Last Wednesday, our mornings were punctured by the news of yet another mass shooting underway, this time on the University of California-Los Angeles campus. Two members of our staff were on campus at the time. On that very same day, gun violence elsewhere in Los Angeles County claimed at least six more lives, and forever changed many more, though these deaths in neighborhoods just miles from the UCLA campus did not receive the same level of media attention.
All these events matter terribly. We’ve sadly come to expect this discrepancy in mainstream news coverage, which downplays the trauma faced by communities most impacted by violence, and the conditions that engender that violence. But this weekend, NBC Bay Area aired a remarkable segment that explored the widening gulf between the “two Oaklands,” one shaped by economic opportunity and the other by a lack of opportunity, and showed the implications of this divide when it comes to safety and resilience. Rather than viewing incidents of violence in isolation, this powerful piece of reporting examined the broader context of violence.
PI board member and partner in our violence and trauma work, Dr. Howard Pinderhughes, was interviewed for the segment, and elaborated on the community conditions that affect safety: “You have highly impacted poor communities, where businesses have left, where government has essentially pulled out, and where you’ve had large-scale public and private disinvestment …”
How can California’s new majority lead policies to ensure equitable growth within local communities? How can we create and implement policies and opportunities that create good jobs for local residents?
These are the questions people wrestled with during Greenlining’s 23rd Annual Economic Summit, "Reinventing California – Solutions from the New Majority." The eagerness and goal of the attendees, from advocates to government leaders, was clear: To engage in meaningful discussions around equity and justice for our communities, and beyond that, to move forward and turn these ideas into tangible solutions.
One of the hottest topics of the day was the issue of gentrification, evident by the passionate opinions and heartbreaking stories shared. People teared up as they shared personal stories about their neighbors who were like family but now displaced into spaces and towns far away from home. Gentrification. A word that has become commonplace in the last several years but still manages to sting every time you hear it, because its more than a word, it is a system of oppression.
The staff at Greenlining also created a Thinking Lab session to facilitate discussion beyond the very real pain of gentrification, and into a space where we could share ideas and swap strategies for action. Some of the ideas and challenges that emerged included generating political will, changing power dynamics, strengthening renter protection, and developing sustainable affordable housing. Feeling like you missed out? No need to worry, Greenlining staff created some audio podcasts of the panel discussion. Click here to check it out.