Closing the Climate Gap: Capacity Building, Technical Assistance and SB 1072

Closing the Climate Gap: Capacity Building, Technical Assistance and SB 1072

Something amazing is happening in California. We’re charging polluters for the pollution they cause and putting that money to work in our communities planting street trees, connecting affordable housing to clean public transit, installing solar and more. But in some places, very little of this is happening at all. THE CHALLENGE: Communities That Most Need Transformative Investments Can’t Get Them Over the last several years, communities burdened by poverty and pollution have been prioritized for polluter fund investments. While recent data show that almost all impacted communities in the State have received investments, many of the most severely under-resourced communities still struggle to achieve real transformative impact.   One big…
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Jobs and Justice: Civil Rights and the Racial Wealth Gap

Jobs and Justice: Civil Rights and the Racial Wealth Gap

I have the exciting job of leading Greenlining’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative. We seek to reframe the narrative on diversity to focus on justice and its role in ending the racial wealth gap once and for all. In this year of Greenlining’s 25 anniversary, it’s important to take stock of where we’ve been to better inform where we want to go. The truth is that Greenlining’s been doing “diversity and inclusion” work since the 1980s, when we were just a coalition of community activists. Ortensia Lopez, one of Greenlining’s founding mothers, explains it best: “We decided to form an organization focused on all multicultural communities, to work together and exert…
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Equity, Innovation and the Race to Save the Planet

Equity, Innovation and the Race to Save the Planet

Two weeks ago I had the privilege and honor to attend Elemental Excelerator’s Earth Day Energy Summit, a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. The celebration focused on 10 years of working with some of the smartest and most committed climate warriors in Hawaii, resulting in awarding over $22 million to more than 60 companies for energy, water, mobility, and agriculture innovations. The Earth Day Summit was both a celebration and a recommitment to do more, go farther, and achieve energy independence in Hawaii as quickly as possible. Many participants at the summit also committed to building a clean energy future that doesn’t leave…
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What the Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Means for You (Hint: It’s Not Good)

What the Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Means for You (Hint: It’s Not Good)

As you may already be aware, on Saturday, Sprint and T-Mobile announced their plans to merge—something the two companies have been planning to do for quite a few years now. I’ve been expecting a big communications merger for a while now—my money was on a Comcast/T-Mobile merger, but a Sprint/T-Mobile merger is no big surprise—and this one is huge. By “huge,” I mean really huge—the Sprint/T-Mobile merger would make the new company the second largest wireless company in the country. Additionally, it would reduce the number of nationwide wireless carriers from four to three. That’s a huge cause for concern. You have to evaluate every merger on its own merits,…
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Fighting Climate Change, Poverty and Pollution — Join Us

Fighting Climate Change, Poverty and Pollution — Join Us

This month, low-income residents in Sacramento and Los Angeles will get access to electric vehicle carsharing programs that provide pollution-free mobility at low or no cost to them. These programs represent just a small part of California’s multi-billion dollar effort to combat climate change while fighting poverty and pollution together. It wasn’t always that way. For too long, the environmental and social justice movements stood miles apart — barely talking, and sometimes fighting each other. It’s been an arduous struggle to get where we are today, paved with the sweat and tears of environmental justice leaders. But today we see a growing realization that it’s too simple to say that…
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We Need More Women of Color Like My Mother in Health Care

We Need More Women of Color Like My Mother in Health Care

My mother became a doctor in the midst of Egypt’s June 1967 war with the state of Israel, caring for children harmed by bomb explosions, tank fire, and gunfire. She grew up in Egypt in the backdrop of sweeping African anti-colonial struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, and was inspired to become a doctor at a time when African nations – and women – began to assert their independence. But women doctors were still pretty rare. When my family emigrated to the United States in 1982, they settled in Los Angeles. Although my parents weren’t living in a time of armed conflict, as they had in Egypt, they entered a…
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Greenlining’s 24th Economic Summit in Oakland Trended on Twitter

Greenlining’s 24th Economic Summit in Oakland Trended on Twitter

Each year, Greenlining’s Economic Summit brings together a diverse array of leaders (public policy advocates, government leaders, grassroots organizers, and students) to connect, brainstorm, celebrate and strategize on important economic issues affecting communities of color. Our Economic Summit is usually held in California (San Francisco, Oakland, or Los Angeles). Attend Greenlining’s 2018 Economic Summit On April 14, 2017, The Greenlining Institute held our 24th annual Economic Summit in our hometown Oakland, California. We zeroed in on specific issues of particular urgency: the fight to preserve healthcare as President Trump and Congress continue to attack the Affordable Care Act, strategies to build wealth in communities of color, and the role of…
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SB 827 Failed, But California Still Must Tackle Housing Crisis

SB 827 Failed, But California Still Must Tackle Housing Crisis

With yesterday’s demise of state Sen. Scott Weiner’s controversial SB 827, which would have overcome local zoning restrictions to allow for denser residential housing near transit, the question becomes, “What’s next for efforts to address California’s housing crisis?” The bill faced major headwinds and critics from all corners. Labor sought to ensure that the workers could afford to live in the homes they were building. Racial equity groups were wary of top-down zoning approaches to socially engineer our way to modernity — approaches which historically have left communities of color farther from opportunity. Finally, and certainly not least, an army of “Not-In-My-Back-Yard” NIMBYs were up in arms over Weiner’s assault…
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Who Will Save Journalism?

Who Will Save Journalism?

As both a citizen and an advocate, I’m terrified by what’s happening to journalism in America. We seem to be watching the disintegration of the news business, and no one seems to know what to do about it. Here at The Greenlining Institute, we change policy the old-fashioned way: by doing research, listening to communities, and trying to put what we learn into ideas that will help level the playing field for people and communities for whom the “American Dream” has too often seemed like a distant, improbable fantasy. Then we try to persuade those with power – legislators, regulators, corporate leaders – to put those ideas into action. That…
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Health for All: Pushing Covered California to Get It Right, and What’s Next

Health for All: Pushing Covered California to Get It Right, and What’s Next

The year 2010 represented a huge opportunity for California and the U.S. to move closer to health for all – something Greenlining always supported, though we’d had only limited involvement in advocacy around access to healthcare. Passage of the Affordable Care Act and creation of what would become known as Covered California changed the picture fundamentally. It was also a time of transition for our Bridges to Health team, which had a new director: Carla Saporta, who began attending meetings of what was then simply called California’s health benefits exchange. Conversations centered on creating a website through which Californians could access health plans offered under the ACA. “Knowing what I’d…
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