By Anne Price, President
As the nation prepares for the transfer of power to a new Presidential administration, we are confronted with uncomfortable truths about our democracy and the social and economic structures of our society. As writer Steve Almond noted, “This election took American democracy down to its studs. What became visible are the deep cracks in our national foundation.”
One truth is that as the pandemic worsens and the economic crisis deepens, pressure to cut public investments in the name of so-called “fiscal responsibility” will intensify. This political approach will result in human suffering, the brunt of which will be felt by those already in precarious conditions. …
By Anne Price, President
With less than a week until Election Day and early voting eclipsing 2016 numbers, Black, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latinx, and Muslim women will play a crucial role in determining our nation’s future. According to Aimee Allison of She the People, a national network elevating the political voice and power of women of color, “the only path to solutions that heal us as a people is with the enthusiastic support of women of color.”
The electoral power of the 63 million women of color in the United States is a mighty force that should not be overlooked. From 2016 to 2018, the voting share of women of color grew by 37 percent. There are 13.6 million more citizen voting-age (CVA) women of color than there were in 2000, compared to 6 million for their white counterparts, a 59 percent jump. And one out of every four voters in key states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia is a woman of color. Yet, the political power of women of color is both under-researched and underinvested in by philanthropic organizations. …
By Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Vice President of Programs and Strategy
Earlier this month, Governor Newsom signed the Families Over Fees Act eliminating 23 unjust, racist administrative fees within our legal system, and expunging $16 billion of fee debt held by mostly Black and brown Californians. An extraordinary win, the new legislation makes California the first state in the nation to enact sweeping reforms of this kind.
We at the Insight Center are proud to have played a critical role as co-sponsors of the bill and Steering Committee members of Debt Free Justice California, the coalition that led this advocacy and organizing effort in partnership with State Senator Holly Mitchell. …
By Debt Free Justice California
On September 18, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 1869, the Families Over Fees Act, eliminating 23 unjust, racist administrative fees within the Californian legal system and expunging $16 billion of fee debt held by mostly Black and brown Californians.
A historic policy win for California, the new law is the culmination of a sustained advocacy and organizing campaign led by Debt Free Justice California — which includes the Insight Center among its Steering Committee members — in partnership with State Senator Holly Mitchell.
The following is a letter sent to Governor Newsom by Debt Free Justice California in advance of the bill’s signing. Governor Newsom’s subsequent approval of the bill — co-sponsored by the Insight Center — made it the first law of its kind to be passed at the state level in the U.S. …
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has consistently been rated as one of the most segregated cities in America and one of the worst places for Black people to live. Wisconsin imprisons Black men at the highest rate in the nation; many of them come from Milwaukee. I was raised in an overwhelmingly white suburb just a few miles away.
Living in an all-white suburb doesn’t automatically make you feel safe and certainly does not protect you from unprovoked interactions with police, but I grew up unencumbered by police presence. I never had to think about the police. In fact, I cannot recall even seeing police officers at the mall, at school, or driving by my house. …
By: Anne Price, Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Dorian Warren
Before the COVID-19 crisis, there was growing recognition that structural racism perpetuates unequal and adverse life outcomes for Black people. The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 project shed light on how Black people and their needs have been historically exploited, neglected, and undervalued in the creation of our nation’s culture, economy, and democracy. The disproportionate effects of the COVID crisis, along with the ongoing uprising to end police brutality, is now illuminating this fact even brighter. …
By Anne Price, President
On the heels of Ahmaud Aubrey’s and Breonna Taylors’ deaths, and right before George Floyd, Christian Cooper and an outpour of protests across our nation, I had the opportunity to moderate a conversation about racism in America with historian and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
The irony does not escape me.
Kendi notes that it “is just devastating to know that on the one hand, we are being disproportionately infected and killed by the coronavirus, and that on the other hand, we’re disproportionately infected and killed by the virus of racism.”
Amid a pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 21,000 Black people, at a rate nearly two times greater than would be expected based on their share of the population, the events of the past week have exposed the many ways in which Black people are seen as a threat to white Americans, and are policed to keep us in a place of servitude and control. There is little question that the police are a tool used to keep Black power and people in check. …
By Anne Price, President
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed how racial inequities are baked into our economic and health systems, in large part due to anti-blackness. One thing is for sure, we didn’t end up here by accident.
Nationwide, as a result of the rules we’ve created and the narratives we hold dear, Black and Latinx Americans are testing positive and dying of coronavirus at disproportionately higher rates. These communities are overrepresented in jobs that put them at risk of both becoming infected and of being laid off. In California, Black and Asian women have the highest daily risk of exposure to COVID-19. …
By Aisa Villarosa, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy, Insight Center for Community Economic Development
With nearly half of all Californians at high risk of unemployment and the Bay Area anticipating more than 800,000 job losses by May, it is time to unpack the root causes of racial and gender inequities endangering those whose labor is valued in our society, but not their full selves.
In the Bay Area, more than 1 out of every 2 retail and grocery workers cannot take paid sick leave, and women are less likely to get authorized leave than men. …
By Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Vice President of Programs and Strategy, and Anne Price, President
Last week, the United States saw a staggering 3.28 million workers file for unemployment benefits, shattering the previous record of 695,000 claims filed in October of 1982. With businesses closed and people sheltering at home, there is little doubt that we are heading for a recession — and in a worst-case scenario, a steep recession followed by a sustained depression.
In an attempt to bandage this economic hemorrhage, the Federal Government passed the $2 trillion CARES package. More a relief package than an economic stimulus act, CARES provides emergency fixes, but does not go far enough. More phases to this legislation are hopefully coming as Congress dukes it out on the Hill to ensure all Americans are protected and cared for in what is an unprecedented global pandemic. …