This past weekend YLI youth leader Fernando Aguilar presented at the 29th Annual National Conference on Problem Gambling in Baltimore, MD. Fernando and adult ally Jim Kooler from the California Friday Night Live Partnership shared their work on the connection between predatory financial services such as payday lending and problem gambling. Fernando spoke with pride regarding youth-led community organizing efforts that has catalyzed an economic and financial justice movement in the Bay Area. He shared the recent success of the PAID youth group to pass an ordinance to limit payday lenders in South San Francisco and Daly City.
Fernando told the audience, “We created survey to see if [people in our community] knew what a payday lender is, see if they know how it affects our communities. And once they were educated about what it is, they were willing to support us in making changes in our communities by going to city council meetings. The majority of people [we talked to] would agree that it’s wrong. [Payday lenders] prey on communities that can’t afford to pay off loans. You’re not going to find these services in more well off communities. Why? Because they know that more well off communities don’t need their services. And they know exactly how to market to us, that’s their business.”
Fernando’s work builds on a legacy of youth working building their own financial literacy and working to reduce predatory lending practices. See these articles of past news coverage of YLI’s financial end economic justice efforts:
Daly City set to regulate payday lending businesses (San Francisco Examiner, August 10 2014)
South City restricts payday lenders: Youth group wanted more from the zoning amendment (The Daily Journal of San Mateo, October 24, 2014)
Community foundations can help families through policy efforts (Council on Foundations, February 6, 2015)