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Health Care in the Crosshairs: Why We Still Need to #GetCovered

Health Care in the Crosshairs: Why We Still Need to #GetCovered

For now, the Affordable Care Act  remains the law of the land. Republicans have led numerous efforts to repeal the ACA since it became law in 2010; in fact, Senate Republicans voted to repeal the ACA three times in July 2017 alone. Fortunately, targeted opposition from advocates across the nation led to the downfall of the Graham-Cassidy bill, the latest attempt to dismantle health care reform. Nevertheless, with open enrollment looming, health advocates must remain vigilant: Conservatives will keep trying to defund, or repeal the ACA. The Graham-Cassidy bill was the most egregious effort to repeal the ACA thus far. The Congressional Budget Office reported that Graham-Cassidy would have stripped millions…
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Big Data and Social Justice are on a Collision Course

Big Data and Social Justice are on a Collision Course

Have you ever felt like you missed the boat on a huge opportunity? I do. A friend once told me to buy bitcoin when it was $80; now it’s almost $5,000 and my stomach clenches thinking about what could have been. I get that same feeling when I think about big data and the opportunity it presents for communities of color. The world’s most valuable resource is now big data; it’s even been called the “new oil.” Machine learning and predictive analytics are the oil rigs and refineries that mine and process data to find valuable business insights. Corporations race to tap into big data because it helps them innovate…
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An American Heritage: Black Tradition of Patriotic Expression

An American Heritage: Black Tradition of Patriotic Expression

There is nothing more patriotic than the commitment to ensure and uphold our most sacred national values: equality, justice and liberty. One form of patriotic expression, when these values are violated, is to cryptically or symbolically resist. From dance and song used to coordinate resistance to bondage to lunch counter sit-ins – these, and countless other actions, are rooted in service to defending America’s values. Born from Black America’s history of leadership in advancing liberty and equality, this form of service has become a custom in American patriotic expression. Most recently, we’ve seen professional athletes take up this tradition by kneeling for racial justice. CLICK TO TWEET: #TakeAKnee is part…
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Addressing Racial Inequity in the Financial Sector

Addressing Racial Inequity in the Financial Sector

Earlier this month the Greenlining Institute honored Congresswoman Barbara Lee with a Racial Justice Warrior award and Maria Contreras Sweet with a Small Business Advocate award at our inaugural Financial Services Forum. The forum brought together more than 120 community leaders, nonprofits, advocates, bank executives, and financial industry regulators to discuss how the financial sector can increase access to capital, jobs, and economic opportunity for people of color in California. Throughout U.S. history, financial institutions and federal regulators have played a crucial role in determining who gains access to economic opportunity in this country, and who does not. In the era of federally sanctioned redlining from the 1930s to 1970s,…
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Why the Most Important Telecommunications Work I Did This Week Was Participating in A Trumpcare Protest

Why the Most Important Telecommunications Work I Did This Week Was Participating in A Trumpcare Protest

I just went to Washington to lobby on telecommunications issues and ended up helping to (I hope!) save America from Trumpcare. Three times a year, the telecommunications team flies from California to Washington D.C. to visit the Federal Communications Commission.  I serve on the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations regarding consumer issues.  Three weeks ago, I would have written that the CAC “advocates on behalf of consumers.”  However, since then, FCC Chair Ajit Pai added six new members to the committee, all of whom are industry hacks or work for free-market think tanks.  I was a bit surprised by this, but I shouldn’t have been—after all, Chairman Pai…
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Looking for Answers to Violence in the Right Places

Looking for Answers to Violence in the Right Places

As a working class Black man who lives in the United States, I constantly reflect on my privilege. I have always had health care, access to education, and crucially, freedom from day to day violence. Whether that violence takes the form of a neighborhood shooting, police harassment, or extrajudicial violence by law enforcement, I have been free from it. This freedom does not always extend to my Black brothers and sisters who are killed by the police at disproportionately high rates. It also does not extend to those who face gun violence in urban areas, or violence from racist redlining policies, such as the decades-old practice by the Federal Housing…
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Contemplating Hatred: Reflections on the End of DACA

Contemplating Hatred: Reflections on the End of DACA

At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised. Without thinking twice, I can list dozens of examples of moral bankruptcy: Charlottesville, Muslim ban(s), Keystone XL Pipeline, the ban on transgender military personnel, Trumpcare… need I say more? But after President Trump announced that he will end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – an Obama-era program that’s benefited over 800,000 young immigrants – I found myself wondering how the president of the United States could be so UNAmerican. As each passing day becomes a new exercise in resistance and resilience, I am constantly learning how to channel fear and anger into allyship and support, be it for undocumented loved ones, their…
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Dear White People: We Have to Fix the Trump Problem

Dear White People: We Have to Fix the Trump Problem

If you’ve noticed the photo that accompanies my blog posts, you’ve probably figured out that I’m white. I don’t normally bring that up, but this message is particularly for my fellow white people. We need to face the fact that we caused the Trump problem, and we have to take responsibility for fixing it. We elected Trump, who, according to the exit polls, lost nonwhite voters by over 3-to-1 while carrying whites by a comfortable 20 point margin. Whites – not all of us, but a healthy majority of us – inflicted upon America the torrent of hate, narrow-mindedness, pathological lying and disregard for facts and science that has marked…
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Can California Protect Frontline Communities From Climate Change?

Can California Protect Frontline Communities From Climate Change?

In the last five years, San Jose has seen severe drought followed by the worst floods in a century and, to top it off,  record breaking temperatures. These extreme weather events are not unique to the Bay Area, but are happening all around California as well as the U.S. and the world. Climate change makes them more common and more severe. Although California is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it won’t stop global warming. We can slow down extreme weather events like those in San Jose, but  communities will continue to feel the impacts of climate change no matter how much we curb emissions. The weather conditions brought on…
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Dreams from My Father: Nazis in America

Dreams from My Father: Nazis in America

My dad fought in World War II, but didn’t talk about it much. As a doctor with the army in the Pacific, I’m sure he saw lots of things he didn’t want to remember. But he did tell me one thing that’s stuck with me vividly: “I was p***ed off they sent me to the Pacific. I wanted to go to Europe and kill Nazis.” That’s no surprise. Though not observant, my dad’s family was Jewish. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be thousands of miles away, seeing what the Nazis were doing to Jews in Europe, and be unable to do anything about it.…
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