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Power to the People: Amplified Community Voices Drive Equity in California

Jul 22, 2020 | 3mins

The following is an excerpt from a profile piece from Fund for an Inclusive California Steering Committee member, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The CZI team interviewed Jazmin Segura, Director of the Fund for an Inclusive California, to hear about her story coming into philanthropy, community organizers as first responders to community, and the early impacts of the pandemic. 

Read the full article here.


Meet Jazmin

My personal experiences shape how I show up in my role. I grew up in an immigrant, mixed-status family in Boyle Heights, a place where my parents to this day are renters who experience the daily pressures of displacement. When I went to college, I experienced how systemic barriers can keep people from accessing quality education and so many other ways our political and social systems impact the opportunities people have.

That’s when I started forming my own political identity and values around systemic barriers to education, economic opportunity, and healthcare. I was really curious about the policies that allow these inequities to happen and kept asking questions: How and why does an immigration status impact someone’s ability to go to college? How does someone’s economic status impact their ability to prepare for rigorous coursework? As I began to confront these questions I started doing research around immigration policy. 

After years working in immigrant rights advocacy, I understood more clearly that immigrant communities don’t get impacted by just one system — I wanted to spend more time addressing the big picture of how issues of race and class intersect and how they play a role in creating opportunity, which led me to philanthropy. Now, as the director leading the Fund for an Inclusive California,

I’m accountable to communities that face the pressures of gentrification and displacement. My role is to provide a platform and the resources to advance the communities’ collective vision and what they hope for themselves. This is how true transformation happens.

We believe that the people who bear the brunt of unjust housing policies, and the negative impacts of profit-driven development, should have decision-making power to determine what development looks like in their local neighborhoods.

This Fund is about investing in leadership of directly impacted communities so they harness their individual and collective power to protect and prevent people from being displaced, to increase community control of land and housing and out of the speculative market so that communities own the land they live on. It is envisioning a future where people of color and people living on low incomes can still live and thrive in California.