Zip Code Economies
Summary: With the backdrop of a world that seems increasingly divided, Zip Code Economies shares the stories of people navigating the unique economic situations in their communities. Hosted by Mary Daly and brought to you by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, these weekly stories highlight people who face issues we hear about every day, but like the rest of us, strive to make contributions, create opportunity, and move forward—together.
As we wrap up Zip Code Economies 1.5, we want to know how young people are faring. So we reconnect with Nefiso and Najmo Abdi, twin sisters we met as high schoolers from San Diego’s tight-knit Somali community. Now in college and navigating the intersection of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, they recognize you can’t put a timeline on change. Instead, they focus on what they can—learning from this time of turmoil and making sure their voices are heard.
We reconnect with Mr. Sanchez, the 10th grade English teacher at Firebaugh High School, who is the definition of an essential worker in the pandemic. Racial and economic inequities have always existed in Firebaugh, and recent events have only magnified this reality. As lack of internet access threatens to cut students off from his class, Mr. Sanchez fights to ensure continued access to education as an act of social justice.
If the intergenerational transmission of hope is a journey, Lahela Williams is an ideal guide. A Native Hawaiian, she discusses the effects of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement in Honolulu, while drawing parallels with the fight to protect the sacred mountain, Mauna Kea. Through it all, we learn that from great chaos comes great change, and we have the “kuleana”—or responsibility—to maintain hope.
In our continued search for answers, we check in with Will Unga, a Pacific Islander raising his young kids in the predominately white, religious community of Salt Lake City. He walks us through his experiences, reminding us of our obligation to continually cultivate hope for the sake of both past and future generations.
In the first episode of Zip Code Economies 1.5, we reconnect with someone who understands how to nurture hope in others, even during the most difficult times. Pastor Paul Bains is a tireless advocate in East Palo Alto, especially on issues of justice and equality. Like tulips, we learn that hope can be buried for a time, but returns with patience, love, and perseverance.
Why do you still hope? That's the question we found ourselves asking in the middle of 2020 as the pandemic spread and our country reckoned with social injustice. To answer it, SF Fed CEO Mary Daly returns to some of the most memorable voices from Season 1—the ambassadors of hope who inspire us with their resilience in the face of adversity. The result is Zip Code Economies 1.5—a project we never intended to make, but that we can now never forget. Please join us for this special bonus series.
How can you change the narrative when the odds are stacked against you? We wrap up this season of Zip Code Economies back in San Diego, with a look at how education is creating new opportunities for not just students, but entire families. As a new generation moves forward as contributors in society, they’re determined to not forget where they came from, while also embracing that zip code doesn’t define their destiny.
On our last stop this season, we land in San Diego facing a chicken or egg dilemma: Do communities create economies? Or is it the other way around? To help us solve that puzzle, we talk to the manager of a nonprofit, a hotel CEO, a Colonel in the Marines, and a Spanish teacher—people who might not seem to have much in common, but who have found a shared home in this fluid, ever-changing part of Southern California.
When you ask residents what makes Hawaii such a special place to live, one word comes up over and over again: “ohana.” But what is “ohana”? In this episode of Zip Code Economies, we return to Honolulu to find out. Join us as we walk away with not just one definition of ohana, but many—all of which we hope to carry back to the mainland.
Many people think of Hawaii as a vacation destination. But what about the people who call it home? In this episode of Zip Code Economies, we travel to Honolulu to uncover “hidden” Hawaii. Through the stories of a blind shopkeeper, Filipino immigrants transitioning jobs, and a native Hawaiian working to build financial resilience, we encounter a community striving to adapt to tough economic realities in a landscape dominated by tourism.
How do you love yourself and your community when it feels like the whole world is against you? In this episode of Zip Code Economies, we head back to East Palo Alto and talk with a charter school principal, an “old-school” police chief, and a pastor who runs a homeless shelter where billionaires take out the trash. Through these conversations, we witness a refrain of love and forgiveness, which is transforming East Palo Alto from the inside out.
East Palo Alto, California, is a 2.64 square mile community surrounded by tech giants and staggering wealth, where residents must weigh being welcoming to newcomers today with the real possibility their own families may be displaced tomorrow. In this episode of Zip Code Economies, we meet individuals bridging this tension through entrepreneurship, coding, and legal services. While the future may be uncertain, residents have a mindset rooted in resiliency that offers reason to be optim
We continue to chisel away at preconceptions through conversations with five women in Salt Lake City— all of them part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this episode of Zip Code Economies, we take a closer look at their individual paths to the labor force, which all reflect a broader narrative of more women than ever before choosing to pursue work outside the home.
What makes a neighbor? In this episode of Zip Code Economies, we head to Salt Lake City, where we grapple with matters of values, faith, and inclusion— while confronting some of our own biases. In the search for clarity, we talk to an array of residents, from a demographic researcher at the University of Utah to a Brigham Young University student interning at the San Francisco Fed.
At first glance, Firebaugh doesn’t seem to have much going for it as a small, agricultural community in the fifth poorest region in America. Yet somehow 97% of students in this primarily immigrant town graduate high school and 77% head to college. In the inaugural episode of Zip Code Economies, we discover the recipe for this success at Firebaugh High School.