ARC Publishes Fifth Edition of California Legislative Report Card On Racial Equity

On November 6, 2013 Applied Research Center (ARC) was rebranded as Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. The content on this page was published on the ARC website prior to the rebrand.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Media Contact: Debayani Kar 510.338.4917 or dkar@arc.org

Download California Report Card at www.arc.org/reportcards

February 11, 2010:
Applied Research Center has published its fifth
edition of the “California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity”
today, February 11, as people of color look to legislative solutions to
pull their communities out of the recession. Unfortunately, California
lawmakers are failing the grade. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger scored
an “F” in racial equity, while the State Assembly scored a “D” and the
State Senate scored an “F.”

Though communities of color represent nearly 60 percent of the
population, the state of California’s leadership has not addressed this
majority population’s needs. California state lawmakers slashed budgets
across social, educational and health services last year, exacerbating
long-standing racial disparities. This month, they are again
threatening more of the same.

The majority of progressive racial equity bills were authored in the
Assembly, with Speaker Karen Bass and members Kevin de Leon, Hector De
La Torre, Tom Ammiano and Jose Solorio among the leaders. The Senate
scored worse overall though President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
received a “B.” Schwarzenegger scored well on criminal justice bills
supporting juveniles. But the governor’s overall score dropped 24
percent since 2007.
 
“From school funding to strengthening the safety net for those most in
need, the Governor and the legislature have repeatedly failed to
effectively root out racial disparities,” said Tammy Johnson of Applied
Research Center
. “The legislature is even debating the elimination of
CalWORKS at a time when unemployment in communities of color remains in
double digits.”

“These grades resulted from an exhaustive effort of communities
state-wide to identify bills that most impacted the quality of life of
people of color in 2009,” said Goro Mitchell of Community Development
Institute
. “It is hard to grasp that in a state with majority people of
color the legislature and the governor were so unresponsive to our
needs--this racial justice report card is key to promoting
accountability.”

Beyond the budget, California lawmakers scored poorly on a range of
bills impacting racial equity, including housing and economics, health
equity, education equity, criminal justice, civil rights, and green
equity. Worse still, some lawmakers authored bills that would have
resulted in institutionalizing racial inequities.

“Last year’s budget meant domestic violence shelters closed, children
were put on waiting lists for health care and homebound elderly and
disabled people were left without adequate care,” said Nancy Berlin of
California Partnership
. “We need a state budget that puts families
first, creates jobs and provides a strong safety net to help
Californians through these tough economic times.”

Additional experts who can speak to sections of the “California
Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity” include Elizabeth Sholes of
California Council of Churches
(budget), Sumayyah Waheed of Ella Baker
Center for Human Rights
(juvenile justice) and Evelyn M. Rangel-Medina
of Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
(green equity).


Experts Available

Tammy Johnson, Applied Research Center
Director of Strategic Partnerships
(510) 338-4921 office
(510) 289-2061 cell
tjohnson@arc.org

Goro Mitchell, Community Development Institute
Executive Director
(650) 327-5846 x 301
goro@cdi-usa.org

Nancy Berlin, California Partnership
Director
213-385-8010
skim@communitychange.org

Elizabeth Sholes, California Council of Churches
Director of Public Policy
916-488-7300
sholes@calchurches.org


Abel Habtegeorgis, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Media Relations Manager
510.428.3939 ext. 232
abel@ellabakercenter.org
(Contact for Sumayyah Waheed and Evelyn M. Rangel-Medina)