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Building a Nation Where Communities of Color Thrive: Debra Gore-Mann on Why She Joined Greenlining

Building a Nation Where Communities of Color Thrive: Debra Gore-Mann on Why She Joined Greenlining

As our country tackles problems that disproportionately affect communities of color, we must face the origins of these challenges head-on. And with an election year approaching, we will move our communities to action and challenge candidates of all parties to do so as well.  Who can argue against The Greenlining Institute’s vision? “Building a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to opportunity.” This is the vision statement of The Greenlining Institute. It’s all good, right? As it turns out, in the times we live in right now, lots of folk might take exception to this statement. Specifically, some are bothered by “communities of color”…
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Mobility Companies Discover Equity — Time to Raise the Bar

Mobility Companies Discover Equity — Time to Raise the Bar

  If you would have told me a few years ago that Uber, Lyft, bikeshare, and scootershare companies would be competing to win the most brownie points on mobility equity, … I would not have believed you. Yet, in recent years we have witnessed a notable shift from when these mobility companies first eagerly rolled out their services onto the streets, without giving a second thought to how their services would benefit or harm low-income folks, people of color, and people with disabilities. ICYMI, here’s a short summary of a year’s worth of headlines:  10 Bike Share Programs with Low Income Discounts.  Lyft Donates $700,000 to Oakland.  Ford GoBike Launches…
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Closing the Digital Divide for Low-Income Communities

Closing the Digital Divide for Low-Income Communities

Greenlining is helping communities of color and families from low-income backgrounds connect to economic opportunity. We’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve this year. A prosperous and connected California requires a commitment to making sure that every child has access to the internet so they can learn and be prepared for our increasingly tech-based workforce. As a telecom policy expert, it’s been exciting to see 2020 presidential candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren, unveil ambitious plans to improve internet access across America.  This is more important than ever because 40% of low-income households in California don’t have access to the internet at home. This means no access to job…
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Leadership, Policy and Making an Unsafe World Safer

Leadership, Policy and Making an Unsafe World Safer

For women of color, policy has always had a big ”Do Not Enter” sign in front of it. But when Donald Trump was elected to office, a flame was ignited within our communities to abolish oppressive policy systems. During my time at Greenlining, I have been able to find my voice through policy, and I plan to continue fighting to create a safer and less toxic world through advocacy.  In 2016, many people who live in the United States were shaken when they heard the news that Donald Trump was elected president. I remember that night very clearly: I was 22, living in D.C., had just graduated college, was working…
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Coping with Climate Disasters Through Community Partnerships

Coping with Climate Disasters Through Community Partnerships

Climate solutions must have equity at their nucleus, including strong community partnerships, in order to ensure the resilience of all communities. Policymakers must engage these partnerships in the most efficient and equitable manner so our communities can transform before our time is up.  Climate change is not an impending phenomenon, it is here and it is already affecting our communities; remember Paradise, California? And the frightening reality is that catastrophes don’t just damage physical infrastructure. Fires, heat waves, sea level rise and a host of other climate disasters have public health, human rights, and economic consequences too. And as these disasters increase in rate and severity so will the impacts…
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A New Kind of Queerphobia: Climate Change

A New Kind of Queerphobia: Climate Change

We need government officials at all levels to be intentional about including the unique, specific environmental health challenges as well as specific types of discrimination facing LGBTQ+ people (and especially those of color) in their climate adaptation policies and readiness plans. Queerphobia, or fear of and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, still continues in the United States. From the high degree of police brutality experienced by Black and Brown transwomen to the constantly challenged civil rights of queer people, the fight for equality continues. Recently, a new form of queerphobia has infiltrated every aspect of the globe. This queerphobia is omnipresent, ever increasing, and seemingly inescapable. This queerphobia connects to climate…
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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Over the past year, I’ve thankfully managed to shed much of my imposter syndrome thanks to the Leadership Academy’s model of empowerment and transformation. My first day of the Greenlining Fellowship terrified me. I shouldn’t admit this on the internet, but I was so nervous about being late on my first day that I arrived in downtown Oakland at 7:45 am, but I was also so nervous about making a good impression that I waited until 9 and pretended I had just casually gotten off the bus. This was my first full-time job after being in grad school for the previous two years. I had no idea what it would…
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How Can Frontline Communities Reshape the Climate Adaptation Agenda?

How Can Frontline Communities Reshape the Climate Adaptation Agenda?

Climate change is here and will continue to impact us all, so California must be ready to adapt. However, not all communities experience the impacts of climate disasters equally. Climate disasters exacerbate the injustices that low-income, disadvantaged populations face, often leaving these communities with worse health impacts, increased food and job insecurity, and higher rates of poverty compared to wealthier communities. California must prioritize these frontline communities when creating climate adaptation strategies. Greenlining’s forthcoming report, Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience Policies and Programs: A Guidebook, offers input and perspectives from community members on how California can prioritize vulnerable communities in policy and program design. One of…
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A Black Woman’s Story: Experience, Cultural Identity, Professional Growth

A Black Woman’s Story: Experience, Cultural Identity, Professional Growth

A Black Woman’s Story: Why lived experience and cultural identity are critical elements in every advocate’s professional development. #ChangeFromWithin I’ve been pretty political my entire life. My father taught me the true history of Christopher Columbus in the 6th grade, and by the 7th grade, my mom exposed me to DemocracyNow! (DN!) I remember the story of Stanley “Tookie” Williams as the first narrative that moved me. Tookie co-founded the Crips and became an anti-gang advocate who focused on redemption for folks of all backgrounds. I had heard his story from his own words two weeks before he was scheduled to be executed and then listened to the DemocracyNow! broadcast…
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Will Smart Cities Perpetuate the Digital Divide, or Solve It?

Will Smart Cities Perpetuate the Digital Divide, or Solve It?

One of my favorite films is Spike Jonze’s 2013 American science fiction ‘Her,’ set in a futuristic Los Angeles that resembles today’s skyscraper-filled Shanghai. In the film, technology pervades everyone’s lives and people are constantly connected to the digital world. But you no longer see what the majority of today’s cities grapple with: homelessness, traffic, or inequality. Films that try to depict cities of the future often lack homeless people, or people on the less fortunate end of the income spectrum. Instead, everyone is well-dressed in clean, bright clothes, all seamlessly connected in a technological web through their devices. But given the current mass displacement of people of color and…
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