By Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Project Director & Saba Waheed, Research Director

Black people are leaving Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Black Worker Center noticed the trend while doing community organizing work in the area and teamed up with the UCLA Labor Center to conduct a study. Together, they analyzed 2010-2014 data from the American Community Survey and found that employment conditions have a lot to do with it. While the Black community was once a thriving part of L.A.’s landscape and remains integral to the county’s cultural and economic life, they are in the throes of a bona fide jobs crisis – and concern for Black workers has only intensified in response to the new administration.

Here are some of the study’s findings:

  • Black people are significantly more educated than previous generations, yet experience a lower labor participation rate and a significantly higher unemployment rate than white workers
  • Black workers are underrepresented in growing industry sectors and professional jobs and have lower rates in manager and supervisory positions
  • Whether working full or part time, Black workers earn only 75% of what White workers earn (for Black women, the wage gap is even more severe)
  • The Black community’s share of the total population declined from 13% to 8%

Based on their research, the UCLA Labor Center, Los Angeles Black Worker Center and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment released the 2017 report Ready to Work, Uprooting Inequity: Black Workers in Los Angeles and a follow-up California study, as Black Angelenos still make up over one third of the state’s Black population. The report argues for the need to stabilize Black families and communities through community-driven public policy and corporate practice change that create good-paying, quality jobs accessible to Black workers.

Its release was also coupled with the launch of a local anti-discrimination enforcement campaign called #HealBlackFutures that would support policy efforts to respond to discrimination complaints (additional research supported this need for local enforcement).

As a leading global city, Los Angeles already has an important history of worker organizations and movements that have struggled to close the equity gap, increase the minimum wage, secure paid sick-days and provide a platform for worker voices. Since the release of this report, there has been an unprecedented display of Black working-class activism and mobilization in Los Angeles County.

In addition, the governor of California also directed the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to establish a civil rights advisory group composed of relevant state representatives, community advocates, employers and employees to study the feasibility of authorizing local governments to help enforce anti-discrimination statutes.

Studying Black workers in Los Angeles provides a helpful foundation off of which to both produce new research and develop policy initiatives addressing the state of U.S. labor in general. Evaluating the feasibility and clarifying the steps that local authorities are taking to remedy civil rights violations will be critical in curbing unfair treatment at work both in Los Angeles and on a larger scale.

The Los Angeles Black Worker Center is a grassroots action center in South Central Los Angeles dedicated to expanding access to quality jobs, addressing employment discrimination and improving jobs that employ Black workers. The Center’s vision is to build a world where Black workers thrive in an equitable economy that sustains family and community. For more than 50 years, the UCLA Labor Center has created innovative programs that offer a range of educational, research and public service activities within the university and in the broader community, especially among low-wage and immigrant workers.

 

The UCLA Alumni Association will be honoring several distinguished alumni for their contributions to UCLA and beyond at this year’s alumni awards on June 2.  Among the honorees are several alumni from the Division of Social Sciences, including:

Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi, marathoner and Olympic medalist, who graduated with a bachelor’s in communication studies in 1999, and is this year’s recipient of the UCLA Award for Professional Achievement.

Angela Sanchez, who graduated with a bachelor’s in history in 2013 and a master’s degree in education with a focus in student affairs in 2015, will be receiving the UCLA Award for Community Service for her important work assisting K–12 homeless students in navigating postsecondary education.

Mark Stull, who graduated with a bachelor’s in political science in 1971, will be honored with the UCLA Award for Alumni Volunteer of the Year for his work as an active board leader in the UCLA Club of San Diego and as a vice chair of the San Diego Chancellor’s Society Board.

For information about the awardees, click here, and for more information about the alumni awards ceremony, click here.

 

May 4, 2018

Last week, Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, professor of History and African American Studies and the interim director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, along with Associate Professor Chandra Ford, Chancellor Gene Block, and UCLA students, journeyed to Sacramento to meet with members of the California Legislative Black Caucus. There they discussed Million Dollar Hoods and the policy interventions and solutions that can be implemented to improve Los Angeles and advance justice reinvestment campaigns. Connecting research to actionable policy is a major objective of Million Dollar Hoods and Professor Lytle Hernandez’s work.

 

Related post: Mapping LA’s Million Dollar Hoods

 

milliondollarhoods.org

By Kelly Lytle Hernandez

Professor of History and African-American Studies

Los Angeles County operates the largest jail system on Earth. At a cost of nearly $1 billion annually, more than 20,000 people are caged every night in county jails and city lockups. Conventional wisdom says that incarceration advances public safety by removing violent and serious offenders from the streets – but the data shows that isn’t necessarily true.

According to Million Dollar Hoods (MDH), a digital mapping project that uses police data to monitor incarceration costs in Los Angeles, not all neighborhoods are equally impacted by L.A.’s massive jail system. In fact, L.A.’s nearly billion-dollar jail budget is largely committed to incarcerating many people from just a few neighborhoods, in some of which more than $1 million is spent annually on incarceration. Leading causes of arrest in these areas are primarily drug possession and DUIs, and the majority of those arrested are black, brown and poor.

The bottom line: the data shows that local authorities are investing millions in locking up the county’s most economically vulnerable, geographically isolated and racially marginalized populations for drug and alcohol-related crimes. These are L.A.’s “Million Dollar Hoods.” Maybe they deserve more.

Additional information on “Million Dollar Hoods” (MDH):

Launched in summer 2016, MDH is an ongoing collaboration between UCLA researchers and local community-based organizations, including Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Dignity and Power Now, JusticeLA and more. Together, we conceptualized the project, acquired the data and mapped it, making a wealth of data broadly available to advocates and activists who are pressing local authorities to divest from police and jails and invest in the community-based services needed to build a more equitable community: namely health, housing, employment, and educational services. To date, the MDH maps and reports have received significant media coverage and are being marshaled by advocates to advance a variety of justice reinvestment campaigns.  Our research on cannabis enforcement shaped the development of the city’s social equity program. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty references our research in his report on the criminalization of homelessness in America. Our report on the money bail system was the first to document how the money bail system amounts to asset stripping in Black and Latino Los Angeles.

Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez (History/African American Studies) leads the Million Dollar Hoods project. Her research team is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of UCLA staff and students, including Danielle Dupuy (School of Public Health), Terry Allen (Graduate School of Education), Isaac Bryan (Luskin School of Public Policy), Jamil Cineus (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Marcelo Clarke (African American Studies/Sociology), Chibumkem Ezenekwe, Luz Flores (African American Studies), Oceana Gilliam (Luskin School of Public Policy), Harold Grigsby (African American Studies), Andrew Guerrero (International Development Studies), Sofia Espinoza (Luskin School of Public Policy), Yoh Kawano (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Albert Kochaphum (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Ricardo Patlan (Political Science),  Alvin Teng (Luskin School of Public Policy), Taylore Thomas (African American Studies), and Estefania Zavala (Luskin School of Public Policy).

 

Related post: Million Dollar Hoods Goes to Sacramento