Police Diversity without Inclusion Won’t Lower Police Violence

Police Diversity without Inclusion Won’t Lower Police Violence

I have had many encounters with police, especially in my youth. So as a black transgender man, I am concerned about issues of police violence. After high profile police shootings, such as the Mike Brown case, and even with the recent rare conviction and sentencing of a former police officer, some have called for increasing the diversity of police departments as a necessary part of the solution. But, would greater diversity within law enforcement be enough to reduce tension and police violence? It turns out that more police department diversity doesn’t necessarily result in less police violence. For example, a study completed by Sean Nicholson-Crotty and published in the Public…
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Fellowship, Policy, and Opportunity: A Letter to Future Fellows

Fellowship, Policy, and Opportunity: A Letter to Future Fellows

Dear Future Greenlining Fellows, My name is Denzel Tongue and I am Greenlining’s current Bridges to Health Fellow. I am sure your life is probably pretty hectic right now. You may be finishing up finals, applying to jobs, or just trying to figure out what the hell are you going to do next year. I was in your shoes not too long ago, and I know that this time period is not easy. However, I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and some of that light comes from the Greenlining Leadership Academy! A policy fellowship like the one I’m in the middle of represents an amazing opportunity…
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An Open Letter to the Next Mayor of San Francisco: Confront Gentrification

An Open Letter to the Next Mayor of San Francisco: Confront Gentrification

The sad, sudden death of Mayor Ed Lee shocked not only San Franciscans, but people all over the Bay Area.  As a person, Lee was almost universally liked. His low-key, gentle style came as a relief after the flamboyant personalities of Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown. His policies proved more controversial, but whatever one thinks of specific decisions, there can be no doubt that during Lee’s tenure, San Francisco gentrification went from being a concern to a full-blown crisis. As a 24-year city resident, I feel compelled to offer a few thoughts to the next mayor of San Francisco: Dear Mayor, I don’t know your name yet, or your politics…
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Net Neutrality: Is Ajit Pai a Real-Life Harry Potter Villain?

Net Neutrality: Is Ajit Pai a Real-Life Harry Potter Villain?

In August, Greenlining had a silly ‘awards’ ceremony and my telco and tech team got the “Fueled by Bottomless Rage” award. While it was funny, I didn’t feel all too much rage – after all, telecom policy under the previous FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler was pretty solid. He put in rules protecting net neutrality, told internet service providers (ISPs) they couldn’t spy on your browsing history and sell it to advertisers, expanded the Lifeline program to make it easier for low-income folks to get access to broadband and promoted ISP competition to drive down prices and increase adoption. In other words, the FCC was doing its job: protecting consumers and…
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Carbon Revenues Spike: What’s Next for Climate Investments?

Carbon Revenues Spike: What’s Next for Climate Investments?

Let’s talk carbon policy and equity outcomes for low income Californians and communities of color.  This November, the fourth quarterly carbon market auction of 2017 sold out of carbon allowances, with allowances going for the highest prices in the system’s history (though at $15/ton, still modest compared to the social cost of carbon). Buoyed by the extension of cap-and-trade until 2030, the November auction raised over $860 million for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which finances projects to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and deliver environmental, health and economic benefits to communities. CLICK TO TWEET: Polluters paid in #California & revenues are up! Here are some ideas from @Greenlining’s @eminwang how…
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Tax Cuts for One Percenters

Tax Cuts for One Percenters

According to a 2017 Federal Reserve Report, the U.S has reached record inequality: In 2016, the richest one percent of families controlled a record-high 38.6 percent of the country’s wealth while the bottom 90 percent of families held just 22.8 percent. In the face of record inequality, what’s the GOP’s response? Preparing to pass a tax plan that drops 60 percent of its tax cuts into the pockets of one percenters. This tax plan is a repeal of footholds to economic stability and wealth creation that will only grow the racial and gender wealth gaps. Wealth represents economic security, a safety net to weather emergencies, and economic mobility. Without wealth,…
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Clean Tech Innovations for Good

Clean Tech Innovations for Good

What if venture capitalists prioritized funding a new technology not only for its return on investment, but also based on its potential to positively impact people and communities? The Greenlining Institute has been working as a CalSEED partner for the last year doing exactly that. CalSEED is a program that funds innovators and entrepreneurs who work to bring early-stage clean energy concepts with social impacts to market. As California continues its path towards a clean energy economy, Greenlining is here to ensure that this new economy does not continue to leave underinvested communities at the epicenter of environmental pollution burdens behind. To achieve this mission, we have been conducting targeted…
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Climate Resilience: We Can Protect California’s Vulnerable Populations from Extreme Weather

Climate Resilience: We Can Protect California’s Vulnerable Populations from Extreme Weather

Does the term climate resilience seem unfamiliar? Consider this: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, devastating floods in South Asia, and the California wildfires.  What do these events have in common? For starters, they all happened during the time I’ve been Greenlining’s Environmental Equity Legal Fellow — just two and half months. The real answer though, is climate change. Climate change contributed to, created the conditions for, or directly caused all those devastating extreme weather events. Scientists warned us for decades that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather would increase along with our planet’s temperature. So, these back-to-back climate disasters should not surprise us, and yet they do. We’ve seen the…
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Native American Genocide and American Exceptionalism

Native American Genocide and American Exceptionalism

In 1846, California had a Native American population of about 150,000. Just 27 years later, that figure had plummeted to just 30,000. I didn’t learn that as a schoolkid in southern California in the 1960s; I picked up that and lots of other facts I was never taught from a recent book called “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe,” by UCLA history professor Benjamin Madley. And that got me thinking about “American exceptionalism.” American exceptionalism, explains historian Ian Tyrrell, “refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.” California’s 19th century Native American…
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Consumers May Get a Dose of Bad Medicine Named Mick Mulvaney

Consumers May Get a Dose of Bad Medicine Named Mick Mulvaney

With the recent news that Richard Cordray, President Obama’s holdover appointee director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is stepping down, consumer advocates nationwide are preparing for another disaster-of-the-week. To follow up on #45’s perfectly awful pairings of cabinet secretaries to federal agencies they seek to dismantle (see: anti-public school advocate Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, whose previous experience included filing a lawsuit to increase toxic mercury exposure to kids), supporters of the key agency designed to protect against the dangerous and predatory financial products that fueled the 2008 economic crisis are cringing at the clown car of inappropriate replacements the White House is reportedly…
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