Ju Hong, director of the Dream Resource Center

Ju Hong, director of the Dream Resource Center. (Shengfeng Chien/Daily Bruin staff)

On Nov. 1, the UCLA Labor Center co-hosted a teach-in about the history and struggle of undocumented students to amplify the “Opportunity for All” campaign, a new statewide effort led by undocumented student organizers, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Labor Center urging the University of California system to remove employment barriers impacting thousands of undocumented students.

The teach-in featured presentations from students, faculty and legal experts, as well as screenings of short films “Seattle Underground Railroad” and “Undocumented & Unafraid: Tam Tran & Cinthya Felix and the Immigrant Youth Movement.” Attendees heard firsthand accounts from undocumented students and their friends and family on the difficulties they face navigating the University of California system with restricted work opportunities.

“For over 15 years, UCLA undocumented students have been at the forefront of the fight for immigrant rights and immigrant justice,” said Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center. He spoke about the historical success of the immigrant youth movement in advancing key legislation, including California Assembly Bill 540, the California DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), each of which he said serves as “a reflection of the power of the immigrant youth movement.”

“The Opportunity For All campaign is yet another defining moment for the immigrant youth movement. The campaign is launching at a critical time in history, because this year is the 10th anniversary of DACA,” said Ju Hong, director of the UCLA Dream Resource Center. “Some of the biggest lessons I learned from the DACA fight is that we have to challenge the system, take bold actions and lean on each other.”

Alondra Banda (pictured), a speaker at the teach-in

Alondra Banda (pictured), a speaker at the teach-in. (Shengfeng Chien/Daily Bruin staff)

Approximately 44,326 undocumented college students in California currently do not have equal access to on-campus opportunities — such as work-study jobs, paid internships and graduate student research — due to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), a federal prohibition on hiring undocumented people. However, a recent analysis conducted by CILP reveals that IRCA does not restrict hiring practices by state entities, including the University of California. So far, 28 immigration and constitutional law scholars from across the U.S. have signed a letter supporting CILP’s analysis, and more than 2,000 community members have signed a public letter of support.

“The history of progress at the UC is written by the hands of students,” said Jeffry Umaña Muñoz, an undocumented third year student. “More specifically than that, the nationwide advancement of progress for immigrant justice is rooted right here at the UC. We stand here today as living proof of the progress that comes from supporting undocumented communities directly, exemplifying the excellence, critical consciousness and care for community that the UC system instills in each of its students.”

Carlos Alarcón, a UCLA graduate student of public policy.

Carlos Alarcón, a UCLA graduate student of public policy. (Shengfeng Chien/Daily Bruin staff)

Katie Garamendia, a third-year student, spoke about her grandfather’s experience as a bracero, a farm laborer subjected to harsh, exploitative work conditions for little pay despite promises of workplace protection and fair pay from the U.S. government. For her, the Opportunity for All campaign offers a way to recognize the diligence, courage and accomplishments of immigrants that have been historically ignored.

“Today, we have an opportunity to be different: to change a narrative in the trajectory of righting the wrongs we have made and to actually fulfill the promises that were made to our ancestors, immigrant workers and people like my grandfather,” said Garamendia.

On Nov. 15, student leaders will attend the University of California board of regents meeting in San Francisco to continue advancing the campaign.

“I am a chingona activist fighting for my immigrant community to be recognized for their humanity, not their merit,” said Karely Amaya, an undocumented student leader pursuing a public policy degree. “The University of California has both an opportunity and an obligation to remove barriers to employment for all students, on all 10 of their campuses, regardless of immigration status.”

Watch a recording of the teach-in on Facebook

Original Article by Anna Dai-Liu – for DailyBruin

Rosario Majano headshot

New UCLA LPPI Staff Bring Insights and Accountability to Policymaking Ahead of the 2022 Midterm Elections

By Mirian Palacios Cruz

With the 2022 midterm elections nearing, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute (UCLA LPPI) has been making it clear that candidates must prioritize the needs of Latino voters and other communities of color. As Latinos are one of the key voting blocs capable of deciding election outcomes, it is important that parties engage this growing electorate with policy proposals that center their wellbeing. However, engagement must not end once election season is over. UCLA LPPI’s growing team of research and policy analysts are leading the way in holding lawmakers and change agents accountable to Latino communities for the next two years and beyond.

Jie Zong headshot

Jie Zong

During elections, Latino outreach is sometimes overlooked on the grounds that there is not enough data available to describe Latinos’ electoral patterns. To address this gap, UCLA LPPI is launching the U.S. Latino Data Hub led by the institute’s new Senior Research Analyst Jie Zong. As a public multi-issue repository of digestible, reliable and actionable information on Latinos and other groups, the Latino Data Hub will be accessible to elected officials seeking to better understand the constituents they are serving.

“Focusing on 10 critical issue areas – including demography, economic opportunity and mobility, education, health coverage, housing and voting rights –, the Latino Data Hub will equip policymakers with the insights necessary to design and promote policies that improve the lives of Latinos and communities of color,” Zong explained.

Rosario Majano headshot

Rosario Majano

The data hub’s focus on economic mobility is helping inform the work of Rosario Majano, a new Research Analyst at UCLA LPPI who is studying the impact of the pandemic on Latino entrepreneurship. As part of a joint small business research initiative between UCLA LPPI and the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, Majano’s team will also address the resources communities of color will need as they grapple with the transition to a low-carbon economy. In the context of rising economic uncertainty and the passage of the Inflation Reduction and Recovery Act, Majano said that this project will help UCLA LPPI understand the policy implications on Latino businesses as well as other businesses within historically underserved communities.

“By evaluating the obstacles Latino entrepreneurs face to accessing capital and technology – as well as assessing their engagement in environmental sustainability practices –, we can better understand the landscape of issues directly affecting small businesses and consequently gain a glimpse into the political concerns of small business owners,” said Majano.

Cesar Montoya headshot

Cesar Montoya

In addition to applied research, UCLA LPPI understands the key role that the news media plays in shaping policy debates – which too often leaves out the voices of Latinos. Cesar Montoya, who recently joined UCLA LPPI as a Senior Policy Analyst, is leading an initiative with the Los Angeles Times to increase the visibility of Latinos in public narratives. Through translating academic research into stories that spotlight Latinos’ concerns and contributions, this partnership seeks to expand decision makers’  perception of the American identity.

“By uplifting Latino voices in the media and civic processes, we can work together to bring all communities to key decision-making tables to create a more equitable future,” Montoya noted.

The outcome of the 2022 midterm elections will indicate how much advancement has been made in the last two years to transform Latino political inclusion and representation. Above all, elected officials and political parties have a responsibility to recognize that Latino engagement requires more than investment – it requires leveraging data analysis and a commitment to bolstering public narratives that reflect the impact and contributions of the nation’s growing Latino communities.

Celina Avalos Jaramillo headshot

UCLA LPPI Policy Fellows Fight for an Inclusive Democracy During the Midterm Elections and Beyond

By: Alise Brillault

As we approach the 2022 midterm elections, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute (UCLA LPPI) is working to advance an inclusive democracy that reflects the shifting demographics of the United States. At 19% of the population, Latinos are a youthful and diverse demographic group whose votes are consequential and whose perspectives need to be centered. Not only were they responsible for 51% of U.S. population growth in the last decade, but six out of ten Latinos are of Millennial age or younger.

However, increasing attacks on voting rights in key states threaten to dilute the participation of Latinos and other communities of color in our democracy. These assaults will continue until we build the infrastructure needed to ensure everyone who wants to cast a ballot and make their voices heard has the opportunity to do so.

Through its student fellowship program, UCLA LPPI is building a pipeline of young leaders who are taking on the challenge of ensuring our political system works for everyone. Through hands-on training in areas such as voting rights and election data analysis, students are exposed to the policy challenges of today and are provided the tools necessary to inform a better tomorrow. Alumni of the program go on to shape policy making through influential roles in sectors such as state and federal government, civil society organizations and beyond.

Sebastian Cazares in a Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees meeting

UCLA LPPI Policy Fellow Sebastian Cazares in a Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees meeting.

One such leader, Sebastian Cazares, has already made history as Los Angeles County’s youngest elected official – while working as a policy fellow with the UCLA LPPI Voting Rights Project. Having recently graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in Chicana/o and Central American studies, Cazares has entered his first year of UCLA’s master of public policy program while serving as a member of the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees. According to Cazares, knowledge he has gained from UCLA LPPI has provided guidance for his own work as an elected official – and in turn, his on-the-ground perspective has informed his advocacy work within the Voting Rights Project:

“As a governing board member, I approved my own school board district during the recent redistricting process in a manner consistent with defending civil rights and voting rights. I also sued the City of Santa Clarita and won in a landmark victory, defeating one of the last cities in Los Angeles County to utilize an election system that is proven to disenfranchise Latinos. Both of my personal accomplishments came to fruition due to the incredible education provided by UCLA’s Political Science and Chicano Studies undergraduate programs, the UCLA Luskin School and training I gained from the Latino Politics and Policy Institute.”

Celina Avalos Jaramillo headshot

Alumna Celina Avalos Jaramillo

Likewise, the skills and experience that alumna Celina Avalos Jaramillo gained during her fellowship at UCLA LPPI continue to inform her work as a voting rights advocate and master of public policy candidate at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. While at UCLA LPPI conducting research on topics focused on expanding opportunity for all – from voting rights to health care and criminal justice reform – Avalos Jaramilo co-led an on-campus coalition that increased student voter turnout in the 2018 elections by 500%. Since graduating with her bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA, she has worked with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the U.S. Department of Justice to protect the right to vote.

“I understand what it means to be disenfranchised from the political process and excluded from most public policies,” Avalos Jaramillo revealed. “UCLA LPPI gave me the confidence that I needed as a young Latina from the Eastern Coachella Valley to strive to ensure that every American has the right to live a prosperous, healthy and just life – not just a select few.”

Yaritza Gonzalez headshot

Yaritza Gonzalez

In addition to her on- and off-campus leadership roles, policy fellow Yaritza González Rodríguez is currently engaged in expanding access to the ballot box through her work with the UCLA LPPI Voting Rights Project,. A second-year master of public policy student at the UCLA Luskin School, González Rodríguez has supported the Voting Rights Project on key initiatives to understand different demographic groups’ voting behaviors. These analyses have provided the California Secretary of State with important data on patterns of voting, such as which groups tend to vote by mail as opposed to in-person.

González Rodríguez was recently elected as Director of Legislative Affairs for the University of California Graduate and Professional Council. In this capacity, she disseminates information on how to vote for California propositions and advocates for equitable policy changes within the UC System.  She has also organized community events to endorse candidates and educate on the redistricting process through her role as a Board Member for the Los Angeles County Young Democrats.

“UCLA LPPI and the Voting Rights Project have given me the opportunity to work on important voting rights research and cases that aim to promote an inclusive democracy,” González Rodríguez said. “These experiences inform my other leadership roles, including on critical issues such as redistricting.”

UCLA LPPI is supporting the development of the BIPOC leaders of today and tomorrow who are protecting and expanding voting rights while building a fair and inclusive democracy grounded in equity and justice. These policy fellows backfill the nation’s leadership vacuum by increasing the capacity of new voices to advocate for the needs of underserved communities. This creates new pathways for progress grounded in data and research that ensures no one is left behind.

Trash Talk interview with Author

“Trash Talk: Anti-Obama Lore and Race in the Twenty-First Century” explores the rumors, legends, and conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama since his initial run for President in 2004, and continuing to present day. We spoke with author and professor Patricia A. Turner (Departments of African American Studies, and World Arts and Culture/Dance) who discusses how these rumors, legends, and lore often focus on identity by attacking Barack Obama’s faith, patriotism, sexual orientation, and citizenship, and speaks to the impact of such attacks on the political and sociological landscape both now and throughout history.

0:04 – Intro
0:46 – Main argument and contribution of the book
1:38 – Description of Anti-Obama lore
4:18 – Did you think Obama’s presidency would constitute a post-racial America?
6:32 – Why should this folklore be taken into account?
8:06 – Why is this a critical book to read and/or assign?

Dept. African American Studies – https://afam.ucla.edu
Dept. of World Arts and Culture/Dance – https://www.wacd.ucla.edu
Arthur Ashe Legacy Program – https://arthurashe.ucla.edu

Interviewer: Dr. Celia Lacayo, Associate Director of Community Engagement, UCLA Social Sciences & Professor Chicana/o & Central American Studies and African American Studies Department

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGvpkOpiOGU4f5lSwRygbqg?sub_confirmation=1

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ABC7’s Anabel Muñoz (left) speaks with UCLA Latino Policy and Politics expert, Melissa Chinchilla (right) about the rise of Latino homelessness in Los Angeles

By Alise Brillault

The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute (UCLA LPPI) maintains a talented bench of over 40 faculty experts whose diverse areas of research and expertise are helping shape public narratives in American politics and driving the media’s focus on the unique experiences of the nation’s growing Latino communities.

Media and the press play a powerful role as the arbiters in deciding who gets to be a part of the American story –  and despite the numerosity of Latino communities throughout the U.S., Latinos still remain largely invisible in the media and in policy debates. As UCLA LPPI research has demonstrated, this lack of representation means that Latinos, their lives, their concerns, and their triumphs are left out of the national narrative and the public’s perception of the American identity.

UCLA LPPI faculty experts are leading the charge in overturning these exclusionary narratives by spotlighting the rich and nuanced experiences of Latino communities, influencing policy debates and the raising visibility of the Latino community. The coverage that these experts have been receiving in prominent news outlets add a unique Latino lens to every emerging policy debate and national political development.

Dr. Melissa Chinchilla, assistant project scientist at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and health services specialist at the VA of Greater Los Angeles, is a leading expert on Latino homelessness affiliated with UCLA LPPI. Her work has been featured in recent media stories about the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s latest homeless count. Outlets including ABC7 and LAist have sought out Chinchilla’s expertise in understanding why the population of unhoused Latinos in Los Angeles has grown by 26% in the last two years – the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group.

“These news features are helping address the invisibility of the Latino community within the homelessness crisis,” Chinchilla said. “Many Latinos who live in overcrowded or substandard housing have historically been overlooked in narratives about homelessness. However, with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of Latinos entering the formal homeless system, it is more critical than ever to center the needs of our most vulnerable community members in the media and beyond.”

An assistant professor of environmental policy and urban planning at UC Irvine, Dr. Michael Méndez is another UCLA LPPI expert whose research has been heavily featured in news coverage around climate change and recent environmental disasters. From NPR, to the Los Angeles Times, to ABC7, Méndez has been a go-to source for national news outlets in understanding the ramifications of extreme weather events and natural disasters on Latino and immigrant communities.

“Latinos have a long history of leading the way on climate action, given that they are disproportionately affected by climate-related extreme weather and natural disasters,” explained Méndez. “The media plays a key role in bringing these stories to light so that environmental policy discussions and decisions led by our policymakers meaningfully prioritize the unique needs and perspectives of Latino communities.”

UCLA LPPI expert Dr. David Hayes-Bautista’s latest research centering the economic contributions of Latinos has been highlighted in leading news outlets including NBC and Al Día. Hayes-Bautista, director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, co-authored the Latino Donor Collaborative’s 2022 U.S. Latino GDP report demonstrating that U.S. Latinos would represent the 5th largest economy in the world if they were an independent country. U.S. Latinos’ economic output would put them ahead of nations including the United Kingdom, India, and France.

“The results of this study directly contradict the prevalent stereotypes of Latinos as ‘lazy’ or ‘criminal’ often perpetuated by the media. Sharing these data with prominent news outlets allows us to illuminate how hardworking Latinos truly are and how valuable they are to the health and growth of the U.S. economy, now and into the future.” said Hayes-Bautista.

Increased media attention on UCLA LPPI experts’ innovative research expands visibility on the issues that Latinos care about most. It helps build public awareness and urgency around the need to expand resources and opportunities for the country’s youthful Latino communities. And above all, it showcases the contributions of Latinos as leaders in bringing forth a more prosperous, environmentally resilient, and socially equitable nation.

UCLA LPPI at CHCI Conference

by Alise Brillault

UCLA LPPI experts and policy fellows were well represented at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. on September 12-15, 2022. CHCI is a leading national organization that convenes members of Congress and other public officials, corporate executives, nonprofit advocates, and thought leaders to discuss issues facing the nation and the Latino community. Taking place at the onset of Hispanic Heritage Month, the conference sought to highlight Latino excellence through an offering of 26 sessions featuring over 200 thought leaders and elected officials – including remarks from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

UCLA LPPI at CHCI Conference

Pictured left to right: Jessie Hernandez-Reyes, Paul Barragan-Monge, Rodrigo Domínguez-Villegas, Nick González, and Bryanna Ruiz Fernandez

Paul Barragan-Monge, director of mobilization at UCLA LPPI, and Rodrigo Domínguez-Villegas, UCLA LPPI director of research, were featured panelists in two different sessions during the week. Barragan-Monge spoke in a breakout session sponsored by UCLA LPPI centered on criminal justice reform. With Latinos accounting for increasingly higher percentages of people in U.S. prisons, the conversation focused on how policymakers and community leaders can pursue comprehensive justice reforms and support formerly incarcerated Latinos in successfully reintegrating back into their communities.

In a breakout session sponsored by Casey Family Programs, Domínguez-Villegas spoke on how to strengthen communities to reduce Latino family separation. From acute crises such as family separation at the border, to longstanding socioeconomic inequities, Domínguez-Villegas discussed with other panelists about the innovative policies and interventions needed to protect Latino families’ holistic safety and well-being.

UCLA LPPI was able to sponsor the attendance of three alumni policy fellows, Bryanna Ruiz Fernandez, Jessie Hernandez-Reyes and Nick González, as well as current policy fellow Rocio Perez.

Ruiz Fernandez had a powerful experience reconnecting with her former UCLA LPPI colleagues in the nation’s capital. Having recently graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in political science and chicana/o studies, Ruiz Fernández is now working as a financial analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Washington, D.C.

“Sharing a space filled with Latina/o trailblazers in public policy, as a UCLA LPPI alumni, highlighted the abundance of opportunities I have been granted as a result of mentors like Sonja Diaz and Rodrigo Domínguez-Villegas, who are dedicated to opening doors for young Latinos hoping to enact meaningful change across our communities,” Ruiz Fernández remarked.

González, now a second-year Master of Public Policy student at Georgetown University and intern for U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, was inspired by Latino leaders he met at the conference and the diverse fields they work in.

“Aside from reconnecting with my UCLA LPPI colleagues, my favorite aspect of the conference was networking with so many Latinos in public policy from a broad range of issues and sectors,” said González. “Hearing about the diversity of their work felt like a reminder of LPPI’s mantra that every issue really is a Latino issue.”

Perez, currently a Master of Public Policy student at UCLA, was likewise inspired by the community of Latino leaders with whom she was able to network – and some of the high-profile speakers.

“It was incredible to learn about the journeys of Latinos in different industries and network with empowering individuals, as well as reconnect with friends and mentors,” Perez shared. “One of the highlights was witnessing remarks by both the Vice President and President of the United States – who would have thought I would be there!”

Single-mom and full-time SEIU-USWW Janitor Jenny Meija and her two sons pictured with a computer provided by Building Skills Partnership’s digital equity initiatives.

By Lucy González, Graduate Student Researcher; Sophia L. Ángeles, Graduate Student Researcher; Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center

There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on families. Low-wage essential workers, such as janitors, have been hit particularly hard. The work demands placed on janitors dramatically increased as new safety standards were instated by 2020 COVID-19 protocols. Front-line janitors were at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and their families also faced serious financial challenges due to job loss and reduction of work hours. The difficulty of juggling parent-worker responsibilities impacted their well-being and mental health. However, few studies have explored the unique experiences of janitor parents and their critical role in the pandemic.

In the fall of 2021, the UCLA Labor Center conducted 16 interviews with janitor parents who are members of the Building Skills Partnership and SEIU-USWW (Service International Employees Union-United Service Workers West) and have children attending LAUSD schools. The study’s goal was twofold: 1) to understand how changing working conditions affected janitors as parents and workers and 2) to understand how an ever-evolving year of online learning shaped parent workers’ ability to support their children. Preliminary findings point to janitor parents’ resiliency in light of the challenges they encountered.

First, our research team found that the sanitation training janitor parents received in the workplace made them acutely aware and critical of their children’s school sanitary practices. Selene,* a Guatemalan mother of two students, shared her worries after learning that her children were tasked with disinfecting shared spaces. She cited that disinfection practices needed to be performed by professionals on a daily basis. Janitor parents’ access to specialized training equipped them to act as health brokers as they consistently discussed best health practices with their children to keep them safe from COVID-19.

Reflecting nationwide trends, more than half of the janitor parents reported that their children struggled academically. Parents cited the lack of personalized communication and consistent support from teachers and school staff as contributing factors. Iris, a Latina mother of two, shared that she reached out to her daughter’s school counselor for help, but never heard back. She believed this lack of support was due to her Latina ethnicity, as she had received negative responses from school staff when she called speaking Spanish versus the more positive responses she experienced when she spoke English.

Single janitor parents also consistently struggled. Nora, an Honduran single mother of two children with special needs, shared how burnt out she was juggling work and parenting since the start of pandemic:

“As a single mother, how is it going on a daily basis? Very hard. It is very hard because I have to be at 100% … I go to work at 6pm until 2:30am … I sleep for just 3 hours … Then go drop them off … Then I take classes … After, I have to pick up my sons. Then I serve them dinner. Can you imagine? I have no life.”

To support janitor parents, we suggest the following recommendations::

  1. Provide coordinated support and resources for working parents, particularly single parent households (e.g., flexible childcare options, financial assistance).
  2. Ensure that school-parent communication is multilingual and through varied and accessible formats.

An article on this research is forthcoming. Read our previous report on the UCLA Labor Center’s programs with worker parents, Learning Together! An Innovative Tutoring Program for Low-Wage Janitor, Garment and Domestic Worker Children (click HERE to download).

Lucy González is a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Labor Center and is a recent MSW graduate. She plans to be a school social worker to work on creating a safe and culturally inclusive school environment for all children.

Sophia L. Ángeles is a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Labor Center’s Worker and Learner project and a PhD candidate in the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies.. 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.

* All names are pseudonyms to protect our participant’s identity.

“Latino Policy and Politics Institute Founding Executive Director Sonja Diaz, Center, with past and current institute staff and policy fellows. Photo by James Michael Juarez.”

The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative has officially become the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute (UCLA LPPI), thanks to $3 million in ongoing annual funding from the state of California.

The funding, championed by the Latino Legislative Caucus, was initially secured in 2021 and initiated UCLA LPPI’s transition into a permanent research fixture with a robust fellowship program and a network of nearly 50 affiliated faculty experts across UCLA’s College and professional schools.

Founded in 2017 through a partnership between UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs and division of social sciences, UCLA LPPI was launched to address the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color. Since its inception, the institute has utilized the power of research, advocacy, mobilization and leadership development to propel policy reforms that expand genuine opportunity for all Americans.

Under the leadership of Sonja Diaz, UCLA LPPI’s founding director, the institute has gained national standing as a leading Latino policy think tank. Further, it has become a critical piece of infrastructure in UCLA’s march toward achieving federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by 2025.

Some of UCLA LPPI’s key stakeholders shared the following thoughts on the significance of the institute’s work and the transition from an initiative to an institute with long-term sustainability:

“As chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, I am so grateful for the Latino-centric research from UCLA LPPI that has helped us formulate the policies our communities need most. Latinos play an essential role in California, yet we are disproportionately impacted by issues like the gender pay gap and disparate health outcomes. It is critical that we have a Latino-focused think tank with readily available data on the various topics that Latinos care about most.”State Sen. María Elena Durazo

“It would stand to reason that the state with the largest number of Latinos in the country would recognize the need for a permanent voice on these matters, especially at UCLA – a vanguard of public higher education. This transition reflects the hard work of UCLA LPPI’s original founders and the growing influence of our ‘gente’ in academia and beyond. I applaud UCLA and the staff of UCLA LPPI, and I look forward to greater things and continued collaboration.”Juan Cartagena, UCLA LPPI advisory board member and president emeritus of LatinoJustice PRLDEF

“As a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, we refer to data from UCLA LPPI to inform our policymaking on the issues that directly impact California’s diverse Latino communities. I’m especially appreciative of the gender lens that UCLA LPPI applies in its research products, which has played a key role in our Unseen Latinas Initiative. UCLA LPPI’s transition to an established research institute will ensure we are pushing for the right legislative solutions for years to come.”State Sen. Lena Gonzalez

“The Chicano Studies Research Center shares a strong alignment with UCLA LPPI’s scholarly research on the most pressing social and political issues affecting diverse Latinx communities in the U.S. As UCLA LPPI transitions into an institute, we look forward to deepening our partnership and bolstering our shared commitment to raise the profile of Latino scholarship on campus and beyond.”Veronica Terriquez, director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

This story and photo were submitted to L.A. Social Science by Alise Brillault (she/her), Communications Manager of the Latino Policy & Politics Institute.


Organized and moderated by Professor Giulia Sissa (Classics, Political Science, Comparative Literature – UCLA).

Follow this link to register to attend online with Zoom on May 31 starting at 9am.

“Decolonizing Classics” is a novel challenge for scholars in the Humanities and, even more pointedly, for those who study the societies of ancient Greece and Rome. The stake is not merely relevance, usefulness or epistemic legitimacy, but also political credentials. The “Classics” in education and in academia are being asked to give account of their role in shaping not just cultures, but cultural identities; not just representations, but self-representations. Multiple responses are possible, from indifference to indignation, from defensiveness to solidarity, from haughty erudition to chirpy vulgarization. But this challenge is thought-provoking rather than threatening. These historical circumstances should prompt an experimental, critical, creative meditation on our practices of learning and teaching. What can be done, what should be done and how can we act in our double life, as experts of those early global worlds and as citizens of this present, planetary world?

At the end of a long seminar on the resources of “comparative thinking,” in the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory, this roundtable will start a discussion on the future of Greece and Rome in our own cultural horizon. We will begin to showcase old and new heuristic approaches, which can help us reorient our research and refresh our language in a non-ethnocentric, non-linear, non-idealizing – non neoclassical – perspective.

SCHEDULE (Pacific Time)

9:00 AM – Giulia Sissa, UCLA
9:15 AM – Zrinka Stahuljak, UCLA
9:30 AM – Manuele Gragnolati, Sorbonne Université
9:45 AM – Ute Heidmann, Université de Lausanne
10:00 AM – Discussion
10:15 AM – Marco Formisano, Ghent University
10:30 AM – Phiroze Vasunia, University College London
11:00 AM – Cléo Carastro, EHESS, Paris
11:15 AM – Renaud Gagné, University of Cambridge
11:30 AM – Tristan Bradshaw, University of Wollongong and Ben Brown, University of Sydney
11:45 AM – Discussion
12:30 PM – Conclusion

Click here to download a PDF flyer for this event.

LA Social Science recently interviewed Dr. Raúl Hinojosa, an Associate Professor in the UCLA Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies and Founding Director of the North American Integration and Development Center (NAID), about his center’s conference on March 4 reflecting on its 25 years of research and innovation.

Interview Chapters:

00:20 – Welcome

01:05 – Dr. Hinojosa, please tell us about your conference “Empowering Diasporas to Address Root Causes: 25 Years of UCLA NAID Center Research & Innovation.” I understand it covered various areas of UCLA NAID Center research and policy innovation, which had three panels of research, policy, and community leaders from the US, Mexico, and Central America, highlighting recent publications and current pilot policy pilot projects.

07:11 – Perhaps you can tell us about the mission of the NAID Center and the highlights of its achievements over the past 25 years. Also, can you tell us about the first panel which I understand highlighted your book written about the North American Development Bank: historical trajectory and lessons learned?

15:57 – Can you tell us about the second panel designed to highlight a new policy monograph “Addressing the Root Causes of Migration,” to be published by the UCLA NAID Center and the DC based Migration Policy Institute? I understand you also unveiled UCLA NAID transnational data mapping website for online detailed geographic visibility in the US, Mexico and Central America. Also, what are the policy recommendations of the NAID-MPI monograph on Promoting the Reinvestment of Remittances and Migrant Savings for Addressing Root Causes of Migration?

26:00 – The third panel is entitled “Transnational Indigenous Empowerment,” which I understand highlighted a financial empowerment pilot project in San Quintin BC organized with Mexican Indigenous “microbanks” and local universities with the support of the NADBank. Can you also talk about how this conference is a part of future trajectory of the NAID Center? I understand the NAID Center, and partners are working on transnational migration and global climate change.


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