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The Roots of Discriminatory Housing Policy: Moving Towards Gender Justice in Our Economy

August 2, 2022

Today's housing crisis—and its disproportionate impact on women of color—are rooted in centuries of underinvestment and discriminatory government policies that helped white men build wealth while stripping wealth from women and people of color. Our housing system has turned discrimination, exclusion, and exploitation into assets for the wealthy. This paper underscores that housing justice is gender justice and outlines solutions to advance housing as a human right, not a commodity.

Information Gaps and Misinformation in the 2022 Elections

August 2, 2022

The problem of election misinformation is vast. Part of the problem occurs when there is high demand for information about a topic, but the supply of accurate and reliable information is inadequate to meet that demand. The resulting information gap creates opportunities for misinformation to emerge and spread.One major election information gap developed in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic drove many states to expand access to voting by mail. Inadequate public knowledge about the process left room for disinformation mongers to spread false claims that mail voting would lead to widespread fraud. Election officials could not fill information gaps with accurate information in time. As is now well known, no less than former President Trump promoted these false claims, among others, to deny the 2020 presidential election results and provoke the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.In 2022, false narratives about a stolen 2020 election persist, even as an unprecedented spate of restrictive voting law changes across the country has created fresh information gaps and, thus, fresh opportunities for misinformation. Since 2020, at least 18 states have shrunk voting access, often in ways that dramatically alter procedures voters might remember from the past. Meanwhile, lies and vitriol about the 2020 election have affected perceptions of election administration in ways that complicate work to defend against misinformation.This paper identifies some of the most significant information gaps around elections in 2022 and new developments in elections oversight that will make it harder to guard against misinformation. Ultimately, it recommends strategies that election officials, journalists, social media companies, civic groups, and individuals can and should use to prevent misinformation from filling gaps in public knowledge. Lessons from other subjects, such as Covid-19 vaccine ingredients and technologies, show how timely responses and proactive "prebunking" with accurate information help to mitigate misinformation.

Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity

May 12, 2022

Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity is a report by Race Forward and PolicyLink  that describes the work that commenced in partnership with federal agency offices, considers observations and lessons learned along the way, and discusses efforts that must continue at the federal level to fully realize the intentions of the executive order and move this country toward a more racially just future.Race Forward and PolicyLink co-led a Racial Equity Governing Pilot Project with federal agencies in the fall and winter of 2021 and 2022. This report discusses critical elements of these partnership pilots and lessons to inform and support the longer term aspirations of the federal government to become actively antiracist. 

The Politics of Judicial Elections, 2019-20

January 25, 2022

In 2019–20, state Supreme Court elections attracted more money — including more spending by special interests — than any judicial election cycle in history, posing a serious threat to the appearance and reality of justice across the country.Thirty-eight states use elections to choose the justices who sit on their highest courts, which typically have the final word in interpreting state law. Over the past two decades, the Brennan Center has tracked and documented more than $500 million in spending in these races.This unparalleled spending speaks to the power and influence of state supreme courts, which often fly below the public's radar. The current political moment only heightens the stakes. In 2020 alone, state supreme courts ruled on everything from ballot access and challenges to election results to governors' emergency orders concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, state courts are playing a crucial role in the ongoing redistricting cycle, including resolving disputes about racial discrimination and partisan gerrymandering and even drawing electoral maps in some states.States have a wide range of tools to mitigate the harms documented in this report, including eliminating Supreme Court elections or limiting justices to a lengthy single term in office, providing judicial candidates with public financing, strengthening disclosure rules, and adopting recusal and ethics reforms. The 2019–20 cycle underscores that the challenges posed by modern supreme court elections are not going away — and that the need for action is urgent.

The Continuing Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States: Findings from the 2021 Guttmacher Survey of Reproductive Health Experiences

December 7, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis with major ramifications for people's personal lives, including their sexual and reproductive health. In early May 2020, we surveyed a national sample of cisgender women in the 2020 Guttmacher Survey of Reproductive Health Experiences (GSRHE). We found that just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, there were profound changes to respondents' sexual and reproductive health goals and behaviors and their access to care.1 Other early studies validated these findings.2,3 Since May 2020, the course and impact of the pandemic have shifted, due to vaccination rates, new variants and relaxed restrictions. To provide an updated look at the ongoing impact of the pandemic on sexual and reproductive health, we fielded another national survey during July and August of 2021. The 2021 GSRHE had a substantially larger sample size than the previous one and was designed to include individuals with a broader range of gender identities. The expanded sample allows us to examine variations in several new, key areas, including gender identity, Asian and Pacific Islander racial identity, and the intersection of race and income.In this report, we analyze the 2021 data, focusing on how respondents feel the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced their sexual and reproductive health in two core areas: fertility preferences and access to care, including use of telehealth. We note disparities according to individuals' race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, income level and economic well-being. To assess the ongoing scope and magnitude of the impacts of the pandemic, we also examine findings on comparable measures from the 2020 and 2021 GSRHE studies.

Intergenerational Civic Learning: A Path Toward Revitalized Democracy

November 18, 2021

Generational divisions all too often mark political fault lines, but they can also catalyze mutual learning and democratic renewal. Civic intergenerationality is an approach to civic learning grounded in coming together across the life span to create a social and political reality that supports people of all ages. It operates under the assumption that all people are assets to our community, are capable of civic learning, and would benefit from it. By embracing the practice of civic intergenerationality, we can address America's ongoing civic crisis. We can create a community of lifelong, reciprocal learners that uplifts our youngest civic agents while leveraging the experiences and wisdom of older generations

For Love of Country: A Path for the Federal Government to Advance Racial Equity

October 27, 2021

The nation's first comprehensive racial equity blueprint for federal agencies, For Love of Country: A Path for the Federal Government to Advance Racial Equity provides resources, tools, and a plan for federal agency leaders to implement President Biden's historic executive order on advancing racial equity. Geared toward staff working within federal agencies, For Love of Country: A Path for the Federal Government to Advance Racial Equity also includes tools that are applicable for equity advocates across the nation working inside and outside of government, including:Several key roles the federal government can use to shape racial equityThe transformative potential equity presents for key socioeconomic outcomesGuiding principles that can serve as a common foundation for the work across the federal governmentA starter tool for conducting and refining an initial equity assessmentA tool for agencies to develop a strategic vision and action plan to advance equity, and guidance on how to launch this journey

The Eviction Lab

September 1, 2021

Today, the majority of poor renting families in America spend over half of their income on housing costs, and eviction is transforming their lives. Yet little is known about the prevalence, causes, and consequences of housing insecurity.The Eviction Lab is a team of researchers, students, and website architects who believe that a stable, affordable home is central to human flourishing and economic mobility. Accordingly, understanding the sudden, traumatic loss of home through eviction is foundational to understanding poverty in America.Drawing on tens of millions of records, the Eviction Lab at Princeton University has published the first ever dataset of evictions in America, going back to 2000. Eviction Lab interactive tools enable discovery of new facts about how eviction is shaping communities and are meant to raise awareness and facilitate new solutions.

The Impact of a Poverty Reduction Intervention on Infant Brain Activity

August 25, 2021

Early childhood poverty is a risk factor for lower school achievement, reduced earnings, and poorer health, and has been associated with differences in brain structure and function. Whether poverty causes differences in neurodevelopment, or is merely associated with factors that cause such differences, remains unclear. Here, we report estimates of the causal impact of a poverty reduction intervention on brain activity in the first year of life. We draw data from a subsample of the Baby's First Years study, which recruited 1,000 diverse low-income mother–infant dyads. Shortly after giving birth, mothers were randomized to receive either a large or nominal monthly unconditional cash gift. Infant brain activity was assessed at approximately 1 y of age in the child's home, using resting electroencephalography (EEG; n = 435). We hypothesized that infants in the high-cash gift group would have greater EEG power in the mid- to high-frequency bands and reduced power in a low-frequency band compared with infants in the low-cash gift group. Indeed, infants in the high-cash gift group showed more power in high-frequency bands. Effect sizes were similar in magnitude to many scalable education interventions, although the significance of estimates varied with the analytic specification. In sum, using a rigorous randomized design, we provide evidence that giving monthly unconditional cash transfers to mothers experiencing poverty in the first year of their children's lives may change infant brain activity. Such changes reflect neuroplasticity and environmental adaptation and display a pattern that has been associated with the development of subsequent cognitive skills.

Representation for Some: The Discriminatory Nature of Limiting Representation to Adult Citizens

July 29, 2021

Every 10 years, political districts at all levels of government are redrawn to make sure they are equal in population as required by the U.S. Constitution.1 Currently every state apportions representatives and draws congressional and state legislative districts on the basis of a state's total population.2 That is, when districts are drawn, all people living in the state, including children and noncitizens, are counted for the purposes of representation.However, some Republican political operatives and elected officials aim to unsettle this long-standing prac[1]tice by excluding children and noncitizens from the popu[1]lation figures used to draw state legislative districts.3 Rather than count everyone, states would draw districts based only on the adult citizen population.Making such a break with current practice and prece[1]dent would be of dubious legality and would leave states vulnerable to a host of legal challenges. It also would have major practical implications for redistricting. This study looks at what such a change would mean for representa[1]tion and the allocation of political power in the United States by focusing on its impact three demographically distinct states: Texas, Georgia, and Missouri.

Our Voices, Our Votes: Felony Disenfranchisement and Re-entry in Mississippi

March 9, 2021

Our Voices, Our Votes: Felony Disenfranchisement and Re-entry in Mississippi analyzes how Mississippi silences those with prior felony convictions and creates reentry barriers for returning citizens. Using statistics, national data, and personal stories from directly impacted Mississippians, the report shines a light on what people with felony convictions are up against. The report details how the state's Jim Crow legacy not only fails to assist returning citizens, but permanently disenfranchise them. With this report, organizers hope to bring change to the Mississippi criminal legal system and restore voting rights for all incarcerated citizens who have served their prison term.

The Redistricting Landscape, 2021–22

February 11, 2021

This report looks at the upcoming redistricting cycle through the lens of four factors that will influence outcomes in each state: who controls map drawing; changes in the legal rules governing redistricting over the last decade; pressures from population and demographic shifts over the same period; and the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the 2020 Census. In each state, the confluence of these factors will determine the risk of manipulated maps or whether, conversely, the redistrict[1]ing process will produce maps that reflect what voters want, respond to shifts in public opinion, and protect the rights of communities of color.