LA Social Science interviewed Dr. Marcus Hunter, Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the UCLA Division of Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, and Mr. Christian D. Green, M.A. in African American Studies at UCLA and current adjunct professor. They discussed their role on the national, local, and regional events celebrating the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that took place on January 18. Dr. Hunter participated in the 4th Annual National Day of Racial Healing. They discussed their work with legislators, media, and community-based organizations.  Specifically, they discuss the educational resources they are advocating to be part of the U.S. Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Commission and Reparations for African Americans and at the local level.

Learn more about the January 18 events HERE.

 

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On January 18th, 2022, the 4th Annual National Day of Racial Healing will take place. Alongside a slate of national, local, and regional events hosted and sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Marcus Anthony Hunter, the Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the Division of the Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA, will be moderating a culminating panel on Facebook Live with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Dr. Gail Christopher, and Dr. Ron Daniels. The panel will focus on and bring further awareness to legislative efforts on the Hill to enact the first-ever U.S. Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Commission and Reparations for African Americans.

RSVP for the virtual panel HERE.

For more information, click HERE.

Check back with LA Social Science for interviews and more posts regarding the issues discussed in this panel.

Faculty and researchers from UCLA’s Latino Politics and Policy Initiative in the Luskin School of Public Affairs are not only documenting the changing dynamics of voting in America. They also serve as champions of voting rights that will allow Latinos and other underrepresented groups to step into their political power.

Since 2014, the initiative has drawn on extensive research and real-time analysis of election cycles, diving into issues that impact voters of color—particularly Latinos, a population that represents the plurality of California and is the largest non-white ethnic group in the nation.

The group’s flagship advocacy effort, The Voting Rights Project played a role in shaping new voting rights legislation that has passed the U.S. House and is awaiting Senate action.

Led by UCLA alum Sonja Diaz as founding director, the goal of LPPI is to drive policy actions that address the needs of Latinos.

“Directing UCLA LPPI has provided an unparalleled opportunity to leverage my entrepreneurial skills with my passion for social change in my hometown,” Diaz said. “It has enabled me to put a bright spotlight on the issues that Latinos care about and the power I’ve seen in our communities since I was a child.  “It’s also created the space to develop data-backed policy for this incredibly diverse and complex population that far too few people have taken the time to really understand.”

Diaz and UCLA professor of political science Matt Barreto, who are both voting rights experts, testified during House hearings on the bill and offered solutions to combat recent attacks on access to the ballot box. Their testimony contributed to “Voting in America,” a report led by Subcommittee Chair G.K. Butterfield that was used to develop the new voting rights legislation.

Drawing on extensive research and real-time analysis of election cycles since 2014 into the behavior of voters of color – particularly Latinos – Diaz and Barreto outlined the changing dynamics of voting in America.

They highlighted how the American electorate is shifting due to growing numbers of young Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander voters and how voting rights have been curbed since Shelby v. Holder gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act through actions like voter ID laws and lack of multilingual ballots.

They also recommended steps our federal government should take to protect access to the ballot box in light of the 2021 redistricting cycle. UCLA LPPI’s work on the new voting rights legislation included an in-person briefing with Rep. Butterfield at UCLA Luskin with senior policy fellows and policy faculty experts.

“The architects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 sought to ensure all Americans were able to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot in the face of widespread discrimination.” Diaz said. “While we have made real progress in curbing the racial discrimination of Jim Crow, we find ourselves in a new era of vote denial and suppression and we cannot go backward.”

With more than 400 bills in state legislatures across the nation aimed at restricting voting rights introduced this year, the work is vital for all Americans.

“We are at a critical moment in our democracy,” Barreto said. “As the demographics of the country shift toward being less white, those who have always held power are doing everything they can to retain it, including trying to restrict the fundamental right to vote.”

Without a comprehensive solution such as sweeping voting rights legislation will protects the rights to vote, Diaz said she is concerned that the country not only risks silencing the voices of youthful, diverse electorates but also jeopardizing our very democracy.

Within this context, Diaz and Barreto’s pivotal efforts to ensure all eligible voters can cast a meaningful ballot couldn’t be more critical, especially because those efforts are squarely focused on protecting Latinos and other communities of color.

To this end, in just the past year and a half, LPPI has released research highlighting opportunities to expand access to the ballot box through vote-by-mail, the increasing influence of voters of color and information into why some may want to limit their power.

They are advocating for the need for deep, meaningful and sustained engagement of growing electorates like Latinos and Asian Americans. In December 2020, the Voting Rights Project hosted a symposium bringing together voting rights practitioners, expert witnesses, and legal scholars from around the country. The convening explored a path forward to protect the right to vote and craft a 21st Century voting rights act.

The work to increase Latino political power and strengthen the voting rights of underrepresented Americans is personal for Diaz. She marched in the streets with her parents to protest Prop 187, a California ballot proposition passed in 1994 that sought to restrict access to public services for undocumented immigrants.

“Protesting on the streets served as my first education in the power of the vote,” Diaz said. “It’s where I decided that I would use my power to advance equitable policy and expand civil rights, so that dignity and opportunity are not limited to where you live or how you identify, but accessible to everyone.”

UCLA Labor Center / IRLE Dedication, UCLA, James Lawson Jr., Worker Justice Center

For a building dedicated to ensuring fair treatment and opportunities for workers and that is located in the heart of one of Los Angeles’ working-class immigrant neighborhoods, naming it after iconic civil and workers’ rights leader Rev. James Lawson Jr. was perfect.

On Dec. 11, the UCLA Labor Center’s historic MacArthur Park building was officially named the UCLA James Lawson Jr. Worker Justice Center in honor Lawson, one of the civil rights movement’s most-prominent leaders of non-violent protest and a UCLA labor studies faculty member.

“Throughout history, many of our greatest leaders have urged us to look inward,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said to the audience of 300 attendees at a ceremony hosted by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor in partnership with the Labor Center. “They ask: Who are we as people? What do we value? What kind of society do we want, and what are we willing to do to build it?

“For over 60 years, James Lawson has invited Americans to consider such pressing questions. He has insisted that humanity’s salvation lies in reason and compassion, not violence or exploitation. His vision and valor have mobilized Americans, changed this nation, and inspired activists around the globe.”

Once referred to as “the mind of the movement” and “the leading strategist of nonviolence in the world” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lawson, now 93, is known internationally for teaching nonviolent resistance tactics to young activists. In the course of his life, Lawson and his colleagues and students led lunch counter sit-ins, freedom rides and worker strikes including the historic 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike during the civil rights movement.

Lawson said he was humbled by UCLA naming a building in his honor.

“I had no idea how to prepare for this moment. For this extraordinary experience of all of you and the coalition that came together, to make this possible,” Lawson said. “On behalf of my wife, Dorothy, and her parents, and my parents and our great grandparents, and all on behalf of our sons, our grandchildren … we thank you very much, absolutely astonishing — I could never have imagined anything like this at all.”

To read the rest of the UCLA newsroom story by Citlalli Chávez-Nava about this historic occasion, click HERE.

UCLA LPPI’s Founding Executive Director Sonja Diaz and former Policy Analyst Nick Gonzalez meeting with Assemblymember Jose Medina in Sacramento to advocate for ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement. From left to right: Governmental Affairs Advisor Marvin Pineda, Nick Gonzalez, Senator María Elena Durazo, Assemblymember Medina, Sonja Diaz, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo.

By: Alise Brillault

December 16, 2021

UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative’s (UCLA LPPI) makes sure that their research does not just sit on the proverbial dusty shelf. Through indefatigable mobilization, advocacy and partnership efforts, UCLA LPPI ensures that the crucial data they uncover about the issues that matter most to Latinos gets into the hands of lawmakers. In fact, numerous California state bills were passed in 2021 due to UCLA LPPI’s research and advocacy efforts.

In a win for the comprehensive education of California’ s students, AB 101 was signed into law this year – making California the first state in the nation to mandate ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement. Contributing to the efforts that drove the passage of AB 101, Nick Gonzalez, a former policy analyst at UCLA LPPI, authored a report on the importance of ethnic studies curriculum in a state whose students are increasingly students of color. Gonzalez also met multiple times with Assemblymember Jose Medina to present evidence that ethnic studies coursework in high school is associated with improved attendance, higher test scores and better interracial relations amongst students of all ethnic backgrounds.

“Our research affirmed the convictions of state legislators who understand the need for students of color to see themselves reflected in the history they are taught,” said Gonzalez. “Not only does Ethnic Studies help students of color develop a deeper connection with their American identity, but it is also correlated with improved academic performance.”

Gonzalez and UCLA LPPI strategized with Assemblymember Medina on how to get the Ethnic Studies bill passed, including providing key insights for an op-ed Asm. Medina penned with UCLA LPPI faculty expert Dr. Laura Gomez. While the first attempt at passing the Ethnic Studies bill failed in 2020, the strategic groundwork Gonzalez and UCLA LPPI laid paved the way for AB 101 to pass easily this year’s legislative session.

In another win, AB 443 was also signed into law this year. This bill allows for the creation of a statewide fellowship program for doctors who received their medical degrees abroad; this will help to increase the pool of Spanish-speaking doctors amidst California’s Latino physician shortage. UCLA LPPI faculty experts Dr. David Hayes-Bautista and Dr. Yohualli Balderas-Medina Anaya have been studying this crisis for years and have co-authored multiple reports and policy briefs on the topic alongside other UCLA LPPI faculty experts.

“There is an overall shortage of physicians in the state of California – and it’s even worse for Latino and Spanish-speaking physicians,” explains Dr. Anaya. “This imbalance of supply and demand of physicians is only predicted to continue in the coming years as Baby Boomers retire.”

Dr. Hayes-Bautista points to policies enacted in the 1980s that limited opportunities for international medical graduates (IMGs) to practice medicine in California. Such policies were implemented due to a (later disproven) fear that the state was edging towards having “too many” physicians. In fact, the opposite proved to pan out. Now, approximately 7 million Californians live in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), with Latinos, African Americans and Indigenous people overrepresented as residents of HSPAs.

In addition, structural barriers that have prevented Latinos from studying and practicing medicine has led to a gross underrepresentation of Latino physicians vis-a-vis their share of the population. “If current trends continue,” Dr. Hayes-Bautista says, “It could take up to 500 years to make up for the shortage of Latino physicians.”

In light of this research, UCLA LPPI partner AltaMed Health Services co-sponsored bill AB 443 with Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo. With the bill passing, IMGs will be permitted to participate in postgraduate fellowship programs in the state of California to be able to practice medicine here. This will help increase the pool of Spanish-speaking physicians, improving doctor-patient language concordance – which, as Dr. Anaya points out, “is positively associated with better health outcomes and access to care in a state with significant Spanish-speaking populations.”

These wins were significant, but there were areas where UCLA LPPI’s weren’t as successful and additional efforts to move the policy needle will be needed in 2022. For example, UCLA LPPI’s political appointments advocacy work helped spur the introduction of  a bill to track the diversity of gubernatorial appointments in California. One of UCLA LPPI’s partners, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), co-sponsored the bill, SB 702, in the legislature with Senator Monique Limón.

“To achieve gender and racial parity, understanding the current landscape is the first step,” says Vanessa Spagnoli, policy director of HOPE. “SB 702 would have created a baseline report about what voices are missing in the over 3,000 appointments to boards, commissions and the judiciary that the governor makes every year.”

Given Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of the bill, UCLA LPPI’s current work around tracking the demographic diversity of the judicial appointments will prove even more crucial for accountability. In addition to diligently researching and documenting the demographic information of appointed justices, UCLA LPPI’s mobilization team has urged Governor Newsom to make history by appointing a Latina to the California Supreme Court. As Spagnoli asserts, “​​We remain committed to fighting for fair representation, and our commitment is unwavering.”

With the 2022 midterm elections approaching, ongoing uncertainty around the state of the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic, and census data showing Latinos as primary drivers of U.S. population growth, UCLA LPPI’s political mobilization work will prove even more consequential in the coming year. The 2020 census also revealed Latino populations to be growing fastest outside of California and other states with traditionally large Latino communities. As such, UCLA LPPI recognizes the necessity of deepening its advocacy efforts with partners in states such as New Jersey, Illinois, and Florida. UCLA LPPI is committed to using the convening power of the nation’s leading public university to connect innovators who can write change into law.

UCLA Sociology Ph.D. candidate Josefina Flores Morales is a sociology doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include: social demography, race/ethnicity, immigration, and health. In this interview, she discusses her article that analyzes Twitter discourse about undocumented immigrants during COVID.

 

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By Alise Brillault, Communications Manager, UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative

November 29, 2021

Young Latino leaders are key to America’s future. As California’s plurality and the nation’s second largest ethnic group, Latinos were responsible for 51% of U.S. population growth in the last decade and represent an increasingly youthful and diverse population. More than half of young Americans are people of color, and six out of ten Latinos are Millennials or younger.

Yet, Latinos are underrepresented in leadership positions and overrepresented in low-wage jobs. Latinos only account for 1.2% of elected officials in the country. During a pandemic in which Latinos have been nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die from COVID-19, it is imperative that Latino communities see themselves and their needs reflected in political decision-making. Further, the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing economic inequities, even while Latinos serve as the economic drivers of America. In fact, if U.S. Latinos were their own country, they would have the 7th largest GDP in the world. Ultimately, the nation’s success is predicated on Latinos’ success, and these numbers remind us how critical it is to invest in young leaders of color.

UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (UCLA LPPI) recognizes the need to harness the talent and potential of young Latino leaders to bring us to a future where we all can thrive. Through its flagship student fellowship program, UCLA LPPI is training the elected officials and organizational leaders of tomorrow to center historically marginalized communities at decision-making tables. But the policy challenges that student fellows tackle are not just résumé boosters. The issues at hand are often deeply personal to them.

Bryanna Ruiz, Undergraduate student; Area of study: Major in political science, minor in Chicanx studies and public affairs; Expected graduation: 2022

For example, Bryanna Ruiz, an undergraduate fellow, had real worries about the health of her family members who were frontline workers. “My mother is a house cleaner, and at the beginning of the pandemic I was scared for her,” Ruiz reveals, also noting that her family did not qualify for the first rounds of CARES Act stimulus payments due to their mixed status. “In the pandemic, frontline workers were the largest impacted yet were treated as disposable.”  So, for fellows like Ruiz, it has been significant to be at UCLA LPPI as they conduct research on the effects of the pandemic on essential workers of color and convene advocates and policy leaders to identify solutions for protecting those workers.

Ruiz, who is now in her fourth year as a fellow, has also gotten hands-on experience with a variety of career paths that she never previously considered — from assisting co-founder Dr. Matt Barreto with mixed-methods research on automatic voter registration to aiding the communications team with report rollouts. “As a first-generation college student, it’s hard to picture oneself in roles not exposed to growing up,” says Ruiz. “I’ve discovered, for instance, that uplifting research through strategic communications is just as crucial as the research itself.”

The work has been so rewarding that Ruiz even decided to continue with her fellowship remotely while she studies abroad in Italy during UCLA’s Fall Quarter. “I didn’t want to miss out on important research around the 2022 midterm elections and the chance to engage in a collaboration between UCLA LPPI and the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program,” said Ruiz. The latter project seeks to uplift diverse Latino stories at this historic tipping point by collecting 1,000 oral histories.

Paula Nazario, Graduate student; Area of study: MPP (Master of Public Policy); Expected graduation: 2022

Graduate Fellow Paula Nazario also feels a direct stake in shaping a new Latino narrative with her work focusing on Latino economic issues. While contributing research to a report demonstrating that Latinas exited the workforce during the pandemic more than any other group, Nazario saw the same story playing out in her community, with women being disproportionately burdened by caretaking duties as schools went remote and childcare centers closed. “I saw how the pandemic hit women particularly hard in my neighborhood — everyone was relying on them for cooking, taking care of the children, etc., so, I was able to provide my own personal insight into that report,” said Nazario.

Nazario describes how support from Latina peers and role models at UCLA LPPI is guiding her own career path. She notes, “Seeing Kassandra Hernández getting a PhD in economics is inspiring, because I had never heard of a woman of color doing that before.”

Undergraduate Fellow Moris Gomez started a beauty salon business alongside his mother during the pandemic to support his family. During the process, Gomez began learning web development so that he could create a website for the salon, which ultimately sparked a passion for programming and design. Now as UCLA LPPI’s webmaster, Gomez describes how building on these skills in his fellowship is powerful for tackling policy issues that directly affect him and his community. He explains, “The connection to the data is very important because my community members are literally in LPPI reports. Knowing this information and disseminating it in a meaningful, accessible way can help the community.”

Moris Gomez, Undergraduate student; Area of study: Major in international development studies; Expected graduation: 2022

The community at UCLA LPPI also speaks to Gomez, who is undocumented. He reveals that he does not feel excluded or isolated. “I feel at home. Being surrounded by Latino professionals motivates me, and seeing Latinos with master’s degrees and PhDs makes me want to take it a step further,” said Gomez.

After graduation, Gomez wants to bring the skills he’s learned at UCLA LPPI to work that has a social justice perspective and direct impact on his community.

As America emerges from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, going “back to normal” will not be sufficient for achieving true equity. “Going back to normal for Latinos is marginality,” states Juana Hernandez Sanchez, UCLA LPPI’s director of programs. “What is needed is to disrupt the status quo by leveraging existing resources for a new pipeline of young leaders of color who can return to their communities with the relevant tools to tackle long-standing policy challenges.”

UCLA LPPI plays a key role in identifying and preparing this pipeline. Student fellows are supported with technical research training and the development of interpersonal leadership skills around communication, teamwork, professional network building and setting post-graduation goals. While encouraging students to lean into their lived experiences, UCLA LPPI is helping them find their place in the policy arena and identify ways to make a tangible impact that uplifts Latino communities and expands equity and opportunity for all.

By Alise Brillault, Latino Policy & Politics Initiative Communications Manager

As the nation has grappled with the health and economic outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic, an election marked by profound political polarization and a reckoning on race, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (UCLA LPPI) has been at the forefront of putting a bright spotlight on how these issues have impacted Latino communities in California and across the nation. As part of that effort, UCLA LPPI has highlighted unique perspectives aimed at identifying challenges, opportunities and solutions to move the work forward and create a future where everyone can thrive. These perspectives have included those of academics, labor leaders and elected officials, just to name a few. Recently, UCLA LPPI had the opportunity to hear from the philanthropy world when they sat down with Weingart Foundation* CEO and former UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Board Member Miguel Santana. During the conversation, Santana shared the importance of funding data-driven, Latino-led organizations to build a more inclusive economy and democracy. Check out the conversation (lightly edited for clarity) below.

*UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (UCLA LPPI) recently received $125,000 in general funding over two years from the Weingart Foundation.

**

Alise Brillault: The Weingart Foundation’s main areas of focus are housing justice, immigrant and refugee rights and strengthening nonprofit effectiveness to build towards racial and socioeconomic justice. How does the work of UCLA LPPI as as a Latino-focused research center fit into the foundation’s mission?

Miguel Santana: The Weingart Foundation is committed to advancing social and racial justice in Southern California. For us, it is important that any work to deal with inequities in Los Angeles be based on data, analysis and best practices. The Luskin School of Public Affairs and UCLA LPPI are leading that effort.

We believe that to make change, there has to be an organized community on the ground – but there also need to be academic partners committed to advancing these issues using data analysis and research. Funding initiatives such as UCLA LPPI is part of a larger strategy to harness the power of data to make change in our communities.

AB: Why is it important to invest in Latino-led organizations such as UCLA LPPI?

MS: We strongly believe in supporting organizations led by the very communities that have been marginalized. Although Latinos make up about 50% of Southern California’s population, unfortunately, they are disproportionately reflected in poor outcomes in education, economic prosperity, home ownership, food security, and so many other issues. In short, the Latino community is not benefiting from the thriving economy of Southern California. We believe strongly that these issues have to be grounded in communities they are about. Supporting initiatives such as UCLA LPPI – whose research is being led by the best and brightest of the Latino community – is an important part of that mission.

AB: Can you tell us more about the Unrestricted Operating Support program that Weingart uses to enhance nonprofit effectiveness?

MS: We believe in nonprofit organizations – particularly those already meeting existing gaps due to systemic failures in the community. That’s why we work hard not to be prescriptive and to support organizations based on the idea that they know best how to use their dollars. Most of us at the Weingart Foundation came from the nonprofit world, so it’s important for us to take that experience and remind ourselves of what it was like to work in that space, which makes us very intentional about how to provide the best support necessary.

AB: Only 1% of philanthropic foundation CEOs are Latino, and Latino-focused organizations receive less than 2% of philanthropic funding. Is there a connection between representation at the top of foundations and the type of organizations that receive funding?

MS: For foundations like ours, it’s important that the organizations we fund look like and are led by the communities we support. Our Board of Directors has been very committed to leading on that effort. If we expect our funding recipients to have diversity in their boards and executive leadership, our board thought it was important that our foundation also look like and come from the community we serve to better represent the community’s perspective.

I’m very honored to serve as CEO of the Weingart Foundation. I’ve been in public service my entire career and have been the leader of nonprofit organizations. Frankly, though, my own lived experience growing up in Southeast Los Angeles County as the son of immigrants and the first in my family to go to college is more relevant than my degrees. Foundations committed to racial justice need to look like communities they serve. For me, I live in and work in the community, and it’s an honor to lead a foundation that is truly committed to racial justice.

**

Founded in December 2017, through a partnership between the Luskin School of Public Affairs and Division of Social Sciences, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative addresses the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color in order to expand genuine opportunity for all Americans. UCLA LPPI believes that there is no American agenda without a Latino agenda. Funding from the Weingart Foundation will allow UCLA LPPI to expand its capacities for research, data collection, advocacy and leadership development activities as well as the growth of its staff.

 

LA Social Science interviewed Dr. Justin Dunnavant, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, about being an archaeologist who excavates histories on land and under the sea.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

0:58 – Is there a book, music, or movie that helped you get through the pandemic?

1:45 – Tell me about what archaeologists do and what sorts of questions you’re exploring in your research?

3:19 – How did you get involved in scuba diving and what you do as an underwater archaeologist?

5:45 – Community engagement centers heavily in your work, how is archaeology relevant in the communities where you work, and humanity more widely?

7:40 – Tell us more about the work you’ve done with Hulu and other media outlets?

9:40 – Out of all the places you could have landed, what made you choose UCLA and what do you hope to get out of your experience in Southern California?

To learn more about Dr. Dunnavant, click HERE to visit his website.

Check out the recent UCLA Newsroom article on Dr. Dunnavant HERE.

 

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“Building upon her decades of work as an artist and activist, Barbra Streisand’s visionary act of generosity will enable UCLA scholars from many different fields to collaborate on research that will move society forward,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said.

The Barbra Streisand Institute includes 4 research centers that address her concerns:

  • the Center for Truth in the Public Sphere
  • the Center for the Impact of Climate Change
  • the Center for the Dynamics of Intimacy & Power Between Women & Men
  • the Center for the Impact of Art on the Culture

These centers will be housed in UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences. Widely recognized as an icon in multiple entertainment fields, Streisand has attained unprecedented success as a recording artist, actor, director, producer, screenwriter, author and songwriter. She is the first woman to direct, produce, write and star in a major motion picture, the first woman composer to receive an Academy Award, the only recording artist who has achieved No. 1 albums in six consecutive decades, and the first woman to receive a Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Alongside these achievements, Streisand has long been a staunch supporter of civil rights, gender equality, and upholding democracy. She has also been a leading environmental activist, funding some of the earliest climate change research at the Environmental Defense Fund beginning in 1989.

“It is my great pleasure to be able to fund an institute at UCLA, one of the world’s premier universities,” Streisand said. “This will be a place where future scholars can discuss, engage and argue about the most important issues of the day; where innovators will speak truth to power, help save our planet, and make glass ceilings for women an anachronism; and in the process give us a chance to have a brighter, more promising future.”

To read more of this UCLA Newsroom story by Melissa Abraham, please CLICK HERE.