Dr. H. Samy Alim, UCLA Professor of Anthropology and David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair in the Division of Social Sciences, and Dr. Geneva Smitherman, Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Emerita, recently released an opinion piece in The New York Times titled “Of Course Kamala Harris Is Articulate.” They challenge the often used description that high-achieving Black people are “articulate.” They assert that these types of descriptions are highly problematic and offensive, because the exceptional descriptions imply that the opposite is true of other Black people. As co-authors of the book Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S., Drs. Alim and Smitherman further explain why comments like these denigrate Black Americans, even if done unintentionally.

To read the full op-ed, please click HERE.

The UCLA California Policy Lab (CPL) recently released a new Data Point focused on the “Lost Wages Assistance” program that started on September 7th in California. After Congress couldn’t come to an agreement about a second stimulus plan, the President put forth this program. CPL’s research team found that about 192,000 California workers will not qualify to receive the $300 benefit, because they do not already receive at least $100 in unemployment insurance benefits. The vast majority (82.5%) of people who will be ineligible to receive the $300 benefit are adults over the age of 20. Over 60% of ineligible claimants are female and over 57% have a high school degree or less.

UCLA Director of the California Policy Lab, Dr. Till von Wachter, told The Sacramento Bee, “While the program will be a temporary boost for unemployed Californians, it’s a 50% reduction from the $600 that unemployed Californians were previously receiving.”

 

 

To read the “Data Point,” click HERE.

To read CPL’s latest policy briefs on this issue, click HERE.

In 2019, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) collected Policy Briefs on the theme “Confronting the Carceral State, Reimagining Justice.” The call for submissions was developed by CSW Director Grace Hong and the Black Feminism Initiative Director Sarah Haley. The review committee included Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law), Amy Ritterbusch (UCLA Department of Social Welfare, Luskin School of Public Affairs), Stephanie Davidson (UCLA School of Law), and Dylan Rodríguez (UC Riverside Department of Media and Cultural Studies).

Six briefs were collected from UC graduate students and system-impacted individuals:

Editor: Katja Antoine, Program and Research Developer, CSW

To download the complete set of policy briefs, click HERE.

To learn more about CSW’s policy briefs, click HERE.

By Sophia L. Ángeles, Graduate Student Researcher; Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center; and Saba Waheed, Research Director, UCLA Labor Center

This past June, the UCLA Labor Center, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Community College District Dolores Huerta Labor Institute and California State University, Long Beach, published two studies examining workers and learners—college students who also work—and their unique educational and work experiences. We employed a methodology that was student-driven, engaging more than 450 undergraduate students to collect 869 surveys and conduct 75 interviews with UCLA, California Community College, and California State University workers and learners across Los Angeles County. Our hope is that these findings will provide information for colleges, employers, and policymakers to improve conditions for workers and learners.

Two-thirds of workers and learners work every single term of their undergraduate careers—the new normal for many students pursuing higher education. A majority work in low-wage jobs in the service industry. Forced to work as many hours as possible to make ends meet, two-thirds miss at least one educational opportunity because of work duties. Juggling work and school leads many to forgo internship and work-study opportunities in their fields of study that could improve opportunities in their future careers. Their situation is so stressful and overwhelming that 40% of workers and learners have considered withdrawing from school.

Graphic: Eunice Ho

Iris López, a recent UCLA Labor Studies graduate, explains the predicaments workers and learners face in their struggle to attend school and keep up with living expenses:

“My biggest concern has always been my ability to finance my education. My mother is a single parent who works in the fields. I feel guilty asking for help because I know she is struggling herself. Education should not cost us our ability to eat or cause concern over how we’re going to pay the next few units.”

 

Graphic: Eunice Ho

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated conditions for workers and learners, as half were laid off, terminated, or furloughed in April and May. As schools moved to minimize the spread of COVID-19, one quarter of workers and learners were forced to make housing changes, such as moving back in with family or vacating student housing. The housing situation has further impacted learners who must attend classes remotely while managing home responsibilities, like caring for younger siblings or family members who have fallen ill.

Graphic: Eunice Ho

What can be done?

Current trends point to increasing tuition and living expenses for college students, making it likely that more will have to work to offset those financial burdens.

Addressing the needs of workers and learners requires investing in California’s education system to achieve the following:

  • Support learners as workers by ensuring a living wage, accommodating work schedules, and supporting students’ workplace organizing efforts.
  • Strengthen career and educational pathways by making career resources more accessible, supporting paid internships that advance career goals, and increasing opportunities for networking and mentorship.
  • Support workers as learners by making college affordable or free and expanding work-study opportunities.
  • Provide holistic support by increasing access to mental health services and addressing food and housing insecurity.

 

Report: Unseen Costs: The Experiences of Workers and Learners in Los Angeles County (click to download)

Brief: A Survey of Los Angeles Workers and Learners During COVID-19 (click to download)

 

Sophia L. Ángeles is a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Labor Center’s Worker and Learner project and a UCLA PhD candidate. Her research focuses on the intersection of immigration and language to examine newcomer youths’ educational experiences and their K–16 trajectories.

Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Ed.D., is a project director at the UCLA Labor Center and teaches for UCLA Labor Studies and the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Her research and teaching focus on developing culturally relevant, participatory educational models with first- and second-generation university students, community members, and youth, with a focus on the organizing efforts of low-wage workers to combat labor and workplace violations.

Saba Waheed is research director at the UCLA Labor Center. She has over fifteen years of research experience developing projects with strong community participation. With her team at the Labor Center, she coordinated the first ever study of domestic work employers, launched a study of young people in the service economy, and conducted research on the taxi, garment, nail salon, construction, and restaurant industries.

UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) and the Alianza for Youth Justice have released a new “Call to Action” report titled “The Latinx DATA GAP in the Youth Justice System.” This report shows that inconsistent data collection methods complicate race and ethnicity tracking across different stages in the youth justice system.

“As our country undertakes a long overdue reckoning on race and justice, it is critical that Latinos be included in the conversation,” said Sonja Diaz, Founding Director of the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative and one of the report’s co-authors. “Far too often we are overlooked, but to effectively address inequities in the justice system, especially the egregious disparities facing Black Americans, policymakers and advocates need accurate data on Latinx youth. This new report details the challenges of collecting data on system-impacted youth and offers a way forward so that leaders can craft viable solutions based on facts as we reopen our economy and transform failed systems.”

Findings:

1. Today, Latinx youth represent 25%, or about 8.3 million, of the total U.S. youth population between ages 10-17.

2. State agencies involved in the criminal justice system collect data that identifies Latinx youth inconsistently if at all, creating an incomplete picture of Latinx ethnic data.

3. States report racial/ethnic data inconsistently across the 3 points of contact: arrests, detention, and probation.

  • 42% of states did not report racial or ethnic data for arrests
  • 30% of states did not report racial and ethnic data for detention
  • 52% of states did not have racial or ethnic data for probation

To read the full report, click HERE.

To learn more about UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, visit: https://latino.ucla.edu/

Dr. Scot Brown, a UCLA professor and musician, talks with LA Social Science about his published books, current music project, and future research projects.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

1:21 – Is there a book or an album that has help you to get through this pandemic?

3:19 – Tell us about your book “Fighting for Us”

9:36 – Tell us about your upcoming research which focuses on Dayton?

14:58 – How do you balance academia and music?

19:23 – In this moment, how does music create a foundation for the current movement?

23:00 – Talk about the intention behind the video for “Last Man

26:17 – Closing

To learn more, check out Dr. Brown’s book, Fighting For Us.

Also read Dr. Brown’s quote in The New York Times about Ankara Print and it’s significance for the African American community if it goes mainstream.

LA Social Science spoke with Dr. Tomer Begaz, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of Undergraduate Medical Education at UCLA-Olive View Medical Center, about his recent “Golden Apple” teaching award, how to keep safe from COVID-19 as our state starts to reopen, and when individuals should visit the Emergency Department.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

01:00 – About being a Golden Apple Award winner

02:28 – An album or book that’s gotten you through the pandemic?

05:11 – Why did you choose to work at LA County UCLA Olive View Medical Center?

07:00 – Impact of Corona virus on different communities

10:08 – What should we be thinking about as we open up during the pandemic?

12:53 – When should I go into the emergency room?

17:41 – Alternative ways to see a doctor

18:15 – Closing

 

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Demonstrators march through the streets of Hollywood, California, on June 2, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. – Anti-racism protests have put several US cities under curfew to suppress rioting, following the death of George Floyd. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

In this important piece featured in the Los Angeles Times, UCLA’s Dr. Marcus Anthony Hunter, Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the Division of the Social Sciences, professor of sociology, and chair of the department of African American Studies, presents a conversation he recently had with some of the nation’s foremost writers on Los Angeles to discuss how the city’s racial history informs the present moment and the continued fight against racism and injustice.

Dr. Hunter writes:

“Black people’s lives have remained vulnerable and unprotected by the very government that abolished the institution of slavery. As the planter class took its last sips of power and blood, they managed to bequeath us a century and a half of debt and devastation. Racism is their lasting hex on a country that would dare to try and outlive them, an institutionally effective death spell killing black people every day.”

To read the full article, “How Does L.A.’s Racial Past Resonate Now? #Blacklivesmatter’s Originator and 5 Writers Discuss,” click HERE.

The UCLA California Policy Lab has released their fourth policy brief focused on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims in California since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. The latest policy brief, “An Analysis of Unemployment Insurance Claims in California During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” focuses on the increasing number of workers who are returning to work and seeing their unemployment claims either reduced or denied altogether as a result.  Although returning to work may signal good news for the economy, the brief highlights how this can create some challenging decisions for workers, especially if they’re being called back on a reduced schedule with reduced earnings that result in them losing all or part of their UI benefits in addition to childcare and health safety issues.

To read the press release, click HERE.

To read the full report, click HERE.

Key Research Findings

1. In a sign of improving economic conditions, the fraction of UI beneficiaries either not receiving their first benefit payment because their earnings were too high or receiving partial UI benefits increased in the first half of May. Only workers earning less than three quarters of their prior weekly wages qualify for partial UI and FPUC (and workers earning above that are denied UI benefits entirely for that week), creating a difficult decision for workers in an uncertain labor market.

2. In the weeks preceding May 16th, the period preceding last week’s Jobs Report, a total of 0.46% of the California labor force in April either received partial UI or were denied benefits because of excess earnings (compared to a one and a half decline in the national unemployment rate). Hence, a substantial fraction of individuals that recently returned to work are working reduced hours and may still be attached to the Unemployment Insurance system.

3. As layoffs become more evenly distributed across industries, the share of UI claims by more educated workers have been gradually increasing. Among higher educated workers that claimed benefits recently, Generation Z (age 16-23), women, and those working in Health Care and Social Assistance were most affected.

4. During the past four weeks, about 70% of initial UI claimants reported that they expected to be recalled. However, differences in recall expectations are growing, with 62% of Black workers who filed claims from May 17th to May 30th saying they expect to be recalled vs. 72% of White, 73% of Hispanic, and 74% of Asian workers.

5. The cumulative impact of the crisis is still substantially greater for less advantaged workers – over 1 in 4 women (as opposed to 1 in 5 men), more than 1 in 3 members of Generation Z, and more than 1 in 2 workers with a high school degree have filed for benefits.

6. As the economy slowly re-opens, programs such as Work Sharing, which allow working claimants to keep a share of their UI benefits and maintain eligibility for the $600 FPUC payment, would help strengthen the financial outlook for workers if they’re working at reduced time and earnings.


To read LA Social Science’s previous coverage of the CPL’s briefs in this series, click HERE.

The California Policy Lab (CPL), in partnership with the Labor Market Information Division of the California Employment Development Department, has been analyzing daily initial Unemployment Insurance claims during this pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has led to historically unprecedented increases in claims filed in California since the start of the crisis in mid-March. The findings provide an in-depth and near real-time look at how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting various industries, regions, counties, and types of workers throughout California.

A Key Finding:  The added $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program has played a substantial role in preventing near-poverty income levels among UI claimants.

For more key findings, charts, and information about this report, click HERE.

Download the full policy brief HERE.

Check out recent coverage on this research from The Sacramento Bee HERE.

Check out previous posts about CPL research HERE.