This convening will bring together a diverse set of Latinx leaders from across the state to sign-on to a set of policy transformations that will improve the quality of life of Latinos in California and across the U.S.
The convening’s agenda will provide participants with a valuable forum to recognize the leadership of Black Lives Matter, identify the shortfalls of COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, and ultimately spotlight a set of evidence-based policy transformations that can ensure the state’s plurality population has a genuine pathway to opportunity in the face of a triple crisis—a global pandemic, continuing and worsening economic and racial disparities, and unjust policing and criminalization of working communities of color.
- Hon. Lorena Gonzalez, Chair, California Latino Legislative Caucus
- Hon. Maria Elena Durazo, Vice-Chair, California Latino Legislative Caucus
- Cástulo de la Rocha, President & CEO, AltaMed Health Services Corp.
- Thomas A. Saenz, President & General Counsel, MALDEF
- Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President, The Castellano Family Foundation & California Primary Care Association
List of Background Resources for Participants
The Earth’s average temperature continues to rise year after year, making climate change the defining issue of our time. Climate change impacts the health, livelihoods, and future of many and Latinos specifically because of historical and structural disadvantages that have increased their vulnerability to climate-induced emergencies. Latinos are well-aware of these repercussions with eight in ten (84%) believing global warming is happening and 70% acknowledging it is mainly caused by human activity. Over 55% of Latinos in the US reside in three key states that have historically experienced severe global warming effects including wildfires and droughts in California, extreme heat in Texas, and rising sea levels and floods in Florida. Policy centered on Latinos is critical to ensure Latinos are part of the green economy and have equal access to resources, protective measures, and overall healthier communities.
Chair: Hon. Kevin de León
Academic Expert: Dr. Michael Mendez, UCLA LPPI
- Climate Change in the Latino Mind
- Latino Communities and Climate Change
- Citing ‘existential threat,’ House climate action plan has a big focus on California
- Environmental and Climate Policy Recommendations for the 2020 Democratic Party Platform
- Frontlines Climate Justice: Executive Action Platform
The United States is currently experiencing unjust policing and an explosion of the carceral state, threatening the health and prosperity of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Latinos face disparate impacts in arrests, incarceration, and discriminatory barriers to full employment, housing, and economic opportunity as a result of the systems involved. Currently, there is no way of effectively tracking the impacts of the criminal justice system on Latinos in the US due to a large data gap in racial/ethnic data collection by law enforcement agencies. There is an imminent need for policy centered on Latinos to address the systemic changes required at the federal and state levels and lessen the significant racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Chairs: George Galvis, CURJ and Eunisses Hernandez, La Defensa
Academic Expert: Dr. Laura Gomez, Professor, UCLA Law
- Criminal Justice Reform: National Latinx Strategy Workshop
- Lack of Data on Latinos in the Criminal Justice System
- Latinos Back Black Lives Matter Protests. They Want Change for Themselves, Too.
- Los Angeles sheriff’s department faces a reckoning after another police shooting
Economic Opportunity & Social Mobility
Socioeconomic mobility refers to the ability of an individual, family, or community to improve their social or economic status. Latinos in the US are showing positive signs of economic mobility through higher educational attainment, income growth, and increasing participation in the labor force. In fact, the GDP of Latinos in the US was $2.3 trillion in 2017, making it the fifth-largest GDP in the world if it were an independent nation. With projections that Latinos will continue to increase their share of the workforce and will drive economic growth in California and across the country, policies that promote their social and economic progress are more important than ever.
Chairs: Ana Valdez, Latino Donor Collaborative and Monica Lozano, President & CEO, College Futures Foundation
Academic Expert: Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, Professor, UCLA Geffen School of Medicine
- LDC US Latino GDP Report
- California is now the world’s fifth-largest economy, surpassing the United Kingdom
- Netflix Moves $100 Million in Deposits to Bolster Black Banks
- Scars Remain Five Years After Los Angeles Riots
Education, in all its forms, is key to create sustainable improvements in the quality of life for all Americans. However, Latinos continue to face challenges to access affordable good quality education. Latino children entering kindergarten are 42% more likely to be in the lowest quartile of performance on reading readiness compared to 18% of White students. In terms of college completion, only 11% of Latinos had a BA or higher compared to 34% of White students. Education policies targeting the Latino community must close the achievement gap and ensure all students have equal opportunity to quality education.
Chairs: Michele Siqueiros, The Campaign for College Opportunity and Maria Echaveste, The Opportunity Institute
Health & Social Safety Net
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the nation continues to grapple with safety measures and drive the economy forward. Latinos carry a burden as they are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 infections and deaths. Latinos are also the least likely to have health insurance, most vulnerable to economic uncertainty, most likely to experience a job loss or pay cut due to the pandemic, least likely to be able to shelter in place, and most excluded from the federal CARES Act individual rebate programs. This is exacerbated by the Latino physician shortage, further hindering access to quality health care. It is imperative to have policy centered on Latinos to ensure access to quality health care, have workforce diversity, and reduce health disparities.
Academic Expert: Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante, Associate Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
- Cases and Deaths in the US
- COVID-19 and Diversity: The Emerging Picture in California
- Uninsured Working Latinos and COVID-19: Essential Businesses at Risk
- Implications of COVID-19 on At-Risk Workers by Neighborhood in Los Angeles
- U.S. Latinos among hardest hit by pay cuts, job losses due to coronavirus
- Struggling to Stay Home: How COVID-19 Shelter in Place Policies Affect Los Angeles County’s Black and Latino Neighborhoods
- Left Behind During a Global Pandemic: An Analysis of Los Angeles County Neighborhoods at Risk of Not Receiving COVID-19 Individual Rebates Under the CARES Act
- California’s Physician Shortage: Brief
California, like the rest of the country, is facing a severe housing crisis that impacts wealth creation, public health, and a thriving economy. This spans the spectrum of housing insecurity to the rise of renters to the promise of homeownership for all Americans. Housing scarcity and rapid displacement in American cities and suburbs is a threat to the world’s largest economy and proximate to Latinos who are most likely to be in overcrowded homes, in neighborhoods that are seen widespread gentrification, and at a disadvantage for financial products to initiate or remain on the path to homeownership. As the country continues to face skyrocketing housing prices and homelessness, policy centered around the needs of this vulnerable community is needed to ensure everyone has decent living conditions and access to affordable housing.
Chairs: Chris Iglesias, The Unity Council, and Noerena Limon, National Association of Real Estate Professionals
Academic Expert: Dr. Melissa Chinchilla, AltaMed Institute for Health Equity
The United States continues to enforce a broken immigration system that instills uncertainty and fear in its communities. A comprehensive immigration reform is the top immigration policy goal for more than 50% of Latinos in the United States. Many of the 60 million Latinos living in the US have immigrant connections and approximately 20 million are immigrants themselves, though 79% are US citizens. Immigrants continue to face anti-immigrant attacks like a possible new rescission of DACA and blatant hate crimes. Policy centered on Latinos is needed to safeguard the lives and rights of immigrants and their families to not only continue their inclusion but also allow them to reap the benefits of their cultural and economic contributions to the nation.
Chairs: Angelica Salas, CHIRLA and Alma Hernandez, SEIU California
Academic Expert: Dr. Raul Hinojosa, Professor, UCLA
- Newsom Letter From Latino Leaders Protect Immigrants COVID19
- Path to legal status for the unauthorized is top immigration policy goal for Hispanics in U.S.
- Supreme Court Rules For DREAMers, Against Trump
Voting Rights & Political Representation
The nation’s democracy is not only being threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also widespread voter suppression. Equal and safe access to the ballot box during this unprecedented time is threatened by the pandemic and states’ responses, such as closing polling sites and the unfounded fear of fraud in mail ballots. For the first time in history, Latinos are projected to be the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the electorate for an election. Going into the November 2020 election, Latinos represent a plurality of non-white Democrats in 5 states, with the majority looking for a candidate that will unify the country and have a mixed policy agenda that emphasizes economic gains, health care, and stricter gun laws, among others. As the country prepares for redistricting, a policy centered on Latinos is of utmost importance as proper representation in this process will continue the efforts for equal political power.
Chairs: Arturo Vargas, NALEO and Helen Torres, HOPE
Academic Expert: Dr. Fernando Guerra, Professor, Loyola Marymount University
- Debunking the Myth of Voter Fraud in Mail Ballots
- An early look at the 2020 electorate
- The Power of the New Majority: A 10 State Analysis of Voters of Color in the 2020 Election
- The 2020 National Latino Electorate Survey
- COVID-19 & the Election: In a Public Health Emergency, We Need to Be Guided by Experts
- The Community Speaks: A Report of the National Latino Commission on Census 2020
- Democracy in Crisis
There is both a need to identify policy convergence and areas of distinct differences facing Black and Brown communities and a roadmap to implement a unity agenda in light of the 2020 Presidential Election. This convening will set time aside to strategize on how to support and collaborate with Black leaders to promulgate a shared policy agenda going into the November election.
Chairs: Sergio Garcia, Centro Legal de la Raza, and Antonia Hernandez, California Community Foundation