Jobs and Justice: Civil Rights and the Racial Wealth Gap

Jobs and Justice: Civil Rights and the Racial Wealth Gap

I have the exciting job of leading Greenlining’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative. We seek to reframe the narrative on diversity to focus on justice and its role in ending the racial wealth gap once and for all. In this year of Greenlining’s 25 anniversary, it’s important to take stock of where we’ve been to better inform where we want to go. The truth is that Greenlining’s been doing “diversity and inclusion” work since the 1980s, when we were just a coalition of community activists. Ortensia Lopez, one of Greenlining’s founding mothers, explains it best: “We decided to form an organization focused on all multicultural communities, to work together and exert…
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Healing from Trauma Through Policy

Healing from Trauma Through Policy

When I’m trying to really get to know someone, I always ask why they do what they do. If they’re someone with the privilege to choose, the response can tell me a lot about their values and background. Up until recently, I thought I had a good answer. When folks throw the question back at me, I usually answer something along the lines of “As a person of color, I see the role race plays in determining people’s lives. I work on policy to change that.” For all this time I’ve been answering “the why” to racial justice, but never the policy part. People choose to combat racism in tons…
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Super Bowl Ads Model Everything Wrong with “Diversity”

Super Bowl Ads Model Everything Wrong with “Diversity”

Like any good red-blooded American, I ate too much, drank too much, and screamed a whole lot on Super Bowl Sunday. Not only did this Jersey girl get to see the Eagles win for the first time (#FLYEAGLESFLY), but my inner Diversity Diva got pelted with one problematic ad after another. Lots of articles today are out about the “Do You Want to Feel Like a Good Person? Then Buy Stuff!” trope that most advertisers followed, but really, Sunday night serves as a perfect example of this nation’s perception on diversity — and why it’s so flawed. For those that opted for the Puppy Bowl instead (yes, it’s a real…
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Really!? Trump Orders Investigation of Discrimination Against White College Applicants

Really!? Trump Orders Investigation of Discrimination Against White College Applicants

At this point, the only thing that surprises me is that I can be surprised by Trump’s racism. Yesterday afternoon the New York Times broke news that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division will investigate discrimination against white college applicants due to affirmative action. Education policy falls outside of Greenlining’s wheelhouse, but I am the self-proclaimed and undisputed Diversity Diva and so felt compelled to weigh in. First let’s address the obvious. This affirmative action investigation is part of the larger, racist MAGA movement (which I previously wrote about here). As Van Jones said on election night “[Trump’s victory] was a white-lash against a changing country.” Trump appealed to millions…
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Update: Uber Gives Employees Raises, Continues to Exclude Drivers

Update: Uber Gives Employees Raises, Continues to Exclude Drivers

Yesterday I published “Uber Just Gave Its Tech Bros a Raise. Really?!” Shortly after, we received further information on the company’s plans to give raises to all employees starting August 1. Some of this new information includes: Raises will rectify pay disparities based on gender and race; Employees paid less than the median salary for their role will be bumped up to the median level; Median salaries for all technical roles will be increased by 10 percent; and Employees will receive an additional 2.5 percent salary raise for every year they’ve worked at the company. In the vast majority of cases, I’d champion any company that addresses pay inequities. It’s…
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Uber Just Gave Its Tech Bros a Raise. Really?!

Uber Just Gave Its Tech Bros a Raise. Really?!

On Tuesday Uber’s employees received news they’re getting a raise. CLICK TO TWEET: Uber gave pay raises to their employees… but not their drivers. Let me clarify that. Just Uber’s tech teams–the folks that work on product, engineering, and design–are getting the raises. These are the people that rake in six-figure salaries and give tech the image of being a tech bro culture. (According to Uber’s own numbers, nearly 85 percent identify as men, and just under six percent are Black, Hispanic, multiracial or “other”.) Reason behind the raise? Buzzfeed News reported that internal Uber interviews showed that the company typically structures its employees’ compensation plans as “golden handcuffs” —…
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150+ CEOs Make Diversity Pledge. Will It Amount to Anything?

150+ CEOs Make Diversity Pledge. Will It Amount to Anything?

Skim through any article on diversity, and I bet you nine times out of 10 the phrase “commitment from leadership” will appear. Research far and wide, including our own, cites this best practice as a critical component to creating authentically diverse workplaces. That’s because the tone — for anything, diversity-related or not — gets set at the top. In an unprecedented move, 150+ executives from the nation’s most powerful corporations banded together and just launched CEO ACT!ON to “advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.” The website reads, “This commitment is driven by a realization that addressing diversity and inclusion is not a competitive issue, but a societal issue. CEOs…
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Uber Released its Internal Workforce Report: Here’s What People of Color Need to Know

Uber Released its Internal Workforce Report: Here’s What People of Color Need to Know

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that Uber’s been plagued recently by an ongoing public relations nightmare. On Tuesday it made a major announcement on its plan to redeem itself. CEO Travis Kalanick will take an unspecified leave of absence following recommendations from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, partners at the law firm Covington & Burling LLP . Kalanick’s hiatus is undoubtedly newsworthy, but the 46 other recommendations Uber’s Board unanimously adopted may prove even more important. As a racial equity advocate and super diversity-nerd, here are some highlights I’ll uplift from the report:     Twenty-one, or almost 45 percent, of the report’s recommendations…
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Trump’s (Partly) Right: Buy American, Hire American

Trump’s (Partly) Right: Buy American, Hire American

Eighty-nine days into the job, it looks like “the Donald” finally got something right. This Tuesday the president announced an executive order calling for studies to examine and eventually overhaul H-1B visas and federal procurement practices under the catchy name of “Buy American, Hire American.” Tens of thousands of posts on resulting Twitter hashtags took jabs at Trump, ranging from the hypocrisy of his business practices (he manufactures and heavily employs from overseas) to his pocketed relationship with Vladimir Putin. As someone whose father worked in the now-closed Trump Taj Mahal Casino, I too am entertained by the ironic rhetoric. The racial justice advocate in me, however, compels me to…
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