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Monitor Notes: Power to Heal, Women’s History Month, Housing Academy


Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Women’s History Month

Reflections from Bay Area Community Leaders

To celebrate Women’s History Month and to honor the women that take up leadership roles in their communities, the Monitor reached out to ask a few questions. Here are their responses:

Lil Milagro Henriquez is the executive director and founder of Mycelium Youth Network. You can read her profile at the Bay Area Monitor here.

Sherry Smith is a retired lawyer and president of the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area.

Who are some of the women who inspired you?

Lil Milagro Henriquez: I feel consistently inspired by those around me. I especially feel inspired by the Mycelium Youth Network team who move with such love, passion, and knowledge.

I’m also inspired by young people and my own children. I started Mycelium for them and others like them who will have to inherit this world that is so beautiful and hard.

Most of all, though, I feel inspired by my ancestors – both biological as well as our collective ancestors who have fought for liberation. They knew that the only way change happens is when communities lift up their voices and demand it.

Sherry Smith: I was a church-goer, so I was inspired by Mother Theresa. Also Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring was published right before my junior year of college. Eleanor Roosevelt. Joan Baez (I bought her original album in 1960 and am still a huge fan).

Can you recall a particular event that motivated you to become more involved in your community, or take on more leadership responsibilities?

Lil Milagro Henriquez: There were two defining moments for me. The first was Hurricane Katrina. I was born and raised in southern Louisiana. My immediate family, my brother, mom, and I had left a few years before but I still had a lot of family present when Katrina hit. I remember that feeling of not knowing where my dad was for weeks and frantically calling people I still knew in New Orleans. Or seeing what my cousin and family went through as they were trying to leave. It was devastating to witness how the government really failed poor people of color.

My second moment was during the Tubbs fire in 2017. I have a distinct memory of breast-feeding my then one year old daughter and how the wildfire smoke would slither in through the closed doors and windows of our home. I remembered thinking, ‘”this is not okay. Our children deserve better than this and we as adults need to find ways to support them.”

Sherry Smith: After I had three children by the age of 24, I decided I needed more (!) stimulation and entered night law school in 1968, as I weaned my youngest to the cup from the breast.

I Finished law school in 1972, then passed the bar in Oregon, Texas, and California. I retired in 1998, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was well taken care of and there has been no recurrence, but I’ve been involved with community affairs ever since.

I joined the Berkeley League in 1982 while still working for Continuing Education of the Bar, because they had lunchtime “Brown Bag Lunches” in our workplace conference room. My mother was a member of the League when I was a teenager and stayed a member until her death.  So I was familiar with and admired the League from back in the day.


News from Around the Bay

High School Housing Academy

High School students interested in transportation and housing equity are encouraged to apply for the Bay Area Summer Academy, sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Association of Bay Area Governments, and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. The Academy’s weekly online seminars will cover what regional agencies do and what skills are needed in the public sector, how to weigh in on decisions that impact the air we breathe and the neighborhoods we live in, how students can have a voice, and more. Deadline for application is April 4th. Find out more from MTC here.


Air District Files Case Against Chemtrade

The Air District is filing a case in the agencie’s independent Hearing Board in order to correct air quality violations from faulty emissions monitoring from Chemtrade’s Richmond facility. From the District’s press release:

“The Air District estimates that Chemtrade underreported sulfur dioxide emissions by an average of 64 tons annually but stayed below their annual permit limit. Compliance monitoring at the plant is done by a Continuous Emissions Monitoring System.
If the Hearing Board approves the abatement order, Chemtrade would be required to come into compliance by April 15, 2022, and conduct source testing by May 2, 2022.”


Gardening and Stress

A UC Davis survey highlights the positive correlation between gardening and health, both mental and physical, as experienced by people who turned to it to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Gardening turned out to be a valuable relief from stress, anxiety, and depression, and raising produce helped balance concerns about food supply in the early pandemic. Read more from UC Davis here (photo courtesy UC Davis).




Monitor Notes is produced by Michael Adamson. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.


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