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Unlearning Bigotry

Unlearning Bigotry

You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear, You’ve got to be taught From year to year, It’s got to be drummed In your dear little ear You’ve got to be carefully taught –Oscar Hammerstein II When I was in the 5th grade, my class put on an original play about the then-fanciful idea of a woman becoming president (this was a looooonnngggg time ago). I contribute lyrics to a modified version of The Air Force Song (“Off we go into the wild blue yonder…”) intended for use in the play. I’ll spare you the details, but my lyrics were an obnoxious collection of sexist stereotypes suggesting that women…
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#GetCovered — Covered California Enrollment Ends January 31st!

#GetCovered — Covered California Enrollment Ends January 31st!

Covered California, our state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act, can now share stories of Californians who have benefited from health coverage, including Sarah from Los Angeles, who needed emergency brain surgery a month after enrolling. Without insurance, her medical bills would have been over $2 million, but thanks to her health coverage, her out-of-pocket expenses for surgery and rehabilitation only totaled $7,000. Sarah is one of thousands of California patients who benefitted from Covered California and received health care – from cancer treatments to organ transplants – in her time of need. To help make sure Californians know about these opportunities,  a Covered California enrollment drive took place…
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Is “White Genocide” Really a Thing?

Is “White Genocide” Really a Thing?

“There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.” –Mark Twain Since I joined Twitter last year (and seriously, if you’re not following @BruceMirken you have no idea what fun you’re missing), I’ve found myself face-to-face with far more overt bigotry than I’ve dealt with in many years. One example that I just can’t get over is the hashtag #WhiteGenocide. Folks out there – more than a few, it seems – seriously believe that the very existence of white people in the U.S. is endangered by the increasing presence and influence of communities of color. For…
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Really, Apple? Tech Giant Resists Shareholder’s Call for More Diversity

Really, Apple? Tech Giant Resists Shareholder’s Call for More Diversity

I had to read it twice to make sure I got things right. Apple is formally opposing a shareholder resolution to increase the diversity of its senior management and board of directors. This isn’t news just for diversity nerds. It’s is a big deal for Apple customers and anyone affected by the tech industry or corporate America. In other words, everyone. Let me break it down. One of Apple’s Dominican shareholders, a Mr. Antonio Avian Maldonado II., submitted a measure to require more diversity from underrepresented ethnic groups (Hispanic, African-American, and Native American) in high level positions. Specifically, he proposes an “accelerated recruitment policy.”  [For the non-financially savvy like myself:…
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How Oscar’s Tech-savvy Approach to Health Can Impact Uninsured Young People of Color

How Oscar’s Tech-savvy Approach to Health Can Impact Uninsured Young People of Color

  The future of our health care relies on the enrollment of healthy millennials – “young invincibles” like myself, between the ages of 18-34, who go without health coverage and have never had a serious health issue. Young invincibles constitute over a third of the 22 million people in our country who still lack health insurance even though they’re eligible under the Affordable Care Act (this excludes non-citizen immigrants, who aren’t eligible for ACA coverage, as well as low-income adults in states that did not expand Medicaid). Research suggests that young people are both less likely to have employer-sponsored insurance and less likely to buy coverage on their own because…
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An Open Letter to Governor Brown: Repeal Maximum Family Grants Immediately

An Open Letter to Governor Brown: Repeal Maximum Family Grants Immediately

Dear Governor Jerry Brown, California has the opportunity to remove one of the state’s most discriminatory laws. The Greenlining Institute strongly urges you to support Senate Bill 23 (Mitchell), which seeks to repeal the Maximum Family Grant, or “family cap” policy: an outdated rule that punishes primarily low-income mothers of color and their families for having children. Most of all, it punishes kids for being born poor. The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Maximum Family Grant rule is a failed social experiment passed in 1994 that denies government aid to children born into impoverished families who already receive aid for another child. If a family has received…
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Smart Doesn’t Solve Everything

The first two articles I read upon returning to work this morning after the holiday break (that I am fortunate enough to have) were about persistent racial discrimination against black and Latino sheet metal workers from within their own union, and about AT&T going big on “Smart Cities.”  The details of what a “smart city” might be, according to AT&T, are yet unannounced, as it plans a big reveal at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show.  For Greenlining, these issues are closely related. Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers has been under investigation for racial discrimination for decades, and only began allowing non-white members after a court ordered it to. …
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What Elon Musk Missed About the VW Diesel Scandal

What Elon Musk Missed About the VW Diesel Scandal

Elon Musk and associates just wrote to the California Air Resources Board saying that rather than make VW fix its dirty diesels, it should make the company roll out electric cars faster. But to truly fix the problem, everyone — even those with famous names and big companies — should think about equity for those hit hardest.  Volkswagen’s illegal pollution fouls air throughout California, but we know that Californians in disadvantaged communities are hardest hit. Putting truly clean cars on the road is important, but they must reach the communities that need them most. We should be asking how Volkswagen can benefit those who most need the cleaner air and…
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Building More Solar In Communities That Need It The Most

Building More Solar In Communities That Need It The Most

You may have been hearing a lot about rooftop solar lately. California is just nutty for solar power, with more than 3,500 megawatts installed across the state and more on its way. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, that’s enough to power more than half a million homes. We have so much solar, in fact, that the legislature ordered the Public Utilities Commission to revise the price paid for rooftop solar power – essentially to move from start-up mode to a more long-term sustainable price. In regulated utility circles (the in-crowd if ever there was one), we’re calling it NEM 2.0. The Commission just issued its NEM 2.0 Proposed…
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Too Big to Succeed?

Too Big to Succeed?

The United Nations climate talks in Paris, also known as COP21, carried a distinct air of excitement along with a desperate quest for something big, monumental, epic, and transformative. We saw events with big names, big venues, big businesses, big rhetoric. This was in large part due to the enormity of the task at hand: Finalize a global accord that mobilizes international action against arguably the largest threat to humankind and the planet. With close to 200 countries immediately signing on to the Paris Agreement, it without a doubt constitutes a momentous milestone in the fight against climate change – but will it be enough? Big is not always better…
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