Executive Summary

Since COVID-19 has descended upon our state and nation, we have entered what many experts indicate will be a deep global recession. Millions of Californians have found themselves out of work and businesses are in peril, struggling to adapt to new guidelines now that the state legislature and Governor Newsom have negotiated a balanced budget. This pandemic has magnified the urgency of eliminating structural causes of economic inequality affecting Latinos and communities of color prior to COVID-19.

All Californians are economically affected by the pandemic, many to a devastating degree. Employees less able to weather the financial storm are being severely impacted and Latinos are overrepresented in this group. As we rebuild the California economy, we must not leave Latinos behind as we did in the Recession of 2008, when Latino household wealth fell by 66% from 2005 to 2009 nationally. California will not fully recover if its Latino community does not.

We are optimistic. The recent cultural and political conversations taking over the media, the State Capitol, and city and county governments across California revealed that intentional advancement and actions are now being considered. We developed this roadmap to provide specific recommendations beyond COVID-19, but maintained its original goal: Drive sustainable economic development initiatives and opportunities to expand California’s Latino middle class.

We provide an overview of the State of California’s Latino middle class, the latest unemployment numbers at the state and national levels, and the impact of COVID-19 in the Latino community in California. Our roadmap then outlines intentional strategies to address the levels of inequalities within the following areas: Digital Divide, Education, Employment & Entrepreneurship, Energy, Healthcare, Housing, and Income.

We urge for the development of data-based policies that align with the economic framework of this roadmap.

CLEI Board of Directors