Greenlining Institute Asks Uber to Immediately Clarify Oakland Plans

Reports of Scaled-Down Development Raise Crucial Questions

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – In response to new reports that Uber is dramatically scaling back previously-announced plans for a new headquarters in downtown Oakland, The Greenlining Institute is asking the company to quickly clarify its plans and its commitments to Oakland.

“For months, Oakland community leaders have been concerned about Uber’s impact in terms of gentrification and displacement, and have worried that this company does not respect Oakland’s values,” said Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar. “With today’s report, we’re even less clear about what Uber’s plans mean for our city. Adony Beniares, Uber’s head of global workplace operations, should meet with community leaders right away and bring the community into the company’s planning process.”

Aguilar noted that if Uber only plans to use a small portion of the space in the former Sears building, the space the company doesn’t use could provide great benefit if made available at low cost to community nonprofits and arts organizations.

“Whatever Uber does with this building will have a huge impact on Oakland. We call upon the company to meet with community representatives right away, and work with us to make the impact positive.”

 

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

New Report: Major CA Insurers Do Almost No Business with Minority-Owned Firms

People of Color Own Nearly Half of CA Businesses but Get Only 3% of Contracts

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – In the most diverse state in America, the 10 largest insurers do shockingly little business with suppliers owned by people of color according to a new report to be released March 13 by The Greenlining Institute. Insurers buy huge amounts of goods and services in California – over $23 billion in 2014 alone – but the largest firms did barely over three percent of their contracting with businesses owned by people of color.

“Insurance is a huge economic force in California, one that all of us have to deal with,” said Greenlining Institute Diversity and Inclusion Director Danielle Beavers. “That these companies do just three percent of their contracting with minority-owned businesses – in a state where people of color own nearly half of all businesses – is just pathetic.”

For Supplier Diversity Report: California’s Insurance Companies Shirk Contracting with Minorities, Greenlining reviewed reports filed with the state Department of Insurance for 2014 by the 10 largest insurers, including household names such as State Farm and GEICO. Key findings include:

  • Under a law known as AB 53, insurers that collect over $100 million in premiums in California must report their spending with businesses owned by minorities, women, disabled veterans, and LGBTQ individuals. In 2014, 226 companies filed such reports.
  • These 226 companies spent a total of $23.44 billion in California, of which minority businesses received $729 million in contracts, just 3.11 percent.
  • The 10 largest insurers showed huge variations in their contracting with minority business enterprises, ranging from just $302,326 at Prudential to MetLife’s $38.58 million. State Farm, which bought over $618 million in goods and services in California, purchased less than two percent of that total from minority business enterprises.
  • Spending with different racial/ethnic groups also showed massive variations. Of the $105 million the top 10 insurers spent with minority business enterprises, just half of one percent ($604,020) went to African American businesses, while nearly 60 percent ($62.55 million) was spent with Asian American firms.
  • Current data collection has large gaps. For example, half of the top 10 insurers do not track their total procurement within California, leaving it impossible to know what share of contracts went to minority business enterprises.
  • Because AB 53 sunsets in 2019, the legislature must act to make this data collection permanent, and to close gaps in the data being collected.

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Greenlining Joins 16 Groups to Tell Data Firms, “Don’t Help Persecute Muslims, Immigrants”

Joint Letter Urges Companies Not to Provide Data that Could Be Used to Violate Rights

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Paul Goodman, Greenlining Institute Senior Legal Counsel, 831-325-8600 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Today The Greenlining Institute joined with a total of 16 public interest groups to send a letter (available in both English and Spanish) to nearly 50 “Big Data” companies asking those companies to pledge to “not allow our data, or services, to be purchased or otherwise used in ways that could lead to violations of the human rights of Muslims or immigrants in the United States.” The public interest groups acted in response to the current administration’s refusal to rule out the possibility of a “Muslim registry” and its moves to accelerate deportations of potentially millions of undocumented immigrants.

“Many tech companies collect vast amounts of personal data on all of us and make a profit by reselling that information,” said Greenlining Institute Telecommunications Legal Fellow Vinhcent Le. “Today we’re asking these companies and their data brokers to make absolutely clear that they will not let anyone not use this mass of data to persecute people because of their religion, nationality or immigration status.”

Greenlining noted that a registry profiling people based on religion would violate the right to nondiscrimination and could lead to further human rights abuses. In addition, since about three-quarters of U.S. Muslims identify as people of color, any “Muslim ban” would disproportionately affect communities of color. Registries of Muslims or unauthorized immigrants would likely be used to facilitate arbitrary detention and deportation, splitting up families and again violating fundamental human rights.

“Silicon Valley companies often talk about human rights and how technology can empower people and promote freedom,” said Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar. “Today we’re asking the tech and Big Data worlds to make sure their actions match their words.”

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Save the Date: Greenlining Economic Summit Tackles “Racial Justice on the Frontlines” in Oakland Apr. 14

Black Lives Matter Founder Alicia Garza to Moderate Opening Plenary

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – On April 14, The Greenlining Institute’s 24th annual Economic Summit will boldly tackle local and national controversies as it focuses on the theme, “Racial Justice on the Frontlines.” With Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza moderating the opening discussion, community activists, political and business leaders will take on such challenging issues as gentrification, tech diversity (or the lack thereof), possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the impending arrival of Uber in downtown Oakland.

Each year 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. Last year’s Summit was sold out, and a large crowd is expected again this year.

WHAT: The Greenlining Institute’s 24rd Annual Economic Summit, Racial Justice on the Frontlines

WHO: Confirmed speakers and awardees include: Alicia Garza, co-founder, Black Lives Matter; Zachary Norris, executive director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; Matt Haney, president, San Francisco Board of Education; Cristina Jiménez, executive director & co-founder, United We Dream; Tara Houska, national campaigns director, Honor the Earth; Kim Carter, founder & executive director, Time for Change; Zahra Billoo, executive director of the SF Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations; Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of PolicyLink

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

WHEN: Friday, April 14, 2017, Registration opens 8 a.m., program starts at 8:30 and runs to 5:45 p.m.

Media interested in attending are asked to RSVP to brucem@greenlining.org.

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Greenlining Institute Calls for End to ICE Raids

Recent Campaign Spreads Fear for No Purpose, Advocates Say

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – After rumors – apparently false – circulated yesterday about a new wave of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Greenlining Institute called for an immediate end to the current crackdown on immigrants. Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar made the following statement:

“Because of these pointless and cruel raids, whole communities are on edge for no good reason. Officials say they’re cracking down on supposed criminals, but we know that many have been swept up who have no criminal records, along with at least one Dreamer who should have been immune from detention and removal under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“What America needs is sensible, comprehensive immigration reform that enables full participation in American society by 12 million immigrants who are Americans in every way except for what papers they possess. These immigrants are part of our neighborhoods and workplaces. They pay taxes. They help build our communities. Instead of wasting tax dollars to hunt down people whose only crime is seeking a better life or to build our own version of the Berlin Wall, we should use our nation’s resources to strengthen our communities, improve our schools and make sure that all within our borders have access to health care.”

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

Greenlining Institute Hosts Grand Opening of New Nonprofit Center in Downtown Oakland Friday, Feb. 10

Mayor Schaaf will Help Launch Greenlining 360 Center, a Center for Collaboration and Revitalization

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – On February 10 The Greenlining Institute will host a grand opening event at its newly renovated building in downtown Oakland.  Formerly a dilapidated bank office, Greenlining set out to reclaim and revitalize the structure as a flourishing, energy-efficient nonprofit center built with local, minority-owned businesses. In addition to providing space to several other nonprofits at affordable, below-market rents, Greenlining designed the building to include community spaces for meetings and to showcase the work of diverse local artists.

At a lunch program, Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar will lay out the organization’s vision for the center, joined by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and numerous others who made the project possible. After that, a gallery walk will allow guests to see key portions of the building and view works by local artists. The day will conclude with a Happy Hour featuring cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

As space is limited, media wishing to attend are asked to please RSVP as soon as possible to brucem@greenlining.org.

WHAT: Greenlining 360 Center grand opening

WHO: Confirmed speakers include:

  • Orson Aguilar, President, The Greenlining Institute
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland
  • Lynette McElhaney, Councilmember, City of Oakland, District 3
  • Nancy Skinner, California State Senate, District 9
  • Joshua Simon, Executive Director, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
  • Kat Taylor, Co-Founder & Co-CEO Beneficial State Bank
  • Tim Silva, Vice President, Community Development Manager, Wells Fargo

WHERE: The Greenlining 360 Center, 360 14th St., Oakland

WHEN: Friday, February 10, 2017. Lunch program and speakers, noon–1:30 p.m.; gallery walk, 1:30-5:00 p.m.; happy hour 5:30-7:30 p.m.

NOTE: Local artists whose work will be showcased include Alan JohnsonAlfred TwuAmana JohnsonCece Carpio, Favianna RodriguezJoyce Gordon GalleryMelanie Cervantes, Pablo Soto CampoamorPancho Peskador, and Robert Liu Trujillo. Media wishing to attend are asked to please RSVP as soon as possible to brucem@greenlining.org.

New Report Looks at How to Diversify Health Care, Provide Careers to Disadvantaged Youth

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Well-designed programs can increase the diversity of California’s health care workforce while helping young people of color overcome high unemployment rates and establish themselves in solid careers, a new report from The Greenlining Institute argues.

“In a state where people of color make up over 60 percent of the population, people of color make up just 34 percent of physicians and 47 percent of registered nurses, and are underrepresented in other health fields as well,” said report co-author Anthony Galace, Greenlining’s health policy director. “Boosting these numbers can help to assure culturally competent care while creating career pathways for disadvantaged young people.”

Greenlining conducted extensive interviews with experts in the field and distilled them into a series of recommendations, including:

  • Forge strong partnerships between health pipeline programs and local schools. Effective programs connect mentoring and exposure to career options with school health curricula.
  • Ensure opportunities to disconnected youth and young people of color. Programs should reach out to youth who are homeless, in foster care, involved in the criminal justice system, or are neither in school nor working.
  • Facilitate culturally competent mentorship between youth and health care professionals. When a mentor and mentee share identities — such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. — this facilitates greater connection and support.
  • Provide comprehensive wellness support. Young people of color in urban environments can face a variety of challenges, from exposure to violence to inability to afford transportation. Programs should go beyond professional education/mentorship and address these needs.

Click the following link to read the full report, “BUILDING A DIVERSE HEALTH CAREER PIPELINE: Best Practices for Supporting Young People of Color Pursuing a Career in Health Care.”

CPUC Approves Huge Boost in EV Charging Stations in Underserved Communities

CPUC Approves Huge Boost in EV Charging Stations in Underserved Communities
At Least 1,125 of 7,500 New Charging Stations Will Be in Disadvantaged Communities

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)
Joel Espino, Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel, 623-330-1995 (cell)

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Public Utilities Commission today approved a pilot program that will bring 1,125 electric vehicle charging stations to underserved communities as part of a Pacific Gas and Electric pilot program to deploy a total of 7,500 charging stations in its service area. The company must deploy at least 15 percent of its charging stations in disadvantaged communities with a goal of deploying an additional five percent of charging stations in disadvantaged communities or other areas with a high concentration of low-income customers. Advocates for low-income communities hailed the decision as a major step toward making clean transportation options available to all Californians, regardless of income, race, or neighborhood.

“This represents a crucial addition to California’s groundbreaking efforts to make electric vehicles affordable and accessible to communities most impacted by poverty and pollution,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel Joel Espino, who took part in the negotiations that informed today’s decision. “Low and moderate income Californians want and need clean transportation, and we can only reach our clean air and climate goals if EVs become a practical alternative in all neighborhoods. Access to EV charging is essential to that effort, and to dispelling the myth that electric cars are just for the wealthy.”

PG&E’s pilot program will boost EV access efforts under the Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275, De León). That measure, co-sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, put in motion programs aimed at helping low-income drivers get behind the wheel of an EV. PG & E’s service territory is home to two of those programs: a financing assistance pilot in the Bay Area and a scrap-and-replace program in the Central Valley.

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

New Report: Top CA Banks Do Little Contracting with Firms Owned by Minorities, Women

New Report: Top CA Banks Do Little Contracting with Firms Owned by Minorities, Women
Banks Lag Far Behind Utilities in Diverse Contracting

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)
Danielle Beavers, Greenlining Institute Diversity and Inclusion Director, 609-703-0064(cell)

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – The banks with the largest market share in California do little contracting with businesses owned by people of color and women, a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds. In Supplier Diversity Report: Banks Still Struggle to Contract with Diverse Businesses, Greenlining found that in 2014, these top banks did just 4.42 percent of their contracting with minority-owned businesses and just 2.83 percent with women-owned businesses.

In contrast, many of California’s leading utilities and telecommunications companies routinely do over one quarter of their contracting with minority business enterprises, as Greenlining reported in September.

“While we applaud these banks for being willing to share their contracting data with us, it’s clear they have a long way to go,” said Greenlining Institute Director of Diversity and Inclusion Danielle Beavers. “We know from the experience of utility and telecom companies that qualified contractors are out there, but making use of them requires conscious effort by the companies and a push from regulators.”

Other key findings include:

  • Overall diverse contracting was low across all banks. East West Bank spent the most with minority and women business enterprises at 14.29 percent altogether, while Wells Fargo spent the least at just 5.71 percent.
  • Compared to national figures, procurement with California’s minority businesses better mirrored the state’s demographics but was still low. African American business enterprises received 1.08 percent of California contract dollars; Asian American business enterprises got 1.92 percent; Latino business enterprises secured 2.16 percent, and Native American business enterprises 0.06 percent.
  • Multi-year analysis revealed trends based on banks’ size and the ethnicity and gender of the diverse business owner. Small banks tended to increase supplier diversity while larger banks struggled.
  • Because of its size, Bank of America spent the most dollars with minority-owned businesses and accounted for nearly 40 percent of bank procurement with these firms. Still, this accounted for just 4.46 percent of the bank’s total procurement spending. This is similar to other large banks like Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Citibank, whose national MBE spending ranged from 3.32 percent to 5.32 percent.

“Diverse businesses serve as the economic engines of their communities, and we know they can provide top-quality goods and services,” Beavers said. “Banks should recognize the value they miss when they fail to seek out diverse contractors, and regulators should look to replicate California’s success at promoting supplier diversity in the telecommunications and energy industries.”

 

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Internet Rights and Consumer Advocacy Groups Call on Clinton and Trump to Reject Merger Mania

Contact Info:

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, 18 digital rights, social justice and consumer advocacy groups representing tens of millions of people sent a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump urging the presidential candidates to reject the proposed AT&T/Time Warner merger and oppose growing monopoly power in America.

“There is little evidence that anyone — other than the executives and shareholders of the merging companies — benefits from these massive deals,” the letter reads. “The recent history of media concentration is littered with broken promises and higher prices for customers.”

The letter is available here.

The signers are 18 Million Rising, the Alliance for Community Media, Color Of Change, Common Cause, CREDO Action, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Future of Music Coalition, the Greenlining Institute, the Media Access Project, the Media Alliance, the Media Mobilizing Project, Open Media, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Presente.org, RootsAction and Stop the Cap. The letter was also signed by Barry C. Lynn, the director of New America’s Open Markets Program.

The merger, valued at $107 billion when Time Warner’s debt is factored in, would create a media colossus with a market value of approximately $300 billion. With previous mergers of this scale, the concentration of market power has led to higher prices for consumers and fewer choices in the marketplace.

“Too many sectors are already marked by such concentration,” the letter reads, “with powerful gatekeepers controlling huge swaths of the economy and dictating their own terms in Washington, D.C.” The signers are urging the incoming presidential administration to protect our economy and democracy against the harms of corporate consolidation.

“That such a farce would be allowed after all the democracy-busting media consolidation that has been visited upon us is mind-boggling. Where are the guts to just say no?,” said Common Cause Special Adviser and former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.

“This merger would create a massive new conglomerate with huge investments in content production and distribution — giving it extra incentives and opportunities to manipulate information flows to its advantage, violate user privacy and otherwise abuse consumers and vendors,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal. “It will also create a behemoth whose lobbying and elections expenditures will allow it to entrench its power and warp the law to suit its interests. It must be stopped.”

“These organizations represent millions of people who are fed up with power-hungry companies like AT&T that want to control our lives, our wallets and our internet connections,” said Free Press Field Director Mary Alice Crim. “Instead of spending time and money on this deal AT&T should offer better internet services at prices that more families across the country can actually afford. The next president needs to stop this deal in its tracks.”

“This merger will be bad for communities of color,” said Greenlining Institute Energy & Telecommunications Policy Director Stephanie Chen. “As AT&T tries to merge its ISP operation with an entertainment company, it will spend less on improving and expanding its infrastructure and increase digital redlining across the country. Additionally, the merger will give AT&T even greater power to decide what television and movies get made, likely resulting in fewer opportunities for writers, directors and actors of color.”

“This merger would cement AT&T’s role as a gatekeeper of the internet,” said New America Open Technology Institute Policy Counsel Joshua Stager. “That’s bad for consumers, small businesses and democratic values. AT&T has a long track record of fighting Net Neutrality, deceiving customers, and funding efforts to kill municipal broadband. Government regulators should not allow such a poor steward of the open internet to further consolidate its grip on the market.”

“We should all be concerned about AT&T’s dangerous plan to take over Time Warner,” said Presente.org Executive Director Matt Nelson. “Functional, affordable internet and unbiased media are essential to the success and well-being of Latinx communities nationwide. This corporate hegemon, if realized, would lead to higher prices, less diversity in ownership and programming, and poorer service overall. We have converged to stop previous attempts by AT&T and their ilk to consolidate power for themselves at the expense of our communities, and we’re prepared to do it again.”