [SARA NEVIS/FOR THE RECORD] Concert4Concert4Dan MacDonnell plays his guitar and sings for his neighbors in boats at his backyard during the free concert at North Lake in Lincoln Village West in Stockton, California, Saturday, May 9, 2020. [SARA NEVIS/FOR THE RECORD] Concert7Concert7Dan MacDonnell plays his guitar and sings for his neighbors in boats at his backyard during the free concert at North Lake in Lincoln Village West in Stockton, California, Saturday, May 9, 2020. [SARA NEVIS/FOR THE RECORD] Concert9Concert9Dan MacDonnell plays his guitar and sings for his neighbors in boats at his backyard during the free concert at North Lake in Lincoln Village West in Stockton, California, Saturday, May 9, 2020. [SARA NEVIS/FOR THE RECORD]

(Sara Nevis Photography) concert covid feature music record Stockton Stockton record Mon, 07 Dec 2020 04:13:58 GMT
Protesters march against child trafficking Stand Up Against Child Trafficking was a protest organized Aug. 21 by Kortne Greene and Kid. The protest was sponsored by Empact, an organization started by Leia Schenk. A small group of 20 protesters started to file into Cesar Chavez Plaza at 5 p.m. Before the march started, tables were set up to provide masks and food to protesters and the homeless gathered in the plaza.


California is top in the nation in human trafficking with 1507 reported cases in 2019, according to World Population Review. Currently, there are 25 million victims worldwide in the $150 billion business of human trafficking, according to Forbes.


“There’s nobody bringing awareness right now,” said Greene. “Yes, Black lives do matter, we’re along with that movement, but this is something that takes precedence to us. Human trafficking is happening in our city.”


Protest organizers coordinated with Sacramento Police officers to assist in blocking oncoming traffic during the march. No acts of violence occurred during the protest.


“I didn’t have an[y] idea that [child trafficking] was so high for Sacramento County and Placer County and even going into Roseville,” said Schenk. “Right now it is so important that we get the community to understand how bad it is and how susceptible all our children are to it.”


According to Schenk, she wants to equip parents to make informed decisions on what they allow their children to do and what parents should investigate to keep their children safe. Schenk urges parents to be more vigilant with what their children are doing on their phones and where they go, especially considering the amount of time children will now spend away from the structure school provides.


“There’s no such thing as a child prostitute,” said Schenk. “But if you go over there on Auburn and Watt, you see kids 10, 11, 12, 13 years old walking up and down that street. That’s not prostitution. They’re being sold. We have to do something about it. Because if we don’t, they end up dying to this lifestyle.”


Article at

(Sara Nevis Photography) capitol child trafficking protest sacramento trafficking Mon, 24 Aug 2020 17:41:01 GMT
Day of the Dead article The crowd filled the room of the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento for the monthly Cultural Tuesday to celebrate the Day of the Dead. It was standing room only with people along the wall with artwork on display as the aroma of ceviche and fresh tortillas filled the air. 

At the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, people joined in celebration of the Day of the Dead Tuesday, Oct. 29 to experience an exhibition of Jose Guadalupe Posada’s artwork, a presentation on Posada’s history, dances performed by Grupo Folklórico Herúvi Kalo, traditional Mexican folk music, an altar display, and Nayarit food from Mariscos Las Islitas.

Consul General of Mexico in Sacramento Liliana Ferrer, alumnus of City College, helped put together the altar and hosted the event.

“As you know the Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico,” said Ferrer. “As we celebrate life, we also logically celebrate death as part of the cycle—the circle of life.”

Ferrer said the event was there to celebrate two people: Mexican illustrator, cartoonist and artist José Guadalupe Posada and Mexican contemporary painter Francisco Toledo. 

City College librarian Antonio Lopez was part of the team that brought Posada’s collection, “Calaveras, Calaveritas y Calaverones,” to the Mexican Consulate. Lopez said that Posada (1852–1913) was an influential Mexican artist, but he was much more than just an artist. He was active in people’s worldview through his printmaking as well as writing.

“For me [Posada is] totally iconic. He’s representative of Day of the Dead,” said Lopez. “The Catrina image that he did was used in the movie ‘Coco’—he was mass media of his day.” 

Lopez said that Posada was a people’s artist and that his work was used in everyday newspapers that helped to define the Mexican culture during that era. 

“For me as a Chicano, I relate to him in a way that’s about my own identity,” said Lopez. 

Altar display at the Day of the Dead Ancestors of Nayarit celebration held at the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, California Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Sara Nevis/

The Day of the Dead is celebrated in the United States from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, remembering the lives of people who have died. 

“Every Day of the Dead, Mexicans, as you know, we place an altar of the dead,” said Ferrer. “We honor tradition, we honor culture and we honor our loved ones.” 

One of the attendees, Karyme Oroczo Salazar, originally from Mexico, moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. She is currently a third-year UC Davis student and learned about the event through her Latin resource center at school. 

“I like to celebrate the Day of the Death, but since we moved here, we don’t really celebrate it as a family,” said Salazar. “I would like to learn more about the altar, and someday when I have my own place, I want to have that tradition of creating my own altar on the Day of the Death teaching and passing that on to my children, too.”

According to Ferrer, the event also honored all the educational systems in California that help educate the Mexican community. Ferrer believes that educating ourselves about other cultures and traditions allows us to better understand and get along with each other.

Luz America, from Sonora, Mexico, sings traditional Mexican folk songs with Grupo Folklórico Herúvi Kalo at the Day of the Dead Ancestors of Nayarit celebration held at the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, California Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Sara Nevis/

“An integral part of our education is educating ourselves about others,” said Ferrer. “We should promote education through cultural events. Culture is a perfect bridging mechanism amongst people and there is no better way than promoting peace and friendship through culture.” 

The event had traditional dances of the Nayarit by Grupo Folklórico Herúvi Kalo. One of the performers was 15-year-old Vanessa Hernandez, who has been dancing since she was 5 years old.

“Being able to dance [from] these types of regions like Veracruz no matter what region, it makes me feel proud of where I come from,” said Hernadez as music played in the background. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I come from Mexico,’ and especially for Day of the Dead since it’s such a big Mexican culture to celebrate.”

There were people in attendance who regularly celebrate this day and some who wanted to learn about it. Emma Turnbull, originally from Scotland, shows her 6-year-old daughter, Carmen Ruiz Turnbull, the sights of the room, wanting to pass on the traditions of her husband Juan Carlos Ruiz, who works in Economic and Political Attaché at the Consulate.

Ferrer wants to see the Mexican culture stay alive through events like the Day of the Dead celebration.

“This is the time where we welcome back the spirits and the souls of our loved ones and everything they represented and everything they loved,” said Ferrer.

Traditional Nayarit food from Mariscos Las Islitas is served to the attendees at the Day of the Dead Ancestors of Nayarit celebration held at the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, California Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Sara Nevis/


Dia7 (1)Dia7 (1)Vanessa Hernandez (center), 15 years old, dances with Grupo Folklórico Herúvi Kalo at the Day of the Dead Ancestors of Nayarit celebration held at the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, California Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Sara Nevis/ Dia2Dia2Consul General of Mexico in Sacramento Liliana Ferrer, alumnus of City College, hosts the Day of the Dead Ancestors of Nayarit celebration held at the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, California Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Sara Nevis/

(Sara Nevis Photography) Day of the Dead Día de los muertos Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:43:55 GMT