Bob’s Blog: This n’ That on Justice

So, my blog this week doesn’t have a singular focus, but a triad of issues: LGBTQ/Trans oppression, Belonging, and a Gondola.  But equity and justice are the through-line across the three.

LGBTQ/Trans Oppression:

So, just for historical context, there is a scary track record of the misuse of “states’ rights” on matters of fundamental equality and civil rights in our nation’s history; “state’s rights” is what brought our nation the Confederacy, the defense of slavery, the Civil War, George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, segregation, and the defense of structural racism.  And now, across several states, we are witnessing a frontal assault on LGBTQ/Trans, voting, and reproductive rights.  More than 30 states have made legislative attempts to make voting accessibility for communities of color more difficult.  And more recently, states like Florida, Alabama, and Texas are engineering full attacks on the health and human rights of Trans and LGBTQ communities and their families.  Not acceptable — and count The California Endowment in on the battle to protect and advance these rights – in our own California and beyond. A Trans young person in Florida should not need to travel across state lines to access medical or counseling services, nor should health professionals be ostracized or penalized for providing such services.


Coming to a billboard near you, you may begin to see our “Belonging” campaign ads.  Nothing fancy or innovative here – we merely want to counter the hateful and divisive national narrative of racism and exclusion and celebrate the full inclusion and diversity of our California.  Full inclusion, in our view, is strategically smart, morally righteous, and spiritually grounded.  We are unapologetic about California emerging as our nation’s first state of Belonging.  Defeating structural racism is on the roadmap toward Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “Beloved Community” – full belonging, inclusion, acceptance.  It will not be given to us on a silver platter; as our grantee partners have demonstrated, it must be fought for.

The Gondola:

As reported in the Los Angeles Times this past week, we have filed legal action to challenge the decision by LA METRO to award a sole-source contract to an entity called LAART, that wants to build an aerial tram or “Gondola” from nearby Union Station to Dodgers Stadium.  The proposal aims to use public land and airspace to build the tram right on the front doorstep of our Center for Healthy Communities – but the biggest offense is the decision to award a sole-source contract that was made behind closed doors, without public knowledge, notice, or opportunity for community input—especially from those communities that have historically shouldered the burden of development forced upon them rather than co-created with them (e.g. Chavez Ravine). The Endowment is supportive of equitable transit opportunities that center the communities most impacted by these developments — and a full and fair assessment of all transportation options is in order.  Let’s put the “public” back in public discourse –.  The decision by METRO to sole source this Gondola project was not an equity-based decision regarding public resources.

Finally, I remain in utter and complete awe of the resiliency of the people of Ukraine.  Love and blessings in their direction.

Bob Ross


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