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Social Change Communications Agencies Have A Problem: #PRSoWhite

Social Change Communications Agencies Have A Problem: #PRSoWhite

If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you should be familiar with the world of agencies that convey their clients’ message to drive masses to action (usually to buy a product). Most people often refer to them as advertising agencies. Besides these agencies that help corporations sell products for profit, there are agencies whose mission is to shape public opinion to drive social change. These agencies integrate strategic public relations, advertising, social media and more to drive issue-driven campaigns that make the world a better place. These agencies usually call themselves social change communications agencies. The two types of agencies I mentioned above have very different missions, but they have something…
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California is One Step Closer to Achieving #Health4All

California is One Step Closer to Achieving #Health4All

On June 10, 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 10, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D – Bell Gardens), which would allow undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance through Covered California. In my short time as a Bridges to Health Fellow, I have seen health reforms passed, such as SB 4, also authored by Sen. Lara, which expanded access to Medi-Cal, our state’s health insurance program for limited income families, to undocumented children under the age of 19. I have also seen initiatives fail, including Sen. Lara’s Senate Bill 1005, which sought to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented adults. This fellowship provided me a crash course in advocacy at the state…
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Demilitarize the Police, Demilitarize America

Demilitarize the Police, Demilitarize America

Every shocking police killing of a person of color brings another wave of sadness and anger through Greenlining’s office. As an organization that works every day for racial equity but doesn’t directly deal with policing or criminal justice, shootings like the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile leave us feeling simultaneously outraged and helpless. Then, Thursday night, the sniper attack that killed five Dallas police officers added another layer of madness and despair. And, like millions of other Americans, we grope for answers. I claim no great expertise, here, but it seems to me that much of the problem lies at the intersection of racism, militarized police culture…
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#PhilanthropySoWhite? It’s Time for a Change

#PhilanthropySoWhite? It’s Time for a Change

What do the Oscars, the Federal Reserve, and philanthropy all have in common? Apart from wielding tremendous power, the answer is simple: they’re overwhelmingly white. We’ve all seen the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite that took off in 2015 when not a single person of color was nominated for an acting award, and that reappeared when 2016 brought more of the same. Now, #FedSoWhite is making its way around social media as over 120 members of Congress have called attention to the fact that 100 percent of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee are white (and 60 percent are men). In the world of philanthropy, made up…
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My Community is Disappearing: Why I Face Climate Change

My Community is Disappearing: Why I Face Climate Change

If you had told me as a 9th grade student that I would be sitting here today as one of seven Summer Associates at The Greenlining Institute, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Let me explain. My name is Kacey Hopson, and recently I graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Public Policy Analysis. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, to a mother of Inupiaq Eskimo ancestry, and a Pakistani father, who immigrated to the United States in his early thirties. I am the first in my family to graduate from college. I grew up navigating elite, high-achieving academic spaces as the only first-generation, low-income, mixed indigenous…
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Proposed Law Aims to Transform Historically Polluted Communities

Proposed Law Aims to Transform Historically Polluted Communities

Hello all! I am Nicole Powell, and I am excited to join the environmental equity team here at the Greenlining Institute as a Summer Associate. I was born and raised in the Blair Hills area of Culver City, California, a community that sits across the street from the Inglewood Oil Field oil refinery. This summer I have the opportunity to advocate for AB 2722, a proposed law that can transform polluted California neighborhoods into healthy, thriving communities. Lifting up historically marginalized communities through this project connects to the work I did as an undergraduate. I graduated from Loyola Marymount University in May 2016 with a B.A. in Communication Studies and…
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Raped While Black: My Experience in the Aftermath of Stanford’s Sexual Assault Case

Raped While Black: My Experience in the Aftermath of Stanford’s Sexual Assault Case

Over the past few weeks a lot of attention has been paid to sexual assault survivors, thanks in large part to the courage of “Emily Doe”, a woman attacked by the infamous Brock Turner on Stanford’s campus last year. Following the absurd, and disgusting, 6 month jail sentence by Judge Persky there’s been a flood of attention– from social media to the floors of Congress— on rape culture and its devastating effects. I expected to be appreciative, even glad, of how the public is displaying compassion. After all, I’m a survivor myself and a Stanford graduate. Part of me is grateful, truly. But deep down in my gut, something about…
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California Celebrates the Repeal of the Maximum Family Grant

California Celebrates the Repeal of the Maximum Family Grant

After more than two decades, California will finally repeal one of the discriminatory state laws in existence. Last Wednesday, California’s legislature and Governor Jerry Brown approved a $171 billion budget deal that repealed the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) Rule, a failed policy experiment that sought to punish low-income families, overwhelmingly single mothers of color, for having another child. Fueled by incredibly racist assumptions and undertones, MFG denied additional aid to families receiving assistance when they had another child. This past January, I wrote an open letter to Governor Brown, highlighting some of the damaging impacts of this policy. Under this new policy, families receiving aid through CalWORKs are expected to…
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Shape Up, Silicon Valley

Shape Up, Silicon Valley

Wealth inequality continues to plague the Bay Area and the tech industry is at the heart of it. On May 25, at our 23rd Economic Summit, the Greenlining Institute brought together a panel of thought leaders and social entrepreneurs in tech to discuss the role of equity in the digital economy. For an hour and a half, the panel took part in honest reflection and conversation about the racial wealth and opportunity gap that the tech sector has left in its wake. And for an hour and a half, the panel put a whoopin’ to the backside of the gig economy for failing to contribute to a vision of shared prosperity.…
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The UCLA Shooting: What It Felt Like on Campus

The UCLA Shooting: What It Felt Like on Campus

Yesterday was Wednesday, June 1. Yesterday I had a final presentation for my statistics class. Yesterday, UCLA witnessed a murder-suicide that rocked the psyche of the UCLA community. Friday (tomorrow), like many others, I have two finals, both of which are imperative my UCLA career. But after yesterday, it is almost impossible to focus on something that seems so irrelevant now. Here is my story: 9:45 a.m. – I woke up to a group message that said “6 cop cars and officers with guns near Ackerman turnaround. Officers just told me to run the other way. Stay safe everyone.” Though we have had very rare instances in the past where…
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