UCLA Alum Rafael Agustín (’03 & ’04), TV Writer (Jane the Virgin) and CEO of the Latino Film Institute (LFI), discusses writing and bringing Latinx stories and characters to film and TV; his experience at UCLA; and helping the next generation of Latinx filmmakers.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

0:33 – What got you interested in theater and television?

1:38 – What was your experience at UCLA?

3:16 – Why is it important to tell Latinx stories in TV and film?

5:05 – New projects, and advice on breaking into TV and film.

Learn more about Mr. Rafael Agustín and the Latino Film Institute (LFI) by visiting their website at https://latinofilm.org/.

Read about LFI’s advocacy of the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report series HERE.

Read about LFI naming Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón their inaugural LFI Scholar in 2021 HERE.

 

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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) partnered with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to produce the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap that was released today, August 20. According to the NMAAHC, “[t]his first-of-its-kind collection chronicles hip-hop’s growth and impact from the parks of the Bronx to the broadest areas of the American experience and worldwide influence. A track list and additional information about the anthology are available, including images from the set.”

In 2014, key figures in the music and culture of hip-hop came together to comprise an executive committee that would work on an anthology that was focused on all facets of hip-hop culture. UCLA’s Dr. Cheryl Keyes, Chair and Professor of African American Studies, Ethnomusicology and Global Jazz Studies worked on the committee with Rappers MC Lyte and Public Enemy’s Chuck D, writer-scholar Adam Bradley, and early Def Jam senior executives Bill Adler and Bill Stephney, artist-writer-director Questlove, and producer-educator 9th Wonder.

To learn more about this amazing anthology, check out the content below.

National Museum of African American History and Culture and Smithsonian Folkways Announce Aug. 20 Release of the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap

Origins of Hip-Hop and Rap Explored In Smithsonian ‘Anthology’

How Do You Capture Four Decades of Hip-Hop? Very Broadly

The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative has supported the efforts of California’s Unseen Latinas Initiative headed by UCLA Alumna and California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (UCLA Law ‘99)

By Nick Gonzalez, Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI) Policy Analyst

 

Latinas make less than their male and female counterparts, have never served in a statewide elected position and remain underrepresented in corporate leadership positions. A new two-year effort launched by Asm. Lorena Gonzalez (UCLA Law ‘99) and the California Latino Caucus seeks to tackle the inequities that the state’s Latinas face.

UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative faculty and staff have been at the forefront of “Unseen Latinas” by providing expert testimony in its first year of public hearings to identify problems and solutions. Through cross-sectoral research, a team of UCLA LPPI female experts have been putting a data-driven lens on the educational, economic and career barriers that Latinas must overcome.

“By launching the Unseen Latinas initiative, California’s leaders are making it clear that they understand that the state’s continued economic prowess requires that Latinas have a fair chance to succeed and thrive,” said Sonja Diaz, UCLA LPPI founding director, who participated in the October 2020 launch event. “Especially as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s time to make sure that no one gets left behind in the recovery and bright future that lies ahead.”

Latinas make up nearly 20% of Californians, and Latina participation in the U.S. workforce was expected to grow by 26% in the next 10 years. Yet, new research from LPPI shows that Latinas exited the workforce amid the pandemic at higher rates than any other demographic amid the pandemic, making it clear that recovery efforts should provide specific assistance to help them recover financially and get back on their feet.

“California has an opportunity and responsibility to lead what it means to have a just and equal economy,” said Asm. Gonzalez. “UCLA LPPI has been a valuable partner on the Unseen Latinas Initiative. LPPI experts have shared key testimony by shining a light on the inequalities Latinas continue to face, as well as the opportunities that exist to make sure Latinas are no longer unseen and can participate in the state’s prosperous future.”

In an October conversation about the Latina wage gap, Diaz urged action to address the childcare and family obligations that pushed Latinas out of the workforce during the pandemic. Without a clear plan to bring them back into the labor market, the repercussions could be devastating for Latino families and for the state’s economy, she said.

UCLA LPPI expert Dr. Mary Lopez, an economics professor at Occidental College continued the conversation  in a January hearing on the labor market, testifying that policy solutions such as affordable childcare and job training would be essential in reducing workforce inequities for Latinas.

Part of the invisibility of the needs and strengths of the state’s Latinas comes from the lack of representation in media and popular culture. At an April hearing, UCLA LPPI expert Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón provided testimony from the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, which she co-founded and co-authors. Latinos and women are among the groups that remain underrepresented in film relative to their population size.

“We know that Hollywood plays a meaningful role in shaping how people perceive others around them,” Ramón said, who is also the director of research and civic engagement at the UCLA Division of Social Sciences. “When Latinas do not have starring roles or they are not seen as doctors, lawyers, or CEOs, that perpetuates the barriers that they face in achieving their full potential.”

The Unseen Latinas public hearings series also discussed the challenges that Latinas face in breaking into the legal field, with expert testimony from UCLA LPPI expert Jennifer Chacon. For example, the California Supreme Court is another glass ceiling for Latinas, where one has never served as a justice.

For information about the legislators leading Unseen Latinas and for details on upcoming hearings, please visit the Assembly website for the state’s Select Committee on Latina Inequities.

The UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report received a $250,000 allocation in the California state budget. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, the funds will support the overarching goals of UCLA’s Hollywood Advancement Project, which produces the Hollywood Diversity Report. It is the industry’s only longitudinal analysis that connects the relationship between the diversity of key jobs in Hollywood films and television productions with the spending power and appetites of increasingly diverse U.S. audiences.

“Numbers don’t lie,” Asm. Carrillo said. “The UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report holds the data needed to effect change for both below- and above-the-line workers, which is why it was critical to leverage our state’s budget to support it. As efforts to expand production and bring back these jobs to the state via California’s Television and Film Tax Credit continue, those efforts should be reflective of the diversity of our state.”

“We’re in our 10th year of data collection and every year we show that audiences gravitate to content that feature diverse casts and creators, ones that reflect the diversity of the American demographic,” said Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, director of research and civic engagement for the UCLA division of social sciences and co-author of the Hollywood Diversity Report. “This new support from the state budget will be instrumental to our ongoing efforts to comprehensively track who is getting key jobs in Hollywood, and expand the ways we show how that reality has an impact not only the bottom line for studios themselves, but for the economy at large.”

The Latino Film Institute (LFI), which this year named Dr. Ramón its inaugural scholar, played a key role in the process. Edward James Olmos, LFI Founder and Board Chairman, Rafael Agustín, LFI CEO, and the LFI Board of Directors championed for the report to receive the funding. “Latino communities are particularly underrepresented at all levels of critical Hollywood jobs both in front of and behind the camera,” said Mr. Agustín. “We’re grateful to collaborate closely with UCLA as we seek to reckon with this fact and work toward meaningful change.”

To read the full UCLA Newsroom story, click HERE.

To read the Deadline story, click HERE.

The UCLA Labor Center has received $15 million from the 2021-22 California Budget to renovate its historic building that will be renamed for the civil rights icon Rev. James Lawson Jr. This will establish a permanent location for the UCLA Labor Center, which believes that a public university belongs to the people and should advance quality education and employment.

Reverend James M. Lawson Jr. is a civil rights and workers’ rights icon who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 2018, UCLA awarded Rev. Lawson the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor.

State Senator Durazo (D-Los Angeles), State Assembly member Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) and State Assembly member Santiago (D-Los Angeles) championed the effort by submitting legislative member requests to their respective budget leaders. The California Black, Latino and LGBTQ caucuses and numerous labor, faith, and educational organizations throughout the state also supported the requests.

“I had the privilege of introducing this initiative before the California State Senate,” said Durazo. “I am excited that the UCLA Labor Center will have a permanent home in my senatorial district, and that we will name the building in honor of an outstanding national American hero and my good friend Rev. James Lawson Jr.”

To learn more about the renaming and the renovation, please click HERE.

Here at UCLA, community engaged scholarship is not an option – it is an imperative. Los Angeles is a profoundly diverse, multicultural city and a gateway to the rest of the planet. In the Division of Social Sciences, we take our location and our embeddedness in Los Angeles very seriously. The findings that come out of our research are findings that can be applied to real world community problems. In this sense, we are engaging LA to change the world.

 

LA Social Science is pleased to share this video highlighting two researchers, Dr. Jason De León and Dr. Jessica Cattelino, and the important community engaged scholarship they are leading in the social sciences.

As a public institution, our work is ultimately in service of you, our community. By engaging LA, we are changing the world.

Presenting UCLA’s first conference on

Data-Informed Governance (DIG)

July 7, 2021

Online, starting at 8 a.m. PDT

REGISTER NOW

Watch three panel discussions featuring experts and peers from the public, private, and civic sectors.

Exchange innovative, actionable approaches to real-world policy issues.

Find out why it is increasingly critical for state and local governments to become technology proficient, using data to inform critical policy decisions.

Join with participants from a wide spectrum of organizations and geographies – from local nonprofits to national research institutes, small cities to regional governing bodies.

LEARN MORE

The DIG Conference is a convening of people from diverse backgrounds that aims to demonstrate the potential for structured peer-to-peer learning on this subject. This cross-section of attendee profiles encourages the advancement of data-centric solutions for public policy that are accessible, scalable, and pragmatic.


DIG is made possible thanks to the support of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, the Luskin Center for Innovation at UCLA, the College of Social Sciences, the LA Social Science Initiative, the Anderson School of Management, the Ziman Center for Real Estate, and Impact@Anderson.

UCLA Labor Center‘s Director Kent Wong, was recognized as one of the “Giants of Justice” yesterday, June 3rd, by the Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). CLUE “is an organization that brings together clergy and lay leaders of all faiths with workers, immigrants, and low-income families in the cause of a just economy that works for all and protects those most vulnerable.” Director Wong was honored along with faith leaders and community activists in Southern California who inspire others to build a just and sacred society.

LA Social Science would like to congratulate Director Wong for this well deserved honor.

Dr. Paul Ong, Center for Neighborhood Knowledge Director and UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Professor, speaks with LA Social Science about the challenges the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, big data research, and the xenophobic racism the AAPI community face here in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Interview Chapters:

0:39 – Welcome Professor Ong

0:45 – Professor Ong Research Introduction

1:42 – COVID-19 Pandemic effort on the AAPI Community

4:33 – Work being done on the ground

7:35 – Big Data connection to Professor Ong research

10:20 – Information about CNK (Center for Neighborhood Knowledge).

13:30 – Goals for your research and your center

Learn more about Dr. Ong and the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge team by visiting their website at https://knowledge.luskin.ucla.edu.

 

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UCLA LPPI Founding Director Sonja Diaz in conversation with Juan Cartegena, president and general counsel of Latino Justice – PRLDEF.

What would our criminal legal system look like if it was truly designed to reduce harm, advance public safety, and end America’s legacy as the world’s leading incarcerator?

That was the question on everyone’s mind last week as our nation’s leading Latino elected officials, advocates, academics, and media personalities convened to grapple with the issue of criminal justice — an issue of intense national debate since last summer. Hosted by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (UCLA LPPI), LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Drug Policy Alliance, and the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, the convening Activating Justice Through a Latinx Lens” was aimed at creating greater visibility of Latinos within the justice reform movement, identifying opportunities to build solidarity with other communities most impacted by the criminal legal system, and advancing transformative policy aimed at justice rather than punishment.

“For too long Latinos have been left out of the criminal justice conversation, even though we are the second most negatively impacted group by numbers behind Black people when it comes to our criminal legal systems,” said Sonja Diaz, founding director of UCLA LPPI.

Crimmigration panel moderated by Jonathan Jayes-Greene of the Marguerite Casey Foundation and featuring Jacinta Gonzalez (Mijente), Greisa Martinez Rosas (United We Dream), Jennifer M. Chacón, (UCLA) and Abraham Paulos (Black Alliance for Just Immigration)

With conversations led by UCLA LPPI faculty experts such as Dr. Jennifer Chacón, over 1,000 participants tuned in to hear from a multiracial cadre of 40 speakers covering topics from ending youth incarceration, to the movement to defund the police, to the intersection of the criminal legal and immigration systems — all through a Latinx lens. Featured speakers like renowned journalist Maria Hinojosa and author Julissa Arce created the opportunity for lively discussions about the opportunity to create new, more truthful and inclusive narratives in the criminal justice space and develop tailored solutions that address the underlying structural and systemic deficiencies that drive people to engage in harmful acts.

“It was so exciting to see this come together with so many brilliant people who were able to bring fresh perspective on the issue, the challenges and opportunities before us and how we can work in solidarity across race and experience to achieve common goals that make our communities safer and healthier,” said Paula Nazario, a UCLA LPPI fellow and one of the lead organizers for the convening.

Opening Plenary Moderated by Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa with Author and Education Advocate Julissa Arce, MacArthur Genius Award Winner and UCLA LPPI Faculty Member Dr. Kelly Lytle-Hernández, UCLA, Judge Natalia Cornelio for the 351st District Court, Harris County Texas and David Luis ‘Suave’ Gonzalez, host of Death by Incarceration and The Suave Podcasts

One of the most engaging discussions of the two-day convening was the opening plenary and break-out sessions that followed. The panel discussion, which featured UCLA LPPI faculty and scholar Dr. Kelly Lytle-Hernández gave attendees key insight into the impacts of the criminal legal system on Latinos, the structural racism propping up our entire system of incarceration, and how the criminalization of immigrants is working to further expand systems of mass incarceration rather than contract them. The subsequent breakout sessions then enabled attendees to think about how they can demand better data that creates a clearer picture of the challenges and opportunities ahead and how Latino facing organizations — both within and outside the justice reform space – can work together to create broad change within these systems.

Over the course of the convening dialogue continually underscored the immense data and knowledge gap that obscures the true impact of the criminal legal system on Latino individuals, their families and their communities. It also highlighted that if this gap persists there is a risk of creating solutions that fail to address challenges unique to Latinx individuals who are systems-impacted and recreating inequities that exist in our current criminal legal system.

The two-day meeting closed out with a conversation with Juan Cartegena, president and general counsel of Latino Justice PRLDEF. During that discussion he highlighted that while our criminal legal system hasn’t changed much in the past five decades, we are on the precipice of big change — change made possible by communities who see an unprecedented opportunity to fundamentally transform our systems of justice.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that there have been amazing opportunities for organizing people around truth, and for having that truth talk to power,” said Cartegena. I think we’re stronger than ever to actually have conversations about dismantling systems, about what it means to invest in our communities in different ways and to think outside of every box at every corner so we can get things done.”