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Law preventing “deadnaming” on college diplomas heads to Governor

AB 245 will require public colleges to provide graduating students the option to have their chosen name printed on their college diploma.

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Photo Credit: University of California Los Angeles

SACRAMENTO — Legislation authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to give students at California public colleges, especially transgender and nonbinary students, the ability to have their chosen names printed on their diplomas passed the Assembly floor on a concurrence vote and now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for his signature.

Assembly Bill 245 will ensure diplomas do not “deadname” or call the graduate by the name they were assigned at birth rather than the name they use.

“The day a student receives their diploma should be filled with happiness and pride,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “When a diploma doesn’t match the student’s name, it can turn an otherwise great day into another obstacle to overcome. It can put up barriers to future employment and out a person in an unsafe situation. This simple policy ensures transgender and nonbinary students have one less barrier to overcome. I look forward to the Governor signing this crucial bill to lift up all of our students.”

Transgender and nonbinary Californians often face discrimination, violence, and barriers to employment. These existing barriers can be exacerbated by student records that do not reflect their name and gender.

If a person’s name does not match the name on a transcript or diploma, that can present real challenges when applying for graduate school or employment opportunities. It can also “out” individuals who may not wish to be outed as transgender or may not feel safe in their current situation to openly identify as transgender or nonbinary.

Many California colleges have taken steps to give students the opportunity to designate their affirmed name and gender in a variety of areas like student identification cards and school email accounts. However, those opportunities are not always extended to diplomas, and colleges across the state have vastly different processes for updating student records after graduation.

AB 245 will require public colleges to provide graduating students the option to have their chosen name printed on their college diploma. The bill will also standardize the process for updating records after a student graduates, clarifying which forms of legal identification are sufficient to update student records. In order to update records after graduation, a student would need one form of legal identification, including, but not limited to, a driver’s license, state identification card, birth certificate, passport, social security card, or court order indicating a name or gender change.

AB 245 builds off of AB 711, authored by Assemblymember Chiu and signed into law in 2019 by Governor Newsom. AB 711 required schools districts to update the diplomas and transcripts of former K-12 students, particularly for transgender and nonbinary students, to reflect their accurate names and gender markers.

Equality California and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis are sponsoring AB 245.

“Every diploma earned by a student in California commemorates years of hard work and achievement despite tremendous challenges – especially for our transgender and gender nonconforming students,” said Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “Today’s passage of AB 245 is an important step towards protecting and supporting these students, who are at risk of discrimination or harm if the name on their transcript or diploma is different than the name they use and identify with. By sending this bill to the Governor for his signature, the Legislature has sent a strong message that California values and affirms its trans and gender nonconforming students.”

“As state legislatures across the country attack the livelihood and well-being of trans youth, today the California Legislature took a vastly different path,” said Equality California Legislative Director Tami A. Martin. “Thanks to the leadership of pro-equality champion Assemblymember David Chiu, California will soon empower transgender and gender nonconforming people to have their name and gender accurately reflected on their college records. While much more must be done to protect trans people in every aspect of life, this is an important milestone for trans and gender nonconforming public college students and graduates to commemorate a pivotal part of their career and life. We look forward to Governor Newsom signing AB 245 into law and ensuring California continues to set the pace for the country when it comes to affirming our trans and gender nonconforming community.”

Governor Newsom will have twelve days to sign AB 245.

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California

California expands broadband infrastructure & internet access across state

The initial project locations based on unserved/underserved areas that don’t reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second

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California Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of California)

SACRAMENTO – Advancing California’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has identified 18 projects to begin work on an open-access middle-mile network that will provide missing infrastructure paths to bring broadband to all communities.

As part of the historic $6 billion broadband investment advanced in partnership with legislative leaders earlier this year, the initial project locations are based on known unserved and underserved areas across the state. The projects will connect to the core of the global internet and interconnect to last-mile infrastructure, which is the final leg that provides internet service to a customer.

“California is committed to taking on the challenges laid bare by the pandemic, including the digital divide holding back too many communities across the state,” said Newsom. “These projects are the first step to delivering on our historic investment that will ensure all Californians have access to high-quality broadband internet, while also creating new jobs to support our nation-leading economic recovery.”

The initial 18 projects represent a range of geographic locations and technical approaches. Projects are being initiated in the following tribal communities, counties and cities: Alpine County; Amador County; Calaveras County; Central Coast; Coachella Valley; Colusa Area; Inyo County; Kern County; Kern/San Luis Obispo Area; Lake County Area; Los Angeles and South Los Angeles; Oakland; Orange County; Plumas Area; Riverside/San Diego Area; San Bernardino County; Siskiyou Area; and West Fresno.

Evaluation of project areas included consideration of public comments, prioritization of unserved or underserved areas of the state, and inclusion of tribal communities, cities and counties. An unserved or underserved area has households that do not reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload of at least 3 Mbps.

“Core to our success will be the deep partnerships we’ve built with a diverse set of community organizations and last mile providers. Through many years of engagement with metropolitan planning organizations, CPUC-supported broadband consortia, Tribal organizations, community-based broadband advocacy groups, and organizations like the Rural County Representatives of California, the NAACP, and the California Emerging Technology Fund, we are now ready to take this historic step towards broadband equity for California,” said Louis Fox, Founder and Chair of GoldenStateNet, the state’s third-party administrator.

State partners implementing the middle-mile initiative include the California Department of Technology, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Caltrans. GoldenStateNet was selected as the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to manage the development, acquisition, construction, maintenance and operation of the statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network. As the TPA, GoldenStateNet will partner with key stakeholder groups across the state to investigate the best technical, financial and operational models to meet the needs of the project sites.  

A map and additional information on the initial projects can be found here.

“A reliable broadband connection makes the difference between having access to full-service health care, education and employment or sometimes going without,” said State Chief Information Officer Amy Tong. “Through a historic partnership between our Governor, the Legislature, state agencies and a third-party administrator, we are taking immediate action to improve connectivity for Californians in the northern, central and southern parts of the state.”

“These initial routes have been identified to accelerate projects in areas of the state that are unserved because of the lack of open middle mile infrastructure to serve them. We are accelerating the selection of a diverse set of routes — those that are ready to build and those that are not ready to build.  This allows the state to partner with locals on these diverse projects and learn by doing, as we concurrently work to finalize all the needed routes in the State. There are many more communities like those in Phase I that will be included in the final map,” said Martha Guzman Aceves, Commissioner at the CPUC.

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California

Names of Trans dead projected onto Netflix HQ

2021 was the deadliest year of violence against LGBTQ+ people since records began- greatest harm to Black Trans women, migrants & sex workers

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Activists projects names of trans dead on Netflix HQ (Photo by Alan Marling)

LOS GATOS – On the Trans Day of Remembrance, the names of trans people who died this year were projected onto Netflix’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

The words of light were visible from Winchester Boulevard, over the archway entrance to the headquarters. Earlier this year, Netflix was criticized for spreading transphobia as well as for firing a trans, Black, pregnant employee for organizing a walkout. 

Local trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith said of the projection, “The CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, spoke earlier this year in defense of Dave Chappelle’s comedy special, ‘The Closer,’ stating that, ‘We have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.’ It is a fitting rebuttal, therefore, that the names of those who were murdered in the name of anti-transgender violence end up projected on the walls of Netflix’s offices. Perhaps this will serve as a reminder that there are, indeed, real world consequences to consider when you platform transphobia disguised as comedic expression.”

2021 was the deadliest year of violence against gender-diverse people since records began, with the greatest harm done to Black trans women, migrants, and sex workers. The recorded number of 375 deaths is likely also severely underreported, according to Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide. 

“I cancelled my Netflix account,” said local projection activist Alan Marling, “but I’ll be happy to renew it once the company meets the demands of the walkout.”

The demands include investment in trans and non-binary voices, acknowledging the harm done, and hiring of a trans executive.

The full list can be found here.

Video by Alan Marling

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California

At West LA VA Medical Center, Newsom announces new partnership

Governor Newsom also issued a proclamation that declared November 11, 2021, as Veterans Day

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Governor Newsom speaking with a vet at the West LA VA Medical Center (Photo credit: Office of the Governor)

LOS ANGELES – Ahead of Veterans Day, California Governor Gavin Newsom visited veterans receiving COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center Wednesday, where he highlighted the state’s ongoing efforts to increase vaccination rates and promote booster shots for eligible populations and investments to address veterans’ homelessness. 

Joined by California’s U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, California Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. Vito Imbasciani, and California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, the Governor also announced a $750,000 donation from Lennar Homes and Five Point Communities that will purchase 86 tiny homes for veterans on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus to help ensure that veterans have a safe and dignified place to live. Most of the veterans from the “Veterans Row” encampment at San Vicente and Wilshire recently moved onto the campus. 

“California is home to over 1.6 million veterans, the most of any state in the nation. We’re continually working to ensure that our veterans and their families receive the resources and support they need and have earned many times over,” said Newsom. “Thanks to a partnership between California, the VA and Los Angeles County, more veterans in the region have a safe place to go to receive mental health services and health care, including their COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines are how we end this pandemic, and boosters are how we keep our immunity strong.”

The Governor also issued a proclamation declaring November 11, 2021, as Veterans Day.

The West LA VA Medical Center administers 90 to 100 boosters on-site daily through walk-ins or by appointment, and is still administering first and second vaccinations regularly. The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS), which includes the West LA center, is one of eight VA Healthcare Centers in California and offers services to veterans residing in five counties in Southern California. VAGLAHS is organizing a number of outreach events and efforts to vaccinate all veterans and eligible individuals.

The Governor & Senator Alex Padilla visited the West LA VA Medical Center to announce a new tiny homes project, and promote vaccinations. (Photo credit: Office of the Governor)

The Governor today also announced a partnership with the Hilton Foundation on a $69,000 grant to provide coordinated services to veterans to find more permanent housing. The announcements build on the Governor’s unprecedented $22 billion investment to address housing and homelessness, including $12 billion for homelessness and behavioral health services to help get tens of thousands of people off the streets or avoid homelessness altogether. This package includes $25 million specifically for homeless veterans services and $20 million to support the West LA Veterans Affairs campus.

Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development in collaboration with the California Department of Veterans Affairs and the California Housing Finance Agency, the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program (VHHP) finances the development of a variety of rental housing for veterans and their families, and has announced three awards today that are part of the West LA campus. VHHP will fund 189 of the 192 units, with awards for the three programs totaling $39.6 million.

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