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Rosenberg Foundation 75th Justice in California 2010

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in California

To mark the Rosenberg
Foundation’s 75th anniversary,
leading social justice
advocates and thinkers
look to the future.
The Remaking of California
Manuel Pastor

Immigrant Rights: Bucking the National Trend

Mina Titi Liu & Thomas A. Saenz

Smart About Safety

Benjamin Todd Jealous & Lateefah Simon

Sowing Change in the San Joaquin Valley
Hugo Morales

Securing Justice for Farm Workers
Dolores Huerta

An Economy that Works for All of Us
Madeline Janis

Building a Real Progressive Movement for Change
Eva Paterson

Bridging Racial and Ethnic Divides

Maria Echaveste

One, Larger Vision for Justice
Kate Kendell & Stewart Kwoh

Timothy P. Silard & Daniel Grossman

Editors’ Note
The leaders who are
featured here are just a
few of the remarkable
and visionary
individuals throughout
our state and country
who have committed
their lives to social and
economic equity. These
are leaders who, as Dr.
Martin Luther King,
Jr., said, “refuse to
believe that the bank of
justice is bankrupt.”

When we tell the story of the Rosenberg Foundation’s creation, we often
note that its founder, Max Rosenberg, left his wealth to the foundation because he had no heirs. Clearly, that is not true. All of us who are dedicated
to building a fair and equitable society are his heirs—just as we are the heirs
of Cesar Chavez, Ella Baker, and Fred Korematsu; of Harvey Milk, Thurgood
Marshall, and Luke Cole. We are their heirs, and we are the beneficiaries of a
great inheritance of passion. It is an inheritance we must steward, grow, and
pass on stronger than we received it.
This is the inheritance of passion that drives the leading advocates and
thinkers who have lent their voices to Justice In California, a publication marking the Foundation’s 75th anniversary. The leaders who are featured here are
just a few of the remarkable and visionary individuals throughout our state
and country who have committed their lives to social and economic equity.
These are leaders who, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “refuse to believe
that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”
We hope that this publication can help to inform our public conversation
on how best to realize our common dreams for justice and equality in California. Tom Saenz and Mina Titi Liu outline how California can pioneer
new ways to secure full civic and economic integration for immigrants. Lateefah Simon and Ben Jealous highlight the urgent need to reform the state
and country’s broken prison system, which is rife with racial disparity and is
collapsing under its own weight. Dolores Huerta and Hugo Morales discuss
the path to justice and opportunity for farm workers and other marginalized
communities in rural California. Madeline Janis makes the case for building
an economy that works for all of us.
It is clear that much remains to be done, and success on these critical issues
will demand that we turn the talk about intersection among multiple interests into new ways of working together, that
we move beyond a diverse set of progressive causes to build a cohesive progressive movement.
As Manuel Pastor writes in the introduction to this publication, the communities we represent comprise a very solid
majority of the state—communities of color, LGBT, low-income families, labor, and progressives. What is not yet clear
is whether we will mobilize collectively and sufficiently to move a proactive and systematic progressive policy agenda. So,
we asked Eva Paterson, Maria Echaveste, Stewart Kwoh and Kate Kendell to share with us strategies for moving beyond
our respective issue silos and constituencies to build the coalitions that will help us achieve our common agenda.
Real progress is within our reach if we commit to working together for equality and justice. The pieces in this publication offer real hope that in five years, when we celebrate Rosenberg’s 80th anniversary, we will have been able to
claim victory on some of the critical social and economic justice issues that confront us in the Golden State. At Rosenberg Foundation, we are resolved to back the dynamic leaders and coalitions across California fighting for justice, so
that, in five years we will have achieved all this:
•	 The DREAM Act will no longer be a dream.
•	 No child will be working in California’s fields.
•	 While our state constructs economic superhighways to quality job opportunities, we will have built commuter
lanes for families who have been chronically marginalized.
•	 A second chance will mean just that, a fresh start for people coming out of prison.
•	 Our state will no longer be home to the world’s largest women’s prison.
•	 And we will have changed the odds for children exposed to violence.
We have no doubt that, by working together as one community, we can begin to build a current in California that
will be felt across the country. In the words of Cesar Chavez, “We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”
Timothy P. Silard is president of the Rosenberg Foundation. Daniel Grossman is chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.



Robert E. Friedman & Lewis H. Butler
Reflections on the Past 75 Years���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 2
Manuel Pastor
The Remaking of California��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4

critical next frontiers

Mina Titi Liu & Thomas A. Saenz
Immigrant Rights: Bucking the National Trend ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6
Benjamin Todd Jealous & Lateefah Simon
Smart About Safety ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8
Hugo Morales
Sowing Change in the San Joaquin Valley�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������10
Dolores Huerta
Securing Justice for Farm Workers����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������12
Madeline Janis
An Economy that Works for All of Us �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������14

Building New Coalitions

Eva Paterson
Building a Real Progressive Movement for Change�����������������������������������������������������������������������������16
Maria Echaveste
Bridging Racial and Ethnic Divides������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������18
Kate Kendell & Stewart Kwoh
One, Larger Vision for Justice ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������20

Contributors������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 22

Rosenberg Foundation

Justice in California



Robert E. Friedman & Lewis H. Butler

Reflections on the Past 75 Years
Can we learn anything about the future of justice in California and the role of the Foundation in that quest by looking at the past?
In this publication devoted to
the future of justice in California
and the role of the Rosenberg Foundation in that quest, we have been
asked to reflect on the past 75 years,
which raises the question: Can you
learn anything about the future by
looking at the past?
The two of us, together, have served
for more than 34 years on the Rosenberg Foundation’s Board of Directors—too long, no doubt, but less
than half the Foundation’s history.
Nevertheless, we will pretend to have
the understanding and breadth to encompass the continuing legacy of this


remarkable Foundation.
Despite (and perhaps because of)
the “broad charitable purposes and
wide latitude” Max Rosenberg gave
to the Foundation he endowed and
that bears his name, the same values and many of the same issues
that characterized the grantmaking
of this Foundation during its 75 year
history likely will extend forward: as
articulated in the first 10-year report
of the Foundation, “an early interest
in agricultural areas of the state, the
character and diversity of the population of California, [and] the impact
of national events within the state.”

Indeed, looking back at the full
span of seven and a half decades, the
Foundation has shown an enduring focus on the protection and opportunities of California’s children,
immigrants, disadvantaged and marginalized communities, and our underdeveloped agricultural areas,
notably the Central and San Joaquin
Valleys. This focus, the essays in this
volume suggest, likely will continue
in the decades ahead.
Other themes of our history probably will extend into the future as
well. We almost certainly will continue to focus on California, not
just because it is our home, but because, as historian Chuck Wallenberg noted, “California is like the
rest of the United States, only more
so.” We are broadly aware that California is among the first majority mi-

nority states, and that if we can make
California work for all people, it may
serve well not only for us, but as a national and international model.
Deep in the Foundation’s ethos is
the belief in the dignity and promise
of all people in all their diversity, and
the conviction that we will all do better if everyone has full protections
and the full, unhindered opportunity to contribute. Indeed, the Foundation continues to bring together the
tremendous diversity of California’s
people, not only in our work, but
also on our Board and through our
partnerships and convenings, believing that the business community
can understand, embrace, and benefit from social and economic justice,
that police and correctional officers
are as much a part of the solution
to our criminal justice system as are
the African American men who are
so disproportionately imprisoned
there and denied effective reentry to
the economy after serving their time.
Throughout our history, we have
supported economic justice along
with social justice, understanding
that to thrive, people must not only
gain the unfettered exercise of their
rights but must also have equal access to economic opportunity.
If an institution like the Rosenberg Foundation remains vital over
the course of decades and even centuries, it must be because of the caliber of its staff, the diversity of its
Board, and, above all, the quality of
its grantee partners. Rosenberg, the
first staffed foundation west of the
Mississippi, has been distinguished
and shaped by five remarkable leaders—Leslie Ganyard (who had to explain to potential grantees what a
foundation grant was), Ruth Chance
(who graduated first in her class at
Boalt, but whom no law firm in San
Francisco would hire because she
was a woman), Kirke Wilson (who
brought his passion for farm worker justice from organizing in the fields

We almost certainly will
continue to focus on California,
not just because it is our home,
but because, as historian Chuck
Wallenberg noted, “California
is like the rest of the United
States, only more so.”
of the Central Valley), Ben Jealous
(who brought his experience fighting
for criminal justice and civil rights to
Rosenberg before going to lead a rebirth of the NAACP), and Tim Silard
(who brings his leadership in civil
rights and social justice). It is distinguished as well by its diverse Board of
Directors, which combines and bridges activists and pillars of the business
establishment as it always has. Ruth
Chance was always clear that a foundation is only as good as its grantees;
indeed, the Rosenberg Foundation is
distinguished by the quality, diversity, and dedication of its grantee partners, and their willingness to work
across racial, ethnic, political, social,
and economic lines to create a new
future for all Californians.
As the Foundation remains committed to core values and callings,
so it likely will continue to evolve.
Even as we continue to work to open
doors to historically marginalized
communities, we recognize other
marginalized groups—in more recent years, the LGBT community
and also California’s prison population, which is comprised so disproportionately of people of color and
the poor—as the proper focus of our
attention. Our willingness to exploit
the freedoms of grantmaking will
continue to demand thoughtful innovation and openness to changing

conditions and opportunities.
But if change is constant, the aims
of the Foundation, as articulated a
quarter of a century ago on the occasion of the Foundation’s 50th anniversary, ring as true now as then:
“Despite vast differences and obstacles,
we can create a working society together. We can have both unity and diversity, both excellence and opportunity. The
American experiment is not over; it is
just beginning. And, finally, this democracy is more than just a catfight among
competing groups; it is an ideal nurtured by unselfish people. For its part, the
Rosenberg Foundation will go on supporting those unselfish people.”
As much as we are characterized
by optimism and commitment, one
of the inescapable lessons of our 75year history is that, despite huge and
significant victories, we have not yet
achieved our hopes for a state where
everyone has a real chance to grow
and contribute—nor is it likely we
will achieve our dreams in the next
75 years. Yet, we will continue to do
all that we can, along with our allies,
to create a California like the America Langston Hughes envisioned,
“that never was yet still must be.”
Robert E. Friedman is a member of the
Rosenberg Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Lewis H. Butler is one of the Foundation’s
alumni trustees.

Justice in California



Manuel Pastor

The Remaking of California
A look at the deeper transitions - from
demographic to economic - shaping the
future of the Golden State.
Analysts of California politics often operate in sound bites: Who’s the
next governor? What’s the next proposition? Where’s the next spending
cut? Unfortunately, the insistence
on the short-term theatrics of campaigns and budget battles—important as they may be—can sometimes
obscure the deeper transitions shaping the prospects for our state. If we
are to enter the future with any measure of grace—or justice—we’ll have
to look not just forward but outward
to the long-term horizon.
Changing Demography and the
“Generation Gap”

Foremost amongst these coming
transitions is one of demography.
The Census Bureau predicts that
the U.S. will become “majority minority”—that is, a nation with no
racial/ethnic majority group—sometime between 2042 and 2050. California crossed that threshold a year
before the millennium; in fact, the
demographic change we witnessed
between 1980 and 2000 is roughly
what the U.S. is projected to experience between 2000 and 2050.
California naturally will continue
to stay ahead of that curve, and will,
in fact, be a majority Latino state
by 2035. With the state “browning” rapidly, the popular image is
that the main driver is immigration.
But this would be using yesterday’s
population dynamics to guess at tomorrow’s demography. While the
share of immigrants did rise dramatically in California in the past three
decades—and now over half of the
state’s children have at least one immigrant parent—the percentage of


those foreign-born is actually on
the decline. Rising instead is what
Dowell Myers of USC calls a “homegrown majority”—young people
born in California and committed to
staying in the state.
The youth comprising this emerging majority are often distinctly different than their elders. Roughly
two-thirds of the population above
the age of 65—an age group with
a very high propensity to vote—is
White. The share falls to 50 percent
as we look at those between the ages
of 40 and 64, a cohort in their years
of peak income and hence more likely to carry, or resist carrying, the tax
burden of the state. Yet, the group
whose future they are deciding to
support or not—those under the age
of 18—are 70 percent kids of color.
This is California’s “generation
gap”—and it is one that Sacramento
Bee columnist Peter Schrag argues
is an undercurrent in the state’s resistance to fiscal reform, particularly reform of Proposition 13 and its
protection of long-time homeowners. That this generation gap makes
a difference is evidenced by a study
a colleague and I did for the Public
Policy Institute of California: those
states with the greatest demographic divergence between the young and
the old also have the lowest per capita state capital outlays —that is, investments in the future.
The State of Inequality

Another deep transition we face
involves the California economy.
On one hand, the current economic recession can blind us to some
long-term strengths: a younger la-

bor force, creative and progressive
entrepreneurs, and a strong university system that can incubate new
ideas and talent. Californians are
also blessed with a firm commitment
to protecting the planet, something
that can drive innovation to a more
sustainable green economy.
On the other hand, we also are
confronting an economy marked by
sharp inequalities. Once considered
a beacon of opportunity, attracting
migrants from other states and the
world, California is now the sixth
most unequal state in the country in
terms of the ratio of incomes of the
top fifth of families to the bottom
fifth of families. Considering the ratio of the top to the middle, we are
the third most unequal. The state
we most closely resemble in terms
of both our income inequality and
changes over time is Mississippi,
hardly a comparison to which most
Californians aspire.
While part of this inequality reflects the fact that the benefits of
economic growth have largely been
captured by the richest one percent
of the state, California is also experiencing a striking degree of wage polarization by skill that affects those in
the less lofty reaches of income distribution. The premium for education has risen: more than ever before,
more education means higher wages,
especially as job growth continues to
be polarized in very high- and very
low-wage sectors. Adding to the
mix is a continuing decline in union
membership; one of the “bright
spots” for the labor movement has
been consistently high public sector unionization, but this simply pits
state workers against the state’s taxpayers, making public sector unions
seem like a special interest.
There is also a worrisome stratification by race: Black and Latino family
income is noticeably lower than that
of Asians and Whites. Educational

levels are stratified as well, and if one
projects out the skill demands of new
employment against that trend, the
recipe for a continuing division by
race and class is set. Meanwhile, the
foreclosure crisis has hit Black and
Latino homeowners—or now, former
homeowners—the hardest, partly because they were last to buy in the runup to the bubble bursting, leading to
a destruction of wealth that rivals the
effects of a natural disaster.
While these challenges can seem
overwhelming, this disaster isn’t natural, and our fate is in our hands. What
we need urgently is a new vision, new
leadership, and a new civic—and civil—dialogue about our future.
A Common Vision for California

A new and healthier California
would be one in which older, White
Californians invest in the education
of younger Asians and Latinos. It
is one in which African Americans
are advocating for immigrant integration—and in which immigrants
and their allies commit to creating
pathways out of poverty for African
Americans. It is one in which businesses work together with community advocates to build a stronger
pipeline for workforce development.
It is one in which there’s a common
vision for one California.
Getting there will require that we
reach across the racial, class, and
generational divides that are splitting apart the state and keeping us
from communicating with each other. In order to change our situation
and redefine our trajectory, we must
change both the public discourse
and how we have that discourse.
We see this principle already at
work in the ongoing mobilization
quietly reshaping the state. Social
movements—for immigrant rights,
for improved working conditions,
for environmental justice, for reform of the criminal justice system,
and for the right of everyone to marry and serve their country as they see

fit—are offering positive change to
California. Typically, these movements are associated with dramatic protests and marches—and those
activities are certainly part of their
work. Still, the majority of social
movement work is basically patient

Once considered
a beacon of
attracting migrants
both from other
states and the world,
California is now the
sixth most unequal
state in the country
in terms of the ratio
of incomes of the top
fifth of families to
the bottom fifth of
and often unrecognized one-on-one
organizing, done face-to-face, raceto-race, and place-to-place.
These ongoing conversations are
important because they allow us
to work together to make the difficult choices that moving forward
requires—and we are facing some
difficult choices. Shaping up our
economy requires a mix of at least
three things:
•	 setting some minimum standards
for the labor market (i.e., mandating living wages and worker
•	 creating a path for upward mobility
(i.e., providing education and training for tomorrow’s workforce); and

•	 defining a strategy for sustainable
economic growth (i.e., encouraging investment with streamlined
public policy).
Activists have excelled with the
first, and business has focused on the
last, while both need to think and talk
more about mobility, especially about
how to actually fund the education
system the state so desperately needs.
Aligning our efforts to foster economic growth with the fight to
achieve social equity is critical. Recent
research on income gains in America’s metropolitan regions—including
a study from the Federal Reserve—
has shown that when inequality and
racial segregation remain, entire regional economies suffer.
Inequality also has played a role
in our national crisis. The current
Great Recession was driven in part
by a situation in which the wealthy
were so flooded with liquidity that
they speculated on Wall Street, while
working people were so stressed by
stagnant income that they borrowed
just to stay afloat. When this rising
inequality was churned through a
deregulated system, replete with derivatives and subprime mortgages,
the results were predictable—but
they were not inevitable.
With the old system broken,
we have the opportunity and responsibility to build anew. Fundamental to the future will be not
just new policies, but also social
movements and the alliances and
mutual understanding they can
and must build.
This special publication of the
Rosenberg Foundation optimistically
projects that justice will be a firm part
of California’s future. To turn that
optimism into reality, we will need
to realize that “justice” requires “just
us”: We are the ones who will help
the social movements celebrated here
remake the state and our future.
We are the ones who must work together to refashion California’s story.

Justice in California


Mina Titi Liu & Thomas A. Saenz

critical next frontiers

Immigrant Rights: Bucking the
National Trend
A little more than 16 years ago, California was
a poster child for anti-immigrant sentiment.
Now, the state is well-positioned to lead the
nation on immigrant rights and integration.
In an era of term limits and rapid turnarounds in electoral fortune,
16 years may seem like an eternity
in politics. In reality, it is less than
a generation. A little more than 16
years ago, California claimed the dubious mantle of leadership in antiimmigrant public policy by enacting
Proposition 187. In November 1994,
the initiative, misleadingly named
“Save our State,” received 58 percent
of the statewide vote, and Governor
Pete Wilson rode his staunch support of the proposal to a previously
unlikely reelection.
In short, in 1994, California was
where Arizona is today.
In the ensuing years, however, that
dark moment in California history
would change the course of California politics for the better. In November 2010, in significant part as a result
of the fallout from Proposition 187,
the state bucked the national trend,
rejecting a conservative movement
injected with a large dose of anti-immigrant hostility in favor of candidates with more progressive views on
immigrant integration. Meg Whitman’s failed effort to win the office of
Governor also signals that Wilson’s
backing remains a significant liability for any candidate seeking support
among California’s rapidly growing
cadre of pro-immigrant Latino and
Asian American voters.
Perhaps we could have foretold this
course of events based on the racially
divided vote on Proposition 187. Exit
polls showed that the majority of African American and Asian American


voters, and a staggering three quarters
of Latino voters, opposed the initiative. As immigrants reacted to Proposition 187 in the 16 years that followed
by naturalizing, registering, and voting in record numbers—against
Wilson’s political party, which they
viewed as responsible for the initiative—California shifted from a tossup state to the solidly Democratic
enclave that it is today.
In fact, now California has the
chance to become a national leader
in immigrant integration.
In some ways, Proposition 187 was
more severe than Arizona’s Senate
Bill 1070, whose passage in 2010 has
significantly emboldened today’s anti-immigrant forces, as evidenced by
the stunning recent attempts to wipe
out the long-standing American Citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. Proposition 187 followed the
enactment of a number of restrictive immigration-related bills by the
California Legislature—including
the requirement that drivers prove
status before receiving a license—
and the serious consideration of an
even greater number of such proposals. The initiative itself began as the
most extreme of a number of potential measures circulated to qualify
for the ballot.
Were Proposition 187 not permanently enjoined in almost its entirety by federal courts, the initiative
would have required every Californian to prove status before accessing
public health care, social services,
K–12 education, and higher educa-

tion. Public servants in these areas,
as well as law enforcement officers,
would have been required to report
suspected undocumented immigrants to state and federal authorities, and to send those suspected
notices to legalize or leave the state.
The initiative’s endemic violations
of privacy and invitations to discriminate contributed to the rejection of
the proposal by minority voters.
Yet, Proposition 187’s assault on
constitutional values catalyzed a
dramatic political shift in California,
which, in 2011, has resulted in a state
government that is different from
any other state government nationwide. While no political shift is permanent, and there still is much to do
to ensure that California enacts and
follows progressive policies, the significance of the shift in California
between 1994 and 2011 on immigration is undeniable. At a time when
the likelihood of national immigration reform has dimmed, we can find
hope in the fact that California can
lead the way on this issue.
Despite local and isolated attempts
to replicate Arizona, our state seems
to recognize the community disruption and economic havoc that mass
removals of undocumented immigrants would wreak. With the prominence of California students among
those who recently led the national
movement for the federal DREAM
Act and with the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy, California also readily perceives the need
for progressive reform of our federal
immigration laws.
California can lead by translating
these views into concrete state public policy that demonstrates an interest and investment in the civic and
economic integration of immigrants.
That begins with taking steps to pre-

vent local jurisdictions from seeking
to enact laws going beyond federal
law in restricting housing, speech,
employment, or schooling on the basis of immigration status. Such laws
have almost uniformly been challenged and struck down where they
have been enacted, and California
cannot afford to spend precious resources defending such unconstitutional measures.
California also can work with the
federal government and enact protections to guard against the worst
excesses of the Secure Communities program and other efforts by the
Obama administration to increase
federal enforcement. Too often,
these programs do not target or apprehend serious criminals, but rather sweep in peaceful victims of racial
profiling or other faulty police practices. The state has a strong interest
in not contributing to such unconstitutional activity.
In addition, California can take
steps to better involve immigrants in
our communities. For example, currently, non-citizen parents cannot
vote in school board elections, despite the fact that immigrant students
comprise a significant portion of the
state’s student population. California can pioneer new efforts to address
this mismatch. The state could implement significant and well-monitored
pilots in multiple districts under
which non-citizen parents could have
an appointed representative on the
school board, akin to the student representatives present on many boards.
Another idea might be to create a
shared governance structure, much
like what is used in the federal Head
Start program, in which differences
on significant matters between the
board and a parents’ council are resolved through a mediation process.
Another key element of immigrant
integration is language access. In 1973,
California’s state legislature passed
the Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act to ensure that Californians

with limited English skills are able
to access critical government services. Unfortunately, a report issued by
the California State Auditor in November 2010 concluded that, decades
later, many agencies either do not
know of their responsibilities or do
not fully meet the legal requirements
to aid the limited-English-speaking
residents they serve. The failure to
address language barriers can endanger the health and safety of all Californians, cut immigrants off from
the opportunity to receive vital government services, and prevent them
from fully engaging with local and
state government. Ensuring accountability by state and local agencies to
Dymally-Alatorre must be a priority
of the state’s leadership.
While the state’s continuing revenue and budget problems may preclude significant investment in such
important integration measures as
English language and civics classes
for immigrants, California could incorporate other approaches to promoting knowledge. For example,
the state might consider a policy of
encouraging employer provision of
such classes as an element of settlement in any state-pursued enforcement of employment law against
employers with significant numbers
of non-English-speaking workers.

In the 16 short years
since Proposition 187
was passed, California
not only has managed to
turn away from the ugly
anti-immigrant sentiment
that gave rise to the
destructive measure,
but also now is poised to
become a national leader
on immigrant integration.
This is just a small sample of the
wide-ranging and progressive policies California can incubate and pioneer to integrate immigrants. In the
16 short years since Proposition 187,
California not only has managed to
turn away from the ugly anti-immigrant sentiment that gave rise to the
destructive measure, but also now is
poised to become a national leader on
immigrant integration. California’s
immigrant communities have already
demonstrated how critically embedded they are into the very fiber and
makeup of our state. By advocating
for public policies that reflect and facilitate this undeniable fact, imagine
what we can do in the next 16 years.

Justice in California


critical next frontiers

Benjamin Todd Jealous & Lateefah Simon

Image courtesy of NAACP

Smart About Safety
Building an effective and equitable criminal
justice system is an urgent civil rights issue,
and the only way we can create safe and
healthy communities.
Reforming the nation’s criminal
justice system is one of the most urgent civil rights issues of our time.
One shocking fact illustrates why:
More African American men are entangled in the criminal justice system
today than were enslaved in 1850.
How did we get here? The rise in
America’s penchant for punishment can be traced as far back as the
1964 presidential campaigns of Barry Goldwater and George Wallace,
who each made law and order a defining plank of his platform. President Richard Nixon continued the
trend, framing Democrats as “soft
on crime” and pushing for tough law
enforcement policies in opposition
to President Lyndon Johnson’s credo of tackling crime through a “war


on poverty.” “Doubling the conviction rate in this country would do
more to cure crime in America than
quadrupling the funds for [Hubert]
Humphrey’s war on poverty,” Nixon
told voters.
Since then, Republicans have
pushed—and Democrats have embraced—a so-called “tough on
crime” approach to keeping us safe,
one that emphasizes harsh measures
after crimes have already occurred,
and that disproportionately punishes poor and minority communities rather than addressing the root
causes of crime and preventing it in
the first place.
As a result, our wrong-headed approach to justice and safety is breaking the bank of pretty much every

state and breaking the spirit of communities across the country. Today,
the U.S. accounts for five percent
of the world’s population but has 25
percent of the world’s prisoners. We
imprison almost one million more
people than China, at a cost to taxpayers of $68 billion in 2010.
Turning locally, California’s prison population grew 500 percent
from 1982 to 2000, and the state now
attempts to manage nearly 170,000
people in prisons designed to hold
83,000. In the last 20 years, the cost
of operating California’s corrections
system skyrocketed from $2.3 billion in 1992–1993 to a projected $9.3
billion budget in the 2011–2012 fiscal
year, with an additional $4 billion
budgeted for prison infrastructure
expenses. Ten percent of the state’s
general fund revenue now goes to
the prison system.
Nowhere is the impact felt more
deeply than in African American
communities, where America’s epidemic of mass incarceration seemingly
has removed entire generations of Af-

rican American men from their communities. Today, 500,000 Black fathers
are currently incarcerated in America’s prisons, and one out of every six
African American men has spent time
in prison. African American girls and
young women have become the fastest growing population of incarcerated young people in the country. More
than two million African Americans
are currently either in prison, in jail,
on probation, or on parole.
Our criminal justice system today
undoubtedly functions much like
a racial caste system, as Michelle
Alexander, author of The New Jim
Crow, so aptly points out. Being labeled a felon effectively strips away
crucial rights from an individual, locking him or her into secondclass status indefinitely, unable to
vote, secure a good job, or find safe
and affordable housing. The current system provides for little or no
reintegration; it functions as a revolving door, where those who’ve
served time in jail or prison all too
often quickly find themselves back
in, unable to overcome the many
obstacles they face when attempting
to reenter their communities.
It is time to recognize that our
scorched-earth approach to public
safety has sent us down the wrong
path. We need to be smart about our
policies and resources while keeping
our communities safe. Here are three
steps we recommend to ensure that
public safety is a true civil and human right for all of us:
Build Broad-Based Coalitions

It is no longer enough for criminal
justice reform to be an issue of concern only to criminal justice reformists. We need to bring to the table
advocates for civil rights, education

equality, women’s rights and families. We also need to work together
with people we’ve traditionally considered to be unlikely allies in this
fight, such as law enforcement and
business. More and more, leaders in
law enforcement are calling for new
ways to keep our communities safe,
and California’s new Attorney General Kamala Harris is among those
leading the charge. We also need
more grantmakers to recognize the
connection between criminal justice and other social problems they
are aiming to alleviate, and invest resources for maximum impact.
Eliminate Barriers To Employment

There is perhaps no more effective tool for successful reentry into
society than employment. Formerly incarcerated people who are able
to secure employment are one-third
less likely than their counterparts to
end up back in prison or jail. That is
why both the NAACP and the Lawyers’ Committee have launched new
initiatives to meet this challenge. In
California, the NAACP worked to
secure an administrative order from
the governor’s office that removes
questions about criminal history
from employment applications for
most state jobs. The Lawyers’ Committee has launched a new clinic to
connect formerly incarcerated individuals with pro bono attorneys from
top law firms to address legal barriers to reentry and employment. We
all win when we ensure that those
who have paid their debt to society
can have the tools they need to turn
their lives around.

in various California cities to draw
attention to a disturbing trend.
Since 1988, state spending on prison has risen 25 times faster than on
higher education. Former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged this when
he aptly noted: “Spending 45 percent more on prisons than on universities is no way to proceed into
the future.…What does it say about
any state that [it] focuses more on
prison uniforms than on caps and
gowns?” As states across the country continue to struggle with budget crises, we need to collectively
call for shifting our funding priorities from incarceration toward
programs and initiatives that will
revitalize our communities.
It is our belief that criminal justice
reform is one of the leading issues
in the fight to ensure equal opportunity for communities in need. We
cannot afford to wait another generation to turn around decades of
failed policies that have resulted
in our nation hemorrhaging money and human potential. The exigency for policies that are smart on
crime—not just “tough on crime”—
is now. It is the only way we can
achieve something we all want—
safe and healthy communities.

Reallocate Resources

In 2010, the NAACP commissioned new rolling advertisements

It is time to recognize that our scorched-earth approach to
public safety has sent us down the wrong path. We need to
be smart about our policies and resources while keeping our
communities safe.
Justice in California


critical next frontiers

Hugo Morales

Sowing Change in the San Joaquin Valley
On a recent funders’ tour of the San Joaquin
Valley, a region of California that faces
daunting challenges, the author finds ample
cause for hope.
Recently, I participated in “Sowing Change,” a three-day tour for
grantmakers organized by the Women’s Foundation of California. During the tour, I saw first hand some of
the daunting challenges the San Joaquin Valley faces in the continuing
fight for social justice and equality.
It has some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the country,
and its air is among the most polluted in the country—it is sometimes
known as Appalachia West. And,
although educational achievement
is critical for a healthy California,
in this region, most Latino youths
don’t graduate from high school.
Traveling through the countryside
during this tour, however, I also witnessed a phenomenon that gave me
hope for the future of the San Joaquin Valley: Each stop of the funders’
tour revealed a Latino/a community

leader, usually younger than 35, working to build a better San Joaquin Valley and a better California.
In Delano, California—home of
the United Farm Workers’ Forty Acres and center of the Chavista movement for social justice for
farm workers—20 Mexican-American children and teenagers were
performing traditional Mexican mariachi music. Their instructor, Juan
Morales (no relation to me), travels some 30 miles from Porterville
to teach these children how to celebrate their culture through music.
Lamont, California, home of the labor camp made famous by The Grapes
of Wrath, now houses a model modern labor camp administered by the
State of California. The same region
also has several de facto labor camps
that more closely resemble the original Depression-era ones. Populated

by immigrants from my native Mixteca in southern Mexico, this community of our country’s poorest engages
their own local leadership to hold an
annual Guelaguetza celebration, honoring traditional Mixteco language,
music, dance, and food. The culturally driven organizers that make this
possible are the new face of the farm
worker workforce, numbering some
300,000 strong in the San Joaquin
Valley. Some 20 percent of this workforce is Mixteco; almost all are undocumented.
And in Kettleman City, a town
of 2,000 mostly Mexican-American
farm workers along a lonely stretch
of Interstate 5, a new generation of
local organizers raised in this community are challenging the expansion of one of the largest chemical
waste dumps in the country because
of the town’s high incidence of birth
deformations in recent years.
We also visited Bakersfield, home
of the Dolores Huerta Foundation,
and Tulare, where California Rural
Legal Assistance is challenging urban planning that will negatively impact the quality of drinking water in

a cluster of homes inhabited by lowincome, Mexican-American families. Each stop was inspiring to me
for several reasons:
•	 I witnessed a high degree of collaboration among nonprofits.
•	 The leaders are young and
knowledgeable, and also
excellent organizers.
•	 The organizers are effective despite
their small operating budgets.
Seeing these new leaders in action has shown me that San Joaquin
Valley is ripe in opportunity. There
is opportunity to address access to
preschool through higher education, to support local citizens who
are demanding local government
institutions be responsive to their
community needs, and to stand behind young leaders of color who are
already doing the work.
There is the opportunity afforded
to us by the dramatic shift in population growth from the coastal region
to the San Joaquin Valley. According to 2009 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2000 to 2009 San
Francisco’s population grew by five
percent and Alameda County by
three percent. In contrast, the San
Joaquin Valley grew by 21 percent.
There is also an opportunity to
organize the region’s largest ethnic group, Latinos, who are the new
majority. It is a young population,
mostly under the age of 23. More
people listen to Latino public radio
in Spanish or bilingual programming than the English-only NPR radio programming.
From philanthropy, to nonprofits, to the public and private sectors, we all have a role to play in
ensuring that the seeds of change
can grow and flourish in San Joaquin Valley. We must not forget
the interconnection between this
region and the rest of the state,
from air quality to the water that
empties into the San Francisco Bay
to the food produced in the valley

that ends up in restaurants and on
plates throughout California. We
must support the efforts of these
young leaders working to bring
about change in our communities.
We must invest in our youth by resourcing educational opportunities for all the children in the San
Joaquin Valley. We must foster democracy by ensuring that we have
well-educated, informed voters.
This is the new California. The opportunity is there. It is up to us to
take advantage of it.

From philanthropy, to
nonprofits, to the public
and private sectors,
we all have a role to
play in ensuring that
the seeds of change can
grow and flourish in
San Joaquin Valley.

Images courtesy of the Women’s Foundation of California
Justice in California


critical next frontiers

Dolores Huerta

Securing Justice for Farm Workers
The famed labor activist chronicles
the historical struggles —as well as the

significant present-day challenges—in
the fight to secure justice for California’s
most marginalized workers.
The San Joaquin Valley is the
breadbasket of the United States
and the world. A prosperous area,
the wealthy agriculture industry
that calls this area home is important to California’s economy and
provides the food that nourishes so
much of the country. Yet, the farm
workers who labor to create this
wealth and abundance have long
lived in abject poverty.
John Steinbeck chronicled the immigrant story of California and our
government’s mass recruitment of
immigrants needed to develop the
land. Immigrants were continuously recruited from Mexico, Japan,
China, and the Philippines. And,
although the immigrant population
was and remains critical to agriculture, agribusiness continues to fight
the unionization of farm workers.
In the past, many of California’s
policies discriminated against farm
workers. The Oriental Exclusion Act
deprived Asians from owning land
and made it illegal to marry Whites.
Large numbers of Filipinos were unable to afford the long voyage to the
Philippines to secure wives. The legal immigration quota was one woman to 50 Filipino men, leaving most
men without families. The Chinese
drained many of the islands around
Stockton, California, yet that same
Act prevented them from owning
the land they made usable. The Japanese lost their agricultural land during World War II, when they were
placed into internment camps. 1941
saw the start of the infamous Brace-


ro program, which brought millions
of Mexican nationals north to work
in the fields in the U.S.—initially as
a way to solve labor shortages during
World War II, and subsequently as a
cheap labor supply.
Brutal opposition from the industry stamped out all attempts of these
immigrant workers to unionize. In order to improve conditions for farm
workers and their families, Cesar
Chavez and I founded the National
Farm Workers Association, later the
United Farm Workers Union, in 1962.
The organization would become the
first successful union to win collective bargaining agreements for farm
workers. In my early lobbying days,
the grower representatives would say
before legislative committees, “We
do the public a service by employing
these winos and degenerates that nobody else will hire.” We do not hear
those references any more, at least
not in California.
Over time, United Farm Workers
was able to help win many legislative
victories. The Bracero program ended in 1964. The Agricultural Labor
Relations Act allowing farm workers to unionize and have protections
from unfair labor practices passed in
l975. The Migrant and Seasonal Farm
Worker Protection Act passed in 1983.
The Immigration Reform Act of 1986
legalized 1.4 million farm workers.
By organizing farm workers, we
were able to bring a measure of social
and economic justice to them. Many
of these victories won were basic human and labor rights—clean toilets,

potable drinking water, rest periods,
safety protections, pesticide regulations, contracts, and credit unions.
We passed legislation to remove citizenship requirements for public assistance, such as aid to the disabled
and to needy children, and old age
assistance. In l975, after UFW secured unemployment insurance for
farm workers, families were able to
settle in communities, keep their
children in school, and vote.
Many other support systems for
farm workers were established with
foundation and government funding: training programs for farm workers to upgrade their skills for better
farm jobs, farm worker clinics, bilingual education programs, targeted
programs for farm worker women,
housing, child care programs, and
more. The UFW movement influenced the organizing strategies of
other labor unions and gave birth to
the Chicano movement, leaving an
indelible mark on this country’s social justice and labor movements.
In February of this year, the office of
the United Farm Workers in Delano,
California, was declared a national
landmark. This is the site where Cesar Chavez fasted for 25 days in 1968
for nonviolence, and for 36 days in
1988 to bring attention to the dangers
of pesticides to farm workers and consumers. In 1970, after a five-year strike
and an international grape boycott
supported by millions of consumers,
the grape industry came to the bargaining table and signed the historic
grape contracts with the UFW at the
Delano headquarters.
The UFW union contracts provide
a health plan, pension plan, grievance and arbitration procedure, and
seniority. These union contracts
were won with great sacrifices. Many
farm workers were beaten, hundreds
jailed, and four farm workers—Rufino Contreras, Nagi Daifallah, Juan

De La Cruz, and Rene Lopez—and
one supporter, 18-year-old Nan
Friedman, were killed. It was, and
still is, an uphill battle.
While the conditions for farm
workers in California have improved
since then, the harsh reality remains
that farm workers who do not have
union protections are still among the
poorest workers in the country, and
working conditions remain extremely hazardous. A recent study the Dolores Huerta Foundation did with
California State University, Bakersfield, indicated that the average wage
of farm workers was $15,000 a year in
Southern Kern County.
This rampant poverty is exacerbated by the fact that undocumented
farm workers are denied any unemployment insurance and public assistance. Many farm workers work
at “piece” rates that have stagnated,
leaving workers dependent on the
minimum wage for protection. At
the same time, the laws that cover immigrants and undocumented workers, such as federal minimum wage,
health, and safety laws, are not enforced. Employers prefer hiring undocumented workers over residents
or citizens, using labor contractors
to avoid paying unemployment insurance and social security, thereby
avoiding the laws that can benefit
farm workers. Meanwhile, the campaign against the undocumented
has resulted in working people ending up in jails for immigration violations. Hard-working farm workers
have been deported in anti-immigrant crackdowns, dividing families
and resulting in children being separated from their families and deprived of their rights as U.S. citizens.
Amidst these setbacks, there are
rays of hope, such as the recent appointment of Hilda Solis as U.S.
Secretary of Labor and the election
of Governor Jerry Brown in California. Support for this region and
its farm workers has increased, and
many nonprofit organizations and

In my early lobbying days, the grower representatives would
say before legislative committees, “We do the public a service
by employing these winos and degenerates that nobody else
will hire.” We do not hear those references any more, at least
not in California.
funders are focusing on rural areas
of California to create healthy communities where farm workers live.
Religious organizations are supportive of farm workers, and many
give direct services. My own organization, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, is doing grass roots organizing
and leadership development so farm
workers can have representation in
their communities and learn how
to solve the issues through direct
non-violent action. Growers in California no longer denigrate their
workers. Many have Farm Worker
Day celebrations, and raise scholarships for the children of their workers. Some agricultural employers,
such as Swanson Berry Farms, are
supporting the unionization of their

workers. Others, such as Paramount
farms, are helping their workers improve their communities.
However, we must not forget that
having their own democratic organization—a union—is still the best way
that farm workers can have a voice in
the workplace, allowing them to negotiate their wages and working conditions and to develop relationships
with their employers. Only when
farm workers are working under
union contracts can health, safety,
and labor laws be enforced by union
stewards at the work site. With public support, farm workers can continue to organize, learn advocacy, and,
eventually, secure full justice and
equality for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Justice in California


critical next frontiers

Madeline Janis

An Economy that Works for All of Us
How can we build a state in which
economic injustice and poverty are
replaced by shared prosperity?
In March 2011, right before the
state’s Republican party rammed
through a law intended to break
the backs of labor unions, I spent 24
hours in Madison, Wisconsin. I went
with a contingent of 160 leaders from
Los Angeles—nurses, teachers, janitors, and hotel workers, people from
every walk of life—and we came to
Madison to connect with regular, everyday people who were in the middle
of an epic fight for economic equality.
All around Madison, we saw clear
signs of the progressive fervor that
has swept through this town to
reach the entire country. Almost every business—restaurants, dry cleaners—carried similar messages: “I’m
pro-union,” “I support teachers,”
“I believe in public sector workers.”
We visited the pizza place where
hundreds of thousands of dollars has
poured in from around the world to
help feed the protestors. During the
day, we marched across the city and
into the capitol building, where a
thousand people were rallying inside
the rotunda, singing and chanting.
They had been doing this for days.
In Madison, it was clear that people
felt like they had been pushed over
the edge by the reality of economic inequality—pushed into being
strong, brave and forceful enough
to occupy the statehouse. Visiting
Madison was a powerful lesson in the
kind of energy that California and
this country desperately needs to
embody if we are ever to realize our
vision of a healthy economy—one
that works for all of us. Good jobs,
thriving communities, and a healthy
environment can all be achieved in
this country if we raise our hands


and assert that we are ready.
There is no doubt that, today, our
economy is not working for many
of us. It certainly is not working for
Los Angeles County’s 3.7 million
low-income taxpayers and residents.
In South L.A. and East L.A., unemployment rates are above 30 percent.
A third of the people who work in
L.A. don’t earn enough to meet their
families’ basic needs. L.A. County
is emblematic of a statewide and national problem. Today, in addition to
a severe budget crisis, California faces an extreme human crisis marked
by high unemployment, an epidemic of foreclosures, and some of the
highest rates of poverty in decades.
Census data released in 2010 show
that families in America are facing
the highest rates of economic hardship in a generation.
There are many factors that got us
into this crisis, but one clear standout is reckless Wall Street schemes
impacting a middle class already being tightly squeezed by 30 years of
failed right-wing economic policy.
Since the 1980s, the dominant economic policy has been a combination of tax cuts aimed at the rich
and deregulation designed to maximize profits for the top one percent.
Coupled with an any-job-is-goodenough approach to employment
and a labor policy that has stripped
away the foundation supporting
middle class jobs, the result is an explosion of the working poor. As a result, the poverty rate for working age
people between 18 and 64 rose to 12.9
percent last year, its highest in more
than four decades.
Despite these grim obstacles, I know

that we have the power and enthusiasm necessary to dig ourselves out
and move into a brighter future. We
must harness that energy and combine it with practical, proven strategies if we are to achieve our vision.
Even in this economy, it is possible
to implement real and practical solutions that can benefit all of us.
One of the most powerful ways we
can do that is by insisting on creating and sustaining good jobs, jobs
that pay enough to meet families’ real
needs and lift them out of poverty.
Without a focus on job quality, we
can look forward to annual increases in poverty well into the future. In
Los Angeles, for example, we pushed
for a living wage policy that covers
hotels near the Los Angeles International Airport. The ordinance has
improved pay in existing jobs and
helped more than 5,000 workers and
family members earn their way out
of poverty. Studies have put the net
benefit to the community from increased wages and spending at more
than $23 million in the first four years.
This “trickle up” approach is in direct
contrast to the right wing’s narrow focus on profit at the top, which continues to concentrate wealth and take us
in the wrong direction.
We also must enact policies that
require businesses who seek government funds and permit approvals
to balance private profit and public good. The two principles are not
incompatible, as we’ve demonstrated many times in Los Angeles and
elsewhere. Too often, public officials subsidize developments with no
real benefits to local communities. In
fact, with billions of dollars in federal stimulus money being distributed
through local and state governments,
there is increasing pressure on local
officials—elected and appointed—to
move quickly to approve job-creating projects without any clear stan-

Visiting Madison was a
powerful lesson in the kind
of energy that California
and this country desperately
need to embody if we are
ever to realize our vision of
a healthy economy—one
that works for all of us.
dards, such as decent pay.
Instead of rushing to rubber-stamp
these projects, local public officials,
community, union, immigrant, and
environmental leaders must insist
that businesses receiving taxpayer
money create good jobs, affordable
housing, and a healthy environment.
And we must do so while withstanding any criticism that holding businesses accountable in this way is
“killing jobs” or hurting the local
business climate.
Critics of such policies sometimes
say that these community-benefit standards are nothing more than
thinly veiled attempts to strengthen
local unions. The answer is, so what?
We can ensure good jobs by rallying behind and supporting unions,
which is crucial at a time when others are increasingly agitating to
weaken them. It is no coincidence
that the U.S. enjoyed its greatest level of economic equality during the
1950s, when union membership was
at its highest, and that the sharp decline in union membership over the
past several decades has coincided

with a dramatic rise in inequality.
Union jobs almost always offer better pay, better benefits, and better
conditions than non-union jobs, and
unions are good for the overall economy. For example, a recent study by
the Los Angeles Economic Roundtable found that union workers in
L.A. County earn 27 percent more
than non-union workers in the same
jobs. The increased wages for the approximately 800,000 union workers
adds $7.2 billion a year in pay. These
workers spend their wages on food,
clothing, child care, car and home repairs, and other items. As a result,
their buying power created 307,200
jobs—64,800 more jobs than would
have been created if these workers
did not earn union wages.
So if we really believe in economic opportunity, creating more union
jobs is a no-brainer. I’m not alone in
this belief. There is a growing federation of groups in 18 cities around the
country—the Partnership for Working Families—that works closely
with public officials in major metropolitan regions to advocate both for

Images courtesy of LAANE

impoverished communities, and for
the general public.
Of course, these strategies are only
possible if our elected officials are
behind them. From local officials to
state legislators, congressmen, and
the President of the United States, it
is time for public officials around the
country to stand up for the rest of
us. Instead of just giving tax breaks
and subsidies to big business, deregulating industry, lifting “barriers” or
“strings,” or advocating for tax cuts
for the “haves,” we need our leaders
to generate and implement strategic
ideas that can help the middle class
and the “have-nots.”
A healthy economy is possible if
we raise our voices and fight for the
working poor, the unemployed, and
the middle class, if we are willing to
make the hard choices to hold businesses and our leaders accountable.
It will take our collective energy, passion, and wholehearted commitment,
but we can achieve our vision of building a great state and country in which
economic injustice and poverty are replaced by shared prosperity.

Justice in California


Building New Coalitions

Eva Paterson

Building a Real Progressive
Movement for Change
A how-to guide to developing the
coalitions that are essential in the fight
for justice in California.
A progressive movement in California and across this country is
more aspiration than reality when
its members work towards many of
the same goals, but apart from one
another. If we are not arm-in-arm
while marching towards our dreams,
we may be moving, but we are not
a movement. We all suffer when we
turn our backs and say, “that’s not
my issue.”
Today, too many progressive
groups still remain disconnected
from one another. We need more
LGBT organizations to support
equal opportunity for people of color. More groups working with people of color need to realize that net
neutrality—the movement asserting
that all internet traffic must be treated equally—is a civil rights issue,
granting equal opportunity to all of
our voices, and allowing communities of color to enjoy the equal representation they lack in other media
platforms. Support from proponents
of campaign finance reform can help
achieve marriage equality through
the ballot and in the courts.
In my view, coalitions are not optional—they are essential. Despite
the gains in California and across
the country for the communities and
families we represent, we still have a
lot of work left to do. People of color still are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system
and on death row. Many victims of
discrimination and injustice still
cannot find redress in our courts. As
I write this, some misguided legislators are waging a war to roll back the


birthright citizenship clause of the
14th Amendment, and are conducting shameful hearings intended to
demonize American Muslims under
the guise of homeland security.
We have the numbers, capacity,
and passion throughout the state
to build the coalitions that will sustain us as we continue the fight for
justice in California for the next 25
years. Yet, without joining hands
with each other, we cannot achieve
ambitious goals such as reclaiming the full protections of the 14th
Amendment against institutional
discrimination. We cannot ensure
that there will be more Black males
in colleges than in prisons. We can-

not give our LGBT brothers and sisters the same rights and freedoms
to marry afforded to the rest of us.
We cannot secure full civic and economic integration for immigrants.
At Equal Justice Society, the practice of coalition building was embedded into our organizational DNA
from day one, and remains one of our
core principles. We learned this crucial lesson from Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., who, through the urgings
of his aide, Bayard Rustin, sought to
create the “Grand Coalition,” an alliance of groups and individuals who
hungered for justice and equality.
This meant bringing together women, people of color, union members,
peace activists, and environmentalists—all those who saw the possibility
of a better world with equal opportunity for all people. Here are five important lessons we have learned in
our efforts to develop coalitions:

Find Intersections and
Common Goals in Seemingly
Disparate Issues

When Proposition 8 in California
threatened to erode the rights of the
LGBT community, many of us recognized that we could not allow others to pigeonhole Proposition 8 as a
“gay” issue. By rolling back the fundamental rights of one group, Proposition 8 cast a threat that loomed
over the civil rights of all Californians. Cross-coalition opposition to
Proposition 8 took the form of public appearances with LGBT community leaders, media interviews,
forums and outreach to communities of color—all of which contributed to illuminating the racial diversity
of the LGBT movement and showing the impact of the proposition
outside of the LGBT community.
Immigration reform, marriage equality, and the advancement of equal
opportunity may appear to many as
issues that have minimal overlap. In
reality, success in each of these areas
advances fairness, access, and equality for all of us.
Learn and Embrace the Cultures
and Terminologies of Your Allies

When we find ourselves at a table
with diverse groups, it is important
to understand and embrace the cultures and languages of our allies. It
demonstrates respect for others and
their ideas, and contributes to our
collective solidarity. In terms of language, one of the toughest battles today is over the widespread use of the
term “illegal immigrant,” made popular by conservatives in an attempt
to dehumanize undocumented immigrants. Despite the fact that a person cannot be “illegal,” the term has
been widely adopted in news coverage by the mainstream media and
in the lexicon of our courts. By continuing to protest the incorrect use
of “illegal” to describe immigrants,

we not only embrace the values of
our immigrants’ rights allies, we also
push back on the efforts of those
who seek to use language to frame
values in a degrading manner.
Set Aside Differences in Strategy
to Achieve Common Goals

In 2003, California’s Proposition 54
threatened to amend the state Constitution in a manner that would
have prohibited state and local governments from using race, ethnicity,
color, or national origin to classify students, contractors, or employees in public education, contracting,
or employment practices. A statewide coalition organized to defeat
the measure. Pollsters advised us
that success would require employing messages that focused on Proposition 54’s negative impact on health
care, rather than framing it as an assault against people of color. While
voters of color immediately understood the negative impact Proposition 54 would have on efforts to
remedy racial discrimination, polling indicated that White voters were
by and large not moved by an appeal to racial justice. Although we
initially pushed back against the
race-neutral focus, the coalition ultimately accepted the polling data
and its health-oriented approach.
The tactic proved successful. Proposition 54 ultimately was defeated.
If we, as racial justice advocates, had
not agreed to rely on research-driven messaging, Proposition 54 might
have passed.
Practice “Physical Solidarity”

In the 1940s, Bayard Rustin traveled to California to help protect
the property of Japanese Americans
who were interned in concentration
camps. At that time, the U.S. had
forced Japanese American citizens to
leave their property unattended or
under the watch of others. In a time

when Japanese Americans “looked
like the enemy” and could count
on few supporters, Rustin came to
their aid—setting a powerful example for us to follow, especially in
today’s increasingly virtual world.
Today, it is easier for us to avoid
physically showing up. We sign online petitions, have Twitter protests
and email our elected officials—all
of which are helpful strategies. We
must not forget, however, that we
can best forge our alliances by being
there for others in person—by practicing “physical solidarity.” In victory and in the toughest of times, we
should be there when our allies call
for our presence.
Do Unto Others

Our last suggestion is the simplest in concept and, yet, often the
most difficult to practice: “Play nice.”
The stakes are so high and the pressure so fierce on many of our issues
that the worst of our natures can get
the best of us. We become bitter at
an ally over a tactical disagreement;
we keep our objections to ourselves
and seethe; we cry foul when we
think another organization is stepping on our institutional toes. At the
end of the day, movement building is
all about personal connections. We
must learn to be generous, give credit to others even when it doesn’t benefit our own organization, and find
ways to have open discussions about
differences and grievances.
Coalition-building is more art
than science. It requires flexibility,
patience, and perseverance. This
way of doing business won’t come
easily. It will require some or more
of us taking a step back so that others may step forward. It will also require a collective commitment to
staying in the fight over the long
haul. Yet, we cannot afford to be
poor students at it. Our communities are counting on us.

Justice in California


Building New Coalitions

Maria Echaveste

Bridging Racial and Ethnic Divides
Building coalitions across racial and ethnic
dividing lines will help us create the American
community in the 21st Century.
Safe streets, good jobs, good
schools, good health care, good
homes, and a dignified retirement—
whatever our background, community, or racial and ethnic origins, we
all have similar aspirations for ourselves, our families, and our communities. The question is: If we all want
the same things, how can it be that
fewer and fewer of us can actually
achieve them? Perhaps it is because
we are fruitlessly trying to get there
alone, instead of building community across racial and ethnic divides.
Here in California, where no one
racial or ethnic group is in the majority, the state has been in steady
decline across all indicia of a healthy
society while undergoing significant
demographic change. While some
extreme and conservative voices
have argued that the decline is directly related to those demographic changes, I would argue that the


changes have not caused the decline.
Rather, the decline reflects how hard
it is for human beings of different
backgrounds to see their common
humanity. To quote my husband, “it
is not rocket science; it is harder than
rocket science.”
Looking toward the future of the
movement for social and economic
justice, to be successful we will need
to honestly and frankly confront the
issue of race, and the myriad of ways
that racial and ethnic differences are
used to prevent us from seeing our
common goals and shared values.
This is not just about opening the
eyes of the European-American majority in our country. We all have to
narrow the racial and ethnic divides
that stand in the way of our success—but how? How can we reshape
the movement from a loose and illdefined collection of interests, which
run the gamut from identity group

politics to narrow issue-focused efforts, into a cohesive, interconnected community with a shared agenda?
First, we need to acknowledge the
current reality and stop clinging to
the identity politics that were so necessary in the 1960s and ’70s: Black
power, the Chicano movement,
women’s movement, gay movement,
et cetera. Then, these movements
were a way of affirming racial, gender,
ethnic, and sexual orientation differences that for so long had drawn
disparaging and negative views from
those in the majority. Now, too often,
they serve as barriers to finding common cause on broader and intersecting agendas. The leadership of many
organizations focused on social and
economic justice often is from that
older generation that finds comfort
in strong identity politics, but the
time has come to leave that comfort
zone. Increasingly, the younger, under-30 generation is less caught up
in the racial and ethnic categories of
the past. We need to learn how to be
proud of our heritage while also understanding that we are part of this

mosaic, melting pot, salad—whatever metaphor we choose to use—and
that means we have a responsibility to
each other regardless of our origins.
Second, we need to understand
that the issue-focused politics that
began to emerge in the 1980s and
thereafter (right to life, guns, environment, and school prayer, among
others), have become so infused with
passion and emotion that they have
morphed into some version of identity, too. Is it not surprising that, in
the wake of the identity movements
of the ’60s and ’70s, the environmental movement became a haven for
White males who felt—rightly or
wrongly—that they did not belong
in other movements? The time has
come for all of us to understand that,
for example, Latinos need to be environmentalists, too, just as men need
to be concerned about the exploitation of women, regardless of race
or ethnicity. Perhaps the Tea Party
movement is reflective of a search for
identity among certain groups who
feel threatened by the demographic change. All people want a sense
of pride in who they are and what
they do; the challenge lies in achieving that goal without giving in to the
temptation to see ourselves as superior to others.
Third, we must ignore the urge to
skip over hard conversations of racial and ethnic differences. Like personal demons that ultimately fester
and cause self-destruction if not
confronted, our long history of exclusion, of slavery, of discrimination,
of treating those who are different as
“the other” must be acknowledged
and worked through. We have to
understand that our capitalist and
economic system has often used the
differences among us to promote
wealth for a few at the expense of
the many. I am not advocating a different economic system; I am arguing that we have to take blinders off
and recognize when and where race
and ethnicity is being used to di-

vide us. In those moments, we need
to pause and ask who is benefitting
from the tension and fear. We have
to experience that moment of revelation that all of us have a story of
pain, of struggle, and that all of our
stories are valid. Then, we have to go
beyond being victims, to that place
of action and of taking responsibility
for going forward.
Finally, we need to build coalitions with goals that are both ambitious and pragmatic. The search for
perfect or pure solutions has led us
too often to inaction or defeat. Compromise should not be a dirty word.
If we are truly inclusive and respectful of all voices, then a compromise
will reflect a shared understanding
of what is possible, and where the
next struggle must occur. In that regard, we have to set priorities. Too
often, by being about everything, the
“movement” ends up accomplishing
little or nothing. When we recognize our shared values, we can find
the common ground that seems to
have evaporated in Sacramento and
in Washington, D.C. We will understand that inequality hurts us all.
Philanthropy can help by funding
coalition work that honestly tries
to grapple with the racial divides

in meaningful ways. For example,
if a foundation wants to take on
the farm bill, it should ensure that
communities of color are engaged
meaningfully in that strategy.
Also, funders can prioritize strategy work that is both ambitious and
pragmatic, paying more attention
to the results we want and less on
the latest theory of change.
The road forward won’t be without its challenges, especially now,
when one in eight people living
in the U.S. was born in a different
country, and many of them do not
know our American history in all
of its complexities and pain. Add to
the mix the fact that, for too long,
our textbooks ignored the contributions of so many to this history, and
that even now some are trying to rewrite this history. We have to insist
on educating both ourselves and
our newcomers that America is an
unfinished story that has not always
lived up to its ideals, but is committed to that road. No matter the obstacles, building coalitions across
racial and ethnic dividing lines will
help us rebuild the American community for the 21st century, where
we can finally find the common
ground that long has eluded us.

Looking toward the future of the
movement for social and economic
justice, to be successful, we will need
to honestly and frankly confront the
issue of race, and the myriad of ways
that racial and ethnic differences are
used to prevent us from seeing our
common goals and shared values.
Justice in California


Kate Kendell & Stewart Kwoh

Building New Coalitions

One, Larger Vision for Justice
Proposition 8 highlighted the urgent
need to find common ground and build
lasting alliances.
We live in a California that is more
diverse than at any time in history.
Due to California’s size, history of
immigration, and reputation for tolerance, innovation, and opportunity,
our state is diverse by every measure.
For many of us, this diversity is precisely why we love living here, and a
key reason for the dynamic nature
of the social and political landscape.
Yet, such richness also creates huge
challenges, as various groups jockey
for policy changes, legislative or political gains, and visibility or traction
in the struggle for public attention.
Particularly when faced with scant
resources, such as in times of budget crisis, fighting to assure that one
or another group’s interests are protected can overshadow or diminish
interest in finding common ground.
Perhaps no other recent event illustrates the danger in failing to find
that common ground than the one
that took place on November 4, 2008.
This historic date, while ushering in
the election of the nation’s first African American president, also saw
the narrow passage of Proposition
8, the amendment to the California constitution that eliminated the
right of same-sex couples to marry.
The passage of Proposition 8 highlights the need to build a united,
broad-based movement for equality. To do so, two things are required:
one, the emergence of “border
bridgers,” leaders who can look beyond the immediate needs of their
own constituents to find common
ground with others; and two, the
intentional investment of time and
resources to educate our diverse


communities, either through highlighting parallels or showing broader impact, about how our different
struggles for equality fall under one,
larger vision for justice.
It can no longer be sufficient for
political or thought leaders to fight
only for whatever slice of the population or whatever constituencies
they call their own. Rather, what
California requires now is a commitment to long-term cultural change
and pragmatic solutions championed by “border bridgers.”
Who, exactly, are “border bridgers”? The book Uncommon Common
Ground: Race and America’s Future
refers to Craig McGarvey, a former
program officer at the James Irvine
Foundation, who identified “border
bridgers” as those who must speak
to and for their constituents while
earning the respect of the constituents of others. “Border bridgers are
leaders who move with integrity outside their own circles, always seeking a circle that is broader. They find
common ground by setting difference aside and focusing on interests
that can be shared.”
Long-time civil rights advocate Eva
Paterson, executive director of the
Equal Justice Society (EJS), exemplifies this new type of leadership. She
describes her work as “silo-busting,”
a variation on the theme of border
bridgers. Although EJS is primarily
focused on racial justice and dismantling legal doctrines that perpetuate
racial bias, the approach EJS takes is
to find and create alliances among all
sorts of groups who are marginalized
under the law. It is no surprise, then,

that EJS and Eva were very visible
in the effort to defeat Proposition 8.
Eva and EJS understood that Proposition 8 would set a dangerous precedent by allowing a simple majority
vote to strip away the fundamental
rights of a protected minority.
Second, rather than simply presuming broad support for whatever
cause we are championing, we must
connect seemingly disparate struggles of different communities to
build lasting alliances.
For example, while some progressives see marriage equality as an
extension of the civil rights movement, it became clear after the passage of Proposition 8 that we cannot
assume communities of color will
support marriage equality simply
based on civil rights solidarity. The
work to bring together complex intersections, such as the intersection
of LGBT justice and racial justice,
is essential, and public education
in communities of color is critical.
Many believed that the lack of support for the defeat of Proposition 8
in African American communities
reflected a failure to include communities of color in the “No on Proposition 8” campaign, especially African
American gays and lesbians.
In contrast, the work conducted by
Asian and Pacific Islander (API) activists to organize communities in
support of LGBT rights can serve
as an example. After thousands of
Chinese immigrants protested gay
marriage in 2004, API community activists founded API Equality-LA, a
coalition to promote marriage equality in the API community. Unique to
API Equality-LA’s strategy was the
inclusion of not just LGBT activists
and leaders, but many straight allies.
API Equality-LA built a strong network of community groups and individuals in support of marriage

Photo courtesy of API Equality-LA

equality in Los Angeles, using oneon-one conversations, outreach at
community festivals and through
ethnic media, coalition-building,
and even filing an API-specific amicus brief before the state Supreme
Court. API Equality-LA also successfully drew parallels between the past
struggles of Asian immigrants against
anti-miscegenation laws with the current movement for marriage equality.
A November 2008 exit poll found
that API voters in Southern California favored the defeat of Proposition
8 by 54 percent to 46 percent, a dramatic shift from the 68 percent to 32
percent split among APIs in 2000 on
Proposition 22, an earlier ballot measure against gay marriage.
While the battle is not won in
the API community—recent exit
polls still show significant pockets of opposition to gay marriage
amongst some APIs—the changes
in Los Angeles’ API community
inspire hope for our future. It also
illustrates the type of change that
is possible when we work to unite
different struggles for equality un-

Two things are required: one, the
emergence of “border bridgers,” leaders
who can look beyond the needs of their
own constituents to find common ground
with others; and two, the intentional
investment of time and resources to
educate our diverse communities, either
through highlighting parallels or showing
broader impact, about how our different
struggles for equality fall under one, larger
vision for justice.
der one umbrella. The fight against
Proposition 8 squarely brought into
the limelight the fact that, in order
to end the structural inequality
that exists in California, which has
those with the least fighting with
each other over scraps instead of

challenging inequality itself, it will
no longer be sufficient for us to conduct business as usual. We need to
work together, not only to achieve
victories and advances in equality,
but also to prevent further attempts
to diminish our freedoms.

Justice in California


About our Contributors
A Senior Fellow at American Progress, Maria Echaveste (page 18) is also co-founder of the
Nueva Vista Group, a policy and legislative strategy and advocacy group working with non-profit
and corporate clients. She previously served as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff
for President Bill Clinton from May 1998 through January 2001.

Renowned community organizer and activist Dolores Huerta (page 12) is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder and first vice president emeritus of the United Farm
Workers of America. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Eleanor Roosevelt
Human Rights Award from President Clinton in 1998.

The co-founder and executive director of LAANE, Madeline Janis (page 14) led the historic
campaign to pass L.A.’s living wage ordinance, which has since become a national model. In 2002,
Ms. Janis was appointed by the mayor as a volunteer commissioner to the Board of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, the country’s largest such agency, and then reappointed to that
position in 2006.

Benjamin Todd Jealous (page 8) is the 17th president and chief executive officer of the NAACP,
the youngest person to hold the position in the organization’s nearly 100-year history. He also has
served as president of the Rosenberg Foundation, director of the U.S. Human Rights Program at
Amnesty International, and executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers.

Kate Kendell (page 20) leads the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which works to change
discriminatory laws and to create new laws and policies benefiting the LGBT community. Ms.
Kendell received her J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law. She later became the first
staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. In 1994 she joined NCLR as legal
director, and was named executive director two years later.

The first Asian American attorney and human rights activist to be named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Stewart Kwoh (page 20) is the president and executive director of the Asian Pacific
American Legal Center of Southern California (APALC). He has been hailed as one of the nation’s
premier advocates for Asian Americans and as a bridge builder bringing people together from diverse racial backgrounds.


Mina Titi Liu (page 6) is the executive director of the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, the
nation’s oldest organization advocating for the civil and legal rights of Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Ms. Liu has had a long career advancing social justice issues both domestically and internationally. She has served as the Law and Rights program officer for the Ford Foundation, and as a consultant to the U.S. State Department and USAID. Prior to joining the Caucus, she was the Garvey
Schubert Barer Visiting Professor in Asian Law at University of Washington School of Law.
A Mixtec Indian from Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, Hugo Morales (page 10) is the executive director of Radio Bilingüe, Inc., which he helped found in 1976. In 1994, he became the first resident
of the San Joaquin Valley to be a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He is the immediate past chair of the Rosenberg Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Manuel Pastor (page 4) is professor of Geography and American Studies & Ethnicity at
the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Program for Environmental
and Regional Equity at USC and is co-director, with Dowell Myers, of USC’s Center for the
Study of Immigrant Integration. He has authored and co-authored various books, including
Searching for the Uncommon Common Ground: New Dimensions on Race in America.

The president of Equal Justice Society, Eva Jefferson Paterson (page 16) has campaigned for
civil rights and racial justice for more than three decades. She served as the executive director
of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area before founding EJS.
Ms. Paterson also co-founded and chaired the California Coalition for Civil Rights for 18 years.

Thomas A. Saenz (page 6) is the president and general counsel of MALDEF, where he leads
the civil rights organization’s five offices in pursuing litigation, policy advocacy, and community
education to promote the civil rights of Latinos living in the United States. Mr. Saenz re-joined
MALDEF in August 2009, after spending four years on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s executive team as counsel to the mayor. He previously spent 12 years at MALDEF practicing
civil rights law as a staff attorney, regional counsel, and vice president of litigation.
MacArthur Foundation Fellow Lateefah Simon (page 8) is part of a new wave of African American civil rights and community leaders. Currently executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee
for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Simon has advocated tirelessly on behalf of
communities of color, youth and women since her teenage years. At age 19, she became executive
director of the Center for Young Women’s Development, a role she held for 11 years.

Justice in California


rosenberg foundation timeline

The Rosenberg Foundation is an independent grantmaking foundation
committed to ensuring that every person in California has fair and equitable opportunities to participate fully in the state’s economic, social, and
political life. Since its founding in 1935, the Foundation has provided close
to 2,800 grants totaling nearly $80 million to regional, statewide, and national organizations advocating for social and economic justice throughout
California. Some of the Foundation’s key accomplishments follow:




Assisted undocumented
immigrants eligible to achieve legal
status under new legislation by
providing grants to communitybased organizations for planning
and direct assistance to immigrants
as well as for training, consultation, policy monitoring, litigation,
and advocacy.

In a grant partnership with
the Columbia Foundation, established the San Francisco Foundation. The San Francisco Foundation
has since become one of the nation’s
largest community foundations.

Launched one of the first
funding programs supporting farm
workers by providing a grant to the
Fresno County Superintendent
of Schools to research the tools
needed to educate the children of
farm workers.


Supplied a grant to the
Migrant Ministry, which helped
farm labor families form the Farm
Workers Organization of Tulare
County. The group became part of
the National Farm Workers Association and helped organize the famous
grape pickers strike.


Ruth Chance, who was
then president of the Rosenberg
Foundation, and several others began meeting to exchange ideas and
improve cooperation among foundations, leading to the formation of the
Northern California Grantmakers.


Gave a grant to establish the
San Francisco Child Abuse Council, which now provides training to
more than 5,000 children and 5,000
professionals each year.


Joined three other foundations in providing start-up support
to Legal Services for Children, the
first nonprofit law firm for youth in
the country.



Targeted the struggling
child-support system in California,
kicking off a nine-year, $6 million
initiative that resulted in the complete overhaul of the system.


Foundation grantee Asian
Pacific American Legal Center
joined the ACLU and the Asian
Law Caucus in representing immigrant workers from Thailand
who had been held as virtual slaves
in an El Monte sweatshop, resulting in an award of more than $4
million in damages.


Supported public interest
law organizations and immigrant
advocates in successfully challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 187, an initiative
that prohibited undocumented
immigrants and their children from
receiving public education and
other services.


Provided its first grant in
support of Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes,
the largest civil rights class action
lawsuit in U.S. history, pending
before the Supreme Court. The case
charges Wal-Mart with discriminating against women in promotions,
pay, and job assignments.


Received the prestigious
Paul Ylvisaker Award for Public
Policy Engagement by the Council
on Foundations for work on immigration policy and the rights of
immigrants and other minorities.


Launched a multi-year,
multi-million-dollar initiative to
reform California’s criminal justice
system, making a first round of
grants to facilitate successful community reentry from prison and to
combat employment discrimination
against formerly incarcerated people.


A coalition of San
Francisco advocates secured agreement for more than $30 million in
employment, affordable housing,
and other community benefits from
Bayview-Hunters Point developer,
Lennar, Inc.


Made an inaugural grant
for “Fairness in the Fields,” a new
initiative by a coalition including
Oxfam America that aims to establish, enforce, publicize, and monitor
a comprehensive set of labor standards for farm work in the U.S.

Visit Our Website

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“We have seen the future,
and the future is ours.”
– Cesar Chavez

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