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Who Will Lead?

Who Will Lead?

You know that feeling when everything falls into place? It’s a moment of connection, a sense of confidence or centeredness. We may experience it differently, but we’ve all had that moment where we feel like we understand our purpose. It comes from living our values, and often the feeling is brief. Throughout my life, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to recreate the conditions to support that feeling in myself and others– this is what drew me into the field of Leadership Development, a sector containing phrases like “empowering spaces”, “adaptiveness”, “holistic practices”, “diverse lived experiences”, and “emergent leadership”. With all this language, it’s easy to lose track of…
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Healing Pain into Action – Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Summit

Healing Pain into Action – Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Summit

Isolation. Emotional repression. Racism. I faced these challenges growing up in Oklahoma City where I was often the only Latino and male of color in middle school and high school classrooms dominated by white students. Racist “jokes” were common and I never felt safe. I was lonely, and making hip hop tracks allowed me to express my emotions and begin the process of healing. Later in college, my undergraduate research, focusing on Latino males in higher education, found that my experiences and struggles strongly correlated with other Latino young men. During my time at Greenlining, I’ve come to understand the extent to which certain policies reinforced systemic barriers for Latino men,…
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Homeownership Champions Unite: Locked out of the Oakland Market

Homeownership Champions Unite: Locked out of the Oakland Market

Homeownership helps families and individuals across America create and maintain wealth. When people own their homes, children perform better in school, communities are healthier, and families have financial stability to weather economic hardships. But as homeownership declines, America could become a renter nation, which is not sustainable for thriving communities. Therefore, we urgently need to revive a strong base of support for homeownership. What does the homeownership landscape look like for people of color in Oakland and Alameda County? On Friday, November 4, community members and stakeholders came together for a closer look at this question. Greenlining partnered with the Center for Responsible Lending to co-host a roundtable discussion and…
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What Will You Do When They Start Rounding Us Up?

What Will You Do When They Start Rounding Us Up?

“We can’t be afraid.  We go on and do what we always do and ‘echale ganas’ (give it your all).  That’s all we can do.” This is what my mom told me after California voters approved Prop. 187, a draconian law that required various state and local agencies to report persons suspected of being undocumented and barred undocumented immigrants from basic public services like education and health. It was 1994, I was 13 years old, undocumented, and fearful for my and my family’s future. My mom’s simple message of perseverance and not giving up helped me overcome my fear and contributed to me becoming the first person in my family…
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Awakening the Equitable Innovator

Awakening the Equitable Innovator

Research and innovation for a sustainable and equitable world In last month’s issue of Wired Magazine, President Obama urged artificial intelligence (AI) researchers to embrace moral responsibilities and explore issues such as diversity, job loss, wealth gaps, and generally keeping this powerful innovation in the hands of “good.” In the same article, Joi Ito of MIT expressed his concern that AI has been primarily driven by a “predominantly male gang of kids, mostly white… who are more comfortable talking to computers than to human beings [and prefer not] to worry about all the messy stuff like politics and society.” In one of several Star Trek references made throughout the interview, Ito…
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“Do You Think They Know?”

“Do You Think They Know?”

It is a Saturday night and I’m at the Atlanta Hilton standing at the door of the Crystal Ballroom. I stand watching 100+ people of color and social justice activists dance and sway to the music, living. And I think to myself “Do you think they know?” It is a few days after the election and I’m at the Facing Race conference, a conference dedicated to the racial and social justice movement. Workshops titled “Raza Que Raza: The State of Latinx Racial Justice” and “Keys to Interrupting the Impact of Implicit Bias” occupy my time. I hear speakers remind me of Audre Lorde’s statement “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle…
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An Open Letter to My Fellow Greenliners

An Open Letter to My Fellow Greenliners

I’d like to share my thoughts about the election. It’s 9:00 a.m. on election day 2016, so clearly I’m writing this before any results are in.  This blog post isn’t about the candidates or control of the Senate or what happens next.  It’s about you, my coworkers at Greenlining—the most incredible group of folks that I’ve ever worked with. My perspective on the world was – like everyone – formed by my family, my faith, my education, and my experiences.  Those factors shaped me into a person who is passionate about justice and equity, angry enough to want to do something about it and too stubborn to give up. As…
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Low Income People and People of Color Must Stand Up to Big Tobacco

Low Income People and People of Color Must Stand Up to Big Tobacco

Cigarettes kill. That’s a fact. Not only does cigarette smoking heavily affect users’ health, but also affects non-users’, as exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to serious health complications. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year… – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cigarette smoking deteriorates the collective health of us all. Here’s the good news: Awareness of the negative health impacts of cigarette smoking has tremendously increased in the United States. And with it came a decrease in cigarette consumption and cigarette-caused illnesses…
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Uber and the Tech Economy Have a Discrimination Problem

Uber and the Tech Economy Have a Discrimination Problem

Earlier this week, researchers from three top universities reported new research indicating that ride-hailing companies have a discrimination problem, producing piles of negative press for these firms. According to Bloomberg’s report on the study, “Drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. in Boston canceled rides for men with black-sounding names more than twice as often as for other men. Black people in Seattle using Uber and Lyft Inc. faced notably longer wait times to get paired with drivers than white customers.” In fairness to the companies, they have expressed concern about these findings, and it’s important to note that it seems to be individual drivers engaging in discrimination, not the companies themselves. That said, nothing…
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Leadership Development — What Helped Me Should Be Available to All

Leadership Development — What Helped Me Should Be Available to All

I started my first semester at the University of California, Berkeley this fall, and being here is a tremendous privilege. As a first-generation student of color, attending one of the world’s most prestigious universities seemed very unlikely and out of my reach due to the lack of resources within my community.  Overall, young people who look like me have a higher chance of dropping out of high school, being incarcerated, or maybe even killed after being profiled and assumed to be dangerous. I could have been just another statistic. So, how is it that I made it to one of the world’s most prestigious universities despite the odds? I attribute…
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