Pictured: Regina K. Hatcher Crawford, president of the Ventura County NAACP, speaking at a Black Lives Matter event on June 4, 2020 at the Ventura County Government Center. Photo by Kimberly Rivers. 

by Kimberly Rivers

Free meals for youth in Oxnard through Aug. 8

As part of a federally funded program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Oxnard Union High School District is providing free meals for all children in the community through Aug. 8, 2021. 

Students who are attending in-person classes on campus will receive breakfast and lunch at their school site entering campus. When school ends each day, students will receive bulk meals for online learning days and weekends. 

Anyone aged up to 18 is eligible without any kind of documentation to receive nutritious meals at the following locations, days and times:

Mondays, 4-6 p.m. and Fridays, 7-9 a.m., 12-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

HUENEME HIGH SCHOOL, 500 W. Bard Road, Oxnard

OXNARD HIGH SCHOOL, 3400 W. Gonzales Road, Oxnard

ADOLFO CAMARILLO HIGH SCHOOL, 4660 Mission Oaks Blvd., Camarillo

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-2:30 p.m. 

GARDEN ACRES MUTUAL WATER CO., 2838 Friedrich Road, Oxnard

Mondays and Fridays, 10-11 a.m.

ALBERT H. SOLIZ LIBRARY, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard

Mondays and Fridays, 10-10:30 a.m. 

CAPE CHARTER SCHOOL, 777 Aileen St., Camarillo 

For more information contact OUHSD Nutrition Services at 805-385-5749. 

Man pleaded not guilty to fatal hit and run

On April 23, Samuel Rocha, 28 of Port Hueneme, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder related to the April 19 hit and run incident at East Pleasant Valley and N. Ventura Roads, in which a 16-year-old died. 

The statement issued by Erik Nasarenko, Ventura County District Attorney (VCDA), following the arraignment hearing in Ventura County Superior Court said the investigation following the incident found that Rocha meant to drive his gold-colored Lexus into a group of bicyclists on April 19, 2021, using his bicycle as a “deadly weapon,” and then fled the scene. The VCDA also alleges that Rocha was involved in a battery incident of a male and female about 10 minutes before he struck the bicyclists at a laundromat. 

He has been charged with murder, attempted murder and battery. Rocha is in custody with no bail. The case is set for an early disposition conference on June 3, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 12. 

Thousand Oaks High unveils “Classroom of the Future”

On April 21, Thousand Oaks High School unveiled a new outdoor, solar-powered learning space on its campus called the Sustainable Outdoor Learning Environment (SOLE). 

The space is part of the effort to boost STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and brings a solar-powered, battery-storage solution to the school. It includes rooftop solar and battery storage, outdoor fans, outdoor-durable classroom furniture, and an 86-inch active panel touchscreen monitor using state-of-the-art technology fostering hands-on learning opportunities in the outdoor classroom. 

The space was designed by Schneider Electric with input from staff at the school and district. 

County Supervisors honor environmental champions

On April 26, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, in honor of Earth Day, each named an environmental champion from their district to recognize contributions made to environmental protection. 

Supervisor Matt LaVere (Dist. 1) nominated the C.R.E.W of Ojai, a nonprofit organization that works with teens on various conservation projects, invasive plant abatement, fire prevention and restoration projects. 

Supervisor Linda Parks (Dist. 2) selected Dr. Catherine Darst of the Ventura Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Darst evaluated the population status of the western monarch butterfly, which led to the USFWS deeming the butterfly an endangered species candidate. 

Supervisor Kelly Long (Dist. 3) named the Piru Stormwater Capture for Groundwater Recharge Project, designed by the Ventura County Public Works Agency – Watershed Protection, with United Water Conservation District. The project is aimed at improving water quality of Piru Creek, which feeds into the Santa Clara River and is part of the groundwater recharge to the Piru Groundwater Basin. 

Supervisor Robert Huber (Dist. 4) nominated Hal Ward, owner of Shamrock Irrigation and Landscaping, pointing to conservation efforts through his work benefiting plants, trees and water systems. Ward is also involved in many volunteer activities in the area including the Rotary Club of Simi Valley.

Supervisor Carmen Ramirez (Dist. 5) named Shirley and Larry Godwin for their work in saving Ormond Beach, the last and largest intact coastal wetland in Southern California. For decades they have advocated for the area to be protected from development, toxic waste and natural gas terminals. 

Local NAACP statement on Chauvin conviction 

As a jury in Minnesota convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin on all charges for the murder of George Floyd, Regina K. Hatcher Crawford, president of the Ventura County NAACP, issued the following statement: 

 Almost 30 years to this day, the nation watched during the Rodney King trial four officers acquitted of a crime of savagely beating an innocent black man. Today, we watched Derek Chauvin, a former police officer, convicted in the killing of George Floyd. Our nation and specifically the Black community have rarely seen white male officers held accountable for killing Black people and TODAY Justice was served by the convictions of Chauvin. While

we know this verdict will not bring back George Floyd, the verdict this time was fair and due process was served. Nine minutes and thirty-one seconds Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck by the knee; men, women, and a nine-year-old girl begged for him to stop. George Floyd cried out for his mother and Chauvin still did not stop. Countless victims like George Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and now Daunte Wright have had their obituaries reopened, edited, rewritten, day after day. More than 100 unarmed people have been killed or brutalized by police since George Floyd was murdered. Yet still, over 400 years since slavery, we still live-in fear. Our young men and women everyday live in fear that each time they are stopped by law enforcement it could be their last. We are tired of our young men and women’s names becoming a hashtag. Enough is enough, we are done dying!

We call for justice in this nation to begin through actions that enforce accountability for ALL people, including those who have taken an oath to serve and protect. Chauvin’s guilty verdict proved that this country is still able to find a pulse, by restoring some faith in humanity for all. This verdict is symbolic of faith and of our belief George Floyd’s life mattered, our lives matter, people of color lives matter, Black Lives Matter!

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.