Coaching: Racial Equity Through Self-Empowerment

Coaching: Racial Equity Through Self-Empowerment

I am often guilty of embodying a 21st century handyman: a friend opens up to me about a challenge, I listen for about 30-seconds, then devise a solution to all of their life’s woes. Sleep problems? Read before bed. Stressed about school? Work out. Short on cash? Make a budget. It seems that the human capacity to devise solutions to other people’s problems is limitless. Despite the good intentions behind this practice, the pandemic of advice-giving, fix-it-quick solutions, and prescriptive recommendations does more harm than good. It disempowers people from becoming agents of their own change process. Instead of deeply exploring the complexities of a challenge, quick-fixes miss opportunities for growth.…
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Decolonizing Myself with Each Bite

Decolonizing Myself with Each Bite

500 years after Spaniards invaded my ancestors’ land, I ask myself: am I decolonized? I can’t say I am. There’s a lot of unlearning to do. I work towards decolonizing my mind by rediscovering the foods of my ancestors, one bite at a time. If the idea of diet as a lingering effect of colonization seems a little odd, please read on. A couple of months ago, I attended an event in San Jose titled “Food is Medicine,” and we discussed the diets of my indigenous ancestors. The title reminded me of the track, “Be Healthy” by Dead Prez, whose lyrics say, “Let your food be your medicine.” Luz Calvo and…
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Developing Young Leaders: What My Experience with Mentorship Taught Me

Developing Young Leaders: What My Experience with Mentorship Taught Me

I know one thing to be true, that all my career accolades or personal victories have been a result of opportunities sent to me by my mentors that guided me through an application process or opened the door to new career opportunities. As a college student in Indiana I realized that for the kind of progressive infrastructure building and leadership development work I wanted to do, I would need a mentor who had that experience to guide me along the way. I had moved to America to pursue my own version of the American dream, a dream for a better world. But being in a handful of students of color…
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The “Identity Politics” Lie

The “Identity Politics” Lie

Every election produces postmortems.  2012, for example, brought us the famous Republican “autopsy” urging more outreach to voters of color. This year we see hand-wringing mainly on the Democratic side – since, after all, the losers generally feel the most urgent need to figure out what went wrong. In this discussion, some are telling progressives they must abandon “identity politics” in order to appeal to a broader array of voters. NO. The most explicit (and short-sighted) expression of this sentiment can be found in Mark Lilla’s controversial New York Times column, published in mid-November. “[T]he fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press,” Lilla  writes, “has produced a…
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Elections are Over, Open Enrollment is Not — 3 Reasons Why You Should #GetCovered

Elections are Over, Open Enrollment is Not — 3 Reasons Why You Should #GetCovered

The fourth Covered California open enrollment period is currently underway for Californians to shop for health coverage. Many of us have been focused on the fallout from the presidential election, which has also made us worry about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, sometimes called “Obamacare”), but for 2017 the law remains very much alive. If you need health insurance, now is the time to get it. The President-elect has made it clear from the beginning of the campaign that he wants to “repeal and replace” the ACA, and immediately after election night, enrollment spiked. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 100,000 individuals enrolled…
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7 Building Blocks for Equitable Innovation

7 Building Blocks for Equitable Innovation

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela How do we bring equity into the innovation sector? It requires going beyond a charity model and leading with social justice, diversity, and the environment. It necessitates creating new systems of inclusive innovation that have triple bottom line benefits – social, environmental, profit. Last month I made the case for prioritizing equity and sustainability in research and technology innovation. Here are seven building blocks that support a research and innovation sector that innovates for the benefit of all communities and the environment we inhabit. Clear Priorities | Innovators and researchers should set bold and actionable priorities that include equity…
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Who Will Lead?

Who Will Lead?

You know that feeling when everything falls into place? It’s a moment of connection, a sense of confidence or centeredness. We may experience it differently, but we’ve all had that moment where we feel like we understand our purpose. It comes from living our values, and often the feeling is brief. Throughout my life, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to recreate the conditions to support that feeling in myself and others– this is what drew me into the field of Leadership Development, a sector containing phrases like “empowering spaces”, “adaptiveness”, “holistic practices”, “diverse lived experiences”, and “emergent leadership”. With all this language, it’s easy to lose track of…
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Healing Pain into Action – Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Summit

Healing Pain into Action – Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Summit

Isolation. Emotional repression. Racism. I faced these challenges growing up in Oklahoma City where I was often the only Latino and male of color in middle school and high school classrooms dominated by white students. Racist “jokes” were common and I never felt safe. I was lonely, and making hip hop tracks allowed me to express my emotions and begin the process of healing. Later in college, my undergraduate research, focusing on Latino males in higher education, found that my experiences and struggles strongly correlated with other Latino young men. During my time at Greenlining, I’ve come to understand the extent to which certain policies reinforced systemic barriers for Latino men,…
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Homeownership Champions Unite: Locked out of the Oakland Market

Homeownership Champions Unite: Locked out of the Oakland Market

Homeownership helps families and individuals across America create and maintain wealth. When people own their homes, children perform better in school, communities are healthier, and families have financial stability to weather economic hardships. But as homeownership declines, America could become a renter nation, which is not sustainable for thriving communities. Therefore, we urgently need to revive a strong base of support for homeownership. What does the homeownership landscape look like for people of color in Oakland and Alameda County? On Friday, November 4, community members and stakeholders came together for a closer look at this question. Greenlining partnered with the Center for Responsible Lending to co-host a roundtable discussion and…
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What Will You Do When They Start Rounding Us Up?

What Will You Do When They Start Rounding Us Up?

“We can’t be afraid.  We go on and do what we always do and ‘echale ganas’ (give it your all).  That’s all we can do.” This is what my mom told me after California voters approved Prop. 187, a draconian law that required various state and local agencies to report persons suspected of being undocumented and barred undocumented immigrants from basic public services like education and health. It was 1994, I was 13 years old, undocumented, and fearful for my and my family’s future. My mom’s simple message of perseverance and not giving up helped me overcome my fear and contributed to me becoming the first person in my family…
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