Workplace Inclusion Expert Reflects on Federal Diversity Training Ban

In September, news broke that diversity and inclusion trainings at two research labs in the Bay Area were being suspended at the direction of the White House. President Trump issued an executive order characterizing trainings about racism, sexism and white privilege as anti-American propaganda. Federal employees and contractors, including researchers at federally funded labs and immigration judges, are now prohibited from engaging in that kind of training. Lauren Aguilar, who holds a PhD in social psychology and is president and founder of the inclusion and diversity practice at the consulting group Forshay, described the language in the executive order as Orwellian and said the ban ignores evidence that everyone has biases which influence decisions about workplace diversity and inclusivity. Eliminating workplace programs designed to address those biases, Aguilar said, can result in highly skilled employees leaving their workplace, or their field entirely, when discriminatory work environments are allowed to persist. 

“In the federal government’s eyes, unconscious bias is like a dirty word.

Activists join the ACT UP 30th anniversary gathering rally in March 2017 at St. Vincent Triangle Park in New York City.

Long-Term AIDS Survivors Launch Advocacy Movement

AIDS2020: Virtual, the biannual conference of the International AIDS Society, held in early July, marked a turning point for long-term HIV/AIDS survivors — and not a good one. Five of us in San Francisco who have been on the front lines of the fight for our LGBTQ and HIV communities from the very beginning, left the event feeling sidelined and fed up. So, we met to discuss the myriad issues confronted by us long-term survivors. The result: The San Francisco Principles 2020, which we hope will be the seed for a new movement.

Oakland Activists Launch Mental Health Hotline as Alternative to Police

In response to the disproportionate law enforcement violence against people with mental illness and amid ongoing calls to defund or reform police, activists with the Anti Police-Terror Project on Friday night will launch an initiative in Oakland designed to offer an alternative to calling the police in mental health crises. The initiative, called M.H. First Oakland, will begin operations as a hotline with the number (510) 999-9MH1.

Online Census Yields Mixed Accessibility Results

This year the census, a constitutionally mandated count of every person in the country every 10 years, is being conducted primarily online for the first time. While the shift offered convenience to the digitally connected, many communities already considered “hard to count” include people with limited digital tools or literacy that put the digital questionnaire out of reach. With the coronavirus pandemic and confusing federal directives, the in-person enumeration most likely to document them has been delayed and cut short.

2018 Providence, RI Census.

Threats to Exclude Undocumented From Census Exemplify Fears of Other ‘Hard-to-Count’ Communities

The decennial census is used to determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. And according to the Project on Government Oversight, California can also expect to receive more than $170 billion in census-guided federal funding over the next ten years. In a July memo, the President sought to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count used to apportion representatives. But past encounters with well-meaning government agents have already made some homeless, poor, undocumented and otherwise marginalized people skeptical that being counted will actually benefit them.

Professor: Governments, Residents Must Address Racist Attacks Against Asians

Nearly 2,500 cases of verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans were reported between March 19 and July 22 to a tracking project called Stop AAPI Hate, a group representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Dr. Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, has called on local, state and federal governments to reject racist rhetoric and commit to anti-racist messaging.

Jelani Memory and Khalia Davis

Kids’ Play Calls Out Racism

When actor and director Khalia Davis was growing up in the 1990s, children’s entertainment rarely addressed racism. When it did — in books about Ruby Bridges or special episodes of television shows like “Family Matters” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” — it was never explicit.

Now in 2020, after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, Davis is producing and directing “A Kids Play About Racism,” which will be streaming, free of charge, on Broadway on Demand this weekend.

Raven and Rhonda2 - Club Stride

Empowering Youth to Advance Justice in Vallejo

On June 2, police in Vallejo shot and killed a 22-year-old San Francisco man, Sean Monterrosa through the windshield of a police truck while Monterrosa was kneeling. Since then, the California attorney general has announced an investigation into the Vallejo police department. The detective who shot Monterrosa, Jarrett Tonn, was found to have been involved in three other shootings. A windshield that was shattered during the shooting was not preserved as evidence, and video relevant to the incident was initially withheld. According to the news site Open Vallejo, Monterrosa was the 19th person killed by the Vallejo police department in 10 years.