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Voting, Elections & Turnout — L.A. Listens to Greenlining

Voting, Elections & Turnout — L.A. Listens to Greenlining

Sometimes, fixing a problem really is as simple as shining a light on it. In October 2013 our Claiming Our Democracy team released a research brief, Odd-Year vs. Even-Year Consolidated Elections in California, authored by Summer Associate Jose P. Hernandez. The report compared turnout and cost per vote cast in cities that hold municipal elections in odd years with the data from cities that hold their local elections on the same days as state and national elections. We found a huge difference: Local election turnout was much, much higher when local elections were combined with elections for president, governor, senator, etc. For example, Los Angeles, which holds local elections in…
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In Praise of Weeds

In Praise of Weeds

A couple of weeks ago, I went for a walk along one of the many trails that meander along the San Mateo County coastline near Highway 1. As I walked from the highway toward the ocean, I found myself in a sea of spectacular yellow flowers, a carpet of yellow so vibrant it almost seemed to glow. Wondering what plant had created such acres of beauty, I stooped down to take a closer look and found … a weed. The plants were oxalis, commonly known as a “bane of gardeners,” particularly in the mild climate of the Bay Area. It’s hardy. It reproduces enthusiastically. And it’s nearly impossible to get…
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“We Have Come to Cash this Check”

“We Have Come to Cash this Check”

Last week, federal regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), held a hearing in downtown Los Angeles to get the public’s view on the proposed merger between CIT Group and OneWest bank. If approved, the new bank would total $3.4 billion in size, creating L.A.’s new “too big to fail bank.” The hearing was an important victory for opponents of the merger who argue that a bank of this size should invest in all communities, and not just bank the 1 percent. Given that regulators rarely grant public hearings and that the CEO of OneWest Bank organized his powerful west-side friends to…
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Net Neutrality: Greenlining the Internet

Net Neutrality: Greenlining the Internet

Once upon a time, Greenlining hired a Telecommunications and Technology Fellow who thought that “interweb” is an actual word. I was that Fellow and the time, which now seems so long gone, was August 2013. Many of my closest loved ones will attest that I am the last person whom any should rely on for matters of telecommunications (I am rarely reachable by phone) and technology (motion sensor garbage cans make me as happy as watching a magic show). Bewildered for months, I took my initial assignments from my supervisor expecting that I might get fired once he figured out that I was completely inadequate for the job. Thankfully, that…
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How Congress Misused Chair Yellen’s Testimony

How Congress Misused Chair Yellen’s Testimony

If you’re into stocks, politics, or just a monetary policy nerd, February 24 and 25 were really fun. If you’re an economic equity advocate or care about diversity, they were maddening. This week Chair Janet Yellen of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors gave her Semiannual Monetary Policy Report and testimony to Congress. I know, that doesn’t exactly sound like a day at the water park, but these two seemingly routine hearings have major repercussions for the world economy. (Following the Chair’s remarks on the 24th, stocks closed at new heights. And economists now predict that the historically low interest rate will rise in autumn 2015, causing markets to shift…
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From Fresno to Greenlining

From Fresno to Greenlining

Earlier this month, Juan Reynoso wrote about the Health Equity Fellows and the journey we’ve embarked on together. To help this all make a little more sense, we’re each going to tell you a bit about ourselves and what landed us here. My story begins in Fresno. In 8th grade, I applied to attend a conference at the California State Capitol through a program called Capitol Focus, hosted by the California Center for Civic Participation. In my essay, I wrote about how the language barrier between my father and me resulted in me repeatedly agreeing to become a lawyer because I didn’t understand what he was saying. I would just say, “Sí papi” to everything…
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The Racial Wealth Gap in 9 Charts

The Racial Wealth Gap in 9 Charts

I complain about the news media from time to time. Indeed, I went off on cable news just last month. But sometimes a media outlet does something really useful, and one of the most useful I’ve seen in some time is Vox’s explanation of the racial wealth gap. First, Vox writer Danielle Kurtzleben gets points for making clear that economic inequality is not just a matter of income; it’s a matter of wealth. Wealth – savings, investments, home equity – is what helps you build for the future, pass something along to your kids, and gets you by if an unexpected job loss or other emergency disrupts your income. Kurtzleben…
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Will Supplier Diversity Start Trending? Tech Giants Getting it Right

Will Supplier Diversity Start Trending? Tech Giants Getting it Right

Unless you were under a rock last year, you know that diversity became a hot button issue—especially in the tech field. A flurry of data releases revealed the lack of women, Latinos, and African-Americans in Silicon Valley’s workforce. The disparities are nothing new, but the acknowledgement of and commitment by leadership to actually do something about it is certainly something to get excited about. Over the past couple of months those commitments have been pretty traditional, either in the form of STEM education for students of color or funding for diversity programming at companies. While initiatives like Intel’s $300 million commitment to diversity recruiting and training got a lot of…
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I Miss Jon Stewart Already

I Miss Jon Stewart Already

It’s been less than 24 hours since Jon Stewart announced his plan to leave “The Daily Show” later this year, and it already feels like there’s a yawning void in the world of news. Yes, news. I know Stewart’s a comedian who calls his show “fake news,” but in fact he cut to the heart of critical stories in a way that most “real” news outlets never do. It’s hard to imagine who will fill his shoes. It sure won’t be Brian Williams. I could fill pages and pages with examples, but I’ll limit myself to two favorites: In March 2009, at the bottom of the financial meltdown, Stewart interviewed…
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At the Crossroads of Two Sectors

At the Crossroads of Two Sectors

Here at Greenlining, we see diversity and equity as the key to success. Only by allowing everyone to contribute their talents and creativity across all sectors can we build an inclusive, fair, and prosperous society. As President Obama recently stated in his State of the Union address, “We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success – we want everyone to contribute to our success.” And from this basic principle, the Health Equity Fellowship was born. Let us provide a little context. The Health Equity Fellowship is a landmark collaboration between Greenlining and The California Endowment, a private California-focused health foundation. It trains young advocates of color, like ourselves,…
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