On October 11-12, 2018, the California Center for Population Research (CCPR) commemorated its 20th anniversary. Its first session on Thursday engaged population research in Los Angeles on families and neighborhoods, schools, eviction and homelessness, and social policy. The Friday research symposium showcased an accomplished and collaborative group of CCPR alumni from around the nation. This event highlighted the exceptional research of faculty and former students within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA. For more information about the event, check out the CCPR Research Symposium_Final Schedule.

The California Center for Population Research (CCPR) was established in 1998 and has since, been a leading research center for research and training in demography. CCPR is comprised of over 90 active faculty researchers from an array of academic disciplines, such as epidemiology, public policy, economics, sociology, and public welfare. CCPR researchers span several schools, including the College of Letters and Sciences, the Division of Social Sciences, the School of Public Health, the School of Medicine, and the School of Public Affairs, as well as academic departments within UCLA.

 

On October 8, UCLA Professor Lorrie Frasure-Yokley and UCLA LPPI policy fellow Celina Avalos were interviewed by MSNBC reporter Katy Tur. Check out the video HERE.

Learn more about the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) HERE.

Learn more about Professor Lorrie Frasure-Yokley and her research HERE.

Learn more about Celina Avalos’s work on BruinsVOTE! HERE.

On October 11, Professor Cecilia Menjivar will discuss asylum protections for immigrant women fleeing violence at this congressional briefing organized by the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Women and Crime (DWC).  For more information, see below and visit the DWC website.

Congressional Briefing: Translating Research to Policy
Improving Justice for Women and Girls
Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 9:30am – 12:30pm
Rayburn Office Building, Room 2237, Washington DC

 

By Kent Wong

Director, UCLA Labor Center

Rev. James Lawson Jr., a nationally known and celebrated leader of the civil rights movement, turned ninety years old on September 22.

The UCLA community has been very fortunate to have Rev. Lawson as part of our teaching faculty for the past sixteen years. His course, Nonviolence and Social Movements, is always popular with students. In 2016, the UCLA Labor Center published a book on his life and work, Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.

Rev. Lawson was a close friend and colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, and Rev. Lawson’s work in the civil rights movement is well documented. He was a leading force in the Nashville sit-in movement, in the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike, and in introducing the philosophy of nonviolence to a new generation of civil rights leaders. However, his role in advancing social justice movements in Los Angeles is less well known.

After moving from Tennessee to Los Angeles in the 1970s, Rev. Lawson served as pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church for twenty-five years. He was also a founder of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), which brings together clergy and lay leaders of all faiths with laborers, immigrants, and low-income families in the cause of a just economy. Through CLUE, Rev. Lawson influenced a new generation of religious leaders who actively participate in Los Angeles’s social and economic justice movements.

For many years, Rev. Lawson also led an emerging group of social justice leaders, known simply as the Holman Group, which included María Elena Durazo, Gilbert Cedillo, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Karen Bass, long before any of them were elected to public office. The Holman Group introduced these and many other social justice leaders to the philosophy of nonviolence and social change. To this day, Rev. Lawson continues to convene nonviolence workshops with labor and community practitioners. He has worked with hotel workers, janitors, and home care workers to advance nonviolent, direct-action campaigns that helped transform the Los Angeles labor movement.

This year marks not only Rev. Lawson’s ninetieth birthday but also the fiftieth anniversary of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike, where Dr. King was assassinated after Rev. Lawson called upon him to come support the workers.

To celebrate Rev. Lawson’s enduring contributions, the UCLA Labor Center and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment will launch the UCLA Lawson Legacy Project this November, when Rev. Lawson receives the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor. The UCLA Lawson Legacy Project will establish an annual Lawson Lecture on Nonviolence beginning in 2019 and an annual scholarship to a deserving UCLA student engaged in the theory and practice of nonviolence. More details about the UCLA Legacy Project will be released at irle.ucla.edu soon.

 

Kent Wong is the director of the UCLA Labor Center, where he teaches courses in labor studies and Asian American studies.  He previously served as staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union. He was the founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the founding president of the United Association for Labor Education, and currently is vice president of the California Federation of Teachers.

By Rosie Rios, Administrative Director, UCLA Prison Education Program

“We, the people.

We are not criminals.

I am not a criminal.

I am Arlena.

I am beautiful.

I am stardust.”

                                                                                         — Arlena (Sankofa Student)

This summer I had the privilege of co-facilitating the Sankofa Summer School for Girls at Barry J. Nidorf (BJN) Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, California. Every day for two weeks Professor Lauri Mattenson and I went to BJN to discuss and analyze the book, When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, with girls between the ages of 14 and 18. We began each class with a movement icebreaker. The dancing one was their favorite. We then sat in a circle, read our community agreement, which was created and signed collectively on the first day of class as a promise to our commitment to respect one another, and then opened up the space with the question, “What stood out to you the most from the reading?” This was by far my favorite part of the class because I had never seen so many students raising their hands up all at once, eager to share what they had learned!

Our daily conversations touched on the topics of identity, trauma, conditions in underserved communities like the ones that helped raise us, police brutality, drug addiction, womanhood, and the theme of our class: looking back in order to move forward. We laughed and we cried; most importantly, we created a sacred space.

As we neared the end of the course, the girls decided that just like Patrisse, they too could use their writing to share their stories, be heard and feel understood. Each word in the letter was carefully chosen to not only convey their message, but also to express that they are frustrated and tired of living such a precarious life.

On August 29th, 2018, they wrote the following letter:

People here before us,

We need you to listen and understand that we are not criminals. We ask that you don’t judge us and that you get to know us. Not all of us come from houses with white picket fences and rich neighborhoods. We come from the ghetto—where we grew up exposed to gangs, prostitution, drugs, and police brutality. Where you never have the chance to truly live, just survive. We never had the chance to be kids. Some of us just need guidance, a mentor who genuinely loves us and exposes us to the right paths in life. We ask that you take a moment to sit back and understand our experiences.

As you come to work with us, we want you to listen, be patient, and not pity but empathize with us. 

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely, 

UCLA Sankofa Summer School For Girls

Unit T/V

 

To get involved with UCLA’s Prison Education Program, attend the upcoming orientation this Friday, September 28, from 9 AM to 12 PM in the Ackerman Viewpoint Conference Room on Level A. RSVP here.

For more information about the UCLA Prison Education Program, visit http://www.uclaprisoned.org/ and follow them on Twitter @uclaprisonedu.

Members of the UCLA Prison Education Program team. Front row: Dianna Williams, Daniel Ocampo, Lyric “Day-Day” Green-Brown, Rosie Rios, Joanna Navarro. Back row: Gabrielle Sheerer, Dominique Rocker, Bryonn Bain, Derrick Kemp.

A Conversation with Dr. Beth Ribet, Co-Director and Co-Founder of Repair and UCLA Lecturer in Gender Studies and Disability Studies

By Lara Drasin

TOMORROW, September 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM in UCLA’s Young Research Library conference room, Repair, a nonprofit organization engaged in research, education, and community-level advocacy regarding health challenges, health disparities and disabilities that result from social problems – along with co-sponsors the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) and the Positive Results Corporation – will present “Hope.” Hope will be the second of a seven-part series of events titled Transformation: Lectures, Conversations, and Stories About Healing and Social Action.” The other events include Resilience, Imagination, Clarity, Integrity, Trust and Solidarity, which Repair’s Dr. Beth Ribet says are all a part of the transformation process.

“We decided to run this series, really, just as something we thought was deeply needed by a lot of people – those we know, and those we don’t know – in Los Angeles,” said Ribet, who started Repair with co-director and co-founder Claudia Peña in 2014. “There is a lot of legitimate fear and concern about the state of our world, and of the nation, right now…  The messages we’re getting about our future are deeply disheartening, and I think there are so many of us who want to imagine how things could be different but are overwhelmed by that process. So the series is, in one sense, about creating a space for people to imagine social transformation.”

In describing the philosophy behind the event, Ribet stressed that the focus will be not just on each individual’s own healing process, but also the idea of healing as a collective process for the community.

“The themes of healing and social action are meant to be both personal and collective, as most very good things are,” Ribet said. “We think about healing as something that people need to do individually because there are so many reasons that we have to be traumatized, whether by family violence, poverty, racism, policing and incarceration, interpersonal violence, exhaustion, fatigue, or overwork. And so we wanted to focus on healing in a sense that a lot of us need, but also understand that we feel best individually when our communities are healing too. So we’re healing together.”

Ribet acknowledges that the term “community” can be defined in multiple ways. “One of the things that can be true about community,” she explained, “is that it’s the place where you find the people who affirm your reality and make it easier for you to be the person you need to be.”

This particular event, Hope, was named for what Ribet describes as an elemental part of the change-making process. “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t need more hope,” she said. Ribet explained that after one survives personal or political trauma, for transformation to take place they must be able to imagine that good things can and will happen, even if it seems impossible or hasn’t been something they have experienced in the past.

“Having hope makes it more likely that you will reach for the possibility [of things getting better],” Ribet said.

Attendees can expect an environment focused on sharing, listening and support on Thursday. Ribet will say a few words, followed by an introduction from Dr. Rachel Lee, Director of UCLA CSW, and then multiple storytellers will share their own experiences. Storytellers for “Hope” include:

Kandee Rochelle Lewis

Kandee Rochelle Lewis is the Executive Director of the Positive Results Corporation, and works to address trauma, teen dating violence, and domestic violence and sexual assault. Her awards and accolades include, but are not limited to the 2018 Hope Award in Education, 2017 “Woman of the Year” from the LA Commission on the Status of Women, and the Vanguard Award for most influential African-Americans in Los Angeles. She is also a founding Board Member for the South Los Angeles Homeless and Foster Care Collaborative.

Dr. Shawna Charles

Shawna Charles holds an MBA and a PhD in Clinical Psychology. As a coach, she identifies as an ‘ACTIONIST’, who motivates people to intentionally choose happiness. She is the creator and founder of ‘Think To Be Happy,’ and has more than ten years experiencing coaching and mentoring. Dr. Charles is a graduate of Howard University and has been recognize by the City of Los Angeles, University of Southern California, and New York Rescue Mission among other organizations, for her community work.

Anam Ella Durrani

Anam Ella Durrani is the founder of A.E.D. Designs, a successful made-to-order clothing line she established at the age of 16 years, while living in Karachi, Pakistan. She worked 14-18 hour days to launch and build the company and its brand, and helped to catalyze an influx of new Pakistani female designers, as her company achieved recognition and acclaim. She identifies becoming an entrepreneur as a teenage girl — in defiance of social taboos and constraints limiting and stigmatizing female independence — as her proudest accomplishment. She is the newest, and youngest member of the board at Repair, and is now the CEO of Durrani Investment Corporation in Los Angeles. As part of her philanthropic work, she is currently building a school for street children in Karachi.

“Storytelling and commitments to healing go way, way back in communities that have always needed to be about resistance,” Ribet said, “whether it’s to colonization, legacies of slavery, or systemic economic inequality, telling stories – preserving stories – is often part of how people who are subordinated or oppressed preserve history, socialize children and come together.”

The ethos behind this form of community healing is a constructive one, as Ribet says it helps further the process of reimagining the world in which we live. “We heal as individuals who care about social change not just to feel better, which is important in and of itself,” she explained, “but because we have to, in order to be there for each other, for our children, our parents, our dear friends, our community members, our faith-based and cultural based institutions. We don’t have much to give if we don’t heal, and if we aren’t intentional about creating spaces and resources that enable us to do that. When it shifts, then you start to see social mobilization that’s so much more powerful and sustainable.”

Over 20 co-sponsors have signed on to help promote the “Transformation” series.  Click here for more information and to RSVP for “Hope” — Part of Transformation: Lectures, Conversations and Storytelling about Healing and Social Action.

For more information about Repair and their work, and to join their mailing list, visit http://repairconnect.org/.

Photo Credit: Veena Hampapur, UCLA Labor Center

By Kent Wong

Director, UCLA Labor Center

The Supreme Court decision in the Janus case is being celebrated by the Trump Administration as a major setback for the US labor movement, one that will undermine the last bastion of strength for unions who still represent millions of workers in the public sector. However, this conservative attack not only exposes the Supreme Court’s pro-corporate bias, but also may serve as a wake-up call for unions and workers who are fed up with growing economic inequality and attacks by the Trump administration on workers, women, and people of color.

While the 5-4 Supreme Court conservative majority claims to uphold the first amendment rights of workers, in fact this decision promotes corporate interests and attempts to silence the collective voice of workers through their unions. The timing of Janus is not an accident. For the first time in our history, the number of union members in the public sector is greater than in the private sector. Fully 30 percent of government and education workers are unionized versus only 6 percent of workers in private industries.[1] The public sector is the last piece of our economy where family medical benefits, paid sick and vacation days, and pension plans are still the norm. The Janus decision threatens these benefits and could further undermine the country’s dwindling middle class.

As the actions of the Trump Administration, the Republican-controlled Congress, and the conservative Supreme Court hurt the vast majority of working people, increasingly more Americans believe that corporate America is not working in their interests and are fighting back. Public sector unions are ideally positioned to link and gain strength from the broader social movements that are rising up to oppose the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies, Muslim ban, opposition to women’s right to choose, and racially offensive rhetoric and actions. Public section unions represent large numbers of people of color and women, due in part to discriminatory practices in the private sector. The presidents of some of the largest public sector unions, such as the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Service Employees International Union, are all women. And all three women have been outspoken advocates for not only worker rights but also women’s rights, immigrant rights, and racial justice.

The largest group of organized workers in the country are teachers and education workers, and their demand for quality public education has been front and center. In reaction to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s attempts to privatize public schools, teachers have organized actions in Virginia, West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado, all demanding better wages and working conditions as well as increased funding for public education.

While Trump gives massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy elite, we have also witnessed successful campaigns to raise the minimum wage and to oppose wage theft, from California to New York. Unions led the fight for the $15 an hour minimum wage in Los Angeles and California, a victory that will benefit millions of low-wage workers.

The Los Angeles labor movement has emerged as a focal point for the new American labor movement. Some of the most dynamic labor organizing campaigns in the country are happening in Los Angeles, and many are led by women, workers of color, and immigrants. For janitors, hotel, home care, and car wash workers, unions have inspired a new generation of activism and built powerful alliances between unions, community organizations, students, and people of faith.

The renewed spirit of organizing in Los Angeles is building on a strong labor history tradition that began long before there were legal protections for unions. Without labor laws to protect them, unions fought for the eight-hour day, worker’s compensation, social security benefits, unemployment insurance, pensions, and health and safety regulations. Unions fought for and built the middle class, which is now being threatened by corporate policies to reward the wealthy elite and undermine the interests of millions of working poor.

Undoubtedly, it is a challenging time for unions across our nation, but we can take lessons from the LA organizing playbook to organize new and existing workers. We can continue to expand diverse coalitions of working people who embrace worker rights, immigrant rights, gender equality, and unionism. And with the November 2018 elections around the corner, voters will have an opportunity to challenge Trump’s campaign to “Make America Great Again” for the corporate elite.

 

Kent Wong is the director of the UCLA Labor Center, where he teaches courses in labor studies and Asian American studies.  He previously served as staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union. He was the founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the founding president of the United Association for Labor Education, and currently is vice president of the California Federation of Teachers.

 

[1] “Union Members Survey,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 19, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm.

UCLA

Dr. Luft co-authored a blog piece for The Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage.  This powerful piece discusses how dehumanizing discourse can prepare the way for violence over time.  The authors cite important social science research regarding the subject.  To read it, click HERE.

Aliza Luft is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA, and her research focuses on ethnic, racial, and religious boundary processes, gender, high-risk mobilization, and the causes and consequences of violence.

 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Kendall/UCLA
From left: Victoria Sanelli, manager of UCLA Army ROTC; Maj. Tyrone Vargas, UCLA assistant adjunct professor;
Lt. Col. Shannon Stambersky, UCLA professor of military science; SFC Rhu Maggio, military instructor;
Romeo Miguel, recruiting operations officer; Maj. Steve Kwon.

By Lieutenant Colonel Shannon V. Stambersky

Professor and Chair, Department of Military Science

For those not familiar with Army ROTC, there may be a perception that officer training solely focuses on basic “Soldier skills,” such as marksmanship, land navigation and tactics. While Soldier skills are learned, leader development is not solely about learning tactical skills, but also about creating leaders who are open to new and often times uncomfortable experiences that challenge their way of thinking. One of the ways cadets are able to test themselves is through overseas training missions. The Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CU&LP) and Project Global Officer are two competitive programs that assist in this process. While Project Global Officer focuses on language training and earns participants college credits, CU&LP focuses less on language and more on learning to work with foreign militaries and organizations.

Cadets who participated in the program consider it one of the best and most exciting summer programs that Army ROTC offers. Through the program, cadets have the incredible chance to travel the world, work with other countries’ militaries and immerse themselves in other cultures. The program is designed to help cadets understand the similarities and differences that exist between them and their host nation. They also learn how their actions affect those around them by conducting training alongside cadets from their host militaries, participating in humanitarian aid missions and traveling to important religious and cultural sites to better understand how history and religion have shaped the nation.

Not only does this program provide priceless opportunities to the cadets on a personal level, but the Army benefits as well. The Army is making an investment in its future leaders by allowing them the opportunity to learn first-hand the importance of customs and culture in military operations and appreciate the world’s diversity. The CU&LP program is an eye-opening experience for any cadet with a passion to explore the world and a willingness to open their mind.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Stambersky graduated from the University of Richmond in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and commissioned as a Quartermaster Officer. She later went on to earn Masters’ Degrees in National Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Prior to her current duties, she served as the single Liaison Officer for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to the Department of the Army at the Pentagon, Washington D.C.  While at DLA, she also served in the Joint Logistics Operations Center providing actionable logistics analysis directly supporting the Joint Force as well as State and Federal Agencies as the Joint Strategic Distribution Officer. Lieutenant Colonel Stambersky currently serves as the Professor and Chair of the Department of Military Science at UCLA. Last summer she served as Mission Commander for a US Army Cadet Command sponsored Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program mission to Indonesia. In Indonesia, she led a team of over 30 cadets from around the nation to partner with the Indonesian Naval Academy, Technology School as well as participate in numerous outreach opportunities coordinated through the US Consulate in Surabaya in support of the State Department.

For more information on how you can join UCLA’s Army ROTC program and participate in numerous opportunities that will help develop you into a future leader of character for our Nation, contact our Recruiting Operations Officer at 310-825-7381 or armyrotc@milsci.ucla.edu.

Lieutenant Colonel Stambersky and her colleagues from the UCLA ROTC program were recently featured in the news for their acts of heroism in which they rescued motorists from a major crash on a Los Angeles freeway.  To read more, click HERE.

 

We call homelessness a crisis in Los Angeles because we increasingly see the homeless in our midst every day. Yet, the invisible crisis has been with us for years, affecting even many UCLA students and staff. New Los Angeles City and County initiatives promise to meet the challenge of homelessness head on, but success will depend on the quality of evidence and information informing these investments. We believe UCLA can and should play a role in this effort, and that begins with learning more about the crisis and the response, and laying out a research agenda.

To galvanize transdisciplinary research and engage our campus with efforts across LA County, UCLA will host Professor Dennis Culhane of the University of Pennsylvania from May 21 – 24, 2018.  One of the nation’s most influential homelessness scholars, Professor Culhane pioneered the use of homeless management information systems (HMIS) and integrated data systems to study homelessness, and generated much of the evidence base that led to permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing policies. Professor Culhane will lead a week-long series of activities to help focus UCLA’s research and student communities on one the most pressing humanitarian crises facing our city.

The homelessness week is supported by a grant from the Office for Interdisciplinary and Cross Campus Affairs and co-sponsored by the Fielding School of Public Health, California Center for Population Research, and the California Policy Lab. Organized by Professors Randall Kuhn (Community Health Sciences) and Till von Wachter (Economics) the week includes four major events also described on the event website.

First, the week will kick off with a public lecture by Professor Culhane on “Meeting the Challenge of Homelessness” on May 21st. The lecture will be opened by Dean Jody Heymann from the Fielding School of Public Health. In this lecture, Culhane will review the national situation, including progress and continued hurdles. He will also describe unique challenges for cities like LA, where many homeless are unsheltered.

The second event is a roundtable discussion on the “Homelessness Research Agenda in LA and Beyond” on May 22nd.  For students, faculty, researchers, and others interested in having a direct impact on homelessness, this Roundtable will describe current City and County research priorities and unmet needs, and will highlight areas for UCLA contribution. The roundtable will be introduced by Dean Gary Segura from the Luskin School of Public Policy, and includes Molly Rysman, Deputy for Homelessness for the Third Supervisory District of the County, who will talk about the County’s research needs on homelessness; Janey Rountree, Executive Director of the California Policy Lab, who will talk about the new Countywide Homelessness Research Policy Initiative; Michael Lens, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy; and Till von Wachter, Professor of Economics, who will talk about opportunities policy-oriented research on homelessness at UCLA.

On Wednesday, May 23rd, Professor Culhane will lead a seminar on “The Promise of Integrated Data Systems for Social Science Research.” Culhane will review the legal, ethical, scientific and economic challenges of interagency data sharing, as well as systematic efforts including policy reform and inter-agency collaboration to overcome these challenges. He will also review important new integrated data systems initiatives in LA County and California.

Finally, the week will conclude with a mini-conference on “Transdisciplinary Homelessness Research: Measure H and Beyond.” Topics include pathways into and out of homelessness over the life-course. Articulating new service delivery models and data collection, including mobile phones as a platform for outreach. The conference will also feature a round table on how to sustain the interdisciplinary conversation through a campus-wide research network, regular working groups, and joint research projects.

Schedule of Events of Homelessness Week

Public Lecture: Meeting the Challenge of Homelessness

Monday, May 21, 2018
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
UCLA NPI Auditorium CHS C8-183

Register

Roundtable: Homeless Research Agenda in L.A. and Beyond

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240
Social Mixer to follow: UCLA Public Affairs Building, Luskin Commons Patio 3rd Floor

Register

Seminar: The Promise of Integrated Data Systems for Social Science Research

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240

Conference: Transdisciplinary Homelessness Research: Measure H and Beyond

Thursday, May 24, 2018
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240

 

For more information about Homelessness Week, click HERE

For more information about the California Policy Lab (CPL), click HERE

For more information about the California Center for Population Research (CCPR), click HERE