August 5, 2020  /  View this email in your browser
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Introducing our new video series challenging Covid-19 narratives

Few things have illuminated the interconnected nature of our world as acutely as the Covid-19 crisis. The virus has not only triggered an urgent medical crisis, but also exposed larger structural crises related to our public health system, the weakening of the public sphere, and an ongoing vacuum of moral leadership, among other things. Still, while critics have analyzed US leaders’ handling of the crisis, there has been no concerted appraisal of how prevailing political and media narratives have failed to adequately explain the causes and implications of this moment.

In fact, current dominant narratives may instead be serving to minimize the distressing consequences of this crisis, ultimately dehumanizing those who are suffering most. 

A new digital series, "(ILL)Logic: Rethinking the Covid-19 story," produced by our Network for Transformative Change Program in partnership with filmmaker Serginho Roosblad, seeks to challenge these narratives by exposing how such claims are not only flawed or false, but are being strategically wielded by political actors to avoid culpability for avoidable suffering.

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Episode 1: Are Our Elders Expendable?

The first episode of this series explores the widely-shared narrative that our elders should be sacrificed for the economy, as exemplified by comments from conservative political leaders suggesting that the economy has more value than the health and safety of vulnerable people. Featuring insights from people tangibly affected by this discourse, elder advocates, and OBI Director john a. powell, this episode makes the case that the way this narrative frames elders is unjust, inhumane, and incomprehensible for a country like the US which has enough resources to care for all its residents.

Watch the full 10-minute episode.
image shows black people in the 1960s protesting for fair housing

Podcast: Trump attacks fair housing. What does the end of AFFH entail?

Last week Trump announced he had eliminated an Obama-era fair housing rule put in place in 2015 to address residential segregation. In this episode of Who Belongs? we hear from Richard Rothstein, the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America and Stephen Menendian, our Assistant Director, about what the fair housing rule had set out to accomplish, the consequences of its elimination, and what we need to do now to support residential integration. Click to hear them break it down for us.
Soundbar preview image shows cops holding rifles in 1965 in Watts

Podcast: On the roots of the rebellions

This episode of our Who Belongs? podcast features an interview with prominent historian Gerald Horne from the University of Houston. Professor Horne is an author of more than 30 books on a spectrum of issues and events including the early settler colonial period of the US, the Haitian and Mexican revolutions, labor politics, civil rights, and many more. Our wide-ranging interview looks at the uprisings of the 1960s, structural racism, their roots in settler colonialism, how international events shaped domestic civil rights struggles, and the transformative currents of today. Click for the interview or to read a transcript.

Watch a conversation from last week on poverty and inequity through the lens of a newly-published report on inequality in the Bay Area we produced in partnership with Tipping Point Community. You may recall we published an executive summary of this report, called "Taking Count: A study on poverty in the Bay Area," back in May. Now, the full report has been published. Speakers at the launch event included our faculty scholars Irene Bloemraad who is an expert on immigrants’ civic integration and Kim Voss who specializes in social and labor movements in the US. Click for more details on this event, and to access a copy of the report.

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Op-ed: How Prop 13 widened racial equity gaps

In a recent op-ed Director john a. powell writes about the role of Prop 13 (passed in 1978) in transferring wealth from public services to private developers, and resources from predominantly communities of color to largely white homeowners. He writes: "Now is a good time to consider the ways Prop 13 has contributed to inequality between the communities that have healthy neighborhoods, clean water, well-financed infrastructure and good schools, and the communities that don’t. After all, it is precisely that inequality, which maps along racial lines, that is the crux of structural racism." The op-ed, published in the Sacramento Bee, is presented in the context of an upcoming ballot initiative in California which would reform Prop 13. Click to read the op-ed on Prop 13.
Picture of the Hagia Sophia
In a new blog post and video statement chair of our Religious Diversity cluster of scholars Karen Barkey addresses the recent move by Turkey's religious-nationalist president to convert the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque. Barkey argues that the initial conversion of Hagia Sophia from a church into a mosque carried out in the 15th century under the Ottomans was done with more openness and pluralism than is being done today. Read more from Karen Barkey about the conversion of the Hagia Sophia here.

News & Media

Our recently published research on the Inland Empire's spending on police over poverty was covered in the Press Enterprise. The study found that Inland Empire cities spent more than $1 billion on law enforcement in 2018.
Director john a. powell was quoted extensively in a Greater Good Science Center article, "Eight Keys to Bridging our Differences." "A lot of bridging happens because someone feels like they’ve been heard,” powell says. “It means a lot to be seen, heard, and understood... it’s very close to being loved.”
Faculty scholar Hilary Hoynes was quoted in a Politico article about cuts to support for those who are jobless due to the pandemic. "There’s a way in which not doing enough today is going to cost you more in the future,” Hoynes is quoted as saying.
Faculty scholar Jesse Rothstein gave his take on the same topic in the Fresno Bee.
Faculty scholar Taeku Lee was quoted in a Hill article, "Asian American voters could make a difference in 2020." The "rising tide" of this vote "is not limited to coastal blue states," Lee says. The largest concentration of Asians are in Democratic states like Hawaii, California, and New York, but Lee says there are several swing states where Asian Americans could spell the difference.
The work of faculty scholar Ian Haney Lopez was quoted in a Star Tribune article about implicit bias
Associate Director Denise Herd was quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle article, "Richer, whiter Bay Area cities got coronavirus testing quickly. Low-income areas didn’t.
Faculty scholar Janelle Scott was interviewed on an EdSource podcast about the benefits and drawbacks of parents forming "learning pods" during the pandemic.

Opportunities at the institute

We have the following positions open at the institute:
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