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Decades of Building Power for Racial, Economic, Housing, and Environmental Justice 

Southern California’s Inland region, comprising Riverside and San Bernardino counties, covers a vast terrain of more than 27,000 square miles and is home to more than 5 million people, making it the third most populated area in the state. For decades, development in the region has been driven by corporate interests for cheap land and labor. Once a major center of the citrus industry, the Inland region now hosts the largest concentration of distribution warehouses in the country, where the world’s major corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and hundreds of others operate an expansive network of distribution hubs. The logistics industry is the primary producer of deadly toxins and pollution in the region as a result of the thousands of diesel trucks that are a critical component of transporting goods from warehouses to households all over the country. Over the last few decades, demographic shifts in the region mean its population is now a majority of working communities of color, of which 65-75 percent are Latinx, 15-18 percent are African American, and 8-10 percent are Asian residents. Due to rapid population growth and the pandemic, demand for housing has accelerated, making the region experience the highest increase in rental prices in the nation at the beginning of 2021. The median household income of $55,000 combined with high rates of poverty, which exceeds the state's poverty level, has made the Inland region fertile ground for continued organizing efforts and battles led by directly affected community members, people of color, workers, formerly incarcerated people, renters and people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, youth and women.

Despite the Inland region's current socio-economic landscape, the organizing battles have existed for many generations, from Indigenous people’s struggles for self-determination, to actively engaged farm workers who fought against a deeply rooted and racist agricultural industry, to the ongoing struggles of warehouse workers fighting for dignified working conditions and tenants demanding accessible housing for all. The rich history of powerful organizing in a heavily racist environment has made the Inland region a unique place where leaders continue to develop innovative and inspiring strategies to combat poverty, exclusionary housing policies, climate and environmental crises, and racism. Well established organizations lead powerful and successful campaigns to promote racial, economic, environmental, worker, and housing justice and to shrink the criminal legal system to clear the path for similar campaigns in communities across the country. Integrated voter engagement with new voters and voters of color has shifted the political landscape and forged lasting partnerships with local elected officials. As the US begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the innovations and organizing power of the Inland region’s social movements makes it a strategic community for deep investment.

The Fund for an Inclusive California and Neighborhood Funders Group are honored to partner with the amazing organizations leading the fight for racial, economic, housing, and environmental justice in the Inland region for a virtual learning visit for funders and philanthropic support organizations. During this three day event, hear from grassroots leaders, workers, and people directly impacted by the intersecting conditions in the region, and learn how your foundation can fund movement partners so they can continue to build power!

Note: This event is for funders, philanthropy networks and affinity groups, community groups organizing in Southern California's Inland region, and invited guests only.

 

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Pictured above in image slideshow: Photos from our movement partners in the Inland region of California, including an overhead view of San Bernadino, CA; pictures of community members by Alianza and Starting Over, Inc.; and the "Never Forget" art installation by artist Nicholas Galanin that features huge letters spelling out "Indian Land" in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign.

 

 

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2021 Southern California's Inland Region Learning Visit

Click on the photo to watch the event video teaser!

Decades of Building Power for Racial, Economic, Housing, and Environmental Justice 

Southern California’s Inland region, comprising Riverside and San Bernardino counties, covers a vast terrain of more than 27,000 square miles and is home to more than 5 million people, making it the third most populated area in the state. For decades, development in the region has been driven by corporate interests for cheap land and labor. Once a major center of the citrus industry, the Inland region now hosts the largest concentration of distribution warehouses in the country, where the world’s major corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and hundreds of others operate an expansive network of distribution hubs. The logistics industry is the primary producer of deadly toxins and pollution in the region as a result of the thousands of diesel trucks that are a critical component of transporting goods from warehouses to households all over the country. Over the last few decades, demographic shifts in the region mean its population is now a majority of working communities of color, of which 65-75 percent are Latinx, 15-18 percent are African American, and 8-10 percent are Asian residents. Due to rapid population growth and the pandemic, demand for housing has accelerated, making the region experience the highest increase in rental prices in the nation at the beginning of 2021. The median household income of $55,000 combined with high rates of poverty, which exceeds the state's poverty level, has made the Inland region fertile ground for continued organizing efforts and battles led by directly affected community members, people of color, workers, formerly incarcerated people, renters and people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, youth and women.

Despite the Inland region's current socio-economic landscape, the organizing battles have existed for many generations, from Indigenous people’s struggles for self-determination, to actively engaged farm workers who fought against a deeply rooted and racist agricultural industry, to the ongoing struggles of warehouse workers fighting for dignified working conditions and tenants demanding accessible housing for all. The rich history of powerful organizing in a heavily racist environment has made the Inland region a unique place where leaders continue to develop innovative and inspiring strategies to combat poverty, exclusionary housing policies, climate and environmental crises, and racism. Well established organizations lead powerful and successful campaigns to promote racial, economic, environmental, worker, and housing justice and to shrink the criminal legal system to clear the path for similar campaigns in communities across the country. Integrated voter engagement with new voters and voters of color has shifted the political landscape and forged lasting partnerships with local elected officials. As the US begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the innovations and organizing power of the Inland region’s social movements makes it a strategic community for deep investment.

The Fund for an Inclusive California and Neighborhood Funders Group are honored to partner with the amazing organizations leading the fight for racial, economic, housing, and environmental justice in the Inland region for a virtual learning visit for funders and philanthropic support organizations. During this three day event, hear from grassroots leaders, workers, and people directly impacted by the intersecting conditions in the region, and learn how your foundation can fund movement partners so they can continue to build power!

Note: This event is for funders, philanthropy networks and affinity groups, community groups organizing in Southern California's Inland region, and invited guests only.

 

___
 

Pictured above in image slideshow: Photos from our movement partners in the Inland region of California, including an overhead view of San Bernadino, CA; pictures of community members by Alianza and Starting Over, Inc.; and the "Never Forget" art installation by artist Nicholas Galanin that features huge letters spelling out "Indian Land" in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign.

 

 

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Funders for a Just Economy
Amplify Fund
 

Welcome & Keynote Address by Kim Carter

Tuesday, July 27  —  9:30 AM PT / 10:30 AM MT / 11:30 AM CT / 12:30 PM ET

We are honored to host Kim Carter, Founder and Ambassador for Time for Change Foundation, who will welcome us to Southern California's Inland region and share the importance of the region in the context of California and national policy.

Session 1: Our Story: The Regional History through the Eyes of the People

Tuesday, July 27  —  9:45 AM - 11:00 AM PT / 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM MT / 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM CT / 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM ET

After a welcome to the virtual visit, the first session will provide a history of the Inland region and the important role that housing plays in terms of public safety, health, and wealth building. From its struggles with racism and exclusion to resistance and grassroots organizing the region is distinguished from neighboring regions both in terms of geographic vastness and population growth. The panelists will discuss systemic racism and the different ways it’s manifested over time through housing, housing access, and land development in the region.  Leaders will also share the strategies women, black, youth, and immigrant led organizations have taken on to tear down the walls of racism.  This session will situate the Inland region in the context of California and national landscapes. 

Session 2: Building Power

Tuesday, July 27  —  11:45 AM - 1:15 PM PT / 12:45 PM - 2:15 PM MT / 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM CT / 2:45 PM - 4:15 PM ET

In the past decade the shifts in demographics and an invigorating social movement of organizations have created the conditions in the Inland region for innovative and exciting organizing campaigns. Organizations have come together, built strategic networks and launched successful electoral campaigns and coalitions to build power. Power building in the Inland Region is critical to unlocking progressive wins at the state level and influencing federal policies. In this session, panelists will discuss their successes and the opportunities to come in 2021 and beyond.

Session 3: Development for Whom?

Wednesday, July 28  —  9:45 AM - 11:00 AM PT / 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM MT / 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM CT / 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Development in the Inland region has focused largely on serving and attracting capital that provides little benefits to existing communities and is often detrimental to existing residents. Two areas of particular focus include investing in the burgeoning goods movement industry and luxury and vacation homes despite the environmental and health and safety impacts of warehousing and the great need for investment in affordable housing and quality jobs in the region. In this session, panelists will discuss their organizing and advocacy strategies to address these trends, confront specific projects that exemplify these trends, and advocate for community benefits. Topics of discussion will include warehousing and goods movement; luxury and vacation housing; and commercial development. 

Session 4: Building the Backbone: Infrastructure and Community Resilience

Wednesday, July 28  —  9:45 AM - 11:00 AM PT / 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM MT / 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM CT / 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Lower income communities of color have been excluded from major investment campaigns and programs for decades, leaving entire neighborhoods and communities without the very basics of community infrastructure. Established neighborhoods lack safe drinking water access, reliable and effective wastewater service, sidewalks, stormwater infrastructure, paved roads, and broadband. Municipal planning in many areas excluded communities of color as well, further isolating certain neighborhoods from basic services and infrastructure. In one of the most recent iterations of systemic exclusion, many California climate and planning programs prioritize investment in places that have infrastructure. As a result, places that have been excluded from infrastructure investments are further excluded from investments. In the past decade or so, there has been more attention on historically and systematically excluded neighborhoods and communities, including unincorporated communities. This session will focus on both (1) highlighting ongoing infrastructure deficiencies that serve as barriers to community health and housing development, and (2) community driven efforts to address infrastructure deficits to further neighborhood health and regional resilience. Panelists will discuss water and wastewater infrastructure, other basic infrastructure, and community driven planning efforts to plan for comprehensive infrastructure investments through mobility plans and climate resilience plans. 

Session 5: Housing Justice is Racial Justice

Wednesday, July 28  —  11:45 AM - 1:00 PM PT / 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM MT / 1:45 AM - 3:00 PM CT / 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Access to good-quality affordable housing is shaped in large part by systems of racial discrimination and oppression. While outright racial bias is no longer legal, proxies for race have frequently been employed in the Inland Region to exclude Blacks, Latinos, and other vulnerable groups from housing opportunities. Mass incarceration, police targeting of communities of color, and immigration status become tools to maintain racial segregation and white privilege in access to housing. In recent years, there has been a wave of federal regulations and municipal ordinances targeting people involved with the criminal legal system, leading to extremes such as laws requiring landlords to evict tenants who are accused of crimes or for making 911 calls. In many cases, elected officials use racial dog whistle language, as low-income communities of color move east to the Inland Region trying to escape sky-rocketing housing costs closer to the coast.  During the Trump years, HUD rules targeting mixed-status families have excluded and instilled fear in immigrant communities. In addition, the eviction crisis has hit communities of color the hardest, with a larger wave looming on the horizon. However, through grassroots organizing and coalition-building, communities are beating back these attacks and developing proactive advocacy strategies. This session will explore successful organizing and advocacy campaigns to win racial and housing justice and outline the work that still lies ahead. 

Session 6: Housing Justice is Environmental Justice

Wednesday, July 28  —  11:45 AM - 1:00 PM PT / 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM MT / 1:45 AM - 3:00 PM CT / 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Since the early 80’s, the Inland region has been embroiled in many environmental justice battles. Communities have fought long struggles in the courts, at the local government level and they’ve helped pass legislation at the state level to ensure accountability in order to protect the health of communities and the environment. Panelists will discuss success stories, their challenges and opportunities as well as the future ahead for environmental justice in the region. Some of the most powerful obstacles and powerful battles include air quality impacts from heavy duty truck emissions, Salton Sea emissions, hazardous waste, pesticides, dust, and energy production; water quality, and lack of community amenities like parks, active transportation facilities, and community centers. 

Session 7: Recovering Stronger, Recovering Equitably 

Thursday, July 29  —  9:45 AM - 11:00 AM PT / 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM MT / 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM CT / 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM ET

2020 showed us many things, and among them, it showed that business as usual was far from good enough. A public health crisis that disproportionately impacted people of color and the deep-seeded violent racism of our systems in full display illustrated what communities and advocates always knew: racism is a public health threat. As community leaders and community based organizations confronted the urgent and acute impacts of this past year, they also beyond planning for a just recovery where, for example, those named essential that they could keep on producing in the early months of the pandemic, would always be acknowledged as essential and where zip codes should no longer determine your risk of getting sick, or your access to a life-saving vaccine. In addition to critical emergency response work, communities and advocates have been building toward a post covid world by advocating for policy and systems changes, historic investments, and acknowledgment of community power. Panelists will discuss advocacy related to federal and state recovery and relief dollars; re-imagining community safety through mutual aid, and efforts to dismantle barriers to decision-making and information.

Session 8: Calling In All Funders

Thursday, July 29  —  11:45 AM - 1:15 PM PT / 12:45 PM - 2:15 PM MT / 1:45 AM - 3:15 PM CT / 2:45 PM - 4:15 PM ET

The last session of the virtual visit will feature California-based and regional funders who will share how they resource power building organizations through trust based philanthropy and equitable grantmaking practices. They will share how they build with purpose and through their values of community, shared leadership, and shared power. The speakers will invite all of the funders attending the event to tap into their heart and highest purpose as grantmakers to heed the calls to action made throughout the event by movement leaders and to share commitments to building power alongside local funders and movements in the Inland region.

Pictured above in slideshow: Photos from our movement partners in the Inland region of California, including an overhead view of San Bernadino, CA; pictures of community members by Alianza and Starting Over, Inc.; and the "Never Forget" art installation by artist Nicholas Galanin that features huge letters spelling out "Indian Land" in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign.

 

Starting Over, Inc. | Corona, CA

Starting Over, Inc. (SOI) assists low income men, women, and children in need of housing by providing transitional or permanent supportive housing and reentry services while effectively fostering self-reliance, leadership, civic engagement, and economic development. They reduce homelessness by breaking the cycles of intergenerational incarceration, poverty, addiction, and abuse. Starting Over, Inc. programs include Path to Staffing, Employment, and Entrepreneurial Development (Path to SEED), and Family Reunification, Equity, & Empowerment (FREE). The Riverside Chapter of “All of US or NONE,” a national initiative of formerly incarcerated people, is a project that empowers system-impacted people to transform the very systems and barriers they face.

  

Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability | Fresno, CA

Leadership Counsel works alongside the most impacted communities to advocate for sound policy and eradicate injustice to secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income, and place. Through co-empowerment, community organizing, local and statewide policy advocacy, and legal representation, they ensure that low-income communities and communities of color are meaningfully included in decision-making processes to confront practices and policies that perpetuate exclusion and poverty. Leadership Counsel fundamentally shifts the dynamics that have created the stark inequality that impacts California’s low income, rural regions. They raise awareness and opportunities for investment in and protection of historically neglected communities and ensure inclusion of rural, low income communities in key discussions, policies, and programs.

  

Inland Empire Housing Justice Coalition | La Quinta, CA

The Inland Regional Housing Justice Coalition, formed in 2019, advocates to ensure equitable access to fair and barrier-free housing and for housing solutions that are inclusive of all underrepresented/underserved communities, including central and rural communities. Community engagement, mobilization, and empowering those most impacted by housing insecurities and homelessness are at the core of our mission. The coalition has successfully advocated against discriminatory housing ordinances, won municipal eviction moratoria, and collaborated to engage voters in support of Schools and Communities First, the California ballot initiative designed to generate revenues for housing and other community needs. Spanning San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the coalition includes the following founding member organizations: ACLU of Southern California, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC), Leadership Counsel, Pueblo Unido CDC, Starting Over, Inc, Time for Change Foundation, and TODEC Legal Center.

  

Warehouse Workers Resource Center | Ontario, CA

The WWRC is dedicated to improving the lives of warehouse workers and their families through education, advocacy, and action. They focus on education, advocacy, and action to change poor working conditions in the largest hub of warehousing in the country. WWRC’s assist workers deal with health and safety issues, wage theft, and workers’ compensation when injured.  They serve as a community center for workers, family members, and supporters interested in knowing their rights, joining with other workers to share experiences and learn from each other, and building a movement for workers’ rights in the Inland Empire and throughout Southern California.

  

Alianza Coachella Valley | Eastern Coachella Valley, CA

Alianza's mission is to transform the socio-economic conditions of the Eastern Coachella Valley (including the city of Coachella and the unincorporated communities of Thermal, Mecca, Oasis, and North Shore near the northwest shore of the Salton Sea) so that people in all communities have opportunities to prosper. They envision one vibrant, healthy, and thriving Coachella Valley where people have a seat at the table for decisions that affect their daily lives. Alianza is the only alliance in the Eastern Coachella Valley bringing together community members, nonprofits, and government to lead efforts needed for a thriving region. Their work is built around leadership development and an understanding that healthy and economically prosperous communities exist only when our population is represented in all decisions impacting our daily lives.


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Pictured above in image slideshow: Photos from our movement partners in the Inland region of California, including an overhead view of San Bernadino, CA; pictures of community members by Alianza and Starting Over, Inc.; and the "Never Forget" art installation by artist Nicholas Galanin that features huge letters spelling out "Indian Land" in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign.

 

Resources coming soon!

 


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Pictured above in image slideshow: Photos from our movement partners in the Inland region of California, including an overhead view of San Bernadino, CA; pictures of community members by Alianza and Starting Over, Inc.; and the "Never Forget" art installation by artist Nicholas Galanin that features huge letters spelling out "Indian Land" in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign.

 

Access, Accomodations, and Disability Statement of Intent

In organizing the California Learning Visit, we aim to create a space where Disabled/chronically ill and Deaf people shouldn’t need to pass as being able-bodied, healthy or from hearing culture, in order to be present or to participate fully. We arrived at this goal knowing that Disability surrounds us all, is in many ways what is most familiar to us; bodies and minds with differences, chronic illness and Deafness. Ableism lives and breathes at the hub of racism, poverty, displacement, violence, incarceration, state control and more; we chose to begin the work of re-centering Disability into our analysis and anti -ableism into our practice.

We are determined in our attempt to create a learning visit informed by the truth that we all lose when Disabled/ill voices and politics are not present. We are clear that the embedding of Disability politics and anti-ableism as issues of racial, economic, Trans and gender justice requires time, exposure, political will and persistence - this is our beginning.

We have a long way to go, yet we continue to seek becoming a place where passing is not required for credibility, and participation or value is not dependent upon assimilation.

We are excited to extend this invitation to join us as NFG leans into Disability and build intentionally towards anti-ableism as a core value and implemented principle of action.


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Pictured above in image slideshow: Photos from our movement partners in the Inland region of California, including an overhead view of San Bernadino, CA; pictures of community members by Alianza and Starting Over, Inc.; and the "Never Forget" art installation by artist Nicholas Galanin that features huge letters spelling out "Indian Land" in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign.