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#NoBanNoWallNoRaids: Why I Stand with Immigrants and Refugees

#NoBanNoWallNoRaids: Why I Stand with Immigrants and Refugees

I guess I’m lucky. I won’t personally be hurt if the recent ICE raids on undocumented immigrants continue, or if the courts validate the president’s attempt to ban refugees from certain Muslim countries. I’m a citizen. I’m white. I don’t “look foreign” and am unlikely to be mistaken for an immigrant or refugee. But I cannot, must not, be silent as people who look different from me are rounded up. I have undocumented friends, and many more friends and coworkers who have undocumented family members.  I will not just leave them to fend for themselves. I can’t believe I even need to say this, but they are all good, caring,…
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(Un)learning & Relearning Cariño: Bringing Boys and Men of Color into Health Care

(Un)learning & Relearning Cariño: Bringing Boys and Men of Color into Health Care

After postponing multiple times, I recently had my first check-in with a doctor since moving to the Bay Area. My visit lasted exactly 30 minutes, but efficiency didn’t equal effectiveness. I felt like another number. That’s not how you deliver effective care. Our health care system needs cariño, Spanish for a warm and kind affection. To achieve cariño, we must start with cultural competency — care that respects diversity and honors cultural factors central to patients’ lives, including language, communication styles, and traditions. As the health care field continues to grow, we urgently need more boys and men of color to be part of that system in order to provide…
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Congress Attacks Low-Income Workers

Congress Attacks Low-Income Workers

In 2011, Greenlining released a reported called “The Economic Crisis Facing Seniors of Color,” which highlighted the disproportionate degree to which people of color lack access to pensions, 401(k)s and other retirement plans. It’s not that they don’t want to save for retirement: Asian Americans, Latinos and African Americans are simply less likely to work for a company that sponsors a retirement plan. Among other things, our report called for passage of legislation that had been introduced by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) to create portable, totally voluntary, state-backed retirement savings plans for workers who don’t have access to such a program at work. The bill didn’t create major…
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Free Speech ≠ Hate Speech: UC Berkeley Rejects Milo Yiannopoulos

Free Speech ≠ Hate Speech: UC Berkeley Rejects Milo Yiannopoulos

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On Wednesday night, protests erupted at UC Berkeley in response to an event featuring Milo Yiannopoulos, a senior editor for Breitbart News, who was scheduled to speak to the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR). Yiannopoulos was invited to share his thoughts on – as he put it – “cultural appropriation, a phenomenon of the progressive, social justice left.” Rioters dressed in all black, unaffiliated with UC Berkeley and calling themselves “antifas” (short for anti-fascists), vandalized campus and city property, including the MLK student center, a nearby Starbucks, and other local shops. Yiannopoulos’ history of hate speech is…
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Statue of Liberty Resigns in Protest

Statue of Liberty Resigns in Protest

EDITOR’S NOTE: A couple years ago, we unexpectedly received a letter from the Statue of Liberty, who asked us to post it on our blog. We heard from her again today and think her message is worth sharing: Dear Americans, I wrote to you a couple of years ago to say I was concerned that my being out here in New York Harbor constituted false advertising. After all, here I was with my lamp and a plaque proclaiming that I’m “mother of exiles” and saying, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – all while you were finding ways to turn away refugee children…
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De-Fanging Our Heroes

De-Fanging Our Heroes

In an era when open expressions of bigotry, hate and contempt for the less fortunate are on the rise, I find myself wondering how we got here. Lots of factors contribute, but we might want to pay more attention to our national tendency to take our heroes and de-fang and de-claw them – turning them into warm and fuzzy but largely empty shells, cutting the heart out of what they tried to teach us. Many have addressed what some call the “Santa Clausification” of Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we just celebrated. Annual MLK commemorations contain lots of “I have a dream” but shockingly little about King’s fierce and…
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The Personal is the Professional

The Personal is the Professional

Each year The Greenlining Institute’s Leadership Academy admits 12-14 Summer Associates and Fellows to develop their personal and professional leadership skills. These Fellows and Summer Associates are trailblazers, changemakers, and are advocates for their chosen communities. Like so many leadership development programs in the nation, we understand the value of diversity but we also understand that diversity is so much more than numbers and checking off boxes. Greenlining’s staff are a set of individuals who deeply and fundamentally understand key theories of thought such as “white privilege,” “intersectionality” and the state of being “woke.” The Greenlining Institute goes beyond providing only the “hard skills” because we know success includes personal…
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Numbers Don’t Lie – Enroll, #GetCovered, and #Fight4OurHealth

Numbers Don’t Lie – Enroll, #GetCovered, and #Fight4OurHealth

Dear California, Justice is at stake and we need your help. The Affordable Care Act (ACA, sometimes called “Obamacare”) is under attack. Will Congress repeal the ACA? If so, what are they going to replace it with? We don’t know the exact answers, but we do know that we are not going down without a fight. We must protect everyone’s right to health care. If eligible, I urge you to enroll for health coverage through Covered California before January 31 for your coverage to start by February 1st. Last month, my colleague Erendira Calderon, wrote about why you should #GetCovered – and regardless of future prospects, the ACA remains in…
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Why I’m Grateful Obama Cared: An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Why I’m Grateful Obama Cared: An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

My President is Black, My Lambo’s blue, And I’ll be goddamn if my rims ain’t too. – Young Jeezy: My President, 2008 Dear President Obama, First, let me admit that My President is the only Young Jeezy song I know, and I really only care about it for the verse above. You probably prefer the music – and company – of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, but you have to admit, that song was pretty awesome in 2008. I was 17 years old on November 4, 2008, when you took the stage at Grant Park to deliver one of the most transcendent speeches in American History. Truth be told, I was disappointed…
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Transforming and Uplifting Communities of Color

Transforming and Uplifting Communities of Color

This past September, California put its money where its mouth is and signed Assembly Bill 2722 (Burke), the Transformative Climate Communities Program. AB 2722 requires that the folks at the California Strategic Growth Council set up a competitive process to award monies to neighborhood-scale projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide local, environmental, economic, and health benefits to disadvantaged communities.  What do I mean by “neighborhood-scale”? Think your entire neighborhood—including that neighbor who sometimes parks in your space, the nice lady across from you who is always sweeping her front porch and also your neighborhood school, park, community center, transit hub, etc. Disadvantaged communities are defined by CalEnviroScreen, a…
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