ICE Raids, Asylum Seekers and the Othering of People of Color

ICE Raids, Asylum Seekers and the Othering of People of Color

Like many of you, I’ve watched the reports and rumors of expected ICE raids, images of adults and children in U.S. concentration camps and the attacks on asylum seekers with horror. The large-scale ICE raids that officials have hinted at haven’t yet materialized as I write this, but they’ve succeeded in what may have been their real objective: terrorizing immigrant communities. Central and South Americans seem to be mainly in the crosshairs, but they’re far from the only ones. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has openly mocked its own claims to be focused only on immigrants who do not follow legal procedures: Officials have announced a draconian crackdown on asylum seekers…
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Instacart, the Gig Economy, and Doubling Down on Algorithmic Bias

Instacart, the Gig Economy, and Doubling Down on Algorithmic Bias

Gig economy firms like Instacart, and most tech companies, fail to recognize implicit bias. So their algorithms often discriminate against people of color. With thirty-one percent of Hispanic adults and 27 percent of African American adults earning money through the gig economy, compared to 21 percent of White adults; this is certainly a racial justice issue. Doubling Down on Algorithmic Bias and the Implications for Workers of Color   Here at Greenlining, we spend a lot of time thinking about the gig economy—ride services like Uber and Lyft, food delivery services like Caviar and DoorDash, home rental services like AirBNB, and the grocery delivery company Instacart. Most of us don’t…
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Fix the Loophole that Lets Predatory Lenders Rip People Off

Fix the Loophole that Lets Predatory Lenders Rip People Off

A loophole in California Financing Law lets predatory lenders charge virtually any interest rate for loans over $2,500, which is disproportionately harming the financial stability of  low-income families of color. Assembly Bill 539, The Fair Access to Credit Act would keep already vulnerable communities from falling further into a cycle of poverty by capping interest rates.    California Needs to Fix the Loophole that Lets Predatory Lenders Rip People Off The average annual percentage rate in 2015 for payday loans in California was 366 percent. That, to put it bluntly, is a rip-off, but we can fix it this year: Assembly Bill 539 — “The Fair Access to Credit Act”…
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That Health Tracker and Your Internet Privacy

That Health Tracker and Your Internet Privacy

Over the past few years, there’s been a surge in the popularity of health tracker devices and applications that keep tabs on health information such as your heart rate, the number of steps you take a day, how much you weigh, how much sleep you get, and even your daily water intake. In 2017, 24 percent of consumers reported using a wearable fitness tracker, and 24 percent reported using a health tracking app (this doesn’t mean that 48 percent of consumers used either a fitness tracker or an app—undoubtedly some consumers used both). In 2018, the six most popular fitness tracking apps had a total of 71.3 million active users.…
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Bringing Community Solar to an Environmental Justice Community

Bringing Community Solar to an Environmental Justice Community

California is rapidly transitioning from a fossil fuel based economy to a clean energy economy: A recent walking tour of an environmental justice community, Willowbrook in southern California, gave me a glimpse of how a piece of that future might unfold: Community solar. Bills like  SB 100 push California towards 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. But how will  the path to 100 percent carbon-free energy look for environmental justice communities? Communities of color disproportionately feel the historic and continued impacts of pollution, as they frequently live in closer proximity to refineries, rail yards, ports, transit corridors, dirty industries, and other sites that produce pollution from the use of fossil…
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#ChangeFromWithin: We Need a Personal Vision for Our Community to Thrive!

#ChangeFromWithin: We Need a Personal Vision for Our Community to Thrive!

My first #ChangeFromWithin reflection focused on how anger can be of service in leadership. Now I want to shift to the part that comes after anger: the action, the change, the personal vision for something better. We need a clear personal vision of what we are fighting for. In many social justice spaces, our time is spent focusing on everything that is wrong. We put so much energy into the critiques that we have little left to imagine what we want instead. While identifying the issue is important, it is just one of many steps needed to address the life-threatening issues impacting our community. As a 20-year-old who is active…
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My Family Wouldn’t Be Here Under the Trump Immigration Plan

My Family Wouldn’t Be Here Under the Trump Immigration Plan

Recently, President Trump announced an “immigration plan” – actually, just a set of talking points, without enough detail to be called a real plan. While it was quickly proclaimed “dead on arrival” in Congress, it tells us a lot about the administration’s priorities and the path it will pursue on immigration. My family – and lots of other people from similarly humble backgrounds – would not be here if the president’s proposal had been in effect when they arrived. My grandfather, Saul Mirken, arrived from Russia in the 1890s as a child, apparently welcomed by one or two other relatives already here, looking for a better life at a time…
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Making Equity Real: Our 2019 Agenda for the California Legislature

Making Equity Real: Our 2019 Agenda for the California Legislature

The California Legislature is well into its 2019 session, considering hundreds of bills as well as the state budget. In my first post as Interim President, I’d like to update you on how we’re making equity real in the legislature. As the mother of two young children, I know that the concept of fairness is ingrained deeply into their views of the world. Here at Greenlining, we know that the systems that we live in aren’t always fair or equitable, and especially towards people of color. For every dollar of wealth the median White family in the U.S. has, the median Black family has about a nickel, with Latino families…
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Ambition, My Personal Narrative and “Harder Skills”

Ambition, My Personal Narrative and “Harder Skills”

As long as I can remember, I’ve had ambition. Some of the early career paths I considered for myself were Oscar-winning actress, renowned surgeon, or world-famous architect. Eventually, I picked a more modest career goal of working in urban policy, but my ambition stayed with me. I was lucky to grow up in an environment where I was encouraged to ignore the structural barriers imposed upon me — it never occurred to me that our society wouldn’t want a young half-Filipina woman to succeed or that my personal narrative was that important to my professional ambition. The role models in my family are immigrants, strong women, mavericks who defied authority…
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SB 50 and a Comprehensive Approach to California’s Housing Crisis

SB 50 and a Comprehensive Approach to California’s Housing Crisis

As nearly every Californian knows, we are in the midst of a dire housing crisis. Thanks to years of steady population growth and low rates of housing construction, the supply of housing is nowhere near enough to keep up with demand, particularly for low- and moderate-income families. Earlier this year, Governor Newsom announced a lofty goal of building 3.5 million homes by 2025, but I’m skeptical. That would require building 500,000 homes annually in a state where we’ve built an average of 80,000 homes per year in the last decade. Legislation, like the controversial SB 50, seeks to spur housing construction. The worst impacts of the housing crisis fall disproportionately…
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