Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective

Shortly after Governor Newsom’s resounding electoral victory, transition team “All-in California” Ambassadors, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and UC Regent Laphonza Butler, convened a coalition of African-American leaders to address urgent issues that African-Americans face throughout the state. This month marks the dividend of this convening – and numerous subsequent meetings – with the release of the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and Gov. Newsom with the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective. Photo by Michael Short / Board of Supervisors

Embodying the ethos of the people powered approach Gov. Newsom sought in his selection of the duo as “All-in California” Ambassadors, wanting “respected leaders to help him search for innovative ideas and talent across the state”, the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective answers this call and more.

“As a community, we’ve been disproportionately impacted in so many areas of social well-being that animating the California ‘Dream for All’ in the face of this inexorable truth will take leadership, imagination, and an attentiveness to innovative and focused policy,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “This Agenda does just that through policy priorities that are achievable, scalable, and evidenced-based. It’s a rock solid foundation for Gov. Newsom’s Administration to build on.”

Edited by Dr. Ange Marie Alfaro-Hancock, a leading academic on intersectional theory, the Agenda delivers to Governor Newsom a sharp and interconnected perspective on five critical policy areas: early childhood education, ending child poverty, fighting homelessness, expanding access to healthcare, and improving redevelopment and economic development. Each section includes not just a diagnosis of challenges, but also provides high-impact solutions that will stem the tide in problem areas Californians face in their daily lives.

The initial gathering, held at SEIU2015 headquarters, included an array of participants from various sectors and industries. Academics, business leaders, philanthropic leaders, healthcare providers, artists, media managers, ecumenical and civil rights leaders, labor, educators, and many more shared their experiences and divided into daylong working groups. Using their respective areas of professional expertise, participants put forth a range of policy solutions to counteract the complex risk factors that originate in racism, sexism, poverty, and geographic inequities to empower Californians to seize the “Californian Dream”.

“I’m excited to have been a part of this special process focused on providing practical solutions to the unique systematic challenges that our community face”, said Dr. David Carlisle, President and CEO of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, referencing the outgrowth of the work from that day. “This policy brief will provide an outstanding foundation for measurable concrete action and chart a path to a more prosperous and equitable future for the state of California.”

Click to download the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective