#NoBanNoWallNoRaids: Why I Stand with Immigrants and Refugees

#NoBanNoWallNoRaids: Why I Stand with Immigrants and Refugees

I guess I’m lucky. I won’t personally be hurt if the recent ICE raids on undocumented immigrants continue, or if the courts validate the president’s attempt to ban refugees from certain Muslim countries. I’m a citizen. I’m white. I don’t “look foreign” and am unlikely to be mistaken for an immigrant or refugee. But I cannot, must not, be silent as people who look different from me are rounded up. I have undocumented friends, and many more friends and coworkers who have undocumented family members.  I will not just leave them to fend for themselves. I can’t believe I even need to say this, but they are all good, caring,…
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Congress Attacks Low-Income Workers

Congress Attacks Low-Income Workers

In 2011, Greenlining released a reported called “The Economic Crisis Facing Seniors of Color,” which highlighted the disproportionate degree to which people of color lack access to pensions, 401(k)s and other retirement plans. It’s not that they don’t want to save for retirement: Asian Americans, Latinos and African Americans are simply less likely to work for a company that sponsors a retirement plan. Among other things, our report called for passage of legislation that had been introduced by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) to create portable, totally voluntary, state-backed retirement savings plans for workers who don’t have access to such a program at work. The bill didn’t create major…
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De-Fanging Our Heroes

De-Fanging Our Heroes

In an era when open expressions of bigotry, hate and contempt for the less fortunate are on the rise, I find myself wondering how we got here. Lots of factors contribute, but we might want to pay more attention to our national tendency to take our heroes and de-fang and de-claw them – turning them into warm and fuzzy but largely empty shells, cutting the heart out of what they tried to teach us. Many have addressed what some call the “Santa Clausification” of Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we just celebrated. Annual MLK commemorations contain lots of “I have a dream” but shockingly little about King’s fierce and…
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The “Identity Politics” Lie

The “Identity Politics” Lie

Every election produces postmortems.  2012, for example, brought us the famous Republican “autopsy” urging more outreach to voters of color. This year we see hand-wringing mainly on the Democratic side – since, after all, the losers generally feel the most urgent need to figure out what went wrong. In this discussion, some are telling progressives they must abandon “identity politics” in order to appeal to a broader array of voters. NO. The most explicit (and short-sighted) expression of this sentiment can be found in Mark Lilla’s controversial New York Times column, published in mid-November. “[T]he fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press,” Lilla  writes, “has produced a…
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The Merchants of Fear

The Merchants of Fear

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” –Franklin Delano Roosevelt When President Roosevelt said those words at the depths of the Great Depression he was, at best, shading the truth. Millions who were out of work and desperate had plenty to fear – like not having a place to sleep or food to eat. And many Americans have perfectly real fears today. Some fear that our fast-changing economy might not have a place for them. Many Bay Area residents rightly fear being priced out of our region’s insanely expensive housing market. African Americans and other people of color have every right to fear that if they are pulled over…
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When Advocates Get Bought Off

When Advocates Get Bought Off

Organizations that represent communities facing discrimination or other mistreatment face a constant struggle: How do we raise enough money to have a meaningful voice without letting our agenda be hijacked by those who can write big checks? We and other organizations (at least those with a conscience) struggle with that question all the time, and I’d never claim the choices are easy. What follows is the story of one group – one I personally wish I could support – that appears to have gotten it spectacularly wrong in the context of a current political campaign. Here at Greenlining, we’ve long been concerned about the intersection of money and politics. As…
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