FRESNO — The 4-H clubs in the nation's richest farming county remain virtual enclaves of white, middle-class children, Latino speakers told a University of California task force Wednesday.
Much more needs to be done to encourage Latino, black and other minority youth to join the agricultural-oriented youth organization first formed in 1914, said Ventura Huerta, a 4-H volunteer in Clovis, Calif.
"I am appalled by the absence of minorities in 4-H programs," said Huerta, adding that he believes 4-H programs could serve a valuable social function in inner-city areas.
Huerta also complained that 4-H literature and films are frequently outdated and rarely show role models for minority youths.
The 15-member task force, chaired by UC assistant vice president Eugene Cota-Robles, was formed to review affirmative-action policies and programs in the university's Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources. The division includes the UC county cooperative extension programs, which administer local 4-H programs.