From Persistence to Power: Facts, Truth, & Equity for Women (Part 2)

From Persistence to Power: Facts, Truth, & Equity for Women (Part 2)


All right, so now it’s time for our second
panel this morning, which is the Intersectionality of Race, Religion, Integration, and Civil
Engagement. And as you already know I’m Layli Maparyan,
and I’m going to introduce this morning’s speakers and then I’m going to say a few
words about intersectionality. So the first speaker I’m going to introduce
is Linda Goler Blount. Linda Goler Blount, MPH, joined the Black
Women’s Health Imperative as the President and Chief Executive Officer in 2014. There she oversees the strategic direction
and is responsible for moving the organization forward in its mission to achieve health equity
as well as reproductive justice for black women. Linda has served as the Vice President of
Programmatic Impact for the United Way of Greater Atlanta, where she led the effort
to eliminate inequalities in health, income, education, and housing through place and population-based
work. She was also the first ever National Vice
President of Health Disparities at the American Cancer Society where she was responsible for
providing strategic vision and leadership to the Society in its 12 geographic divisions
to reduce cancer incidence and mortality among underserved populations and to develop a nationwide
health equity policy. A sought-after speaker and a member of the
American Health Association and the National Association of Health Services Executives,
Linda holds an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan and a BS in Computer
Engineering and Operations Research from Eastern Michigan University. So welcome to Linda. Now I’d like to introduce Katherine Culliton-González. Katherine Culliton-González is Senior Counsel
at Demos, a civil rights lawyer, author, and policy advocate. She focuses on voting rights, electoral reform,
overcoming racial discrimination, and access to political power and justice, and crafts
policies to promote inclusive democracy and protect vulnerable communities. Katherine has been serving as Chair of the
Voting Rights Committee of the Hispanic National Bar Association since 2012. She previously served as Director of the Voter
Protection Program and Advancement Project and as a Senior Attorney in the Voting Section
of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She has worked with community groups and developed
successful discrimination against discriminatory voting practices in seven states. Highly published and recognized, Katherine
also authored influential reports on LatinX voting rights and provided expert advice regarding
the legislation needed to restore the full protection of the Voting Rights Act for voters
of color in the south and the southwest. And last I’d like to welcome Deborah Holmes. Deborah Holmes is Chief Communications and
Engagement Officer for the Women’s Funding Network. Deborah’s work is informed by career experience
spanning media, healthcare, agency, and human rights. Prior to joining the Network, Deborah served
as Chief of Staff and Vice President of Communications at Global Fund for Women, where she led the
organization’s communications, reputation and brand management, media relations, and
human resources. An accomplished television news reporter and
analyst for more than 35 years, Deborah has worked for local and international news organizations
and received numerous awards for investigative reporting and documentaries. She is a tireless activist for racial and
social justice equity, political empowerment, and freedom of the press. In addition to her numerous professional service
posts, she is the incoming Chair of the Wellesley Centers for Women Council of Advisors. So let’s give all of our presenters a hand. Now the topic of this panel is intersectionality. And while I’m going to assume that most
of the people in this room know quite a bit about intersectionality, just in case there
is someone that is still struggling with the term, I wanted to just pull out a few statements
about it just to set the tone for our conversation this morning. Intersectionality, and again I’m sharing
things I found online. If you want the resources, let me know. Intersectionality is the idea that multiple
identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities. These identities can intersect to include
gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, religion, language, sexual orientation, age,
and various forms of mental and physical disabilities. The idea that these identities are all reciprocally
constructing of who a person is and how they experience life and society. This framework can be used to understand how
systemic injustice and social inequality occur on a multidimensional basis. The idea is that these forms of oppression
or these identities interrelate creating a system that reflects the intersection of multiple
forms of discrimination. And to relevance for us today because laws
and policies usually only address one form of marginalized identity, but not the intersection
of multiple identities. Intersectional identities often go overlooked. Since they are overlooked, there is a lack
of resources needed to combat these forms of discrimination and the oppressions are
cyclically perpetuated. Now this term was coined in 1989 by critical
race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw, and she has said that it is important to clarify that
the term was used to capture the applicability of black feminism to antidiscrimination law. She said antidiscrimination law looks at race
and gender separately, and because of this, initially the laws that were set up to address
these various forms of discrimination could not address the intersectional experiences,
perhaps, of a woman of color. So, for example, a black woman could not prove
gender discrimination because not all women were discriminated against and couldn’t
prove race discrimination because not all black people were discriminated against even
though she was discriminated against as a black woman specifically. This idea of intersectionality also helps
us understand how different power structures interact in the lives of people with diverse
identities. It also causes us to think about not only
marginalized identities that people have, but also forms of privilege that people have
and how people’s identities are often a mix of privilege and minoritized statuses. For example, a white woman is penalized by
her gender but has the advantage of race. A black woman is potentially disadvantaged
by her gender and her race. And a Latina lesbian experiences discrimination
because of her ethnicity, her gender, and her sexual orientation. So these things relate to how we experience
ourselves in the world, but they also relate to how we do policy and how we are able to
make policies effective for real people. So because we have three experts here who
each work on this in different ways, I’m going to invite them successfully to give
statements about their work and on this theme of intersectionality. We’ll begin with Linda. From here, up there, does it –
(Inaudible.) Either way? Okay. Can you all hear me? All right. Well, thank you Lailene. Just a little couple minutes of background. The Black Women’s Health Imperative is now
in its thirty-fifth year. It was founded by Billie Avery when she brought
a few of her friends, about 2,000 of them, together at Spellman’s campus to talk about
the need for black women to take care of themselves. And so that’s really been a theme for the
last 35 years, and we have been talking about self-care. You see it expressed in our work in terms
of sort of modifiable lifestyle, behavior change, chronic disease prevention, HIV. But also reproductive justice. And in the last 15 years or so, we have really
adopted a strong interest and concerted effort in the policy. So I’m happy to be able to be here to have
this conversation with you all. I’m probably going to come at intersectionality
maybe a little different way than you might be expecting. Because of my background, I tend to look at
the world through data. But believe me, we’re not going to talk
about data. But when I think about intersectionality,
we talk about race, and gender, and class, and ethnicity, and immigration status, all
of that, which, you know, is true. But when I talk about it, I talk about the
intersection of racism, classism, sexism, ageism, able-ism, you know, whatever the ism
is because that’s really what we’re talking about. If everything was fine, we’d be off doing
something else this morning. So as we think about it at the Imperative,
we think about the lived experience of black women. You know, as Lailene said, we’re female,
we’re black, we may live in the south, we may not be Christian. You know, there are so many different aspects
of black women, and women in general, that scientist physicians, since we’re a health
organization, public health people, do not consider what it means to be that woman. So if I come into a physician’s office,
he or she is going to treat my complaint. But she’s not going to ask me, so what’s
life like? You know, because her reimbursement is dependent
upon treating my complaint. So what we have started doing is looking at
data differently. This just got released earlier this year. We partnered with researchers at Boston University,
who are the authors of the Black Women’s Health Study. I don’t know if there are any participants
in the audience. So for 20 years, collecting data from 60,000
black women, beautiful papers have been written that the average black woman, the women in
the study, have never read because most of them are not researchers or scientists. But also in health equity work the message
we get is something is wrong with black women. You are obese, diabetic, hypertensive, you
know, whatever the thing is. Your mortality rates are this. So we asked them, is everything bad? Do any of the women in the study think anything
good is happening? As it turns out, the majority of the women
in the study defined their health as very good or excellent. So, not a huge majority, but a majority. So we asked them to go back, look at these
women, and what this says is, what can healthy black women teach us about health? And let’s see what is going on. Let’s look at the data differently. So in this book, we’ve translated this research
into narrative, into stories, into personal experiences. So it is written for the Essence magazine
subscriber, who actually formed the cohort of this study. It’s not written for researchers or policy
makers. But it is also written for community groups
to use in their work in talking about data in a way that actually makes sense for black
women, in a way they can understand it and then act on it. So that’s one thing we’ve done. Another thing that we have done, and we will
continue to do, and I’ll talk a little bit about this, is employ social listening tools. Because the fact is black women are telling
us every single day what they think and believe and feel and do about their health. The problem is nobody is listening to them. But they’re telling us. So, for example, you look at freshman black
women and Latinas coming into college, so 17, 18 year olds. A good 50% of them are pre-diabetic, pre-hypertensive,
well on their way to developing chronic diseases. But they’re talking about their health in
social media. If you listen, if you look at Twitter, if
you look at Facebook, if you look at Instagram, they are talking about what issues are important. And the fascinating piece is you can look
at it over time, you can go back three, four years, and come forward, and see how the conversation
has changed. You know, this body image issue is all over
social media. But the way black women talk about their bodies
now is different from the way they used to talk about their bodies. But it’s information for us to use in our
messaging in our programs. So one thing that has come up recently in
research is black women and stress. We’re now looking at the link between stress
and disease expression. And we’ve talked about that for a long time. As it turns out, two years ago when the viral
videos of police violence against children and black people were being killed, you know,
we all could capture them, showed up, what psychologists and physicians began to see
were signs of post traumatic stress in black women. And so part of the reaction was to hang onto
their children. So in reproductive justice, you know, we say
a woman has a right to have children, a right not to have children, and a right to raise
her children in a safe and healthy environment. Well this created a shift, so black women
were beginning to hang onto their kids, keep them from doing things. No, you can’t go outside. No you can’t go to this party. And so what we’re going to see is the effects
of that on our children. And that will express in terms of emotional
distress, but also physical disease as well. So, again, women are talking about this on
Facebook, in social media, but nobody is listening. So there’s some tools out there that we
can use to listen, but then we use them to create messaging, and then for our work create
programs that we can give to our partners. We don’t deliver services. We look for the best of the best in the community
and give them money and say here are evidence-based strategies, communications mechanisms, here’s
how you do this, here’s what this means for policy in your state or nationally. And then, finally, a little joke there, the
thing that we’re about to move into, which is, for me, really exciting, and a little
scary, is data analytics. So data science. We’re applying data science to this issue. Now the folks who worked for Obama for America
did this beautifully. They figured out a way to listen, employed
social listening tools, to get young people out to vote. And they did it and it worked out really well. The Trump campaign folks figures that out,
too. They listened, and they figured out the messaging
that tapped into white male disenfranchisement and give them a place to focus their anger. It’s black and brown people. It’s immigrants. That’s why you are in the situation you’re
in. And he talked about that beautifully. So folks got out and voted. Well, we can do the same thing but for very
different reasons and hopefully very different outcomes. If we look at sort of data analytics, if we
listen to what black women are saying, and you can get down to very granular levels. We can get down to the district level. We can then create profiles of black women. We are not monolithic. Direct our messaging to them. Help them understand why it’s important
to vote. Here’s what the issue means. I mean we have to be nonpartisan because we
are nonprofit, but we can help them understand this is what your vote means, this is what
not voting can mean. And tap into their lived experience. The higher cortisol levels that black women
have in their bloodstream. The expression of that kind of stress, what
it means for our daily activity. What it means to be at work and, you know,
workplace policies. But also state and local policies and national
policies. So the next phase of our work is to take data
science, create these predicted profiles based on what women themselves are telling us. We’re not making things up, we’re just
listening to them. But then using the research, using messaging,
using evidence-based programs to go directly to and give them the tools that they need
to do the best thing they can for their health but also to give tools to community organizers
to do what they are doing. And what I’m hoping we can do, which is
pretty ambitious for the next 15, 16 months, and maybe we’ll get a chance to talk about
this, is to create a sense of shared outrage. We, in this, we are so fragmented in this
society. Poor people are busy not trying to be poor,
not trying to join with other poor people. Wealthy people are busy trying not to be around
poor people. I don’t know if you saw the recent study
that with wealth comes greater social isolation. We’ve got to figure out a way to create
shared outrage so we get women out to vote and do what they can do to protect their health
and the health of their families. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. It’s just very inspiring to be here. I’m with Demos, and we are committed to
intersectional work as we work for an inclusive democracy. Our name actually is the root word of democracy. It means we the people, and it means we, all
the people. I’m just an attorney, but I think a lot
about intersectionality because I fight injustice and fight for an inclusive democracy. And I’m glad to be working for an organization
that is led by a woman of color, by (Inaudible) McGhee. And an organization that believes in inclusive
democracy and power to the people in the fullest sense of the word. In addition to talking about Demos, I just
want to tell you a bit of my own journey as a feminist. One of the first I learned is the personal
is political. And I’ve been thinking about that as I think
about inclusive democracy. I spent the first ten years of my career really
in Latin America working with the Latin American women’s human rights movement, and with
the human rights movement, and the racial justice movement. And then tried to transfer some of that to
the United States, and it hasn’t been easy for the reasons that Lailene mentioned. You know Kimberlé Crenshaw hit the nail on
the head as an attorney and as a person who works on policy or as an activist, we’re
put into silos, we’re put into different categories, and there really isn’t a way
to make claims or make policies that take into account people’s lives. But I think that we have an opportunity to
do so today. So today I speak to you as a very privileged
woman who became a civil and human rights lawyer. And as the mother in a mixed race, mixed immigration
status family who is just completely horrified at how President Trump has exacerbated structural
racism to the point of making immigrant communities live in terror. I fear for stepsons coming home at night. I fear for my neighbors being picked up by
ICE. I’m basically a nasty woman in a house with
a bad hombre, and we’ve been labeled that way, and we’re being treated that way. So it’s something that is happening to so
many people in a very intersectional way. Ever since the election we’ve heard hate
speech, hate crimes, nooses in D.C., racist language in my son’s elementary school,
the threat to sanctuary cities, which I’m going to talk a little bit about, and ICE
criminalizing all immigrants and tearing apart Latino families. Literally tearing children away from their
mothers. I’m afraid for children of color and communities
of color and women of color. And I’m really also afraid for all women
because of the blatant sexism exhibited by Trump. And I feel that if we don’t get it together
in this civic engagement arena, despite the fact that the new Demos and the next generation
is majority non-white, so presumably against structural racism, and together with single
women very progressive and presumably against sexism, we’re not going to be able to overcome
unless we unify and work on intersectionality. Demographics is simply not destiny, and I
think that’s the big lesson from the last election. Every day since the election I’ve been eager
to talk about intersectionality and civic engagement, and I’m glad to be here talking
about inclusive democracy. Let me just explain just how different it
is in other institutions compared to the United States. So in the Latin American human rights movement,
inclusive democracy has sort of come naturally. I assisted that movement in the 1990s, during
the transition to democracy. Was just very lucky to be asked to come and
live and work side by side with Latina activists who had overthrown the Pinochet dictatorship
in Chile. And had overthrown dictatorships across the
region. They also built a strong women’s human rights
movement because they said, look, these rights that we’re fighting for, these human rights,
are also our rights. And violence in the family is a form of torture. And inequality is something that women also
experience. And they built better legal systems than in
the United States. And it has actually resulted in more women
being elected to the Presidency in Latin America than, of course, in the United States. The feminism in the legal system in Latin
America I also found more community centered and holistic. It recognizes the need for affirmative actions
and systemic changes rather than being centered only on individual rights and claims, and
I think that that is something that intersectionality can encompass, to be more family and community
oriented in addition to opposing more than one type of discrimination at a time. It also took a while for a racial justice
movement to emerge in Latin America, but it did, and it still has a long way to go, but
it has resulted in better systems and better protections, and more acknowledgment of intersectionality
than here in the United States. The other thing that I learned in Latin America
is there is a greater recognition of socioeconomic rights than in the United States. So when you are working with low income folks,
oftentimes there isn’t really a legal claim that you can bring. Or the solutions to problems of low income
women, low income women of color, are very different than for middle class women. And so I think that that recognition of socioeconomic
rights is very important. Inclusive democracy is also something I learned
in South Africa at the first UN World Conference Against Racism in 2001 where I worked with
a Latin American women’s group called the Race, Ethnicity and Gender Justice Project. Women of color pushed very hard for intersectionality
and it resulted in a body of human rights law that recognizes intersectional types of
discrimination and the experiences of women of color. So let me just translate that to what is happening
in the United States today. Today’s brave leadership of immigrant women
during these incredibly challenging times is also a fight for inclusive democracy. Working with immigrant communities is often
working with a community that has been overlooked because of the lack of access to citizenship,
because of the lack of voting rights. So we see less attention in the civic engagement
field being paid attention to immigrant communities, but a very high level of interest in activism. And also so many have fled racism and sexism
from their countries of origin in Central America and Mexico only to have their experiences
discounted. You only have to look at the news or follow
me on Twitter and you will see case after case of a women who has fled gender-based
violence from Central America or Mexico, is the mother of U.S. citizen children, is a
woman of color who is being told that her family is criminal, that she herself is a
criminal, being ripped apart from her children. That has all kinds of intersections in it. Her experience as a woman and as a mother
I think is central to the issue. And also to the fact that our system is likely
sending women and men and children back to situations where they are in extreme danger
in Central America and Mexico because of these same systems of structural racism and structural
gender inequalities and classism. The situation of mothers of color also resonates
with me through the stories of very brave women such as Mike Brown’s mother. The African-American mothers who see and fear
for their children due to extreme levels of racial profiling and systemic violence by
police, and who is leading the Black Lives movement? It’s women of color who experience all of
these intersectionalities. I think that moving forward we need to ensure
that all the candidates believe that women’s rights are human rights for all women. We don’t need candidates who are not clearly
against mass incarceration and mass deportation and detention of mothers and children at the
border. I think this goes to not only encouraging
civic participation in the form of access to voting rights, which is something I picked
and spent some time on, but also what are the issues that we work on. Civic participation has to be more meaningful
and more community oriented. It has to take into account the lack of access
to citizenship for millions of people of color. Very quickly, in 1960, around 80% of immigrants
to the United States were European and majority white. Since the passage of the 1965 Immigration
and Nationality Act, which took away facial discrimination, or quotas, racial quotas,
from the immigration system, we’ve seen some changing demographics in immigration. And today only 11% of immigrants come from
Europe and are majority white. And what we’ve also seen over that course
of time is an increased heightening and restriction and targeting of immigrants as the demographics
have changed. And that is why there is less and less of
a path of citizenship. But there are other forms of civic engagement. I think that the lack of a path of access
to citizenship, and the lack of traditional civic engagement is something that we have
to take into account at the family level. Twenty-six percent of American children today
have a parent who is an immigrant. Whether or not they have been able to naturalize
or they are still living in fear of being targeted because of immigration issues within
their families, and these children’s lives have changed dramatically over the past decade
and also since the election of Donald Trump. Let me also say that one out of three African-American
men and women are disenfranchised by felony disenfranchise laws. There are so many other barriers that I can
tell you about that have intersectional outcomes, but they’ve also surgically targeted people
of color. They’ve seen in the voting rights movement
and in the emerging civic engagement movement the leadership of women of color. We often can’t bring all of these claims
or tell all of these stories correctly because of the limits of the law, but we have to keep
pushing for a way to do that. And even with this presidency and a difficult
Supreme Court, we absolutely need to keep pushing racial discrimination claims and show
the structural racism underlying things. And I have a couple more ideas about the type
of intersectional research that is needed. There is an awful lot of work to be done in
what we call black-brown coalitional work. There are actually claims among African-American,
Latino, and Asian and Pacific Islander communities that are based on the fact that the elite
that is discriminating against those communities and discrimination really doesn’t differentiate,
they are discriminating against all people of color. And yet the differences are there, too. However, we’re seeing an emerging political
cohesion. And so one of the big outcomes, I think, of
the election, just to get to the data, as the last panel was talking about, very, very
high levels of racially-polarized voting. And what that means is that white people voted
for a white candidate and voted against a candidate who associated with people of color. So that level has increased even after the
election of an African-American president. And we see more levels of cohesion among people
of color in their voting patterns. And we need to take that into account in the
redistricting cycle and also just think of the intersectionality between different groups
of people of color and how to get data about that, describe it, and then fight together
for an inclusive democracy from the ground up in our country. Thank you so much and looking forward to the
discussion. Geez. (Inaudible). That’s a lot. But you know what? It’s a good segue. So I’m going to talk about three aspects
of this work. One is the role of women’s foundations and
funds. Two is being black in America. And three is not being heard. There are a lot of things that have been spoken
about today that black folk have known forever. And we have been saying over and over, this
is what’s going on in police departments, this is what’s going on in hiring, this
is – and we are not believed. We are not believed. We are told you’re being too sensitive. Are you sure? Maybe you should think about it this way. For once, one thing that we would love to
have just once in our life is for white people to believe us the first time. You know, we don’t make this stuff up. You know, when the hair on the back of my
neck is standing up, I’m telling you something racial is going on here, and it’s not the
first time that it has happened. It is hard to be black every day in America. But at the same time, I love being black. Because we have so much power, and the fact
that we are in this room, and in this place, and still strong, and nobody has knocked us
down, says a lot about our people. Even though we have a large segment of the
population who wants to bring back Jim Crow. But we’re not going to let that happen. There’s a couple of things I need to respond
to right quickly that I thought about when the previous speakers were talking. One is one of my favorite people I follow
on Twitter is Angry Black Lady, Imani Gandy. And my mantra now is something that she said
after the President’s first State of the Union speech. And they did an interview with a black woman
who was watching. And she said, you know, it was a nice speech. I congratulate his speech writers, blah, blah,
blah, but I’ll believe it when I see it, you know, actions speak louder than words. And Imani wrote right after that on Twitter,
black women should just run everything. Every damn thing. And that is like my mantra these days. But let me start about intersectionality if
I can bring that back because this really does matter in the work that I do. Because the value of women’s foundations
and funds is that they have always understood that the experiences of women and girls are
very different than they are for other folks. Women and girls at different income levels
and so forth, so Women’s Funding Network is like the mother ship of global women’s
organizations, women’s funds. There are women’s funds in 39 states including
the District of Columbia here, and 20 countries. And they invest millions of dollars into local,
community-based groups, often grass roots groups, led by women who are doing amazing
work on the ground in communities like Washington, D.C. here. The Washington Area Women’s Foundation,
you may have just seen they released their report that was an analysis of the 2018 District
Budget, where they didn’t just talk about what was wrong, but they also talked about
what the solutions were. So they pointed out, for example, that it
is great that D.C. is going to put money into building child care centers, but they also
said there are no resources going into improving the quality of child care in Washington, D.C. It’s great to be building more affordable
housing, but there are no resources going towards getting people off three and four
and five and six-year wait lists to get housing in the first place. So women’s foundations and funds have always
seen the intersectionality of economics, of violence, of health, of education, all of
those issues. They’ve been saying for 30, 40 years, you
can’t look at these issues in and of themselves. So they’ve done a good job of that. They are now forming partnerships with university
partners and others because you can’t have a livelihoods project in your area without
addressing education, both at the mother’s level, but also at the child’s level. You need to discuss child care. So that’s very important. And so they’ve done a really good job on
that front. I think where, as many nonprofits have struggled,
is on bringing racial equity into the mix in a meaningful way. And by that I mean it’s not that organizations,
the women’s foundations and funds, don’t do that work. But it’s seen in that silo that you were
talking about. And so we are in a moment now where WFN, as
the mother ship, is bringing the funds – going to be bringing the funds along on making racial
equity reality as part of the work. The other thing that has happened that is
really good about this particular time in history is that the rise of white nationalism
in the United States in leadership positions, as well as in Europe, has really forced women’s
foundations and organizations out of their comfort zones and they are doing immigration
right now. They are doing work with – well they always
done work with LGBTQI, but they are seeing and doing it in a way of intersectionality. They are getting grants. There are organizations like the Chicago Foundation
for Women which had never done rapid response grants before, doing them in the first 100
days after Trump was elected because people’s lives were actually in danger. I was talking to one of the staff members
earlier this week, and she said, we were looking at the violence in Chicago, we’re looking
at the violence that’s going on in immigration, and we said we can’t just sit here and do
nothing. So they totally revamped a whole segment of
their grant making so they could get grants out the door quicker. On the flip side of that, another one of our
funds, the Urgent Action Fund, which primarily funds globally, they had to bolster their
U.S.-based funding particularly around immigration, labor, and LGBTQI because people’s lives
were actually in danger. So they are responding. But what I wanted to talk about that really
changed my perspective about this and made some interesting memories for me was an article
by Alana Samuels in The Atlantic this week. And basically the tone of her piece said the
blacker the state – the blacker the state, the stingier the benefits. And there is research coming out that shows
that the more homogenous states are very generous with social safety net kind of services. The ones with more black people in them, and
I’m saying black particularly because that is the decider. One of the things we see in immigration is
the darker the skin, the worse it is. If you can pass, nobody is picking on you
as much. But if you are darker, it’s a big problem. But listen to these statistics that she states. Oregon is 84% white. If you look at, for a family of three the
maximum benefit for a month, in Oregon, which is 84% white, the maximum benefit is $506.00
a month. Mississippi, which is 60% white, 38% black,
$170.00 of month for a family of three. Mississippi has a work requirement, as many
of these plans do, but nothing in the plan to help you find a job. Oregon links people to employment and then
pays wages up to six months. That shows the differential in what race can
do. It also suggests, they looked at what they
call the TAMP poverty ratio. TAMP to poverty ratio. TAMP is the Temporary Assistance. And they looked at the number of families
per 100 living in poverty. Vermont, for example, has 78 who get services. And in Vermont, 78 out of 100. Oregon 46. The lowest TAMP to poverty rate is in Louisiana,
four to 100. And Arkansas is runner up with seven to 100. Fifty-six percent of African-Americans live
in 25 states that rank the lowest – the lowest – in the TAMP to poverty ratio. So race matters. When people tell you that it is not a big
deal, that is a lie. It is, it always have. And black folks have been saying this for
centuries. That it is race that matters. It is race that is the differential in how
we are treated and how we experience things. We are at a moment now where we have an opportunity,
perhaps, in coalition with other black and brown folk, to really rise up in a way that
we rose up when we shut down the busses in Montgomery, when we forced people to listen
to what we have to say. History matters. History matters. You don’t have to live in it, but we can
learn from it. And remember that when welfare started, it
was a white woman’s thing. It was a mother’s welfare thing. And who got it was white women because they
didn’t work, and the mentality was black women should work. Black women needed to work. And my final comment is around something Senator
Hassan said earlier today. And why this all matters. It’s because you have Congress now looking
at turning social safety net programs into block grants. The whole history, and why I gave you those
statistics before, is that’s what happens with block grants. States have tremendous discretion in how much
money gets distributed and who gets it. And as Alan’s article points out, when there’s
more black people in the state, there are less benefits. Block grants are not the answer, and you should
be asking serious questions of your elected officials and everybody else when they start
bringing that up, and point out the facts. Get the facts. Knowledge is power. So thank you, Linda, Kathy, and Deborah, for
really presenting us with a wide spectrum of policies where intersectionality is relevant
and letting us know how a lot of policies are dropping the ball on being fully intersectionally
relevant to all affected communities. What I’m curious to hear your thoughts on
now is how do you think we can advance good intersectional policy in the policy environment? What kinds of communications do we need to
do? How can we bring research into the equation? What is your formula for how we can make better
intersectional policy? No small question. (Inaudible). Revolution. I mean nothing short of revolution. I’m sorry, but I mean young people have
got it right. They are not going to stand down. And you cannot go home and say well we lost
this one today. I mean, backing down is no longer an option. The facts matter, and we have to get the facts
into the right hands of the people. And that includes your friends and associates
who need to read and use critical thinking skills. Because there are facts out there. But if you choose not to read them, or you
ignore them, then they are of no benefit to anybody. I think one of the most frightening things,
and I know people want to criticize the media all the time, there’s plenty to criticize. But losing first rate investigative journalism
like the stuff The Atlantic is doing and others, is one of the worst things that can happen
in this democracy. All you have to do is go live somewhere where
there isn’t any, and you understand what that is. We should not be throwing all the media out
the window. There’s some excellent reporting going on
there that needs to be read and shared. And then the final thing I would say is white
folks need to have conversations with their own people. I mean, this racism thing is on you. We have been talking about this for a long
time and trying to do something, but your folks are the ones doing this to a large extent. So serious conversations need to be had at
that level, and sharing that data. So I’d have to agree. Thank you. In my field, in public health, if there are
any public health people in the audience hopefully you won’t be offended, we do the absolute
worst job at communicating with people. When we start talking to folks, eyes roll
back, people go to sleep. So I get it, you know, I understand you’ve
got to talk about research a certain way, but I guess from my perspective you can either
be right or effective. And I choose to be effective. We need to learn how to talk about data, to
talk about these issues, in a way that people can actually understand it and can do something
with the information. I can give you data all day long. So what? You just go home with a bunch of facts that
will probably depress you. But we need to figure out how to turn the
information we have, turn that knowledge into power, as Deborah said, but also into action. Don’t just – we have to stop just giving
people facts. We have to say, here are the facts, now here’s
what you do with them, or, here’s some things you can do with them. Here are real tools that work. Because otherwise, all we do is end up having
a conversation with a bunch of people like us, and we can, I guess, feel real good about
that, but we don’t actually get much done. There was, about ten years ago, there was
this Health In All Policies movement that started. Basically it was just intersectionality but
the public health people put their name on it. And the idea is look at health, the health
impact implications in all policies. Great idea except it never really happened. So if we actually could look through that
lens, that intersectional lens, at education, at food, at housing, transportation, whatever
it is, and think about what this means for our health, we might actually get something
done because I guaranty you on your last day you are not going to say, gee, I wish I had
spent more time in the office. You know, people always say if I only had
my health. Well since we can predict the future, why
not start using the information that we have right now to bring people together. I agree, white folks need to talk, but we
all need to talk because if white people just talk to each other about racism, then, you
know, so what? We have to figure out a way to actually cross
those boundaries. We are more segregated now than we were 50
years ago. So if we don’t figure out how to cross those
barriers and inform policy and act on it that way, we’re going to be having this conversation
in another 30 years. I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t agree more. So, I mean, as a white woman who works with
people of color all the time, I feel like I grew up in White-opia and I go in between
my different worlds, right? Yeah. White-opia, a colleague of mine, Rich Benjamin,
wrote a book about it. It’s places where white people are really,
really polite and nice to the occasional person of color who moves into their circles, but
otherwise the systems stay the same, right. You don’t say racism out loud. So I guess also just a couple of points to
answer the question in my field in civic engagement or thinking about, I mean I work for – I’m
a civil rights lawyer working for social justice, it’s really about power. And I think if we look to how it is that black
women, for example, have the highest voting rates and do the most civic engagement work
out of any group, and the funding comes around during the election cycles, get out the vote,
rather than asking grass roots black women what are the policies that you would like
to fight for? Who are the candidates that you would like
to see? Would you like to run for office? So when we work for inclusive democracy, we’re
looking at it from the ground up and supporting women of color and their leadership and leading
their communities. And I think also the sanctuary movement that
I’m working in, it’s very grass roots. We see like states and localities basically
saying, look, Donald Trump, we are not going to support your mass deportation machine. And as we’re doing that, we need to think
about police profiling. We need to think about Jim Crow. We need to think about the anti-black racism
that’s impacting everyone. We’re not having our local police turn people
over to federal immigration enforcers because, one, that’s a violation of due process rights,
but second, there are a lot of equal protection and racial justice issues in that, too. And the police have been mistreating people
of color for years. And so that’s a movement I think that in
my mind is coming from the ground up in a place where women and people of color, you
know, have some power. We don’t really have that much power in
the federal government right now, so we might as well not even, you know, we might as well
push that but not try. But I think when you do look at the demographics,
which are not at all destiny, the hope is in the resistance, and the hope is in some
unity and some intersectionality in the resistance and listening, really, to women of color who
hold a role in their communities that’s very different than the role that the federal
government holds in our communities. But this whole issue of power is something
we haven’t talked about very much this morning. I’m sure we will later today. But from where I’m sitting, you know, as
one of my colleagues, Vanessa Daniel of the Groundswell Fund, said a couple of weeks ago,
America has a real serious problem with sharing power with black and brown folks. I mean there is an attitude of if I benefit
from something, white people lose. And that’s not how it works, and that’s
actually not how it plays out. All you have to do is look at the statistics
for affirmative action. The biggest benefactors of affirmative action
have been white women. It hasn’t been black folks. I mean it’s not like we haven’t gotten
anything, but you know what I’m saying? There is a real issue with power. And Lailene, when you were talking about when
President Obama was elected the first time, yes there was all this joy in the air, but
the studies now show that a whole lot of white folks were scared crackles. Because a black man was running the country. A black man, and all of the stereotypes that
go around, that go on with black and man, went with that. And so this stuff has been simmering under
the surface for a very long time. Donald Trump, and Marie Le Pen, and some of
the other candidates globally, have just given us another channel for people to – for that
to be legitimate for people to come out and act it out. You know, one thing that all of you mentioned
on some level was communication, and the issues that we are having with communicating effectively
to advance an intersectional agenda that is good for all people. And I want to sort of push back a little bit
about – to take you to another level of granularity. I mean, given that the media has been one
of the main places where we’re segregated now, we’re segregated by age, by color,
by ideology, political party, education level, almost every variable you can imagine, there
are these media communities, whether it’s social media communities, whether it’s different
TV channels and different news outlets, whether it’s different magazines and newspapers,
you know, we’re not ever in a common forum anymore. And even when it comes to specific kinds of
communication, like the kinds of policy briefs we need to write to deliver to staffers of
policy makers and so on, what kind of media strategy can you imagine that would help us
advance and get us out of our communication silos and get into a common conversation as
well as to build up kind of a broad media strategy because that’s where reality is
determined today. And so how can we make the media more effectively
reflect? So all of you touched on that, and I’d love
to hear your individual thoughts about that. Well some of it you have to create on your
own, so there is independent media out there. So there’s the mainstream media and then
there is online, there’s all sorts. But the thing that you are referring to is
something that I’ve seen for the past 20 years and that is people are only reading
or watching stuff that they totally agree with. And so they’re not coming out of that shell. So if I come and tell you that the sky is
yellow, and you are one of my regular viewers, and you walk outside and somebody says isn’t
that blue sky? No, it’s yellow. There is nothing that anybody can say to you. I mean that is the thing that people have
become. They don’t want to even hear what somebody
else has to say. So that means that you have to create different
means of communication where you can reach people where they are. People are all over the place. We know that some people prefer print. Some people prefer online. But what you have access to and what you don’t
have access to can make a difference in what you hear and what you don’t hear. So that may mean, like for some of our global
organizations, you know, they actually go out in the communities and do it the old fashioned
way with flyers and handouts. Sometimes you have to do that in communities. Some communities, everybody has a mobile phone
so they can do something on mobile. And believe it or not, one of the biggest
users of mobile technology is on the continent of Africa. And so it is not this backward continent where
nobody – they use mobile technology way more than we do in this country. The other thing that I would say is we need
to invest in those independent media outlets that are just doing bang-up work. Pro Publica has been doing some amazing work. That is – PRI is another. Public Radio International. You can invest in those kinds of entities
because they are doing good work. But some of the stuff we have to do on our
own. Our young people have been leading the way
(inaudible). Social media – what were you just saying? Who – you were talking about what black
women were talking about on Facebook. That’s a – I mean people tell more personal
stuff on Facebook. I’ve heard stuff from my friends – a friend
of mine at 3:00 in the morning sent a message saying I’m having a double mastectomy. It’s – but that was the place where she
felt that she could say that. We need to use – get smarter about how we
are using all of those forms of media. One of the challenges many of our small grass
roots organizations face is they have – it’s enough to keep the lights on and get the work
done. They don’t have somebody that can do communications
for them. They don’t have somebody out there thinking
proactively about what channels should we use. If you are going to invest in those kinds
of grass roots communities, invest in them so that they can get their own communication
and have their own voice. We’re not using the platforms that are out
there and those are growing to the extent that we should be. I think that Linda’s point there is also
how do we put data in the media in a way that people – I mean I think about the infographics
that circulate in social media that are very effective presentations of data, and, you
know, they’re friendly to people that aren’t necessarily data heads, but, you know, it’s
more thinking about that kind of thing. I’m convinced that at least the near term
future is in data visualization. Yes. Because people, as much as this hurts my heart
to say this, especially in front of academics, people don’t read, and reading levels are
actually falling, you know. So we, you know, kind of people who write
health education materials, they say, oh, aim for the sixth grade level. And that’s not good enough anymore. But the point is people don’t want to read. So we have got to figure out how to talk about
all these issues in pictures, and in charts that are easily understood. Now 82% of all page views happen on these
devices. People are not sitting at their laptops, they’re
not going to websites. So whatever you do has to be mobilized. And as somebody said to me not too long ago,
social media is an art form. Really? But apparently it is, and so you have got
to learn how to use hashtags, how to use tag, how to include people across the spectrum
to drive them to your property for your message. Because we are segregated, but it is possible
to do this. But you’ve got to know how to do it, and
to Deborah’s point, most small organizations just simply can’t do it. You have to be able to segment your audience
as well. That sounds so very marketing, but that’s
very true because people learn differently. I’m a visual learner, so, you know, when
I see a paper that there’s not even a chart on there, I’m going to – it’s not that
I’m not going to read it, I’m not going to read it right away. But if you are trying to get to me, visually
is the way to go for me. And then I go in and dig deeper. But you use Instagram for certain things. You use Facebook for certain things. You use Twitter for other things. Like at Women’s Funding Network, we use
Twitter really to push out advocacy and policy pieces. Facebook is more the community building among
our network and among others. I mean, understand the channels that you work
with and understand who you are going after and how they receive information. How do they best respond to information? And Kathy, I want to ask you, too, specifically
about communicating with policy makers. You mentioned so many policies, and you probably
have some strategies that are particularly effective in that arena. Yeah, with policy makers they respond to constituents,
and you don’t have to necessarily be a citizen to be a constituent. And I think policy makers at the state and
local level, you know, are better able to support equality and inclusive democracy. But they also really need to be pushed, right? You know, we just tried to pass sanctuary
legislation in the state of Maryland, and it didn’t work. We’re going to keep trying, working with
CASA. I also just want to – I feel like I should
mention the power of Spanish language media for the Latino community. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you know,
it’s, you know, (inaudible).com, fusion, and watching (inaudible). They are actually the number one broadcasting
station in New York City and Los Angeles. And we know, in the immigrant justice movement,
you know, that’s how we got the 2006 marches. The big immigration marches where millions
attended. And we know that’s a very, very powerful
organizing tool. The other thing I wanted to mention is I think
we need to – I feel that this segregation in some ways needs to be bought, and in other
ways, you know, despite the fact that it’s my job to talk to racist white people and
try to change their mind, like there are some people who actually, you know, we know from
the polling are not going to change their mind, and (inaudible) messaging towards them,
as opposed to the 80% of the people who want justice, who want equality, who want to fight
racism and sexism and xenophobia and all of those things. So I think there is, you know, different messaging
for different audiences, but oftentimes I’ve noticed that, you know, we have pulling sort
of about the way things are as opposed to the way things could be, you know, if we talk
to the majority of the folks who have been excluded from the system. Okay, thank you. Now on that note, we have about five minutes
left, and I want to take time for a couple of audience questions for our panelists. Way in the back. Hi. How do I talk to my white friends about racism? For context, I’m from Montana. Most of my friends are college educated and
white and less than one percent of our population is black. So if I don’t talk to them about racism,
there aren’t a lot of other people who can. But those conversations don’t necessarily
go super great. Sometimes I feel like I’m running against
a brick wall. So I would say that Kathy’s point, your
job probably isn’t going to be to convince them to change their minds during that conversation. You might start with having the conversation. People want to be heard. And your friends would say, we’re not racist. Would they? Probably. Most people don’t consider themselves racist. So you might try engaging them in conversation
and offering them the opportunity to look at their lives. They probably have no experience with people
of color. I mean, you’re in Montana. Not a bunch of them. And so you could actually kind of pose it
from that perspective and ask them to sort of reflect about themselves in this world,
in society, in what’s happening now and get – kind of start the dialogue that way
rather than, you know, you’re a racist and I’m here to help you with that. And I’m going to add to that. Another thing you can do is help them think
about racism in systems, not just in people. Yes, that’s what I was going to say. And say, you know, I’m not saying you are
a racist, but let’s look at the way the policy environment is operating in the United
States and who is being advantaged and who is being disadvantaged and that’s another
level. And have some examples that play that out. There’s plenty of them. But I was going to say the same thing because
it’s the systemic stuff that is really almost worse than the in-your-face things because
you can’t always – Yeah, it’s hard to get (inaudible). All right. Another question. Again in the back, on the right-hand side. Hi, good morning. So I come from the immigrant rights movement
but now I work in Latin America with trade unions. And I remember after Obama was elected and
he had majorities in the House and the Senate, I was like, if we don’t do immigration reform
now, it’s never going to happen. Like we need to take advantage of our time. So presuming that there will be enough revulsion,
which is speculative, at what the GOP is doing right now, and there is another, you know,
House-Senate majority and eventually we get a presidency, what would it take to get the
Democratic party to focus on statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C., which would totally
change the game, right? Because, you know, Americans have been totally
fine with disenfranchising I don’t know how many millions of American citizens, who
happen to be mostly black and brown, probably just a coincidence. But all of the issues with the electoral college
and the gerrymandering become so much smaller if all of a sudden we’ve got these two new
states in the game. And so, again, that opportunity would be a
small window, right, it would have to be like your first big punch before everyone else
would be like, what? Puerto Ricans aren’t in Mexico? But to make that move happen, is there any
dialogue about that like at the higher levels of power? I mean not at the current higher levels of
power in our nation, right, in who’s in charge of government. But I think, you know, among the Congressional
Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the CBC, the Congressional Black
Caucus, so it’s something that has always been talked about in the voting rights movement. And I think – and so in my opinion I actually
feel for you because I worked for trying to get comprehensive immigration reform for quite
some time, too. And I think it’s going to happen one day,
but it’s going to have to be from the grass roots up, right. So we’ve just got to change the country
from the grass roots up. But there is no reason not to be aspirational,
right? There’s no reason not to be aspirational
about these various types of disenfranchisement and just blow them apart because, you know,
what have we got to lose, right? Yeah. Tomorrow is mine, right? You know, basically we are at a time when
we need to reinvent our country from the ground up and get rid of structural disenfranchisement
and structural racism, so why not? We need to make those goals for whatever movement
it is that we are building in the resistance. Okay. One more question. Yes. Hi. One of the communities that isn’t often
talked about when having these discussions is the Native community. So if we’re talking about intersectionality,
what can we, as people who are really trying to promote intersectionality, do for women
in Native groups? Do you want me –
I want to do health first. So briefly, so, you know, the issues are the
same and worse, obviously. But there’s no different strategy that – the
strategy is to be inclusive. Because what happens is Native women often
get left out of the conversation. In the public health space and equity space,
we’re talking about the issues of Native women all the time. We’ve got some political issues to deal
with depending on where they live, because the Indian health service has been a challenge
for us. But the point is we’ve got to bring them
together and make sure that the folks in this space understand how inclusive we need to
be. And it is interesting in the public health
space oftentimes that doesn’t happen. But the strategies of intersectionality and
inclusivity are the same. And then the Women’s Funding movement and
women’s foundations there’s a very strong Native movement among Native American women. We’re also part of a collaborative called
Change Philanthropy. And it’s like the Association of Black Foundation
Executives, and Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy. It’s the HIPs as I like to call them, Hispanics
in Philanthropy and so forth. But there is a very strong Native Americans
in Philanthropy group that are doing bang-up work in the west and southwest. And then we have women’s funds out of the
west and southwest who are particularly dealing with those populations in an intersectional
way. Understanding that their experiences are different. And to your point, one of the challenges with
Native American women is depending – you mentioned where they live. there’s a big difference between if you
are living on reservation and if you are not living on reservation. And if you are living in a small town, and
if you’re – because of the way the – we have trashed so many treaties with Native
Americans, and grayed the laws, if you will, of what is and what isn’t, depending on
where you live can make a difference on what services you get or don’t get. I mean just to put it bluntly like that. And that’s something that has to be dealt
with at the local level, but also as well as the national level. And I would say one other thing, that everybody
in this room needs to do and tell your friends is that this work takes time, and it takes
actual engagement. So it means you actually have to do something. So it means that you need to show up at the
library board hearing when they’re discussing what books are going to go in the school. That’s the places where ordinary folk are
not showing up, but the people who are very passionate about it are, and that’s how
your books are getting banned. School board elections are another place. I mean these kind of community-based, go to
the planning council where economic development is happening. This takes time, and so you have to make a
commitment within yourself and among your friends that you are going to devote some
actual time to this in addition to the knowledge, but we have to show up. And I would just add one thing to that, which
is we have to change the narrative because, you know, when you think about how kids learn
about Native Americans, they learn about it in textbooks, they are talked about in the
past tense. Yeah. So you have generations of Americans coming
out not even aware that Native Americans are in their midst and that there are current
issues today. So we’re not doing a good job of even at
the youngest levels talking about including that community in our national identity. And we need to do a better job at that level
as well. Okay. I think that we have to stop here because
we need to give you guys a five minute break before the next panel. But – oh three minute – we’re on a three-minute
break schedule. Okay, so in three minutes I’m going to stand
up here and announce the next moderator, so (inaudible) and be right back here in three
minutes.

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