Jul 20, 2020
Ten years ago, a group of friends, young professionals of color, began to incubate ideas to improve the lives of low-income people in Los Angeles. As the children of immigrant parents who worked hard only to subsist on the economic margins, they knew that systemic barriers to opportunity had to be dismantled. From the criminalization of being undocumented to the lack of access to bank loans, the proverbial American Dream left their communities out. They launched a nonprofit, Inclusive Action, that centers its strategies on the aspirations of underpaid and under-appreciated working people. Leading this ambitious effort, with a team of savvy advocates, is Rudy Espinoza, the son of an industrious immigrant mother from Zacatecas, Mexico. Their campaign to legalize street vendors and provide financing through Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) funding has toppled tired norms and changed lives. While COVID19 has brought new pain to the community, the story is far from over. No one can tell that story like Rudy, informed by the past but aimed squarely at a more equitable future.