New Report Illuminates Health Struggles of Undocumented Boys & Men of Color

New Report Illuminates Health Struggles of Undocumented Boys & Men of Color

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – Undocumented boys and men of color live in fear every day, with discrimination and worries about deportation often dominating their interactions with the health care system, a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds. The report, Ensuring Health and Justice for Undocumented Boys and Men of Color, based on in-depth interviews with undocumented youth and young adults across California, goes beyond statistics to explore and illuminate the lives of young men who often serve as pillars of their families while enduring daily struggles.

Journalists can preview the report at the link above.

Greenlining’s report focuses on the real-world experiences of young men like “Michael” (for their protection, all interviewees are given pseudonyms), a 20-year-old struggling to balance the responsibilities of work, school and caring for his little brother — and who has literally had to choose between medicine for his sick brother and paying the rent. “I don’t expect you to know what it feels like to lie to your brother that he’s going to go to the doctor when I know that I can’t afford to take him,” Michael said. “I do expect you to help us because we’re still humans.”

“Hundreds of thousands of undocumented boys and men of color live in California, but policymakers know way too little about their lives and circumstances,” said lead author Erika Cabato, Greenlining Institute Health Equity Fellow. “These are our neighbors, classmates and coworkers, and we need to understand their struggles and make sure they have the opportunities and resources to succeed.”

In addition to documenting the human stories of these young immigrants, the report makes concrete recommendations to officials, including expansion of access to Medi-Cal and Covered California, shifting resources away from incarceration and deportation and towards education, and adoption of a racial equity framework that recognizes and helps combat the harmful effects of racism and discrimination on communities of color.

Interview availability: Two of the undocumented Californians quoted in the report are available for media interviews, so long as their anonymity is maintained: Michael, quoted above, from the Central Valley, and Grace, a University of California student in the Bay Area (originally from L.A. County) enduring a separation from her father, who had to return to Mexico to obtain treatment for a life-threatening heart condition. To arrange an interview, contact Bruce Mirken at 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Summit Registration Closes Tomorrow

Friends and Allies,

Registration for our Economic Summit closes tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18th. Don’t miss out on meeting some of our amazing speakers like Jose Antonio Vargas and W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN’s groundbreaking show United Shades of AmericaI hope you will be able to join us this year. To register, click here.

I also wrote an opinion column on the 2016 presidential campaign. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Read it here.

New Report: Undocumented Boys & Men of Color

Illuminating the lives of young men who serve as pillars of their families while enduring hardships.

Not-for-Profit Hospitals Must Join the Fight Against Climate Change

What do hospitals have to do with climate change? Let us explain.

Assembly Natural Resources Committee Passes Bill to Expand Benefits of Clean Energy Economy

AB 1550 Would Send More Dollars Paid by Polluters to Disadvantaged Neighborhoods and Low-Income Households

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Isabel Alegria, Public Advocates, 415-431-7434
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air, 916-214-0065
Sydney Fang, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 510-703-1311

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Natural Resources Committee today passed AB 1550 (Gomez), designed to ensure that the benefits of California’s climate change policies reach the communities and households that need them most. The bipartisan vote was 7-0 with two members not voting. The measure would require a minimum of 25 percent of proceeds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to be invested in projects located directly within disadvantaged communities and would require that an additional percentage go to fund projects that benefit low income households, regardless of where they are located within California.

Advocates for disadvantaged communities and climate protection hailed the vote:

“Assemblymember Gomez’s bill would assure that the Californians most at risk from catastrophic climate change receive real help from programs that fight pollution and deliver needed services,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air, who spoke on behalf of the legislation at today’s hearing.

“Millions of Californians have benefitted from climate investments bringing clean energy and consumer savings to low-income and highly polluted neighborhoods,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez, who also testified in favor of the bill.  “AB 1550 takes the next step and makes sure a fair share of those benefits go to low-income California families wherever they live.”

Chelsea Tu, Staff Attorney with Public Advocates, said, “By directing investments to lower-income families, whether or not they live in disadvantaged communities, this important bill goes a long way toward ensuring that the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund brings economic and health benefits to communities throughout California. We applaud its advance through the legislature.”

“We have an opportunity here to improve the quality of life of all Californians by investing in the neighborhoods who are enduring the most severe poverty, in addition to the most polluted neighborhoods in the state,” said Parin Shah, Senior Strategist at Asian Pacific Environmental Network.”These are the communities, such as the families that we organize near the Richmond Chevron Refinery, that will most benefit from improvements in renewable energy, affordable housing and public transit,”


Jose Antonio Vargas, W. Kamau Bell Headline Greenlining Institute Economic Summit in Oakland 5/26

Jose Antonio Vargas, W. Kamau Bell Headline Greenlining Institute Economic Summit in Oakland 5/26
Awardees Include Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – A stellar lineup of community activists, artists and leaders will headline The Greenlining Institute’s 23rd annual Economic Summit, which returns to Oakland this year as Greenlining prepares to move into its new downtown Oakland office this fall. With the theme Reinventing California – Solutions from the New Majority, this unique event brings together top business, government, and grassroots community leaders to connect, brainstorm, and strategize on important economic issues affecting communities of color. Highlights include:

Immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American and Emerging US, will moderate the opening plenary examining the role of diverse leadership in society’s biggest problems.

The awards luncheon will highlight an array of innovative leaders, including Black Lives Matter (with co-founder Alicia Garza accepting); Youth Alive! Violence prevention educator Wazi Davis; Causa Justa :: Just Cause; Mari Rose Taruc, former State Organizing Director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network; and Pastor Michael McBride, Director of Urban Strategies and Live Free Campaign at the PICO National Network

The day will conclude with a dinner program highlighting arts and activism, moderated by socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell, whose new CNN show, United Shades of America, launches in April. Joining bell will be cartoonist and writer Lalo Alcaraz and other exciting guests.

For detailed program and registration information, click here. Media wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to

WHAT: The Greenlining Institute’s 23rd Annual Economic Summit, Reinventing California – Solutions from the New Majority

WHERE: Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, California

WHEN: Thursday, May 26, 2016, Registration opens 8 a.m., program starts at 8:30 and runs to 8 p.m.


PG&E, Diverse Coalition Propose Huge Boost in EV Charging Stations in Underserved Communities

PG&E, Diverse Coalition Propose Huge Boost in EV Charging Stations in Underserved Communities
Settlement Proposal Will Increase Access to Clean Transport in Low-Income Communities

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

SAN FRANCISCO – The Greenlining Institute and a coalition of diverse groups representing electric vehicle service providers, environmentalists, electric vehicle drivers, automakers, community choice aggregators, and labor unions joined with Pacific Gas and Electric yesterday to submit a proposed settlement to the California Public Utilities Commission for a three-year pilot program to accelerate deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.  Advocates expect the program to boost EV adoption in low-income communities and communities of color by making charging facilities accessible in these communities.

“With this settlement, PG&E becomes a national leader in increasing access to EV charging in low-income communities and communities of color, the communities that most need the clean air and cost savings from electric cars,” said Joel Espino, Environmental Equity Legal Counsel at the Greenlining Institute. “We commend PG&E’s commitment to making clean electric cars a reality for Californians of all income levels. This will add to progress already made by policies like the Charge Ahead California Initiative in making clean transportation available to all, regardless of income or ZIP code.”

Key elements of the settlement, which still must be approved by the CPUC, include:

  • The pilot program will target a deployment of 7,500 level 2 charging ports and 100 DC fast chargers.
  • Charging stations will be deployed at multi-unit dwellings, workplaces, and destination locations such as shopping centers.
  • The total budget is not to exceed $160M and the cost to a typical residential customer would be approximately $2.64 per year at its maximum, four percent less than the $2.75 maximum single year cost approved in January in the San Diego Gas & Electric EV charging infrastructure pilot program, and that’s before accounting for lower rates resulting from the electrical grid benefits of plugging in EVs.
  • PG&E will set aside $5 million for equity programs aimed at complementing Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275, De León) programs and further increasing access to EVs in low-income communities and communities of color.
  • PG&E will deploy at least 15 percent of its charging stations in the most disadvantaged communities in PG&E’s service territory. In addition, the company agrees to a stretch goal of deploying an additional five percent of charging stations in the most disadvantaged communities in its territory or other areas with a high concentration of low-income CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy Program) customers.

The full text of the proposed settlement can be downloaded here. For additional background on the connections between electric vehicles, California climate efforts, low-income communities and the Charge Ahead California Initiative, see Joel Espino’s blog post.


New Video, Updated Mapping Tool Show Impact of California’s Climate Investments

A Place to Call Home reveals climate program’s benefits

WEST SACRAMENTO — Billions of dollars of climate investments are flowing to California’s communities, but what does that really look like? A new video and updated mapping tool help show us.

The video, co-produced by TransForm and The Greenlining Institute, provides a glimpse of how California’s climate investments can transform the lives of real people – like West Sacramento resident Esther Robert and her family. In tandem with this video, a newly revised and updated version of TransForm’s lets you easily search where these dollars are going and what they accomplish. A written version of Esther’s story is featured on UpLift California, created by Greenlining to highlight how California climate policies benefit underserved neighborhoods and communities of color.

The video A Place to Call Home features Esther, who lives with her four children in an affordable apartment complex in West Sacramento.  Without the guaranteed below-market rent, she says, “I would probably be living with all of us in a studio apartment in some place I don’t want to be, just because that’s the only place I could afford to keep something over my head.”

Esther’s story is not unique: California’s communities face a huge housing affordability crisis, forcing working families to choose between spending more than half their income on housing, squeezing into inadequate or unsafe homes, or moving out of their communities.

California’s climate program is helping solve this crisis at the same time as it cleans the air and reduces greenhouse gases. Two essential laws, AB 32 and SB 535, enabled the program to charge polluters for carbon emissions, generating major funding for diverse programs including the development of affordable homes near transit. West Gateway Place in West Sacramento received over $6.7 million in climate investments, and will provide 77 units of affordable homes to residents.

“Creating affordable places to live near public transportation is a highly effective strategy for reducing climate pollution,” said Ryan Wiggins, Climate Policy Manager with TransForm. “Lower-income households living near transit drive less than half as many miles as wealthier households.  Creating 15,000 new affordable homes near good public transportation would keep over one and a half million metric tons of greenhouse gases from polluting our air.”

Because of these dual benefits, environmental justice advocates strongly support using money from California’s climate program to build affordable housing near public transit throughout the state. In addition to West Gateway Place, slated to open this coming fall, over 30 projects received climate funds this year, in cities ranging from Stockton to San Diego, from Richmond to Riverside.

And that’s just one of the many ways the program is funneling climate funds to communities throughout the state.  The impact has run into the billions of dollars in the first year alone, investing in over 400 projects to make our climate healthier while strengthening our communities.

“California’s climate investments are improving people’s lives,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez.  “We’re not just tackling climate change, we’re bringing real help to communities that have historically been left out of economic prosperity or saddled with the worst pollution: affordable homes like Esther’s, better transportation choices, cost-cutting home weatherization, and much more.”

“California’s climate program remains under constant attack by the oil industry, which has spent millions of dollars to try to kill it,” said Wiggins.  “But our climate policies make a real and positive impact on people’s lives, helping people like Esther have safe, affordable homes while cleaning the air we all breathe.”

Visit to search for climate investments throughout California, and see the benefits for yourself.

For more stories on how these investments are transforming people’s lives across California, visit

Watch the video “A Place to Call Home.”

New Report on Home Mortgages: Are Black & Latino Californians Locked Out of the Market?

Study Highlights Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – A new analysis of federal home mortgage data finds a shockingly low level of lending to African American and Hispanic/Latino borrowers, both statewide and in three cities examined in detail: Fresno, Long Beach and Oakland. The report, Locked Out of the Market: Poor Access to Home Loans for Californians of Color, was prepared by The Greenlining Institute and Urban Strategies Council using lending data from 2013. Journalists can preview the report, to be released Wednesday, Feb. 24, by clicking the link above.

Key findings include:

  • Statewide, African Americans and Latinos were far less likely to apply for or receive home mortgages than would be expected based on their percentage of the population, and lagged even farther behind in total dollars lent. Blacks and Latinos combined represent 44 percent of California’s population, but received just 10.6 percent of home mortgage dollars.
  • Despite being comparable in population to Fresno and Long Beach, Oakland had less than one quarter as many loan applications and originations as those cities. Oakland blacks and Hispanics, representing 56 percent of the population, received just 10 percent of mortgage dollars lent. The top 12 lenders financed only four Oakland home purchases for African American buyers and just seven for Hispanics.
  • Fresno had the highest lending volume of the three cities, but again Latinos and African Americans lagged behind their share of the population. Latinos represent 48 percent of Fresno’s people, but got just 21 percent of mortgages. For blacks the figures were eight percent and three percent.
  • Long Beach was the only city in which Asians lagged behind their population share in both applications and originations. Whites in Long Beach were the only group that exceeded their population share.
  • Incomplete data hampered the researchers, with over 15 percent of applications missing race/ethnicity data. Because all Asians and Pacific Islanders are lumped into one category, potentially significant differences between Asian ethnic groups cannot be identified.

“Unfortunately, the federal data can’t tell us why black and Latino borrowers are so underrepresented, but the fact that these families are effectively shut out of the home mortgage market should set off alarms,” said lead author Zach Murray, Greenlining Institute Economic Equity program manager. “It’s time to ask whether banks are doing enough to reach African American and Latino borrowers with loan products that meet their needs and help them gain the benefits of homeownership.”

“Our analysis revealed several major concerns regarding the home mortgage market,” said Urban Strategies Council Research and Technology Director Steve Spiker. “We found that applications from, and loans to, black and brown communities were much lower than would be expected given their share of the population, and that too often applicants’ race, ethnicity and income data are either not collected or submitted by lending institutions.”

Greenlining’s Alvaro Sanchez to Testify Weds. at CA Legislative Hearing on Climate

Hearing to Explore AB 32 Implementation & Community Impacts in Light of Paris Accords

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO – Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols and other top officials will speak Wednesday morning at a joint legislative hearing on implementation of California climate change policy. The hearing, titled “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: The Paris Climate Accord and What it Means for California’s Climate Investments,” will be chaired by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Sanchez, a leading advocate for policies designed to ensure that state climate change efforts bring jobs, investment and cleaner air to California’s most underserved communities, will address environmental justice issues. Last year, Sanchez authored a landmark reportexamining initial impacts of AB 32 and SB 535, a Greenlining Institute-sponsored law requiring that at least one quarter of funds raised by carbon auctions under the cap-and-trade program must go to projects benefiting disadvantaged communities.

To explain the benefits of these policies and illustrate their impact on California neighborhoods, The Greenlining Institute (English) and (Spanish).

WHAT: Joint hearing of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and the Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation

WHO: Senators Fran Pavley, Bob Wieckowski and other legislators; CARB Chair Mary Nichols; California EPA Secretary Matt Rodriguez; Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez; other leading officials and advocates.

WHERE: California State Capitol, Room 112

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, 9:30 a.m.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

We’re Far From Post-Racial

Friends and allies,

Our country is far from post-racial. We continue to see racial disparities in homeownership and wealth, lack of racial diversity in tech, increased presence of hate groups, and more. However, we are more energized than ever to work towards equity. Join us and read some of our new and continuing efforts to build a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity.

If you get the chance, read my newest op-ed on the tech industry and inequality and don’t forget to register for our 2016 Economic Summit — the early registration deadline is coming up.

– Orson (@OrsonGLI)

New Report Shows Blacks & Latinos Have Low Access to Mortgage Loans

America’s top banks gave Oakland’s Black borrowers just four home loans in 2013.

New Video, Updated Mapping Tool Show Impact of California’s Climate Investments

Can affordable housing clean the air? The answer may surprise you.

Making Youth More Engaged Citizens

We supported an effort to lower the voting age to 16 for school board elections.

Internet Access is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Support providing high-quality broadband to households that cannot otherwise afford it.

California Public Utilities Commission Approves San Diego Gas & Electric’s Innovative “Vehicle-Grid Integration” Program


Lauren Lantry (202) 548-6599

San Francisco — Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve San Diego Gas & Electric’s innovative “Vehicle-Grid Integration” program. Under the program, SDG&E will deploy 3,500 charging stations in the San Diego area, and, through special “dynamic pricing,” encourage charging during off-peak hours or when renewable energy is abundant–maximizing fuel cost savings for EV drivers.

The favorable decision for SDG&E’s $45 million project comes just two weeks after the Commission approved the pilot phase of Southern California Edison’s “Charge Ready” program – a plan to deploy 1,500 charging stations within its service territory. In the second phase, SCE aims to deploy another 28,500 stations. Together, these programs mark important steps forward at a critical time for the electric vehicle market in the state, where Governor Brown has set a goal to deploy infrastructure to support 1 million electric vehicles by 2020 and to have 1.5 million on California’s roads by 2025.

“With this decision, California continues to speed ahead in the all-important race to power our vehicles with clean electricity,” said Joe Halso, Sierra Club attorney. “We applaud the California Public Utilities Commission and all involved for crafting and approving a program that works for the environment, public health, and all San Diego electricity users.”

Through strong vehicle-grid integration, SDG&E’s program should unlock economic benefits for all utility customers. The added utility revenue generated by use of spare system capacity puts downward pressure on utility rates to the benefit of all utility customers. By using EV load to absorb renewable energy, thereby matching demand with generation, the program lowers the costs of complying with state’s 50 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard.

“Plugging in electric cars to soak up the sunshine in San Diego benefits everyone. Now all we need is more convertibles with plugs,” said Max Baumhefner, Natural Resources Defense Council attorney.

Both the “Vehicle Grid Integration Program” and “Charge Up” plan to deploy stations at sites where there is currently a lack of charging infrastructure, in particular workplaces and multi-unit dwellings, like apartment complexes. The “Vehicle Grid Integration Program” will also deploy 10 percent of stations in disadvantaged communities in SDG&E’s territory, improving access to clean transportation options for those often exposed to greater levels of harmful air pollution.  

The proposal approved yesterday is based on a settlement agreement supported by SDG&E and 17 organizations, including the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, The Greenlining Institute, consumer groups, EV drivers, automakers, EV charging companies, and labor unions.