Conducting a focus group with Mixtec farmworkers in Madera, California, 2018. Photo by Leopoldo Peña.

by Sayil Camacho, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University; and Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center

The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) contracted with the UCLA Labor Center to evaluate the LWDA’s educational resources on workplace rights and health and safety for California farmworkers. The goal was to ensure that those resources were accessible to Mexican immigrant and Indigenous populations who may have limited or no English or Spanish literacy.

Most California farmworkers are Mexican immigrants (68%), and a third of those are Indigenous. They are multi-ethnic and multilingual; Spanish is not their first language, and they are more likely to be fluent in Mixteco, Zapoteco, Triqui, or Mayan. The Labor Center developed an evaluation system that allowed us to assess the literacy levels, language barriers, and accessibility of LWDA educational resources to identify the communication barriers that made Mexican immigrants and Indigenous people more vulnerable at work. In addition, we presented LWDA with a series of recommendations guided by the lived experiences of Mexican immigrants and Indigenous people: (1) support workplace rights and access to health and safety information; (2) build coalition-based support within the workforce and in collaboration with community advocacy groups; and (3) translate educational resources into oral-based languages.

Our goal was to understand why Indigenous farmworkers experience higher levels of poverty and more discrimination within and outside of the workplace and how those experiences create communication barriers. More specifically, we sought to understand the ways that power functions to disenfranchise Indigenous people politically, socially, and economically and exacerbates linguistic and cultural barriers. The examination of power within communication is referred to as a “structural humility” approach, which obliges researchers to recognize and affirm the human dignity of immigrant and Indigenous people. Our research challenged standard cross-cultural competency methods by operationalizing Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and critical race theory.

Using a structural humility approach grounded in the lived experiences of Indigenous migrant workers, we were able to identify the forces that determine workplace vulnerabilities, the shift in attitude required by the LWDA to reduce the number of worker rights violations and on-the-job injuries and deaths, and the practices needed to make LWDA’s educational materials truly accessible.

The process of creating academic knowledge has historically failed to center the experiences and voices of Indigenous peoples or break down the hierarchy of knowledge production between researchers, organizations, stakeholders, and historically marginalized populations. Collaborative research must do the extra work to identify the structures that separate academics from community collaborators and research participants. As the Zapotec intellectual Odilia Romero explained, “Bene shtill shla gune ratgr gushalgshu disha chego concha bi gat disha checho da bguan bene gurase checho, le kate gat disha cha, ka na gat neda [White people have to open the path and talk to us so that our word will not die, because when my word dies, I will die too].”

 

Access the full article “Lost in Translation ‘en el Fil’: Actualizing Structural Humility for Indigenous Mexican Farmworkers in California” HERE.

Sayil Camacho (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles) is the inaugural director of the master’s in leading organizations program in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests aim to actualize transformative reform for oppressed and repressed populations.

Gaspar Rivera‑Salgado (PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz) is a project director at the UCLA Labor Center, where he teaches classes on work, labor, and social justice in the United States, and immigration issues.

UCLA Sociology Professor Edward Walker, was recently featured in a video chronicling the increase in misinformation campaigns across the country that have been particularly visible since the pandemic began. The video by Scripps Media will be used as a tool for their ongoing NewsLit media literacy project. As an expert on social movements, Dr. Walker says: “Astroturfing is an effort to mobilize the mass public in a way that distances that mobilization from the person who is sponsoring it or the organization that’s sponsoring it.”

To learn more, watch the full video HERE.

 

Dr. Glenn Wharton

Chair, UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of

Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials

invites you to attend

UCLA/Getty Program’s Distinguished Speaker Series

featuring

Dr. Gabrielle Tayac

Associate Professor of Public History, George Mason University

Former Curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Speaking on

Ancestors Speaking:

Objects and Cultural Sovereignty in Native America

with opening remarks by

Dr. Darnell Hunt

Dean, UCLA Division of Social Sciences

Professor of Sociology and African American Studies

***

Friday, March 5, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. PST

Live streaming via Zoom

RSVP HERE

To see the invitation, Click Here

Please submit your questions in advance of the webinar via email to:
hnadworny@support.ucla.edu by Thursday, March 4 at 3:00 p.m.

Instructions to join the webinar will be provided once your registration has been confirmed.

About the lecture: A family of baskets. A library in a shell. A vow breathing through stone. For diverse indigenous communities across the Americas, material objects connect to a wider web of cultural relationships. These pieces are part of people’s lives, with essences that may be considered kin through time and space. They merge humans together with each other, spirit, and the seen natural world over generations.  Colonialism purposefully and relentlessly unleashed actions to repress and even eradicate indigenous peoples for centuries – along with their beloved objects. Late 20th  century policies shifted to open conditions for Native communities to innovate culture in multiple ways, including reconnections to ancestral material culture. In this lecture, Dr. Gabrielle Tayac will share learnings that she’s experienced across the continent with knowledge keepers who know how to amplify their ancestors’ voices.

About the speaker:  Dr. Gabrielle Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Indian Nation, is an activist scholar committed to empowering indigenous perspectives. Gabi earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University, and her B.S. in Social Work and American Indian Studies from Cornell University. Her scholarly research focuses on hemispheric American Indian identity, multiracialism, indigenous religions, and social movements, maintaining a regional specialization in the Chesapeake Bay. Gabi served on the staff of Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian for 18 years as its first education director and then as a historian and curator. She engages deeply in community relationships and public discourse with audiences from kindergarten classes to the (Obama) White House. She recently returned from a two-year journey to uplift the voices of indigenous elder women leaders and help them preserve their treasured cultural legacies, sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Gabi is now an Associate Professor of Public History at George Mason University.

In light of the reawakened reckoning on racial justice issues and other historical and contemporary inequalities, the UCLA Division of Social Sciences is turning its attention and support to its graduate students. The newly established Dean’s Fund for the Study of Diversity and Racial Inequality was created to provide funds to graduate students in the division researching and examining the important social justice issues of our time.

Launched in November 2020, an email campaign showcased cutting-edge research in the division with the goal of raising $50,000 by December 31, 2020. For six weeks, messages highlighted various research projects, ranging from how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color to the Division’s own Hollywood Diversity Report.

Midway through the campaign, Dean Darnell Hunt’s Advisory Board was so inspired by this effort that the board decided to provide $25,000 in matching funds. Additionally, Material, a modern marketing services company, led by Chairman and CEO UCLA alumnus Dave Sackman ’80, also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, pledged a $25,000 gift. Thanks to these gifts, as well as the generous support of numerous donors, alumni and friends, the campaign exceeded its goal, raising over $77,000.

“As the #1 public university in the United States, we continually strive to advance knowledge, address pressing societal needs, and foster the kind of environment enriched by diverse perspectives in which our students can flourish,” said Hunt. “I am truly heartened by how the UCLA community came together to support our graduate students during these challenging times.”

Later this spring, the Division’s graduate students will be invited to submit research proposals, and the funds will be distributed as $5,000 grants starting summer 2021. Raising money for this fund will be an ongoing effort, underscoring the Social Science’s commitment to its graduate students as they take on important and critical research around issues of diversity and inequality.

To support graduate students through the Dean’s Fund for the Study of Diversity and Racial Inequality, click HERE.

 

UCLA Center for the Study of Women Presents:

GENDER, RACE, AND AGE BEHIND BARS:

IMPACTS OF LONG-TERM SENTENCING

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

RSVP: csw.ucla.edu/behindbars

Join us for a rare opportunity to hear from two formerly-incarcerated women activists on the compounded adverse impacts of long-term sentencing on the elderly, women, transgender people, and people of color in prison and beyond.

 

 

 

 

Jane Dorotik was incarcerated for almost 20 years on a wrongful conviction. She was released in April 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, and her conviction was reversed in July 2020.

Romarilyn Ralston was incarcerated for 23 years, and is now the Program Director of Project Rebound at the California State University-Fullerton. Both are organizers with California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP).

Dorotik and Ralston will be in dialogue with LA County Public Defender, Ricardo Garcia, and moderator Alicia Virani, the Gilbert Foundation Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the UCLA School of Law. This event is hosted by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, and co-hosted by the Criminal Justice Program at the UCLA School of Law and the LA County Public Defender’s Office.

            

 

 

 

 

Read CSW’s 2020 Policy Briefs, “Confronting the Carceral State, Reimagining Justice, ” featuring briefs written by Jane Dorotik and Romarilyn Ralston at csw.ucla.edu/policy-briefs.

Free and open to the public.

Register for the Zoom Webinar at csw.ucla.edu/behindbars.

This activity is approved for 1 hour of general MCLE credit.

UCLA School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.

                                

 

Dr. Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, assistant professor of sociology and American Indian Studies at UCLA, was interviewed on missing and murdered Indigenous women by “Vice News Tonight.” This episode investigates how Indigenous women and girls go missing and are murdered at an alarming rate in the United States. Vice News visits tribal communities in Montana facing the crisis head-on.

To watch the interview, click HERE.

Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, professor of African American Studies, Thomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair in History and Urban Planning, has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board. This prize named after Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, is administered at Columbia University. Dr. Lytle Hernandez said, “I am thankful for this opportunity to work with fellow Board members in celebrating a diverse community of journalists, scholars and artists, and look forward to the work ahead.” LA Social Science would like to congratulate the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies Director.

To read the press release about Dr. Lytle Hernandez’s election to the Pulitzer Prize Board, click HERE.

UCLA’s Luskin Center for History and Policy (LCHP) has continued to be a leading voice in connecting past to present. The center’s “Then & Now” podcast has tackled some of the most challenge topics of the day by connecting them to the past. As a follow-up to their last pre-election episode, Dr. Lynn Vavreck and Zev Yaroslavsky return to “Then & Now,” joined by Dr. Lorrie Frasure, to analyze the 2020 election results. They discuss a range of key topics: President Trump’s refusal to concede, the persistence of divided electorates in U.S. history, the political behavior of white men, the performance and reliability of polling, and the question of whether American democracy is dying.

  • Lorrie Frasure is an Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at UCLA, and Acting Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.
  • Lynn Vavreck is the Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA, a contributing columnist to The Upshot at The New York Times, and the author or co-author of five books on electoral politics.
  • Zev Yaroslavsky is the Executive Director of the LA Initiative at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. He served as LA City Council Member from 1975 to 1994, and as LA County Supervisor from 1994 to 2014.

To hear this informative podcast, click HERE.

On November 15, the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles honored the UCLA Labor Center at its annual celebration. “For over 80 years, NLG has acted as a legal arm of social justice movements, working tirelessly to defend the rights of the most marginalized communities.” Labor Center Director Kent Wong, recently appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti to the Mayor’s Advisory Council on International Affairs, was the master of ceremonies. The virtual event included a powerful program that spotlighted this year’s incredible honorees who have spent decades fighting for justice.

LA Social Science would like to congratulate Director Wong on his new appointment to the Mayor’s Advisory Council on International Affairs, and to the UCLA Labor Center for the outstanding work it does to serve the Los Angeles community.

To learn more about the NLG annual awards celebration, click HERE.

Cheryl L. Keyes

Chair, UCLA Department of African American Studies

Professor of African American Studies, Ethnomusicology and Global Jazz Studies

invites you to attend

“Black Lives Matter – Past, Present, and Beyond” Lecture Series

featuring

Christopher Lebron,

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University

The Beautiful Ugly Struggle:

How Black Lives Mattered to Angela Davis and Amiri Baraka

Friday, November 20, 2020 at 9:00am PST

Live Streaming via Zoom

RSVP Here

Please submit your questions in advance of the webinar via email to:

hnadworny@support.ucla.edu by Thursday, November 19 at 5:00 p.m.

Instructions to join the webinar will be provided once your registration has been confirmed.