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President Barack Obama Thank You

Obama Rainbow Souza whitehousegov 2015

There are “certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake. I put in that category, if I saw systematic discrimination ratified in some fashion; I put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise. I would put in that category, institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. And for me at least, I would put in that category efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids and send them some place else.”

Photo Pete Souza The White House


The Year in Pictures 2016

Click on the caption for more information. Please donate now to support our work on equal justice, democracy, and livability for all!

Guidance to Incorporate Environmental Justice and Civil Rights in State Clean Power Plans Climate Justice

California Coastal Access and Climate Justice for All NRPA Parks & Recreation Magazine

Smithsonian Anacostia Whose dreams will come true and who will be left behind by L.A. River greening?

The City Project Word Cloud and Text Links

Latinos and Climate Change: Opinions, Impacts, and Responses Sam García GreenLatinos The City Project

Service on GreenLatinos, NRPA, and NEEF Boards, and Next 100 Coalition Steering Committee

NRPA GreenLatinos 201607

Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice Community Spotlight Series The City Project

RG at EJ IWG Community Spotlight Series

Pricing Justice: Carbon Pricing and Environmental Justice Prof. Gerald Torres & Robert García

National Park Service Diversifying Access, Support, and Workforce

Equity & Accountability Standards Park Funding for All! NRPA Parks & Recreation Magazine

NEEF National Public Lands Day First Bilingual Multicultural Event L.A. River

Coastal Justice Law Amends CA Coastal Act, Requires Environmental Justice Commissioner

California Equal Justice Amendments Strengthen Civil Rights Protections 11135

National Park Service Centennial Celebration Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan with Access for All – Young and Old, Black, White, Latino, Asian, Native American!

US EPA EJ 2020 Action Agenda: Major Steps Forward, and Opportunities for More NRPA

President Obama Stand with Standing Rock GreenLatinos The City Project Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal #nodapl

US Court Condemns “Despicable” Nonconsensual Medical Experiments against Guatemalan People in Violation of International Human Rights Law

Park Funding and Equal Access L.A. County Measure A NRPA


Coastal Justice and the California Coastal Act: An Equity Mapping and Analysis Free the Beach!


National Academies Report Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity – and  Civil Rights Compliance

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President Barack Obama Presidential Memorandum Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, Forests, and other Public Lands and Waters

“That’s what makes this particular designation so important. We heard from the community, that for a lot of urban families, this is their only big outdoor space. Too many children in L.A.County, especially children of color, don’t have access to parks where they can run free, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment.” President Barack Obama, designating the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. "This is an issue of social justice. Because it’s not enough to have this awesome natural wonder within your sight -– you have to be able to access it." This is a historic moment, when the President of the United States recognizes park access as an environmental justice issue. “The President not only displayed compassion and understanding of environmental justice but, was fundamentally motivated by the issues when he declared the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Robert Garcia and The City Project, thanks for your work to make the case for environmental justice and the San Gabriel National Monument a reality.” Daniel Rossman, chair, San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition. "The City Project's work on park access is one of the two leading areas in environmental justice." Leslie Fields, Sierra Club, Director, Environmental Justice and Community Partnership Program.



A Dilemma for Humanity: Stark Inequality or Total War? New York Times

Read the full New York Times article, “A Dilemma for Humanity: Stark Inequality or Total War

Is there nothing to be done about galloping inequality?

History — from Ancient Rome through the Gilded Age; from the Russian Revolution to the Great Compression of incomes across the West in the middle of the 20th century — suggests that reversing the trend toward greater concentrations of income, in the United States and across the world, might be, in fact, nearly impossible.

That’s the bleak argument of Walter Scheidel, a professor of history at Stanford. . . . He goes so far as to state that “only all-out thermonuclear war might fundamentally reset the existing distribution of resources.”

[S]couring through the historical record, he detects a pattern: From the Stone Age to the present, ever since humankind produced a surplus to hoard, economic development has almost always led to greater inequality. There is one big thing with the power to stop this dynamic, but it’s not pretty: violence.

The big equalizing moments in history may not have always have the same cause, he writes, “but they shared one common root: massive and violent disruptions of the established order.” . . .

Many social scientists — not to say left-leaning politicians — would like to believe that there are ways to push back: higher minimum wages, perhaps a universal basic income to help curb poverty; sharply higher income tax rates for the rich along with a wealth tax; a weakening of intellectual property rules, curbs on monopolies and coordination of labor standards around the world; maybe a dollop of capital given to each citizen so all can benefit from the high returns on investment.

Dream on. As Professor Scheidel bluntly puts it: “Serious consideration of the means required to mobilize political majorities for implementing any of this advocacy is conspicuous by its absence.”

Income inequality has exploded in the U.S. and in California over the past four decades, as shown in the above graph. There are extreme income inequalities for the top 10% and top 1% in the U.S.

Visit The City Project’s page on Income and Inequality.

Presidential Memorandum Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters

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President Barack Obama has issued the following Presidential Memorandum to promote diversity and inclusion in and support for parks, forests, recreation areas, monuments, and waters. The President calls for diversifying the federal work force, as well as requiring recipients of federal financial assistance to improve visitation, access, and recreational opportunities for diverse populations. These are the values diverse have worked on including The City Project, Next100, GreenLatinos, NRPA, Title VI and environmental justice advocates, Earthjustice, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, San Gabriel Mountains Forever, and many, many others. Thank you Mr. President. The full text of the Memorandum appears below (emphasis added in bold).
For Immediate Release

Presidential Memorandum — Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters

January 12, 2017


SUBJECT: Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters

Our Federal lands and waters are among our Nation’s greatest treasures — from our National Parks and National Forests, to our wild and scenic rivers, recreation areas, and other public lands and waters. These natural and historic sites give us fresh air and clean water, places for recreation and inspiration, and support for our local communities and economies. As a powerful sign of our democratic ideals, these lands belong to all Americans — rich and poor, urban and rural, young and old, from all backgrounds, genders, cultures, religious viewpoints, and walks of life.

Our public lands and waters are treasured in part because they tell the story of our Nation. They preserve the history from our Nation’s wars, protect cultural sites considered sacred to countless Americans, and honor the accomplishments of distinctly American leaders ranging from Harriet Tubman to Abraham Lincoln to Cesar Chavez. I am proud that my Administration has greatly expanded the stories that our protected public lands and waters tell about our Nation through designating a diverse collection of cultural and historic sites as new parks and monuments and by restoring the Koyukon Athabascan name of Denali to the tallest mountain in North America. I am proud, too, that my Administration has sought to expand access to our public lands and waters and to make them more welcoming to all Americans, especially those who have not regularly visited our Nation’s great outdoors or had the means to do so easily. Initiatives like “Every Kid in a Park” complement additional, ongoing efforts by Federal agencies to improve accessibility, but more work must be done to honor the promise and opportunity of the idea that our public lands belong to every American. Over the last 8 years, Federal land and water management agencies have also shown a renewed commitment to promoting equal opportunity for all employees and in creating work environments where everyone is empowered to reach their full potential.

The purpose of this memorandum is to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to experience and enjoy our public lands and waters, that all segments of the population have the chance to engage in decisions about how our lands and waters are managed, and that our Federal workforce — not just the sites it manages — is drawn from the rich range of the diversity in our Nation. In this memorandum, “diversity” refers to a range of characteristics including national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity), socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structure. The term “inclusion” refers to a culture that connects each employee to the organization; encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness; and promotes diversity throughout the organization so that all individuals have opportunities to participate and contribute to their full potential.

This memorandum is directed at the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (covered agencies).

Promoting diversity and inclusion is not the sole responsibility of one office within a Federal agency but a joint effort that requires engagement by senior leadership and the entire workforce. In implementing the guidance in this memorandum, each covered agency shall ensure its diversity and inclusion practices are fully integrated into broader planning efforts and supported by sufficient resource allocations and effective programs that promote a wide range of investments in personnel development, public engagement, and opportunities for inclusive access.

Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1. Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce. The quality and integrity of our National Parks, National Forests, and other public lands and waters depend on the public servants who steward them for the benefit of current and future generations. To ensure we are managing these resources responsibly, we must have a diverse and inclusive Federal workforce practicing public land management that recognizes the challenges facing communities across the Nation. A more diverse and inclusive Federal workforce also creates a more welcoming experience for all Americans, no matter their background or where they live, and encourages engagement with Federal agencies on the management and future of our public lands and waters. Consistent with existing authorities, each covered agency shall prioritize building a more diverse and inclusive Federal workforce reflective of our Nation and its citizens.

Federal agencies are subject to existing authorities aimed at addressing the leadership role and obligations of the Federal Government as an employer. For example, Executive Order 13583 of August 18, 2011 (Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce), requires Federal agencies to take action to promote equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion in the Federal workforce. Federal agencies also are required by section 717 of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to take proactive steps to ensure equal opportunity for all Federal employees and applicants for Federal employment. This memorandum directs each of the covered agencies to pursue additional actions that create and maintain a diverse and inclusive Federal workforce. Toward that end, each covered agency shall integrate the following activities in its efforts to comply with related statutory mandates, Executive Orders, regulatory requirements, and individual agency policies:

(a) Provide professional development opportunities and tools. A diverse and inclusive work environment enhances the ability of each covered agency to create, retain, and sustain a strong workforce by allowing all employees to perform to their full potential and talent. Professional development opportunities and tools are key to fostering that potential, and ensuring that all employees have access to them should be a priority for all agencies, consistent with merit system principles. Accordingly, each covered agency shall:

(i) Develop a mechanism to conduct periodic interviews with a voluntary representative cross-section of its workforce to gain a more complete understanding of the reasons that employees choose to stay with their organizations, as well as to receive feedback on workplace policies, professional development opportunities, and other issues;

(ii) Provide optional exit interviews or surveys for all departing personnel;

(iii) Collect information as needed to identify methods for attracting applicants to Federal employment and retaining diverse workplace talent through existing workforce programs and initiatives;

(iv) Prioritize resources, as appropriate, to expand professional development opportunities that support mission needs, such as academic and fellowship programs, private-public exchanges, and detail assignments to private or international organizations, State, local and tribal governments, or other branches of the Federal Government;

(v) Offer, or sponsor employees to participate in, a Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program or other program that trains employees to gain the skills required for senior-level appointments. Each covered agency shall consider the number of expected senior-level vacancies as one factor in determining the number of candidates to select for such programs. In the selection process for these programs, each covered agency shall consider redacting personal information, including applicant names, from all materials provided for review to reduce the potential for unconscious bias. Each covered agency also shall evaluate on a retroactive basis the placement rate of program graduates into senior-level positions, including available demographic data, on an annual basis to look for ways to improve outreach and recruitment for these programs consistent with merit system principles. Each covered agency shall consult with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the development or enhancement of data-collection tools to conduct these evaluations; and

(vi) Seek additional opportunities for the development and implementation of upward mobility programs.

(b) Strengthen leadership engagement and accountability. Senior leadership and supervisors play an important role in fostering diversity and inclusion in the workforce they lead and setting an example for cultivating this and future generations of talent. Toward that end, each covered agency shall:

(i) Reward and recognize efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce. Consistent with merit system principles, each covered agency is strongly encouraged to consider implementing performance and advancement requirements that reward and recognize senior leaders’ and supervisors’ success in fostering diverse and inclusive workplace environments and in cultivating talent, such as through participation in mentoring programs or sponsorship initiatives, recruitment events, and other opportunities. Each covered agency also is encouraged to identify opportunities for senior leadership and supervisors to participate in outreach events and discuss issues related to promoting diversity and inclusion in its workforce on a regular basis with support from any existing employee resource group, as appropriate; and

(ii) Expand training on unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion, and flexible work policies. Each covered agency shall expand its provision of training on unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion, and flexible work policies and make unconscious bias training mandatory for senior leadership and management positions, including for employees responsible for outreach, recruitment, hiring, career development, promotion, and law enforcement. The provision of training may be implemented in a phased approach commensurate with agency resources. Each covered agency shall also make available training on a 2-year cycle for bureaus, directorates, or divisions for which inclusion scores, such as those measured by the New IQ index, demonstrate no improvement since the previous training cycle. Special attention should be given to ensure the continuous incorporation of research-based best practices, including those to address the relationship between certain demographics and job positions.

(c) Analyze existing data and identify opportunities for improvement. Each covered agency shall continue to evaluate and eliminate existing barriers to the successful growth of diversity and inclusion in the Federal workplace. The following actions shall be taken to ensure continued progress on this issue:

(i) Each covered agency shall integrate the activities described under subsections (a) and (b) of this section in the priorities and actions outlined in Executive Order 13583 and the periodic agency self-assessments and barrier analyses required by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Management Directive 715, and shall make such assessments and analyses publicly available;

(ii) Human resources and any appropriate diversity and leadership staff from each of the covered agencies shall meet at least twice each year with agency leadership to discuss actions pursued under sections 1(a) and 1(b) of this memorandum, including working to identify and eliminate barriers to promoting diversity and inclusion in agency workforces and to discuss potential actions to improve hiring programs, recruitment, and workforce training and development. Where data gaps are identified, each covered agency is encouraged to collect additional information as needed in order to identify methods for attracting and retaining talent from diverse populations, with particular attention to senior and management positions. Each covered agency shall consult with OPM on the development or enhancement of data-collection tools to collect this information; and

(iii) OPM shall continue to review covered agency-specific diversity and inclusion plans and provide recommended modifications for agency consideration, including recommendations on strategies to promote diversity and inclusion in agency workforces and potential improvements to the use of existing agency hiring authorities.

Sec. 2. Enhancing Opportunities for all Americans to Experience Public Lands and Waters. (a) Recognizing that our public lands belong to all Americans, it is critical that all Americans can experience Federal lands and waters and the benefits they provide, and that diverse populations are able to provide input to inform the management and stewardship of these important resources. In order to achieve this goal, each covered agency shall:

(i) Identify site-specific opportunities. As each covered agency periodically updates or develops new management plans for its lands and waters, it shall evaluate specific barriers and opportunities, as appropriate, to improve visitation, access, and recreational opportunities for diverse populations;

(ii) Update policies to ensure engagement with diverse constituencies. As policy manuals and handbooks are updated, each covered agency shall ensure that these materials reflect the importance of engaging with diverse populations in resource protection, land and water management, and program planning and decisionmaking, as appropriate;

(iii) Establish internal policies for recipients of Federal funding. Each covered agency shall ensure that State, local, tribal, and private sector recipients of Federal funding are taking action to improve visitation, access, and recreational opportunities for diverse populations;

(iv) Identify public liaisons. Within 90 days of the issuance of this memorandum, each covered agency shall identify multiple public liaisons with a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives to be charged with facilitating input from and engaging with diverse populations in land and water management processes;

(v) Identify opportunities on advisory councils and stakeholder committees. Within 120 days of the issuance of this memorandum, each covered agency shall identify opportunities to promote participation by diverse populations in advisory councils and stakeholder committees established to support public land or water management; environmental, public health, or energy development planning; and other relevant decisionmaking; and

(vi) Develop an action plan. Within 1 year of the issuance of this memorandum, each covered agency shall provide a publicly available action plan to the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality identifying specific actions the agency will take to 1) improve access for diverse populations — particularly for minority, low-income, and disabled populations and tribal communities — to experience and enjoy our Federal lands and waters, and 2) address barriers to their participation in the protection and management of important historic, cultural, or natural areas. Each covered agency shall identify in its action plan any critical barriers to achieving both of these goals. This barrier evaluation should draw on internal staff input as well as external perspectives, including interviews, surveys, and engagement with non-governmental entities, as appropriate and as resources allow. Each action plan should include specific steps that the covered agency will take to address identified barriers, including national as well as regional strategies, and, where appropriate, site-specific initiatives. Each covered agency should work through the Federal Recreation Council (FRC) to assist with the development of this action plan and use the FRC to share best practices and recommendations regarding specific programs and initiatives.

(b) In identifying actions to improve opportunities for all Americans to experience our Federal lands and waters, each covered agency should consider a range of actions including the following:

(i) Conducting active outreach to diverse populations — particularly minority, low-income, and disabled populations and tribal communities — to increase awareness about specific programs and opportunities;

(ii) Focusing on the mentoring of new environmental, outdoor recreation, and preservation leaders to increase diverse representation in these areas and on our public lands;

(iii) Forging new partnerships with State, local, tribal, private, and non-profit partners to expand access for diverse populations, particularly those in the immediate vicinity of a protected area;

(iv) Identifying and making improvements to existing programs to increase visitation and access by diverse populations — particularly minority, low-income, and disabled populations and tribal communities;

(v) Creating new programs, especially those that could address certain gaps that are identified;

(vi) Expanding the use of multilingual and culturally appropriate materials, including American Sign Language, in public communications and educational strategies, including through social media strategies, as appropriate, that target diverse populations;

(vii) Continuing coordinated, interagency efforts to promote youth engagement and empowerment, including fostering new partnerships with diversity- and youth-serving organizations and new partnerships with urban areas and programs; and

(viii) Identifying possible staff liaisons to diverse populations, particularly those in the immediate vicinity of a given protected area.

(c) In identifying actions to improve opportunities for all Americans to participate in the protection and management of important historic, cultural, and natural areas, each covered agency shall consider a range of actions including the following:

(i) Considering recommendations and proposals from diverse populations to protect at-risk historic, cultural, and natural sites;

(ii) Improving the availability and distribution of relevant information about ongoing land and water management planning and policy revisions;

(iii) Identifying agency staff charged with outreach to diverse populations;

(iv) Identifying opportunities to facilitate public participation from interested diverse populations facing financial barriers, including through partnerships, where appropriate, with philanthropic organizations and tribal, State, and local governments; and

(v) Taking other actions to increase opportunities for diverse populations to provide input and recommendations on protecting, improving access to, or otherwise managing important historic, cultural, or natural areas, with an emphasis on stakeholders facing significant barriers to participation.

Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof, or the status of that department or agency within the Federal Government; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law, and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


National Academies Report Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity #PromoteHealthEquity

The Committee on
 Community Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the United States has released its report called Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity.

The Committee reports in brief:

1 Health equity is crucial for the well being and vibrancy of communities (Chapters 1 & 2)
2 Health is a product of multiple determinants (Ch. 3)
3 Health inequities are in large part a result of poverty and disparities in income and wealth, structural racism, and discrimination (Ch. 3)
4 Communities have the capacity to promote health equity (Ch. 4 & 5)
5 Supportive public and private policies (at all levels) and programs facilitate community action (Ch. 6 & 8)
6 The collaboration and engagement of new and diverse (multi-sector) partners is essential to promote health equity (Ch. 7)
7 Tools and other resources including civil rights laws exist to translate knowledge into action to promote health equity (Ch. 8 & 9)

The Committee highlights civil rights strategies, for example, and recommends that foundations support education, compliance, and enforcement related to civil rights laws (Recommendation 7.1). The gains in health outcomes for people of color and non-Hispanic white people “were the direct result of desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement” according to Stanford Prof. Gavin Wright’s work cited in the report (Ch. 6).


The Committee highlights WE ACT’s work on environmental justice and civil rights in Harlem as one of nine communities promoting health equity (Ch. 5), as well as national work by WE ACT, the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum, GreenLatinos, and others on climate justice.


The Committee cites best practices from federal agencies. This includes the National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Committee also cites best practices from the states and local agencies. This includes California standards for distributing equitably the benefits of publicly funded resources, and physical education compliance by the L.A. County Department of Public Health and others.

The Committee recognizes that to “sufficiently examine and ultimately address health disparities affecting Native Americans, it is essential to understand the unique historical and legal context of Native American communities in the United States.” Appendix A.

Dr. Robert Bulllard, Dean, School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University, and Marianne Engelman Lado, Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School, testified before the Committee on environmental justice, health, and civil rights compliance. Megan Haberle of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) served as one of 14 independent reviewers.


Marianne Engelman Lado testifies before the Committee

Community based solutions to promote health equity focus on health and wellness, and not just medical care and insurance, as well as state and local laws and policies. This is vital in light of discussions to repeal the Affordable Care Act and other efforts to cut back health and safety net protections at the federal level.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported the Committee’s work to inform its initiative on a culture of health. Indeed, there can be no culture of health without law.

“Across the country, there are communities with insufficient access to jobs, adequate transit, safe and affordable housing, parks and open space, healthy food options, or quality education—the necessary conditions and opportunities to fully thrive. . . . It is the committee’s hope that this report will inform, educate, and ultimately inspire others to join in efforts across the nation so that members of all communities can enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness undeterred by poor health.” From the Preface by Committee Chair James N. Weinstein.

Download the full report Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity, as well as the highlights, recommendations, and social media tool kit, and press release.

The Committee

James N. Weinstein, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Chair
Hortensia De Los Angeles Amaro, University of Southern California School of Social Work and Keck School of Medicine
Elizabeth Baca, California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
B. Ned Calonge, University of Colorado and The Colorado Trust
Bechara Choucair, Kaiser Permanente
Alison Evans Cuellar, George Mason University
Robert H. Dugger, ReadyNation and Hanover Provident Capital, LLC
Chandra Ford, University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health
Robert García, The City Project
Helene D. Gayle, McKinsey Social Initiative
Andrew Grant-Thomas, EmbraceRace
Sister Carol Keehan, Catholic Health Association of the United States
Christopher Lyons, University of New Mexico
Kent Mcguire, Southern Education Foundation
Julie Morita, Chicago Department of Public Health
Tia Powell, Montefiore Health System
Lisbeth Schorr, Center for the Study of Social Policy
Nick Tilsen, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation
William Wyman, Wyman Consulting Associates, Inc.

James N. Weinstein and study staff members Amy Geller, Alina Baciu, and Yamrot Negussie served as Editors.


Committee meeting

This summary reflects the views of The City Project and not necessarily of the Committee or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Lower Half Cut Off from Economic Growth Since 1970s Piketty Saez Zucman NY Times

Economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman provide the most thoroughgoing analysis to date of how income — like paychecks, profit-sharing, fringe benefits and food stamps — is divided among the people in the US.

[T]he spectacular growth in incomes at the peak has so outpaced the small increase at the bottom from public programs intended to ameliorate poverty and inequality that the gap between the wealthiest and everyone else has continued to widen. . . .

That ratio, the authors point out, ‘is similar to the gap between the average income in the United States and the average income in the world’s poorest countries, the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Burundi.

Note: Income figures are for individual adults; incomes within married couples are split equally.
Source: Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman | By Karl Russell/The New York Times

View the full article in the New York Times, “A Bigger Economic Pie, but a Smaller Slice for Half of the U.S.”

Visit The City Project’s Income and Inequality page

LDF Oppose Senator Jeff Sessions Nomination to Attorney General of the United States

The City Proejct joins our brothers and sisters at LDF in opposition to Senator Jeff Sessions’s nomination as Attorney General

Today, LDF submitted a report to the Senate Judiciary Committee examining Senator Jeff Sessions’ record on civil rights and racial justice and ultimately calling on the Senate to vote down his nomination for Attorney General of the United States.


Our 32-page analysis covers Senator Sessions’ early career through his most recent service in the Senate in critical areas of importance to all Americans such as voting, criminal justice, equality in education, and worker and consumer protections. His record has proved to us that he is unquestionably unqualified to be the leading law enforcement officer of this country. For more than 40 years, Senator Sessions has stood opposite to the very principles of fairness and equality which are the cornerstones of LDF’s founding. Our report is detailed, highly informative and represents many hours of LDF staff work and review.

Read our report to see where Senator Sessions stands on the issues in which LDF is most invested, all of which we believe warrants careful and serious review by the Senate. We encourage you to be armed with the necessary facts ahead of the confirmation hearings in the coming days and to share them widely with your networks. Click here to read it in its entirety.

The American Dream, Quantified at Last – Well Worth a Fight New York Times

Research shows that only half of Americans in their 30s earn more than their parents did at the same age. A few decades ago, nearly all adults did. Read the rest of the New York Times article, “The American Dream, Quantified at Last.”

For babies born in 1980 — today’s 36-year-olds — the index of the American dream has fallen to 50 percent: Only half of them make as much money as their parents did. In the industrial Midwestern states that effectively elected Donald Trump, the share was once higher than the national average. Now, it is a few percentage points lower. There, going backward is the norm.

The rise of inequality has damaged the American dream more than the growth slowdown.

One way to think about inequality’s role is to remember that the American economy is far larger and more productive than in 1980, even if it isn’t growing as rapidly. Per-capita G.D.P. is almost twice as high now. By itself, that increase should allow most children to live better than their parents.

They don’t, however, because the fruits of growth have gone disproportionately to the affluent. . . .

The painful irony of 2016 is that nostalgia and anger over the fading American dream helped elect a president who may put the dream even further out of reach for many people — taking away their health insurance, supporting ineffective school vouchers and showering government largess on the rich. Every one of those issues will be worth a fight.

Source: “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940” by Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, Robert Manduca and Jimmy Narang

Visit The City Project’s page on Income and Inequality

The City Project Salutes Jon Jarvis NPS Director for a Job Well Done

The City Project is proud to call National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis a friend. Director Jarvis is a friend of ours. He is a friend of the people. Director Jarvis has provided unprecedented leadership for parks, recreation, monuments, and health resources that reflect the changing face of the nation. For example, the Cesar Chavez National Monument is the first national park to celebrate a Latino born after the 1700s. The Edmund Pettus Bridge celebrates the Civl Rights Revolution. The Honouliuli National Monument celebrates the fragility of Civil Rights and commemorates the site of a nearly forgotten internment camp that held innocent Japanese-American civilians including US citizens, along with thousands foreign prisoners, during World War II. The Belmont Paul National Monument marks the site of epicenter in the struggle for women’s rights. The Stonewall Uprising is a milestone in the quest for LGBT rights. Monuments protecting Native American values include the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains National Monuments in California. NPS provides best practices for using environmental justice and civil rights tools to expand access to parks, recreation, and healthy living through its studies for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, and for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area expansion in Rim of the Valley. President Barack Obama emphasized that places for children of color and low income children to run free, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment is an issue of social justice when he dedicated the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Director Jarvis launched the influential Healthy Parks, Healthy People US initiative. Every Kid in a Park works with local Transit Trails programs to take children of color and low income children on fun, healthy, and educational trips to parks, mountains, beaches, rivers, and islands.

Challenges remain. Diverse allies have submitted public comments on the proposed Director’s Order to improve gender equality, and on the draft 2016-2020 Environmental Justice Strategic Plan.

The Next100 Coalition has worked with Director Jarvis to develop a vision and policy recommendations for a more inclusive system of national parks and other public lands. The Coalition of diverse leaders from civil rights, environmental justice, conservation and community organizations, including The City Project, will continue to work with Director Jarvis’s successor.

Director Jarvis’s last day with the National Park Service is January 3. His departure is a loss for park advocates everywhere. We celebrate his career with a heart felt “Thank you.”

Photo by NPS intern Ashley Philips L to R David Moore, Ken Brodie, FWS Kim Lambert, NPS Director Jon Jarvis, TCP Robert García, Michael Reynolds, Brian Joyner, DOI Cheryl Kelly. All others NPS.


National Academies Report Community-Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity Jan. 11 Register Now

On January 11, 2017, at 11:00 am EST, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will release its report on Community-Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in a live event in Washington, DC.

What are the roots of health inequities in the United States? What are some promising solutions communities can use to advance health equity?

Click here to register now to attend the in-person release event at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, DC, or to watch and participate via webinar.

Title: Release event for Community-Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity report
Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Time: 11:00 am EST
Join the conversation with #PromoteHealthEquity

Help get the word out!

Tweet about it: Sign up for the 1/11 National Academies report release on community-based solutions to #PromoteHealthEquity!

The City Project’s Founding Director and Counsel Robert García serves on the Committee for Community-Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the US. Dr. Robert Bullard and attorney Marianne Engelman Lado testified before the Committee on civil rights, environmental justice, and health.