Youth in California’s Central Valley are reclaiming region's activist roots (


Decades after civil rights icons Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta brought worldwide attention to the plight of farm workers in California’s Central Valley, a new generation of activists are making an impact in the region — with the focus now on the myriad issues facing young people and efforts to get them involved in civic affairs.

The issues — which include poverty, environmental justice, immigrant rights and the school-to-prison pipeline — are not new to the cities and towns that dot the Central Valley. But, with this year’s pivotal mid-term elections looming, groups are emphasizing youth voting and civic engagement with a vigor that was missing in years past.

“Our primary mission is to build an unapologetic youth movement across the Central Valley that encompasses year-round voter registration and voter contact,” said 28-year-old Crisantema Gallardo, who this year co-founded the youth rights organization 99Rootz.

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