On February 15, 2012, Race, Poverty & the Environment (RP&E), Urban Habitat's national journal for social and environmental justice will be participating in Support Your Media Day. From 8 am Eastern Time to 11:59 pm Pacific Time, independent media outlets from around the country will come together to raise funds to support coverage of issues vital to the 99%. These funds make it possible for independent media to tell the stories that matter for making social change.
Please donate online by visiting our RP&E Razoo page.
Your donation to RP&E will help us claim our share of more than $10,000 in cash awards, matching grants and other prizes.
We believe that you're passionate about equal access for all to housing, transportation, jobs, and a healthy environment. We think that the articles in this journal can help you be a more effective advocate for change in your work and inform you about how others working for justice are carrying out theirs. We hope you think so too. RP&E has long advocated policy prescriptions backed by movement building for systemic change. We hope you see the value of this kind of journalism.
The City of El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee Presents: The New Metropolis, Building a Sustainable and Healthy Bay Area in the Age of Global Warming
Saturday, February 4, 2012,10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Program starts at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
10070 San Pablo Avenue. Doors open at 9:30 a.m.
Come to a FREE SHOWING of this documentary about America’s "first suburbs and join in the community dialog. It will bring together policy makers and community members to discuss strategies for urban and suburban revitalization and environmental sustainability in the Bay Area.
The New Metropolis illustrates how many of America’s original suburbs are now facing crisis: a dwindling tax base, population and business loss, decaying infrastructure, increased demographic tensions and middle class !ight. Hear from award-winning filmmaker Andrea Torrice, local political leaders and other guest speakers in a discussion about local responses to the topics raised in the film.
Torrice will show segments from her recent PBS series, The New Metropolis, as well as premiere a new segment about the Bay Area, including a clip on Urban Habitat and Pleasanton.
Following the screening join the community discussion at Nong Thon restaurant at 10086 San Pablo Avenue.
Please RSVP to 510-215-4350 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Habitat staff, board members, allies, and over 2000 equity advocates
from across the country gathered recently at the Equity Summit 2011
convened by PolicyLink in Detroit. There, we saw firsthand the
consequences of decades of displacement and disinvestment on such a
proud city. We heard from an array of advocates and analysts about the
challenges facing Detroit and numerous other regions across the country.
We delved into the current economic crisis and saw how people of
color—the fastest growing segment of U.S. population—are taking the
We came away better informed and energized to take on the daunting task of moving our nation toward a more fair distribution of resources and decision-making power, and into a more equitable growth agenda. (See RP&E 18-2) We are looking forward to sharing those discussions and advancing that agenda at the Social Equity Caucus' annual State of the Region Conference in the Bay Area in April 2012.
From Civil Rights to Economic Justice
The Autumn Awakening underway across the United States is an inspiring moment of hope after decades of overt social, political, and economic reaction. The arrival of the Occupy movement was heralded by the student-worker-citizen occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol last winter. But just a few months ago, a sign bearing the words, “If Egypt can do it so can we” signaled a plaintive cry more than a compelling mandate. The formulation, “We are the 99%” articulates a new, broad-based democratic politics focused on economic justice. While the slogan is by its nature inclusive, the emerging movement is still coming to terms with the fact that the majority of the 99% are women and people of color. (See On Occupy) In this issue, we take a look at how the changing demographic complexion of the United States is shifting the political calculus in many arenas—electoral, economic, and in the new movement called Occupy.
Driven by displacement and gentrification (Bullard) and in search of jobs, housing, and education, African Americans, once confined to the South and the urban core, are on the move (Sullivan, Kromm). Some see the departure of African Americans from the cities as a threat to the community’s political power, while others see new opportunities for people of color to build a historic new coalition.
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, was a day to celebrate. REDI community partners gathered at Grace Lutheran Church in Richmond to celebrate the group’s accomplishments of the more than five-year General Plan campaign. Representatives from REDI partners included, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO), Faith Works, and Urban Habitat.
Community members from each group shared stories around their personal and group’s participation toward a vision for a better and more equitable Richmond. The partners were excited to reiterate their success in getting the Planning Commission to incorporate a majority REDI’s recommendations regarding jobs, transit, housing, safety, and community health in the final draft of the General Plan. This event was also a call to action to mobilize members to attend upcoming city council meetings and the impending general plan vote expected within the next few weeks.
After the General Plan is passed, REDI members will remain vigilant heading into the Housing Element analysis and implementation phases of the General Plan.
Erin Aubry Kaplan: Great, so this is I guess the moment some of us have been waiting for. We’re going to have a conversation on stage with Angela Davis and Reverend James Lawson. And before we get into that, I just want to remind folks that 20 minutes after the program, you still – the auction will be open for another 20 minutes after the end of the program, so there’s a lot of fabulous stuff there still to bid on. So could we please have you all come up?
You all settled in? Okay. Well let’s just get right into it. We’ve talked a lot this evening about Occupy – the Occupy movements. It started in New York and it’s spread everywhere, and so I just want to ask both what is really going on in the world right now? Just a little question, you know?
James Lawson: What’s going on in the world?
The Struggle of the 99%
Kaplan: Yeah, as it relates to the Occupy movement. The Occupy movement is actually taking the world by storm. So in terms of the Occupy movement, what’s at stake here? What are the challenges, the opportunities, and critically how can we make it clear, or clearer, that the struggle for the 99% is also the struggle for racial and economic justice? Either one of you can start.
The half-cent sales tax enacted when county voters passed Measure B in 2000 supplies the county’s largest source of transportation funding. With that tax set to expire in 2022, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) is preparing to put a new measure before the voters in November 2012. The new proposition, if approved by a 2/3 vote, would double the tax to a full cent and make it permanent. ACTC expects to raise $7.7 billion with the expanded tax; this will represent more than half of the county’s total transportation funds. The 30-year plan for spending that money will be part of the measure on the ballot. If it is approved, county residents will not have another chance to shape transportation spending until 2042, when ACTC will submit another budget to the voters.
The Community Vision Platform for the Measure B reauthorization Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP)
The proposed reauthorization of Measure B (B3) will be the single largest transportation funding source in Alameda County, extending a one cent sales tax in perpetuity with the next voter review scheduled for 2042. As such, it is our only meaningful opportunity to rebuild our deteriorating transportation system, restore transit service to acceptable levels, maintain transit affordability, increase safety for walking and biking, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create thousands of transportation-related jobs. In short, because this measure will fundamentally shape the lives of Alameda County residents for decades to come, we must use this opportunity to put the County on the right path.
To be successful, the Measure B reauthorization must achieve the following objectives:
Fix It First: Alameda County’s transportation systems are facing massive operating shortfalls and significant capital rehabilitation needs. Transit service in the County has been reduced 15-25% over the last three years. BART has a $7-8 billion capital shortfall, without including costly new extensions. Our local streets and roads need a multi-billion dollar investment for basic maintenance. The plan must maintain our existing transportation infrastructure and restore our transit system before considering any expansions. Additional projects must clearly advance environmental, social equity, and public health goals.
Meaghan LaSala: Up next, a round table with three guests from the San Francisco bay area discussing how the movement of the 99% can move forward, toward long term solidarity. Neeta Bee is one of the original participants at Occupy Oakland, and is a member of the People of Color Committee. Maria Poblet is the Executive Director of Causa Justa, Just Cause, a housing rights organization that’s working with the occupy movement to fight foreclosures. And Steve Williams is the co-founder and co-director of POWER also known as people organized to win employment rights. Making Contact production intern Christopher Holmback moderated the discussion.
Christopher Holmback: I’d like to begin by asking you, Maria, what went through your head the first time you heard about OWS.
Maria Poblet: Well my very first thought was, “Yes! Yes. Finally the people of the US have taken issue with the corporations of the US that have done so much harm to our communities inside the US and also in other countries. I remember thinking, maybe not everybody is asleep. Maybe people have noticed what’s been happening over the last 10 yrs, 20 yrs, 30 yrs, maybe now the US people’s movements will actually show their face and show their allegiances, and their allegiances will their corps, but instead with regular everyday people. And it just seemed like such a timely critique. And the fact that it was just out in the streets where nobody could deny it, and where it was control of everyday people, it was inspiring.
Holmback: Do you have the same immediate sense of joy, Steve?