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No Going Back: Policies for an Equitable and Inclusive Los Angeles

September 9, 2020

Prior to the stay-at-home public health directive, civic boosters promoted Los Angeles as a metropolis that was confronting its problems and making progress. Local and state governments enjoyed budget surpluses, unprecedented investments were committed by Angelenos to respond to homelessness, and access to health care and high school graduation rates were at historically high levels, while unemployment and crime rates were at celebrated lows. But behind this glossy view of LA, a closer look at the data would have revealed a very different reality, where decades of structural and systemic racism resulted in significant social, economic, and racial inequality. Just a few months into a global pandemic, the cracks in the broken systems have become gaping holes, widening each day. Today, the calls for systemic change are loud, consequential and urgent.Early in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ten foundations wisely convened a diverse group of community, civic, non-profit, labor and business leaders to identify the systemic issues emerging from the crisis and to offer up a blueprint for building a more equitable and inclusive LA. Their past philanthropic work had made it clear that Los Angeles was becoming increasingly inequitable, and they feared the acceleration of disparate impact centered on income and race. The Committee for Greater LA was formed, and for the past five months, it has steered the analytical work completed by two of LA's leading institutions, UCLA and USC, supported by a team of consultants. The report that follows reflects our discourse, analysis and discovery.

Advancing Equity Planning Now

January 15, 2019

What can planners do to restore equity to their craft? Drawing upon the perspectives of a diverse group of planning experts, Advancing Equity Planning Now places the concepts of fairness and equal access squarely in the center of planning research and practice. Editors Norman Krumholz and Kathryn Wertheim Hexter provide essential resources for city leaders and planners, as well as for students and others, interested in shaping the built environment for a more just world.Advancing Equity Planning Now remind us that equity has always been an integral consideration in the planning profession. The historic roots of that ethical commitment go back more than a century. Yet a trend of growing inequality in America, as well as other recent socio-economic changes that divide the wealthiest from the middle and working classes, challenge the notion that a rising economic tide lifts all boats. When planning becomes mere place-making for elites, urban and regional planners need to return to the fundamentals of their profession. Although they have not always done so, planners are well-positioned to advocate for greater equity in public policies that address the multiple objectives of urban planning including housing, transportation, economic development, and the removal of noxious land uses in neighborhoods.

Inclusive Economy Indicators: Framework & Indicator Recommendations

December 12, 2016

This report provides a summary of our research and recommendations for indicators to measure inclusive economies.

Transforming Lives, Transforming Movement Building: Lessons from the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy - Organizing - Leadership (SOL) Initiative

December 18, 2014

Today's millions of domestic workers in the U.S. play a critical role in our society, whether caring for our children, providing home health care for our elderly, or keeping our homes clean for our families. With the demographic growth of the elderly and disabled, domestic workers will only become more essential to our society. Yet, despite the importance and intimacy of their work to those who hire them, domestic workers have been largely invisible to society, undervalued in the labor market, and excluded from basic workplace standards and protections. We begin the report by describing the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy -- Organizing -- Leadership (SOL) Initiative program -- its design and the participants -- and the key questions posed for this assessment. We then define the core concepts and framework that underlie the curriculum. The second half of the report is devoted to lifting up a new set of metrics for capturing indicators of transformational leadership. Based on the findings, we discuss valuable lessons for the program and conclude with implications for movement building. This analysis is based on a review of the literature on domestic worker organizing and on intersectionality; on quantitative and qualitative data we collected through surveys, small group discussions, interviews, and observations; and on documents related to SOL provided by National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). Using a mixed-method approach, we coded all the data and culled the results for common themes. Perhaps more important to note, the analysis in this report is the result of an iterative, co-creative process between USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), NDWA, Social Justice Leadership (SJL), and generative somatics (gs) -- the sort of process we have called for when recommending a new model of assessment. We thus offer this report as a collective effort in a learning process about a dynamic and evolving model of transformative leadership development, transformative organizing, and transformative movement building.

There's Something Happening Here: A Look at The California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities Initiative

February 1, 2014

In 2011, TCE commissioned PERE to help capture some of the dynamism happening in each of the sites as they were pivoting from the initial planning phase, which started in 2009, to early implementation.Our focus was on the over-arching story of BHC rather than on the narrative of each site, which would have required many more interviews, many more site visits, and many, many more pages to convey. And while we touch on some of the interactions between BHC and the communications and policy work done under the statewide umbrella of Health Happens Here, our emphasis in this report is on BHC and the sites themselves.Through the course of this research, we have become increasingly convinced that TCE is indeed onto something -- if not big, at least important. In order to clarify exactly what it is, we use a simplifying three-part storyline linked together by an overarching concept of Just Health.

What's at Stake for the State: Undocumented Californians, Immigration Reform, and Our Future Together

May 9, 2013

Building off a methodology originally pioneered by co-author Enrico A.Marcelli (Demographer, Department ofSociology, San Diego State University) to estimate the unauthorized, this is the first report to estimate undocumented Californians at this breadth and level of detail. One in six California children has at least one undocumented parent and 81% of those children are citizens. Nearly half (49%) of undocumented Californians have lived here more than 10 years. Undocumented Californians comprise nearly 7% of the state's total population, 8% of all adults and 9% of the state's workforce.However, achievement of these gains will require a clear and quick roadmap to citizenship. To succeed, federal immigration reform needs to take immigrant integration seriously, and the state and local governments will need to invest in programs to raise education levels, increase English fluency and improve job skills as a way to maximize the potential of undocumented Californians and build a stronger state.

Citizen Gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy

December 6, 2012

Citizenship brings many benefits to immigrants, the opportunity to participate more fully in our democracy through the right to vote being primary among them. But beyond the clear civic gain is an often overlooked economic benefit: for a variety of reasons, naturalized immigrants are likely to see a boost in their family incomes that can benefit their children, their communities and the nation as a whole.Why is the economic importance of naturalization -- the process by which immigrants become citizens -- so often overlooked? Part of the reason is that much of the heated debate around the economic effects of immigration in the U.S. tends to focus on the unauthorized (or "illegal") population. The economic evidence in this arena points in multiple directions -- positive gains at an aggregate level, negative effects on specific sectors of the labor market, mixed impacts on government coffers -- but lost in that discussion is the fact that nearly three-fourths of all immigrants are either naturalized citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), those who have legal status and may be eligible to naturalize but have not yet done so. What would happen if those individuals who were eligible to naturalize actually chose to do so? How much would their economic situation improve -- and what would be the effects on the overall economy? If such gains are possible, how could policymakers help to encourage even higher rates of naturalization? In this policy brief, SIIS tackles these questions by combining individual-level data from the Census Bureau's 2010 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) with the most recent data on the number of LPRs eligible to naturalize from the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS). This brief begins with a review of the literature, drawing out both theory and evidence on why naturalization might be associated with a higher earnings trajectory. The authors then discuss the data used and the regression models developed; and make a number of choices along the way to insure that the estimates presented here are as conservative as possible. The brief then discuss how the wage trajectory might change over time -- benefits would actually accrue over a number of years -- and then examines the possible impacts on aggregate earnings and the overall economy.The brief concludes with a discussion of the policy implications, particularly how these benefits might be made clear to those who have not yet naturalized and how new financial and other vehicles could be used to induce higher levels of naturalization.

L.A. Rising: The 1992 Civic Unrest, the Arc of Social Justice Organizing, and the Lessons for Today's Movement Building

April 30, 2012

Examines the broad, multiracial, multi-sector movement building that has emerged in Los Angeles to demand community benefits agreements; better mass transit systems, school funding and curricula, and job training; and workers' and immigrants' rights.

Transactions, Transformations, Translations: Metrics that Matter for Building, Scaling, and Funding Social Movements

October 25, 2011

This report provides an evaluative framework and key milestones to gauge movement building. Aiming to bridge the gap between the field of community organizing that relies on the one-on-one epiphanies of leaders and the growing philanthropic emphasis on evidence-based giving, the report stresses three main insights. The first is that any good set of movement metrics should capture quantity and quality, numbers and nuance, transactions and transformations. They are related -- an energized leader with a clear power analysis (a transformative measure) may turn out more members for a coalition rally (a transactional measure) -- and the report offers a matrix that weaves together both types of metrics across ten different movement-building strategies. The second is that a movement is more than one organization -- and if the whole is to be greater than the sum of its parts, we must measure accordingly. While report includes measures of success at the organizational level, it attempts to move beyond and focus on whether groups can align and work together to create a more powerful force for social change -- suggesting that in the same way that movements need to scale up to face the challenges of our times, metrics, too, must expand to capture the whole. The third is that metrics must be co-created, not imposed. Recognizing the gravity of the times and hoping to gauge their effectiveness, movement builders are eager to come up with a common language and framework for themselves -- and are developing the tools and capacities to do so. The report suggests that the funder-grantee relationship can build on this wisdom in the field and develop a set of evaluative measures that are not onerous requirements but tools for mutual accountability. The report also offers a set of recommendations to funders and the field, ranging from practical steps (like building a new toolbox of measures, improving the capacity to use them, and documenting innovation and experimentation) to more far-reaching suggestions about leadership development, the connection of policy outcomes with broader social change, and the need to generate movement-level measures. We, at USC PERE, hope this report contributes to a conversation about how to best capture transformations as well as transactions in social movement organizing, and how to build the broader public and philanthropic support necessary to realize the promise of a more inclusive America.

All Together Now? African Americans, Immigrants, and California's Future

September 19, 2011

Examines trends in areas where African Americans and immigrants live together and the potential for building alliances to address tensions created by demographic and economic shifts and organizing together for social justice and community improvement.

Minding The Climate Gap: What's at Stake if California's Climate Law isn't Done Right and Right Away

April 15, 2010

Minding the Climate Gap: What's at Stake if California's Climate Law isn't Done Right and Right Away details how incentivizing the reduction of greenhouse gases -- which cause climate change -- from facilities operating in the most polluted neighborhoods could generate major public health benefits. The study also details how revenues generated from charging polluters could be used to improve air quality and create jobs in the neighborhoods that suffer from the dirtiest air. In California, children in poverty, together with all people in poverty, live disproportionately near large facilities emitting toxic air pollution and greenhouse gases.People of color in the state experience over seventy percent more of the dangerous pollution coming from major greenhouse gas polluters as whites, and the disparity is particularly sharp for African Americans. The racial differential in proximity to pollution is not just a function of income: people of color are more likely to live near these polluting facilities than whites with similar incomes. Continuing to move forward with California's climate law presents the opportunity to save lives and bolster California's economy by focusing pollution reductions in neighborhoods suffering the worst public health impacts.

The Economic Benefits of Immigrant Authorization in California

January 11, 2010

The USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) estimates that California would eventually benefit from Latino immigrant legalization by $16 billion annually. This would work towards fixing our budget crisis and restoring our safety net programs cut by the state last August. During this period of economic struggle and budget woes, California has a lot to gain from a national legalization policy. The report entitled "The Economic Benefits of Immigrant Authorization in California" measures the benefits that would accrue to the state and the nation if the currently unauthorized Latino workforce in California were legalized. CSII researchers used a conservative economic model that accounts for the wage "penalty" incurred by the undocumented, assumes a very slow increase in English skills and educational levels, and does not account for gains from future migration. Despite this conservative modeling, the report finds that significant immediate and long-term benefits would accrue not only to affected workers, but to the state and nation overall.