If you like actual voting data along with your politics, then you’ll enjoy today’s post.
Yesterday, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) along with Chispa, an organizing initiative aimed at encouraging Latinx voters to play a bigger role in environmental policymaking, published the first-ever National Environmental Scorecard: Report on Congressional Caucuses of Color.
Every year since 1970, the LCV rates the environmental and public health voting record of each member of Congress. This new scorecard, which analyzes the environment-related voting records of representatives who are active in caucuses representing people of color, clearly shows that these members are taking the lead when it comes to doing the work around environmental issues. (Well, most of them.) “Members of Congress of color are not only voting pro-environment, they are also championing solutions for clean water, clean air, and climate action,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld, in a statement.
Here’s the tale of the tape for 2016, analyzing 17 votes in the U.S. Senate and 38 votes in the U.S. House:
- Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (Senate and House Democrats) - 98%
- Congressional Black Caucus (Senate and House Democrats) - 89%
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus (Senate and House Democrats) - 90%
- Congressional Hispanic Conference (Senate and House Republicans)- 10%
By comparison, the average 2016 score in the full Senate was 50%, and the average score in the House was just 43%.
For those keeping track at home, low-scoring Congressional Hispanic Conference members include Sen. Marco Rubio with 6%, Rep. Devin Nunes with 3%, and Sen. Ted Cruz with 0%.
On a brief but lively press call, LCV board members along with Senator Mazie K. Hirono [D-Hawaii] explained that the high scores from most of the caucuses shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Under-resourced, beset by environmentally hazardous conditions, chronic health woes, and now climate change, vulnerable communities of color tend to be hit the hardest by environmental problems. And, they have little political clout. (See also: Flint, Michigan.) On the call, Sen. Hirono explained that given the current political climate – and the “most anti-environment president in history” – her caucus was urgently looking for more ways to work collaboratively together. “It’s no coincidence that caucuses of color have very high support” [for environmental issues], she said. “We really understand the challenges that people of color face in our communities.”
In addition to lauding the scorecard, LCV Board Member and Hip-Hop Caucus president Rev. Lennox Yearwood made it clear that he considered the data to be a line in the sand. He cited groups like the Safe Climate Caucus, and the newly launched United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force as good news for smart policies and policymakers. “But many members are not doing their part at all,” he said, gaining steam. “This raises our eyebrows and forces us to ask why. Why are you not doing everything you can to protect the health of our communities? Why are you not doing everything you can to create new economic opportunities in clean energy like solar and wind? Why are you not doing everything in your power to protect the most vulnerable people from the effects of climate change?”
Cristóbal J. Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project, echoed the sentiment. “The Congressional Caucuses of Color Scorecard is a critical tool for us to use in holding our elected officials accountable and to reward them when they do right by us,” he said.
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The growing crisis of mental health and the modern work place
Two Fortune stories are serving to highlight different aspects of a serious and growing problem: The need for a better mental health care. The first is from Geoff Smith, who wrote an important essay in today’s CEO Daily about a new survey that shows drug use among the U.S. workforce is at a 12-year high. The second, from Laura Entis, shares new data showing depression is now the world’s most widespread illness. There is, of course, a direct line from addiction and depression to decreased productivity, which is the business case for caring about this. But the human aspect informs the leadership imperative. I would hasten to add that the personal costs for employees of color facing depression or addiction can be even higher. Because we typically accumulate less personal wealth or reserves over time, a setback can be career-killing. And we're less likely to ask for help. In the case of illegal drug use, we're less likely than our white counterparts to fare well if the criminal justice system becomes involved. But you knew that.
Opinion: The majority-minority isn’t really going to happen
It’s hard to know what to make of this opinion piece written by Herbert Gans, an author, Columbia professor, and sociologist. He says the prediction that the U.S. will become a majority-minority nation by 2040ish is based on faulty data collection, but more tellingly, by a mistaken notion of “whiteness” itself. “Simply put, the demographers have not taken into account how the perception of race is likely to change in the coming years.” He cites the historic “whitening” of otherwise unwelcome immigrants, namely the Irish in the last century. “The same whitening is now taking place among the descendants of Asian and light-skinned Latinos, particularly those already in the middle class.” His take: The majority of the U.S. will be transformed back to white by 2040. My take: No they won’t. But maybe we should all discuss it?
Your favorite showrunners talk about work, representing, and life in Hollywood
The Hollywood Reporter brought 12 big-name showrunners together to talk about how the world influences the work they do. Ava DuVernay spoke candidly about the fear of losing opportunities. “I'm running around doing everything because I love it but also because there is the fear that any artist has that there won't be another question asked to say no to,” she says. “And on top of that, the fear that the industry might shift in terms of its attention to women right now or the current renaissance regarding people of color, specifically black folk on TV, and then you're left with nothing.” My second favorite moment was when Kenya Barris told Judd Apatow that “I wanted to be the black Judd Apatow because I wanted to be able to jump around,” and multi-task. Apatow responded that focusing on one project works “only if you're better than your writers, but everyone that I work with is better than me. So when I'm not around, things improve.” Big laughs. Click through for transcript and video.
How IBM, Accenture, PwC, and Deloitte are shaking up marketing
So, this piece is fascinating for many reasons. First, it describes a real shift in marketing – the big consultancies have data, and advertisers need it. According to the story, they’re “wooing chief marketing officers with their vast array of strategic and data analytics solutions to big business problems that traditional advertising can no longer solve alone.” It seems to be working. The four consultancies have just cracked Ad Age’s list of the ten largest creative agencies in the world. While they’re increasingly found in the traditional pitch process, they’ve got a serious advantage over traditional creative agencies – they already do major business with C-Suites around the world. But here’s what went unsaid in this article: They also appear on every single “best place to work for diversity” list there is. Like, all of them. And they’re the rising stars in advertising and marketing? Let the beauty of that sink in for a moment.
When the Muslim at the airport is a hero, not your enemy
Syed Ali is a combat veteran, a major in the U.S. Army Reserve, a NYC police officer, and by his photo, a dapper fellow who has a way with a fedora. And yet, last month he was detained and threatened with incarceration by Customs agents who tagged him for secondary screening at JFK Airport. He was kept for hours. “Are you telling me that every guy with the last name Ali is a terrorist? Are you telling me every guy with brown skin coming in from overseas is a terrorist?” he told The New York Times. He’d been returning from a vacation after a two-year deployment to Kuwait, fighting the Islamic State, but he's being targeted in other ways. “I’m more concerned with, what is the average citizen going through?” he said. “It’s happening to other people and it’s probably a lot worse.”
The Woke Leader
How to work with people who are not like you
Diane Bock is a senior consultant with DDI, a global leadership firm. She’s written a warm and shareable blog post, filled with research links, that can help people who are struggling to work with others who are unlike themselves. (Bonus: she defines “not like you” broadly.) Her three strategies for improvement hit right to the heart of the matter, but I want to call your attention to her first tip: Developing better interpersonal communication skills. “The great thing about effectively communicating and interacting with others is that you can be highly skillful without being just like the other person in temperament, ideology, personality, belief-systems, etc.,” she writes. Their “interaction essentials” provides a framework for speaking and listening that can help bridge a potential communications gap with empathy and trust. And she has charts and graphs to back her up.
You must read this piece about slavery in The Atlantic
Really, you must. Written by the late Alex Tizon, it begins with his journey to return the ashes of one Eudocia Tomas Pulido to her family in a rural village in the Philippines. And then this: “She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived.” It is magnificently written, and deeply disturbing. Then, you must read the many, many important conversations that immediately erupted about the piece. Without giving too much away, many Americans, particularly Americans of color, were outraged by the story, feeling that the life of the woman who lived in servitude to the family had been erased in the telling. But other voices quickly emerged. After the piece trended in the Philippines, New Yorker writer Adrian Chen compiled some responses from Filipino Twitter users who provided their own context. And writer Rin Chupeco tweeted her own response, as an attempt to “educate well-meaning American liberals on Filipino culture.” It begins with this doozy: “When I was a teenager, my grandmother tried to kidnap my sister and I for money to pay the Chinese mafia.”
Happy birthday to The Undefeated!
My favorite sports and culture site turns one today, and it’s worth taking a moment to look back at all they’ve accomplished. They’ve hosted meaningful conversations with Barack Obama, Serena Williams, and Michael Jordan, among hundreds of others, and tackled important issues of race, power, fame and culture without flinching. Best of all, they have consistently presented athletes as their authentic selves, taking them out of the realm of pure spectacle and returning them to their nuanced, human and yes, exceptional, beings. Congratulations to founding editor and my friend Kevin Merida, who brings it every day. Click through for a short video, then wander around and lose some time to the amazing writing.
We’re going to keep mobilizing, organizing and energizing…We have to build a civil rights organization for the 21st century. And we must connect one’s cultural expressions to one’s to one’s political experience…it’s not just about recycling things, it’s about recycling lives.
—Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.