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Former foster youth Diana Pham, 26, celebrates her graduation from San Jose State University in May. She completed her degree online after the school halted online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

California Considers Extending Foster Care for Young Adults Until Pandemic Emergency Ends

More than 7,000 young people ages 18 to 21 are in California’s foster care system. These young people, and others who recently aged out of foster care, are struggling under the weight of the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Meeting the needs of foster youth is also a racial justice issue. A disproportionate percentage of foster youth are Black or Native American, largely due to structural inequality and racism.

Denzel Tongue outside of a building that reads "State of California."

Opinion: How Systemic Racism Shows Up in California—And Why We Must End It

Growing up in Oakland, I quickly saw first-hand how racism resigns people of color, and Black Americans in particular, to shorter, sicker lives.

Data shows that African Americans in Alameda County live roughly seven years fewer than the county average.

If we act now, we can radically reshape our society in a positive way. Reducing the impact of and ultimately ending systemic racism has to be at the top of the list.

Oct 18, 2019 Berkeley / CA / USA - 'Black lives matter' slogan posted on the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse billboard in downtown Berkeley

Letter From the Editor: How Racism Affects Californians

The pandemic and protests have laid bare the depths of our nation’s disparities. Your race should not determine whether you live or die. It should not influence whether your doctor listens to you, or whether you can breathe clean air.

But—too often—it does.

In my own family, I’ve seen the results of racism and redlining play out over generations in Los Angeles, limiting where some family members could purchase homes, raise their children and retire.

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