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A Case Study in White Privilege

A Case Study in White Privilege

Watching the online discussions about police shootings, the massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Confederate flag reminds me that a lot of white Americans haven’t the faintest clue about how privileged whites have been and still are in U.S. society. It’s easy to say “I don’t see race” if you’re part of the politically and economically dominant racial group, but if we’re to heal this nation’s wounds, white people need to see race. As a small step in that process, I herewith offer a small case study in white privilege. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll base it on the life of someone I know pretty well: me.…
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Significant Step forward for Undocumented Immigrant Families

Significant Step forward for Undocumented Immigrant Families

On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the budget deal reached with legislative leadership would include $40 million to provide health care to undocumented children through the Medi-Cal program. As an advocate and someone who has been a part of this effort for a few years now (though not nearly as long as some of my esteemed colleagues), I took a moment to pause and reflect on this incredible moment. I remembered last year when I sat with several of my closest allies and listened as Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who was then working to pass SB 1005 (Lara), the first version of Health4All, tell us…
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This Week in “What the…?” – Scared White People Edition

This Week in “What the…?” – Scared White People Edition

What the hell is going on with white people? I may seem an odd person to be asking this, since — as you may have noticed — I’m white, but I just can’t wrap my head around some of what I’m hearing lately. It seems that a significant number of whites – probably not a majority, but a substantial and vocal minority – genuinely believe that whites are under siege in this country. That should be cause for alarm I’ve tweeted a bit lately (and you are all following @BruceMirken, aren’t you?) about the continuing series of high-profile cases of police violence directed at people of color – Eric Garner,…
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Kaiser Permanente’s Sponsorship of the Warriors May Not Be So Golden

Kaiser Permanente’s Sponsorship of the Warriors May Not Be So Golden

  GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS FANS STAND UP! The Bay Area should thank their Warriors, led by the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, for ending a 40-year NBA Finals appearance drought. Warriors faithful everywhere (including several of my esteemed colleagues here at Greenlining), are as hyped as ever as they root for their team to bring an NBA Championship to the Bay Area. Although I’m not a Warriors fan (I’m a die-hard Laker fan… and yes, life is tough for me right now…), I can’t help but share in the pure excitement of my friends who have loyally rooted for their team through thick and thin. That makes this critique…
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Development with Democracy & without Displacement

Development with Democracy & without Displacement

This blog is part of an ongoing series of posts by the Greenlining Health Equity Fellows at The California Endowment. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” –Mother Teresa It’s a warm Sunday afternoon and the sun is shining brightly when suddenly a gentle breeze cools the perspiration on my skin. I pause from dusting a thin layer of dirt off a pair of Nike Cortez and I take stock of my surroundings. There’s a cacophony of sounds: children laughing, pigeons cooing, and Mexican Norteño music blaring in the background. Nearby, I see my parents and older siblings…
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Senator Menendez’s Corporate Diversity Report: Are there Downsides to Champions?

Senator Menendez’s Corporate Diversity Report: Are there Downsides to Champions?

It isn’t often that Jersey girls like me get to brag about the ole’ Garden State, but today I’m jazzed to blog that NJ’s own Senator Bob Menendez released an incredible 3rd Annual Corporate Diversity Report.  “Incredible” may sound like a generous term when it comes to survey results, but if you care about equity or economic development, you’ll soon get why this is a big deal. Unprompted by law or regulation, the senator annually surveys the top U.S. companies on their diversity practices with respect to women and people of color. A member of the Senate Banking Committee and chair of the Senate’s Hispanic Task Force, he has long…
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Another Hole in the “Model Minority” Myth

Another Hole in the “Model Minority” Myth

One of the most pernicious myths in American life is that Asian Americans are “model minority,” universally outpacing other racial and ethnic groups, including whites, in education and income. Some use such claims to imply – or even suggest explicitly – that other groups just need to work harder and have more “tiger moms” in order to catch up. That’s never been true, as we’ve noted before. Lots of social, practical and cultural factors come into play, and Asian Americans aren’t monolithic. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities and immigrant experiences, and the stark differences between these groups get lost when you lump Asians into one single…
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Electric Cars are Coming to Stockton!

Electric Cars are Coming to Stockton!

I stood on the sun-bleached lawn of the California Capitol a few days ago. I felt my navy blue suit slowly insulating the morning Sacramento heat. Some folks took off their coats and tossed them over their shoulders as they heard Senator Kevin De León address a large group in attendance to witness the launch of a new scrap and replace program that will help California get a step closer to meeting its climate and air quality goals. I opted to keep my suit intact and stand proud on this rewarding and exciting day. Thanks to a first-of-its-kind law, The Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275), this scrap and replace…
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Recovering From Trauma, Building Community

Recovering From Trauma, Building Community

For the last nine months, my work as a Greenlining Health Equity Fellow at The California Endowment has focused on trauma-informed practices around the state of California. Trauma-informed practices are those infused with the knowledge that violence (interpersonal, structural, etc.) affects a person’s life and development. Doing this work has been difficult (and at times triggering) for me and my team. For a lot of us, it means confronting trauma within our communities and remembering to take care of ourselves when the work demands so much of  us: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For me, this work forces me to do some much needed reflection, even in the moments when…
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Yosemite and Why I Love Big Government

Yosemite and Why I Love Big Government

Last week I spent a few days in Yosemite National Park, which I hadn’t visited since I was about nine years old. I went there to relax and not think about policy, but I couldn’t help it. At every turn, Yosemite reminded me of why we all should value “Big Government” – that dreaded bogeyman of the far right – and got me thinking about the unfinished business of environmental justice. First, for anyone who hasn’t been there, Yosemite is truly staggering. The pictures here can’t possibly capture the experience of seeing and experiencing the grandeur of this place. We forget too easily that we only have Yosemite to enjoy…
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