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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 Last Wednesday, California’s legislature and Governor Jerry Brown approved a $171 billion budget deal that repealed the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) Rule, a failed policy experiment that sought to punish low-income families, overwhelmingly single mothers of color, for having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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No Hate

No Hate

For a few hours yesterday, Greenlining’s office was gripped with fear: One of our team, a recent UCLA grad, was visiting the campus – stuck there longer than planned due to a cancelled flight – when UCLA was put on lockdown due to a shooting that left two dead.  A former colleague now in grad school in Westwood was also in the area. For a couple hours law enforcement combed the campus as rumors flew – including reports that other shooters were still roaming the school – while we frantically watched Twitter and online video streams and hoping, praying, and sighing with relief when our colleague was able to text…
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In Defense of Compromise

In Defense of Compromise

When is it okay to compromise your principles? Activists wrestle with this question every day (and those who don’t probably should). The answers never come easily. I bring this up because I’ve been arguing about this year’s election campaign with an old friend via social media. If his preferred (underdog) presidential candidate doesn’t win his party’s nomination, he’s going to vote for a third party candidate because the likely nominee fails to pass my friend’s purity test. And I want to wring his neck. (You’ll notice I’m not naming candidates or parties here. Greenlining is non-partisan and I don’t even want to imply any sort of endorsement — and the…
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Not-for-Profit Hospitals Must Join the Fight Against Climate Change

Not-for-Profit Hospitals Must Join the Fight Against Climate Change

At first glance, the headline above may seem puzzling. What do hospitals have to do with climate change? Let me explain. California’s Central Valley contains six of the 10 most polluted cities, according the American Lung Association. Sadly, Orlando (pictured above) is just one of the many residents of the Valley who suffers from asthma that is largely caused or worsened by the poor air quality. Orlando uses a nebulizer, a device that administers medication in the form of a mist, to treat his asthma during school recesses. In the Fresno Unified School District, almost one in five students have asthma. In response to this epidemic, Kaiser Permanente donated $20,000…
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4 Things You Should Know About Not-for-Profit Hospital Community Benefits

4 Things You Should Know About Not-for-Profit Hospital Community Benefits

For the past several years, Greenlining has led a statewide coalition to advocate for not-for-profit hospitals to increase investments that improve the holistic health and well-being of communities of color and low-income communities. Each year, not-for-profit hospitals receive billions of dollars in tax exemptions and subsidies – totaling nearly $3.3 billion amongst not-for-profit hospital systems in California in 2010. In exchange, these hospitals are required to provide vital investments that address the health needs of the communities they serve, with an emphasis on building community health and disease prevention. These investments are known as community benefits. Communities of color and low-income communities, California’s most vulnerable populations, have the most to…
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Yes, the News Media Are Biased

Yes, the News Media Are Biased

If you’ve been following the presidential campaign (probably not a healthy activity for one’s sanity, but still), and particularly if you’re active on social media, you’ve likely seen a lot of rants about media bias. They’re blacking out Bernie! They’re helping Trump by putting him on TV constantly! CNN = Communist News Network! (Yes,some people actually believe that one.) As a former reporter who’s spent the last 15 years doing media relations for advocacy nonprofits, I can confirm that media bias really exists. But it’s mostly not what people think. Putting aside obviously ideological outlets like Fox News, most reporters, editors and producers do try to be fair. Yes, they…
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Telecommunications Redlining: Modernization Shouldn’t Leave Anyone Behind

Telecommunications Redlining: Modernization Shouldn’t Leave Anyone Behind

Last month, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) introduced AB 2395, an industry-backed bill that tries to move California from our traditional copper telephone system to an all internet-based phone system. The premise of the bill is that many of us – myself included – don’t use old school landlines any more. We get our phone service in our pockets via wireless or we get VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), typically from our cable or internet provider. Therefore, the story goes, it should be ok to force everyone who’s still using traditional phone service to do the same thing I’ve chosen to do. Here’s the kicker. The old school phone network…
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