California State Controller Betty Yee launched her new podcast, The California Table — a new monthly series featuring community voices often missing at institutional policy or funding decision-making tables.
Yee's debut podcast episode “On the High-Road: Righting the Restaurant Industry" features a must-hear discussion with Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage, Co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jayaraman, an outspoken leader in exposing the vulnerability of restaurant workers — pre- and post-COVID-19 — joins Betty to discuss the history of tipped-wage work and reimagining the restaurant industry as it emerges from the economic devastation of the pandemic.
The California Table airs the first Monday of each month and features Californians making a difference by tackling difficult issues with individual and collective action.
Paid for by Betty Yee for Treasurer 2026 (FPPC ID #1417532).
Overcoming the Plague of Gun Violence in Our Communities
Last year — 2020 — by all accounts was a very deadly year with respect to lives lost to gun shootings. Although media attention focuses by and large on mass shootings, we must not lose sight of the lives lost daily from unintentional shootings, domestic gun violence, gun suicides, and more.
Overlaying the COVID-19 pandemic atop the ongoing plague of gun violence punctuates the persistent racial and economic inequities in education, health care, jobs, and housing primarily in our Black and Brown communities — demanding urgent and multi-pronged strategies to keep our neighbors safe and to foster healing and health.
Season 2, Episode 3 of The California Table features two leaders of these strategies: Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action, the largest national grassroots movement fighting to protect people against gun violence; and DeVone Boggan, CEO of Advance Peace, positively engaging active firearms offenders with healing-centered programs.
To learn more or to become involved in the work of these organizations:
For Moms Demand Action, text "Ready" to 644433
For Advance Peace, visit advancepeace.org
Listen and learn about the collective work to end gun violence.
Environmental Activism on the Ground
February is Black History Month, when the Pan-African flag will be displayed prominently. The flag also signifies Black Liberation, its colors emblematic of the struggle and connection to the homeland: the bloodshed for liberation (red), the affirmation of people and descendants of Black Africa (black), and the land of abundant resources (green).
The march continues for attaining full liberation and justice for Black Americans. In Season 2, Episode 2 of The California Table — "Environmental Activism on the Ground" — features the work of Faye Wilson Kennedy and Nailah Pope-Harden with the Red, Black and Green Environmental Justice Coalition in Sacramento.
Faye and Nailah share their thoughts about what environmental justice looks like for disproportionately affected communities, informed by their daily lived experiences.
Building on Community Assets to Address COVID-19
For under-served communities bearing the brunt of California's growing inequality, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the burdens of daily life. The inequities in health care, jobs, housing, and education for communities of color have come into sharper focus with the COVID crisis and the attendant recession.
Episode 1, Season 2 of The California Table — "Building on Community Assets to Address COVID-19" — brings focus to these inequities in the LatinX community while also highlighting the assets and resilience of the community built from experience in meeting challenge after challenge. Poncho Guevara, Executive Director of Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose speaks about the work of this community action agency in Silicon Valley to address housing instability, food insecurity, health needs, and more — and the inspiration and hope emanating from the community networks that necessarily form to take care of one another.
Lifting Up Families and Individuals in Crisis
Welcome to Episode 4 of The California Table: Lifting Up Families and Individuals in Crisis.
We welcome Louis Gill, Executive Director of the Bakersfield Homeless Center, and a few of his team members to shed light on how to effectively support families in crisis to attain permanent housing and self-sufficiency.Homeless — a societal label that when ascribed to any adult or child who is unsheltered or facing housing instability, has the great potential of immediately stripping one’s dignity. The growing inequality in California, now exacerbated by the COVID public health crisis, has most of us knowing a neighbor, family member, or perhaps it is we ourselves at the edge or having plunged into housing insecurity. Still often associated with large urban areas, homelessness in California spares no region.The Bakersfield Homeless Center, provides a continuum of services to assist families. These services include basic shelter, food, education for the children, permanent housing assistance, job development, and other transitional services. Most importantly, the work of the Center rests on the foundation that every individual has value — and that condemnation and judgment do not change lives, but love and care do.
California's Prison Walls: Inside and Out
Episide 3 of The California Table — "California's Prison Walls: Inside and Out" — features two former inmates who provide insights on prison culture, rehabilitation, and community re-entry and now are working to restore lives of inmates.
Thank you for listening to Betty's conversation with Ted Gray and Jason Bryant, whose work on establishing rehabilitation programs while incarcerated has been recognized by correctional staff, community members, and advocates of criminal justice reform.
This podcast is paid for by Betty Yee for Treasurer 2026, FPPC ID #1417532.
Central Valley Rising: Youth-Fueled Activism
California State Controller Betty Yee opens up the second episode of The California Table with a reflection on her travels and experiences to California's heartland — the Central Valley.
Betty paints a picture for listeners of the Central Valley's agricultural bounty juxtaposed against the stark living conditions of its communities of color.
The second episode of The California Table focuses on the rising youth activism in the Central Valley where unemployment, poverty educational achievement and health lagging behind the rest of California.
Joining Betty are three young activists: Crisantema Gallardo of Atwater, 99 Rootz Director with Power California; Eugene Vang of Merced, 99 Rootz Youth Leader with Power California; and Yosseline Perez of Atwater, a 16-year-old high school student and 99 Rootz Youth Leader with Power California.
99 Rootz with Power California's unapologetic organizing program is led by youth for youth and their families in the Central Valley to lift up their communities,” including organizing for the upcoming November 2020 election.
The podcast is paid for by Betty Yee for Treasurer 2026, FPPC ID #1417532.
Super interesting information, especially with truly how much things have changed ever since the pandemic hit. Cant wait for the next episode!