#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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Safe Inmate Release: Why I Support SB 42

Safe Inmate Release: Why I Support SB 42

This month, “The Getting Home Safe Act” proposed by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) passed its first committee, the Senate Committee on Public Safety. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Your support is crucial. Safe Inmate Release: Why I Support SB 42 As a queer Black woman, deeply rooted in the issues facing my community, I am intimately familiar with the devastating toll of state violence and institutional neglect on the lives of women, especially womxn who are transgender and gender non-conforming. This is why when I heard the Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition (a program of the Young Women’s Freedom Center) call all Sister Warriors to action…
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Hey Uber and Lyft, Clean Up Your Own Mess

Hey Uber and Lyft, Clean Up Your Own Mess

In case you missed it, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article in March on how some environmental advocates want to implement a per-ride tax on Uber and Lyft and are seeking to coax Uber and Lyft drivers to buy electric vehicles. This is our response: Taxing Uber and Lyft Per-Ride All of us already pay the price for the multitude of harms that Uber and Lyft contribute to, including increasing congestion, driving, traffic fatalities, and replacing walking, biking, and transit trips. San Francisco is thus considering taxing Uber and Lyft rides, which no doubt would produce valuable revenue for transit projects. Some advocates propose waiving the tax for rides that…
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Support SB 534 To Ensure Diversity in California’s Insurance Industry

Support SB 534 To Ensure Diversity in California’s Insurance Industry

The California State Senate is set to consider Senate Bill 534, authored by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), a bill that will ensure diversity in California’s insurance industry. Ensuring Diversity in California’s Insurance Industry According to the California Department of Insurance, in 2018, California had the largest insurance. market in the United States, a $310 billion industry that covered housing, automobile, health, and life insurance – just to name a few. Given the rapid growth of California’s insurance sector, it is vital that state leaders push for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion across this sprawling industry. If you think this isn’t a big issue, think again. In 2016, Greenlining opposed two…
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Clean Energy Benefits for Environmental Justice Communities: Support AB 961

Clean Energy Benefits for Environmental Justice Communities: Support AB 961

Assembly Bill 961, the Community Energy Benefits Act is being championed by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes. If enacted into law, AB 961 would remove one of the key policy barriers reducing beneficial clean energy investments in low-income communities of color. California leads the nation on clean energy technological innovation and climate policy, but the benefits of these efforts often don’t reach low-income communities of color. That’s in part because of a fatal flaw in how we measure the benefits that clean energy programs can bring to environmental justice communities – the low-income neighborhoods that get stuck with the worst pollution. California’s Clean Energy Challenge Low-income communities of color experience three…
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Call to Action: Support AB 962, The Hospital Supplier Diversity Act

Call to Action: Support AB 962, The Hospital Supplier Diversity Act

Diversity matters in health care, and in more ways than you might think. The California State Assembly is currently considering a bill – Assembly Bill 962 authored by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) – that would further promote diversity by requiring all hospitals with annual operating budgets above $25 million to report their supplier diversity – that is, contracting with minority-, women-, LGBT-, and veteran-owned businesses . The data is clear: Increasing supplier diversity will benefit all Californians. Large corporations and government agencies across the nation buy billions of dollars in goods and services, and when diverse businesses get their fair share of these contracts, it builds jobs and prosperity in communities…
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