Out & About

By Jessica Laskey
May 2023

Collaborative Communities

Cultural anthology shows power of shared experience

At the height of the pandemic, 32 Ugandan and 31 U.S. women communicated by Zoom, phone and text to create “This Bridge Called Woman,” an anthology of nonfiction stories and profiles of interesting women, as well as stunning visual art.

The new cross-cultural anthology is now available thanks to Women’s Wisdom Art, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that provides free creative programs for a diverse range of women, and FEMRITE–Uganda Women Writers’ Association.

The idea for a collaborative writing project was conceived in 2019 when Kim Todd of Global Ties Sacramento, WWA Chair Ali Tucker Lichtenstein and WWA board members Vicki Boyd and Yvonne Evans hosted a visit for Ugandan FEMRITE members Hilda Twongyeirwe and Regina Asinde. The group shared publications and discussed writing, feminism, community and the arts.

“Bridges between the participants and the two organizations were created based on the foundation of common experiences as these ambitious women continue making our communities, our countries and our world a better place,” says Lichtenstein, one of the book’s editors along with Twongyeirwe.

Purchase the book online at womenswisdomart.org/publications or in person at WWA events.


The California Museum recently revamped one of its popular permanent exhibitions. “Uprooted: An American Story” focuses on the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and explores how they responded to their forced removal and imprisonment.

The exhibit also highlights Japanese Americans’ ongoing efforts to ensure no other groups experience similar civil rights violations.

New interactive displays and never-before-exhibited artifacts from survivors supplement visitor favorites from the exhibit’s previous installation, including a video introduction by George Takei and a replica barracks and guard tower. New features include a theater experience and an AI component that allows visitors to hold virtual conversations with three survivors.

The California Museum is at 1020 O St. For information, visit californiamuseum.org.


Assemblymember Kevin McCarty recently presented a check to Sacramento’s premier Black theater, Celebration Arts, for $714,068.

The 37-year-old company will use the state funds to increase administrative staff, make improvements to the theater building, and acquire new lighting and technology.

Founded by James Wheatley, Celebration Arts is a cornerstone of music, dance and theater for the region’s African American community. The nonprofit also provides educational programs and dance training for all ages.

Celebration Arts is at 2727 B St. For information, visit celebrationarts.net.


If you can speak Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese or Russian, the city’s Front Street Animal Shelter needs your help.

The shelter is seeking ambassador volunteers to assist with adoptions, lost and found pets, and other services, as well as with the translation of webpages, creation of outreach materials and community presentations.

To get involved, email rhinderman@cityofsacramento.org.


More than 550 women rocking pink hard hats recently participated in #WomenBuildSac, helping build affordable homes for low-income families, seniors and veterans.

On International Women’s Day in March, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento kicked off its participation in the annual monthlong Women Build at an event on 46th Street in Fruitridge Vista. The event was supported by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

“As women continue to face significant barriers to stable housing and personal economic security, initiatives like Women Build are critical to our work to provide all women, particularly women of color, LGBTQ+ women and vulnerable mothers, with the tools, resources and opportunity to thrive,” says First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who attended the event.

On March 25, friends and family of late political communications strategist Julie Soderlund volunteered for a Women Build event on Le Donne Drive to celebrate Soderlund’s philanthropic spirit. The Julie Soderlund Memorial Fund gave a $40,000 legacy gift to support Habitat for Humanity.

For information, visit habitatgreatersac.org.


Six aspiring young professionals have been appointed to regional business boards as part of BoardLink, a new Metro EDGE program that provides young people with invaluable experience while giving businesses coveted access to emerging leaders.

“Sacramento’s young professionals are setting the tone when it comes to the next phase of our city’s growth,” says Visit Sacramento President/CEO Mike Testa. “We are proud to take part in this important program that ensures we have voices in the room who will continue to change Sacramento for the better.”

The board placements are Haley Rose of VSP Vision to the Downtown Sacramento Partnership; Clutch analyst Ashleigh Martinez to Sacramento Steps Forward; Cameron Gallard of 3Fold Communications and Mark Borges of Lucas Public Affairs to Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail and Transit; 3Fold Communications’ Taylor Toledo to Valley Vision; and Metro EDGE Chair Mariana Corona Sabeniano to Visit Sacramento.

For information, visit metro-edge.org/get-involved/join-a-board.


Pravani Vandeyar has become the first woman and first person of color to direct the city’s Department of Utilities.
Vandeyar has more than 28 years of experience in the environmental industry and has worked for the department since 2007. “For the past 16 years, she has demonstrated the ability to lead, communicate effectively and has shown resiliency,” says City Manager Howard Chan.

Vandeyar was born in South Africa of African and Asian heritage and grew up under apartheid, which led her to seek better conditions in the U.S. in 2000. She began her career with the city of Sacramento as a supervising water quality chemist and later served as the city’s drinking water division manager.

“The common thread that has been through every position I’ve been in, including this one, is the constant learning and figuring out where you go next,” Vandeyar says.


The Sacramento Urban Debate League, comprised of several public schools in the Sacramento area, recently raised $1,000 to support participation in national debate competitions.

Participating high schools include C.K. McClatchy, West Campus and John F. Kennedy.

To put the “fun” in fundraising, SUDL recently pitted high school debaters Ellie Sutliff and Ansel Ang-Olson from CKM and Leo Hsu from West Campus against Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, Mayor Steinberg’s Chief of Staff Mary Lynn Vellinga and school board member Tara Jeane. They debated topics such as social media, offshore drilling and Ukraine.

For information, visit sudl.org.


With $750,000 in American Rescue Plan dollars from the city of Sacramento, United Way California Capital Region has opened a second round of funding for its Guaranteed Income program.

The program provides 80 eligible households with $500 of unconditional guaranteed income each month for one year.
Launched in 2021 with a portion of the $10 million gift United Way received from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the Guaranteed Income program is the first of its kind in the region.

“This program helps alleviate the daily financial stress many local families face,” says Dr. Dawnté Early, president/CEO of United Way California Capital Region. “Participants in our first cohort reported that guaranteed income each month helped to decrease income volatility, stay housed, pay for childcare, buy food and increase savings.”

United Way is partnering with Sacramento State to study the second round, including a comparative analysis. That data will be used to improve and expand the program. For information, visit yourlocalunitedway.org.


The California State Railroad Museum and its foundation have launched the 40th consecutive season of weekend excursion train rides on the Sacramento Southern Railroad.

Guests ride in open-air gondolas with bench seating or in cushioned enclosed coach cars. Enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the historic locomotive as it rolls along the Sacramento River for a 6-mile, 50-minute roundtrip excursion.
Train tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for ages 6–17, and free for children 5 and younger. First-class tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for youth, and free for children 5 and younger. Booking online in advance is encouraged.

Train rides depart weekends at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Fridays at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. from the Central Pacific Passenger Station at the corner of Front and J streets in Old Sacramento. For information, visit californiarailroad.museum.


The Midtown Farmers Market is back for its 10th season. With more than 200 vendors, enhanced programming and special activations presented by Sutter Health and the Midtown Association, the market is the place to go for fresh produce, locally made products and artisan goods.

Check out the new Artisan Alley, Boutique Boulevard, Market Square, Merchant Market, Producers Plaza, Savory Street and Street Food Sacramento block. New vendors include Achadinha Cheese Company, Scentz N Stones, Lonnita’s Luxury Body Collection and Hella-Halo.

Spring and summer hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October. For information, visit midtownfarmersmarketsac.com.


The feature film “No Address” has wrapped its fifth and final week of filming throughout Sacramento.

The movie follows a group of people experiencing homelessness. It’s produced by Robert Craig and stars William Baldwin, Xander Berkeley, Ashanti, Beverly D’Angelo, Ty Pennington, Lucas Jade Zumann, Kristanna Loken, Patricia Velasquez and Isabella Ferreira.

“We are thrilled to have this movie filmed right here in Sacramento,” says Sacramento Film Commissioner Jennifer West. “These types of productions have a huge economic impact to our region and we welcome the opportunity to work on more opportunities like this.”

The movie shot scenes in Del Paso Heights, Midtown, Land Park, Oak Park, Hollywood Park and Nimbus Overlook. “No Address” is expected to be released this winter.


The city of Sacramento’s Office of Youth Development has selected 15 local nonprofits to participate in its Youth-Serving Organizational Resiliency Fund grant program.

The program supports organizations providing direct services to children and youth from birth through 24 years old.
Grantees receive general operating support awards ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 based on their budget size. The awards are also paired with capacity-building services valued at up to approximately $35,000 per grantee.

The 15 grantees represent workforce, mental wellness, academic support, violence prevention and more. For information, visit cityofsacramento/oyd.


Axis Gallery’s 18th National Juried Exhibition is seeking submissions through May 28.

Juror Emily Zaiden, director and curator of the Craft in America Center in Los Angeles, is looking for contemporary, original 2D and 3D work in any medium. Accepted artwork will be displayed Aug. 5–27 at Axis’ artist-run gallery at 625 S St. Cash awards will also be given.

The application fee is $40 for three images/videos. Additional entries are $10 each, limit six. Videos are limited to three. To apply and for information, visit axisgallery.org.


The county’s Bradshaw Animal Shelter has launched a new no-cost community cat program in partnership with the Community Spay Neuter Clinic.

The clinic offers free spay/neuter surgeries, ear tipping, rabies and FVRCP vaccines, flea treatment, wound care and minor treatment of conditions like tapeworms for community cats in Sacramento County.

“We hope that this program will significantly reduce unwanted litters in Sacramento County and provide the essential care that our community cats need,” says Annette Bedsworth, director of the Bradshaw Animal Shelter.

Sacramento County residents can make appointments by calling (916) 368-7314 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. (Appointments are first come, first served.) The clinic is located at 3839 Bradshaw Road. For information, visit animalcare.saccounty.gov.


The City Council unanimously voted to rename the Regency Community Skate Park in North Natomas as Tyre Nichols Skate Park in honor of Nichols, a Sacramento native who died after being beaten by five Memphis police officers in January.

Nichols was a regular at the skate park while growing up in Sacramento.

“Not only are we naming the skate park Tyre Nichols, but we will be doing upgrades on behalf of the Skatepark Project for future generations and future kids to fly and find their light,” says City Council member Lisa Kaplan. “So that he is remembered as that bright light and that future generations can learn that we as a society can do better.”

A community celebration and naming dedication is planned for June at 5500 Honor Parkway.


The James B. McClatchy Foundation has announced its first round of Sunrise Grants—more than $10 million for 31 grassroots organizations in the Central Valley—as part of its commitment to give away all of its financial resources by 2030.

Through these grants, JBMF hopes to spur additional philanthropic investments throughout the Central Valley and support a multicultural democracy centering on multilingual students and families, local journalism and the next generation of inclusive leaders.

Sacramento-based organizations receiving funds are the Asian American Liberation Network, Black Youth Leadership Project, California Center for Civic Participation, Hmong Innovating Politics, Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Social Justice Politicorps and Youth Development Network.

For information, visit jbmcclatchyfoundation.org.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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