Environmental Justice meets Racial Equity

Lake Natoma with a hill in background and the lake's water in focus

When you think of rivers, lakes and streams, you picture a euphoric sight. The sun shining, birds chirping and crisp, clean; clear water. The scenery draws you into a magical getaway of peace and solitude. But the harsh reality is that this is not always the case near some of Sacramento’s most prominent bodies of water.

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Unthawed Nightmare

Strolling home from work, careless and free
Headed home to make my bed, clean sheets off the line,
What a shame to do at bedtime.

Entering my home, I notice no one, I see, I hear nothing
Suddenly attacked, impaled throughout my body
In and out, with such malice.
Forcibly violated, and left cold as ice.
Floating in a pool of my lineage as it drained from my veins.

Taken from me my spirit, stolen; my spirit.
What gave you the right to me?
Robbing me of my safety, my life, my future?
Who told you it was ok to play God and decide when?
When my last breath was taken, my last moments with family.

42 years I lay frozen, forever a 20 year old with the world at my feet.
Shattered in a moment of impulse.
42 years until my family would rejoice, “I feel like I can go on with my life now.”

The terror, pain and heartache frozen with me
Unthawed as handcuffs squeeze your wrists.
My soul set free, my nightmare unthawed.

 

Written by Vontress Ortega | Photo by Manjari, Pexels

Vontress Ortega smiling with long black hair and legs crossed
Vontress Ortega is a Journalism major at Sierra College and published author. She plans to transfer to Sacramento State University and continue in the major in fall 2022.

Motherhood and Me

Becoming a mother at 17 was scary to me. I thought that I would ruin my children’s lives before they ever had a chance. Following in the footsteps of my mother and determined to break a cycle. Just a teenager not knowing myself or even who I would be. I did not understand the responsibility that I was taking on, not for just one child, but six.

I had to strive to be better than I’d ever been and understand that mistakes would potentially put me and my children in a bad position. It was up to me, and only me, to ensure that my children had everything under the sun, no matter the curve balls thrown in my path.

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