AUGUST 19, 2015
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Hilary Hoynes Photo

The Earned Income Tax Credit Helps Lift People Out of Poverty

Recent research from Haas Institute Economic Disparities Cluster Chair Hilary Hoynes and Ankur Patel showed that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has been essential in helping to lift families out of poverty. writes of the EITC, "It functions as a wage subsidy for the working poor, providing an average of $2,982 a year to families with children come tax season. According to the Census Bureau, refundable tax credits like the EITC cut the poverty rate by 3 percentage points in 2013 — that's 9.4 million people kept out of poverty." According to Hoynes & Patel's research paper "Effective Policy for Reducing Inequality? The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Distribution of Income," the number of people kept out of poverty may actually be an underestimate, and that the EITC may be even much more effective than what the Census Bureau's numbers imply. Last March, Hilary Hoynes met with President Obama and a small group of 5 other economists to discuss "Inequality, Wages and the Future of Work". Prof. Hoynes presented her findings at the White House, including six benefits of anti-poverty programs. Read the article. 

"Call Me Caitlyn"

Peter Hammer, Director of Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School, opened a recent article for Jurist magazine with the words "Call Me Caitlyn." In this detailed examination of the intersection between the law and transgender individuals, Hammer wrote, "Few human needs are greater than the desire to belong and to be called by your true name. There are few traumas more severe than being shamed, ostracized and socially outcast. john powell and his colleagues at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society have highlighted the universal significance of othering and belonging and the importance of expanding the circle of human concern."

Hammer argued that the framework of "othering" and "belonging" provides a powerful way to embrace the concerns of transgender persons. While the rights and social acceptances of transgendered persons are among the last to be addressed in modern society, the largely positive reception of Caitlyn Jenner is another milestone in a long struggle for acceptance. Yet, there remain many transgendered persons, particularly of color, whom are victims of violence and Othering by simply trying to be who they are. This article addresses the realities of the lengths that transgendered persons must go through to live a peaceful life without having to constantly explain their gender and identity to a larger society. Read the Jurist piece.

Samir Gambhir at GIS Conference

Putting the Haas Institute on the Map

Samir Gambhir, Program Manager and Senior GIS Specialist for the Haas Institute, participated in the annual GIS conference hosted by the Environmental Systems Research Institute in July in San Diego. The conference, one of the largest of its kind, was attended by more than 16,000 participants from 135 countries. Samir designed a display of some of the Haas Institute's most impactful recent mapping projects to date for viewing in the conference's exhibition gallery. The Haas Institute display board included maps done for housing displacement in Richmond and marriage equality research.  Samir also raised the issue of applying GIS work in the advancement of social change and racial justice with ESRI’s President, Jack Dangermond. Following their conversation, Samir will take a leading role in connecting GIS professionals from social change organizations with opportunities to share their work at the next ESRI conference. To view the maps that the Haas Institute developed with the Insight Center for Rise Together Bay Area, click here

Minimum Wage Increase Being Considered in Santa Monica

UC Berkeley Professor and Haas Institute Economic Disparities faculty Michael Reich challenges the idea that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will cause the economy to worsen. According to a recent article on Surf Santa Monica, this wage increase, being debated in Santa Monica, California, would cause minimal impacts to the bottom line. Reich helped research the potential impacts of a wage increase in Los Angeles earlier this year and was asked to share those findings with the business sector in Santa Monica. According to Reich in another article in the Santa Monica Mirror, workers in four industries will see the biggest impacts: food service, retail, health care, and social assistance among others. The wage increases will also reduce turnover. Read the article

Expanding the Circle of Human Concern

In a radio segment with Professor Manuel Pastor, Director john a powell talked about the mechanisms of othering and how this process leaves many outside of the circle of human concern. According to powell, in recent years there has been a "celebration of our separation and not our connectivity." Pastor, who is Director of USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, underscored this with the example of Latinos identified on the US Census, by checking boxes labeled "other" when they did not identify with the choices provided. powell suggested that Americans should focus on our interdependence with one another, rather than our perceived differences. Listen to the entire segment

Op-Ed: Traffic Stops Aren't Making Us Safer

The use of excessive force against people of color by police has been highly publicized. A number of these deadly encounters have been after traffic stops for minor infractions of the law such as broken tail lights and improper lane changes. According to Haas Institute Diversity and Democracy cluster member Christopher Kutz, "minor traffic violations, by definition, pose no significant immediate threat and represent only a marginal increase in risk to road safety. On the other hand, every stop brings a substantial danger to the law enforcement officer: Car and motorcycle accidents and being struck by vehicles are a leading cause of death in the line of duty." Kutz believes that reducing the number of traffic stops by law enforcement officials may not necessarily make the public less safe. Read this op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times

Recent Blog Posts from the 2015 Haas Institute Summer Fellows

Read more blog posts on the Haas Institute blog.
Imaginary Activism Flyer

Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Imaginary Activism: The Role of the Artist beyond the Art World 
With opening remarks by Laura E. Pérez, Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies
This event will be held at Durham Studio Theater
RSVP on Facebook page 
This event is free of charge and open to the public.
Equal Justice Society Gala Commemorates the 50th anniversaries of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. More information here.
FALL 2015
UC Berkeley's Multicultural Education Program Fall 2015 Workshop Schedule 

9:00 am – 11:30 am 

Looking in / Looking Out: Exploring Workplace Diversity at Cal

FRI, OCT. 16
9:00 am – 11:30 am
First Take / Second Look: Exploring Unconscious Bias

9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Let’s Talk: Engaging in Cross Cultural Communication

Register for individual workshops or find out more about the MEP Certificate Curriculum here.

OCT. 15-17
Time Again to Gather: 30th California Indian Conference
UC Berkeley

OCT. 27-29
Policylink’s #Equity15 – National Conference
Join thousands of attendees to craft and fortify the next wave of strategies and actions to achieve just and fair inclusion at PolicyLink’s Equity Summit in downtown Los Angeles, California. Register today.

Connected Economy Publication CoverThis “hopeful and speculative” essay by Leap Forward project director Mark Gomez argues that Americans are poised to enter a new era of enduring prosperity led by African Americans and immigrants, those who previously have been held back. This essay is part of the Haas Institute's ongoing work analyzing and addressing economic and social inequality. Download the essay.
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