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.

LA Social Science recently spoke with Dr. Tyrone Howard, Professor of Education, Pritzker Family Endowed Chair in Education to Strengthen Families, and Director of the Black Male Institute, about the state of education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Howard is seen as one of our country’s leader in multicultural education, social and political context of schools, urban education, social studies education, and educational experience of African American students.

Interview Chapters:

0:24 – Intro of Dr. Howard

1:10 – Is there any music or a book that has help you to get through this pandemic?

1:58 – Talk with us about the state of education?

8:00 – How are teachers dealing with this current moment?

10:23 – Talk with us about some of the projects you are working on which speak to moving the educational space toward a 25th century reality for all students?

14:15 – Any silver line to what we are currently experiencing?

 

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BBC’s Newsday interviewed Dr. Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, UCLA Associate Professor of Sociology and American Indian Studies and a Northern Cheyenne tribal citizen.  She discusses how COVID-19 has hit Native American reservations like hers. “Every day there are funerals. We’ve lost so many people that if you actually look at the proportion of people we have lost to Covid in our community it would equal about 1.3 million Americans.”  To listen to the full interview, 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.

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.

grandriver/Getty Images

“Indigenous Peoples across the country continue to be disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. As of May 18, 2020, the Navajo Nation has the highest Covid-19 case rates surpassing New York, the pandemic’s epicenter in the United States. As the virus spreads, Indigenous Peoples and nations in the United States face stark disparities in accessing resources to protect their communities—not the least of which relate to data.”

In this recent Items article, Dr. Randall Akee, UCLA Associate Professor of Public Policy and American Indian Studies, and Dr. Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, UCLA Assistant Professor in Sociology and American Indian Studies, along with Dr. Stephanie Russo Carroll, Annita Lucchesi, and Dr. Jennifer Rai Richards come to the conclusion that Indigenous communities need more data that advance Indigenous rights and interests, and they need action to hold the federal government accountable to its treaty obligations and advance systemic change that dismantles racism.

To read the complete article titled, “Indigenous Data in the Covid-19 Pandemic: Straddling Erasure, Terrorism, and Sovereignty,” click HERE.

 

In a recent KCRW Greater L.A. podcast titled, “LA Freeways: The infrastructure of racism,” UCLA Professor Eric Avila spoke about how White Supremacy motivated some city transportation plans. For example, “Boyle Heights…was redlined by banks and home insurance providers because its mix of races was considered unsafe. ‘It was described by the federal government as hopelessly heterogeneous. A Homeowners Loan Corporation report called it an ideal location for a slum clearance project. That slum clearance project was highway construction,’ says Avila.”

To listen and read the entire podcast, click HERE.

For the newly launched magazine, NOEMA, Dr. Safiya Noble wrote an essay that calls out the titans of technology, and challenges us all to look at the societal needs of this pivotal moment. As calls for abolition and racial justice echo from coast to coast, Dr. Noble informs us how “Big Tech is implicated in displacing high-quality knowledge institutions–newsrooms, libraries, schools, and universities–by destabilizing funding through tax evasion, actively eroding the public goods we need to flourish.” She also writes:

“We need new paradigms, not more new tech. We need fair and equitable implementations of public policy that bolster our collective good. We need to center the most vulnerable among us–the working poor and the disabled, those who live under racial and religious tyranny, the discriminated against and the oppressed. We need to house people and provide health, employment, creative arts, and educational resources. We need to close the intersectional racial wealth gap.”

Dr. Noble is an Associate Professor in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, co-director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, and a faculty advisor to the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute.

To read the complete essay, “The Loss Of Public Goods To Big Tech,” 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.

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. The latest conversation is with Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, in which he and Dr. David Myers discuss the current history-making events. LCHP writes:

“Political philosopher Hannah Arendt famously argued – in the case of SS officer Adolf Eichmann – that ordinary people can easily become complicit in evil acts as part of a larger system of injustice and inequality. In this special episode, we discuss the concept of ‘the banality of evil’ with Robin Kelley, prominent scholar and professor of U.S. and African American History. As protests spread across the country over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more, Professor Kelley shares with us his perspectives on our shared responsibilities, revolutionary pessimism, and the historian’s role in the pursuit of justice.”

To hear this informative podcast, click HERE.