Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Over the past year, I’ve thankfully managed to shed much of my imposter syndrome thanks to the Leadership Academy’s model of empowerment and transformation. My first day of the Greenlining Fellowship terrified me. I shouldn’t admit this on the internet, but I was so nervous about being late on my first day that I arrived in downtown Oakland at 7:45 am, but I was also so nervous about making a good impression that I waited until 9 and pretended I had just casually gotten off the bus. This was my first full-time job after being in grad school for the previous two years. I had no idea what it would…
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How Can Frontline Communities Reshape the Climate Adaptation Agenda?

How Can Frontline Communities Reshape the Climate Adaptation Agenda?

Climate change is here and will continue to impact us all, so California must be ready to adapt. However, not all communities experience the impacts of climate disasters equally. Climate disasters exacerbate the injustices that low-income, disadvantaged populations face, often leaving these communities with worse health impacts, increased food and job insecurity, and higher rates of poverty compared to wealthier communities. California must prioritize these frontline communities when creating climate adaptation strategies. Greenlining’s forthcoming report, Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience Policies and Programs: A Guidebook, offers input and perspectives from community members on how California can prioritize vulnerable communities in policy and program design. One of…
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A Black Woman’s Story: Experience, Cultural Identity, Professional Growth

A Black Woman’s Story: Experience, Cultural Identity, Professional Growth

A Black Woman’s Story: Why lived experience and cultural identity are critical elements in every advocate’s professional development. #ChangeFromWithin I’ve been pretty political my entire life. My father taught me the true history of Christopher Columbus in the 6th grade, and by the 7th grade, my mom exposed me to DemocracyNow! (DN!) I remember the story of Stanley “Tookie” Williams as the first narrative that moved me. Tookie co-founded the Crips and became an anti-gang advocate who focused on redemption for folks of all backgrounds. I had heard his story from his own words two weeks before he was scheduled to be executed and then listened to the DemocracyNow! broadcast…
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Will Smart Cities Perpetuate the Digital Divide, or Solve It?

Will Smart Cities Perpetuate the Digital Divide, or Solve It?

One of my favorite films is Spike Jonze’s 2013 American science fiction ‘Her,’ set in a futuristic Los Angeles that resembles today’s skyscraper-filled Shanghai. In the film, technology pervades everyone’s lives and people are constantly connected to the digital world. But you no longer see what the majority of today’s cities grapple with: homelessness, traffic, or inequality. Films that try to depict cities of the future often lack homeless people, or people on the less fortunate end of the income spectrum. Instead, everyone is well-dressed in clean, bright clothes, all seamlessly connected in a technological web through their devices. But given the current mass displacement of people of color and…
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Black Gxrl Be Well: Committing to Wellness in My Fight for Racial and Gender Justice

Black Gxrl Be Well: Committing to Wellness in My Fight for Racial and Gender Justice

  “All that you touch you Change. All that you Change, Changes you.” — Octavia Butler I began my time in the Greenlining Leadership Academy thinking that I knew change well. My first day as a Policy Fellow marked one month of being back in the United States after a year of research and travel across continents. Adapting to new landscapes, thinking on my feet, and figuring out where I would live, eat, and who I would meet was my month-to-month reality. I loved solidarity work across borders but I missed long-term commitments to people, places, and projects. After five years of living and learning away from my hometown of…
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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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