Groups File Brief in Net Neutrality Lawsuit, Emphasizing Racial Justice Concerns

Advocates urge the court to consider impact of Net Neutrality repeal on people of color, other groups

Contact: Eteng Ettah, eteng@mediajustice.org

Washington, DC —  Members of the nation’s largest racial justice network for media, technology, and cultural change filed an amicus brief today as part of a lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of Net Neutrality. The Center for Media Justice (CMJ), alongside Common Cause and Greenlining Institute, filed the statement with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, detailing the importance of Net Neutrality to communities of color.

The authors of the legal brief are members of the Media Action Grassroots Network, and represent a broad coalition of organizations nationwide that have been arguing for years that access to a free and open Internet is a racial justice issue.

The following statement can be attributed to Center for Media Justice Campaigns Director, Steven Renderos:

“The Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of Net Neutrality was not only potentially illegal, it was also harmful to communities of color. The FCC’s actions took away a platform that helped a hashtag like #BlackLivesMatter turn into a movement for change. It created a community online for many queer, trans and gender non-conforming people who only felt isolation in real life. It gave artists like Issa Rae a platform to create stories that Hollywood ignored. We’re filing a brief today because an Internet protected by Net Neutrality is the platform that people of color deserve and we’re ready to fight to save it from the courts to the streets.”

The following statement can be attributed to Greenlining Interim Telecommunications and Technology Policy Director Paul Goodman:

“The open Internet is a critical tool for communities of color to access economic opportunity and make their voices heard in a society where discrimination remains rampant.  By gutting the rules protecting the open Internet, the FCC directly threatens communities of color. This brief marks a first step in ensuring that we have strong net neutrality rules that protect communities whose voices get suppressed far too often.”

The full list of endorsers to the legal brief include 18 Million Rising, Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, Common Cause, Greenlining Institute, Media Alliance and Media Mobilizing Project.

The full amicus brief can be found here: http://centerformediajustice.org/resources/net-neutrality-amicus-brief/

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Launched in 2009, the Center for Media Justice is a national racial justice center for media and digital rights based in Oakland, California.

The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) is the largest multi-issue action network for communication rights, access and representation in the United States.

California Regulators OK Historic Electric Vehicle Charging Investment in Underserved Communities

$738 Million in EV Infrastructure to Be Installed by State’s 3 Largest Electric Utilities

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

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Today the California Public Utilities Commission approved proposals from Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric and San Diego Gas and Electric for a massive investment in charging infrastructure for electric cars, trucks and buses, submitted under provisions of SB 350 (de León). The $738 million to be spent by the three utilities will make EV charging easier and more convenient in much of California, with $236 million of the investment designated for disadvantaged communities to ensure that California’s poorest and most polluted areas benefit.

“Smog from California’s cars and trucks hurts the lungs of low-income people of color the most because they breathe the dirtiest air,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel Joel Espino, who advocated in the proceeding that informed today’s decision. “Today’s historic decision ensures our neediest communities won’t be left behind in the EV revolution.”

Highlights of the approved programs include:

  • San Diego Gas and Electric will install up to 60,000 level 2 chargers at single-family or small, multi-unit residential buildings, with at least 25 percent in disadvantaged communities.
  • Southern California Edison will provide infrastructure for 870 charging facilities for medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks and buses, with 40 percent in disadvantaged communities.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric will provide infrastructure for 52 public fast-charging sites, with 25 percent in disadvantaged communities, as well as infrastructure for 700 charging facilities for medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks and buses, with one quarter in disadvantaged communities.

For additional background on the connections between electric vehicles, California climate efforts, and low-income communities and communities of color, see Greenlining’s “Electric Vehicles for All” online toolkit, authored by Espino. For real-world examples of how the Charge Ahead California Initiative and other California climate policies benefit underserved Californians, visit UpliftCA.org.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Dolores Huerta, Melissa Harris-Perry Headline Greenlining’s 25th Anniversary Economic Summit

Other Speakers Include Alicia Garza, Sen. Kevin de León

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute marks its 25th anniversary with a special edition of its annual Economic Summit on May 24. The stellar lineup of speakers and awardees includes legendary farm worker organizer Dolores Huerta and Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University and former MSNBC host, as well as Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and California state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

Last year’s Summit sold out, and this year’s is expected to as well. Journalists wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Bruce Mirken at brucem@greenlining.org.

Founded in 1993 to fight redlining and bring economic opportunity into communities of color, The Greenlining Institute has expanded its work over the years to include health, energy, environmental policy and other issues critical to a diverse nation. Greenlining’s Economic Summit brings together a diverse array of leaders to connect, brainstorm, celebrate and strategize on important economic issues affecting communities of color, and also features performances by local artists. See Greenlining’s Economic Summit web page for detailed information on the day’s program.

WHAT: The Greenlining Institute’s 25th anniversary Economic Summit
WHO: Speakers and awardees include Dolores Huerta, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alicia Garza, Sen. Kevin de León, Angela Glover Blackwell and Lateefah Simon, among many others.
WHEN: Thursday, May 24, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (registration opens at 8)
WHERE: Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

The Greenlining Institute was officially incorporated on March 8, 1993. Throughout this anniversary season we have been sharing highlights and memories on our blog as well as our social media accounts (using the hashtag #Greenlining25).

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Boards of CA’s Most Influential Corporations Lack Women, People of Color

Top Companies in Tech, Insurance, Other Key Fields Don’t Come Close to Reflecting State’s Diverse Workforce

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Top corporations in the California marketplace have boards of directors that consistently fail to even come close to reflecting the diversity of the state’s workforce, according to a new analysis by The Greenlining Institute: Corporate Board Diversity: Major Players Fail to Reflect California’s Labor Force. Greenlining examined the boards of a total of 59 companies that dominate the California market in leading industries, including tech, health, banking and insurance. Key findings of the report, based on 2017 statistics include:

  • Overall, women and people of color remain severely underrepresented on corporate boards. Women made up roughly one quarter of board members, while Latinos held only six percent of board seats.
  • Seven of 59 companies reviewed — including Facebook, Amazon, Farmers Insurance and two solar companies — had zero people of color on their boards (Facebook added its first nonwhite board member in January). Three had zero women.
  • Of companies reviewed, East West Bank had the most racially diverse board, followed closely by Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Hewlett Packard.

“Corporate boards play a crucial role, from hiring and firing CEOs to setting corporate culture,” said report coauthor Joe Jackson, Greenlining Institute Diversity and Inclusion manager, “Currently these boards don’t come close to reflecting the diversity of California’s labor force. The ‘glass ceiling’ or ‘good old boys’ club’ — however you want to say it — still very much exists for women and people of color. Until these boards reflect California, our communities won’t have a seat on the table and will continue to be on the menu instead.”

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Greenlining Institute Urges NY Fed to Rethink Selection Process for New President

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute today urged the New York Federal Reserve Board to rethink and restart its process for selecting a new president to replace William Dudley, set to retire this summer. Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar made the following statement:

“The New York Fed president is the second most important economic policymaker in the country, with a permanent seat on the Open Market Committee and the ability to affect the economic lives of every American. The current selection process hasn’t been transparent, and appears headed toward the selection of the tenth white male in a row to lead the New York Fed. We fear this could perpetuate the sort of out-of-touch policymaking that led to disaster in the past.

“Years before the 2008 crash, The Greenlining Institute warned an out-of-touch Fed about a crisis brewing in the subprime mortgage market, but we were brushed aside by policymakers who had no contact with the communities affected. In light of this nation’s unacceptably massive racial wealth and income gaps, and significant unemployment gap, we must do better.

“Because of their lived experiences, diverse thinkers are more likely to see, represent, and act on the issues that affect the communities that often get forgotten and left behind by our banks, regulators and overall financial system. We urge the New York Fed to bring diverse voices into the process and choose a president who understands the Fed’s impact on all American communities.”

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Putting People Ahead of Cars: New Framework for Transportation Planning

Greenlining Framework Shows How to Include Community Voices, End Neglect of Low-Income Neighborhoods & Communities of Color

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – For too long, advocates say, transportation planners have focused on cars rather than people while neglecting communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. To shift this pattern, The Greenlining Institute offers planners and community advocates a step-by-step guide to a more community-centered planning process, with its Mobility Equity Framework: How to Make Transportation Work for People, released today.

“Good transportation planning starts with human needs and figures out how to meet those needs,” explained Greenlining Environmental Equity Manager Hana Creger, lead author of the Framework. “Too often, planners have focused on cars, resulting in projects that actually harm communities rather than meeting their needs. This framework provides a step-by-step approach to making sure we put people first.”

Focusing specifically on low-income communities of color — most often left out of planning decisions — the Framework outlines a three-step process for a) determining the community’s transportation needs, b) conducting a mobility equity analysis that evaluates such factors as affordability, accessibility and impacts on air pollution, and c) putting affected communities at the center of final decision-making. The Framework urges use of a Participatory Budgeting process, a democratic form of decision-making that has gained support at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the Bay Area and at Caltrans.

“Too often we’ve seen freeways divide and damage neighborhoods while failing to serve the people who live in them,” Creger said. “We hope this Framework will help both transportation planners and community members ensure that human needs come first.”

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Diversity, Inclusion & Justice: Greenlining Institute Seeks Dialogue on New Strategies

New Framework Document Focuses on “4 Ws”; New Working Group Planned

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Today The Greenlining Institute released its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework: Reclaiming Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Racial Justice, hoping to spark a larger dialogue on how to revitalize a diversity movement that, despite significant gains, has barely moved the needle at the top levels of leading corporations and government institutions.

“Diversity advocates have certainly managed to raise awareness and generate some movement with campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite,” said Greenlining Institute Director of Diversity and Inclusion Danielle Beavers. “But people of color continue to be redlined in the job market, with chronically higher unemployment, and remain badly underrepresented at the top decision-making levels of our major institutions, while the racial wealth gap has barely budged. We believe this framework will stimulate discussion and help energize a movement to reclaim diversity, equity and inclusion as tools for racial justice.”

The framework lays out the differences between diversity, equity and inclusion, charts the evolution of diversity campaigns over the decades, and aims to help diversity advocates turn ideals into a concrete tool using the “Four Ws” – who, what, where and why. Beavers seeks to put together a working group to build on the Framework’s outline and create a toolkit that will help advocates push corporations and other major institutions toward diversity, equity and inclusion policies based on justice.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Melissa Harris-Perry, Dolores Huerta to Headline Greenlining’s 25th Anniversary Economic Summit

Speaker Lineup Also Includes Alicia Garza, Sen. Kevin de León

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – This year, The Greenlining Institute will mark its 25th anniversary as an organization with a very special edition of its annual Economic Summit on May 24. The stellar lineup of speakers and awardees includes legendary farm worker organizer Dolores Huerta and Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University and former MSNBC host, as well as Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and California state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

Founded in 1993, The Greenlining Institute envisions a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity. Each year, Greenlining’s Economic Summit brings together a diverse array of leaders to connect, brainstorm, celebrate and strategize on important economic issues affecting communities of color. See Greenlining’s Economic Summit web page for detailed information on the day’s program.

Last year’s Summit sold out, and this year’s is expected to as well. Journalists wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Bruce Mirken at brucem@greenlining.org.

WHAT: The Greenlining Institute’s 25th anniversary Economic Summit

WHO: Speakers and awardees include Dolores Huerta, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alicia Garza, Sen. Kevin de León and others to be announced.

WHEN: Thursday, May 24, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (registration opens at 8)

WHERE: Oakland Convention Center, 550 10th Street, Oakland, CA 94607

NOTE: The Greenlining Institute was officially incorporated on March 8, 1993. Throughout this anniversary season we will be sharing highlights and memories on our blog and social media accounts, using the hashtag #Greenlining25.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
greenlining.org
@Greenlining

CPUC Protects Access to Phone Service for Low-Income Californians

Advocates Praise Move to Protect LifeLine Program from Federal Cuts

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

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – At the urging of The Greenlining Institute and other advocates, the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday approved a plan spearheaded by Commissioner Martha Guzman-Aceves to protect low-income Californians from drastic federal cutbacks to eligibility for the LifeLine program. LifeLine provides affordable phone service (including smartphone data) to low-income customers.

“This decision marks a great milestone in California’s resistance to the federal war on low-income Americans,” said Greenlining Institute Telecommunications Legal Counsel Vinhcent Le. “From preserving access to affordable healthcare and growing momentum for state net neutrality protections, to today’s decision on LifeLine, California has consistently fought to protect its most vulnerable citizens.”

Eligibility for LifeLine is based on either income or participation in a variety of government assistance programs for low-income people. Previously, the FCC removed the National School Lunch Program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families from the list of programs that qualify people for LifeLine assistance, potentially cutting off over 81,000 current participants and blocking another 322,000 more from eligibility based on income.

The new decision preserves current eligibility rules, with the state making up the cost difference. Greenlining was joined by a variety of other consumer advocates, including TURN and the Center for Accessible Technology, in advocating for today’s decision.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Flagstar Commits $600 Million Over 5 Years to Community Investment; Acquires 8 Desert Community Bank Branches in San Bernardino County

BANK COMMITS TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND SERVICES FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES

Contacts: Nehama Rogozen, California Reinvestment Coalition, 216-973-2524, nrogozen@calreinvest.org
Vedika Ahuja, The Greenlining Institute, 510-926-4012, vedikaa@greenlining.org

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA – Michigan-based Flagstar Bank is acquiring Desert Community Bank in California, establishing its footprint in San Bernardino County. As part of this acquisition, Flagstar worked closely with the California Reinvestment Coalition, the Greenlining Institute, and local members to negotiate Community Agreements that meet the gold standard for bank investments, lending, and services in communities of color and low-income communities, committing $600 million to local community investments. Bank agreements of this type are rare, and this agreement is a credit to Flagstar’s commitment to community development, and the hard work of local partners.

“We are excited about teaming up with the California Reinvestment Coalition and the Greenlining Institute to make Flagstar’s acquisition of Desert Community Bank a win for the new communities Flagstar will serve in San Bernardino County,” said Alessandro DiNello, president and chief executive officer of Flagstar Bank. “We share their interest in ensuring the underserved have full access to our lending, banking and investment services, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with them in crafting an agreement that elevates and prioritizes community needs.”

As part of these agreements, Flagstar will annually invest approximately 20% of the DCB network total deposits over the next five years in activities such as community development, mortgages for low-income families, small business loans, low-fee checking accounts, and services for immigrant customers. Flagstar will also explore opening three branches in underserved neighborhoods, creating a formal supplier diversity program, and prioritizing employment opportunities within the local communities. Flagstar has agreed to release data on benchmarks and meet with the community annually to track progress.

“Community support and the input from our members was critical,” said Paulina Gonzalez, the Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “We are grateful for their work to make sure that Flagstar Bank will serve Inland Empire communities and provide access to products and services that low- and moderate-income families and communities of color in San Bernardino need.” The members who were involved in the process were the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services, Springboard CDFI, Springboard Social Enterprises Credit.org, Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire, Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board, and Coachella Valley Housing Coalition.

“We’re delighted that Flagstar bank has made a real commitment to the San Bernardino area’s low-income communities and communities of color. Flagstar’s investments will mean mortgages for low-income families, small business loans, low-fee checking accounts that working families can afford, and more,” said Orson Aguilar, President of the Greenlining Institute. “We’re excited to work with them in coming years to turn this commitment into real help for the community.” Greenlining partners who were involved in the process were the Asian Business Association Inland Empire, National Latina Business Women Association of the Inland Empire, Am Pac, and the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the Community Reinvestment Act and economic equity, please visit http://www.calreinvest.org/crc-issues/community-reinvestment-act or https://greenlining.org/issues-impact/economic-equity/.

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