In light of the reawakened reckoning on racial justice issues and other historical and contemporary inequalities, the UCLA Division of Social Sciences is turning its attention and support to its graduate students. The newly established Dean’s Fund for the Study of Diversity and Racial Inequality was created to provide funds to graduate students in the Division researching and examining the important social justice issues of our time.

Launched in November 2020, an email campaign showcased cutting-edge research in the division with the goal of raising $50,000 by December 31, 2020.  For six weeks, messages highlighted various research projects, ranging from how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color to the Division’s own Hollywood Diversity Report.

Midway through the campaign, Dean Darnell Hunt’s Advisory Board was so inspired by this effort that the board decided to provide $25,000 in matching funds. Additionally, Material, a modern marketing services company, led by Chairman and CEO UCLA alumnus Dave Sackman ’80, also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, pledged a $25,000 gift. Thanks to these gifts, as well as the generous support of numerous donors, alumni and friends, the campaign exceeded its goal, raising over $77,000.

“As the #1 public university in the United States, we continually strive to advance knowledge, address pressing societal needs, and foster the kind of environment enriched by diverse perspectives in which our students can flourish. I am truly heartened by how the UCLA community came together to support our graduate students during these challenging times.” —Dean Darnell Hunt

Graduate students in the Division’s departments and programs are invited to submit research proposals and the funds will be distributed as $5,000 grants starting summer 2021. Raising money for this fund will be an ongoing effort, underscoring the Division’s commitment to its graduate students as they take on important and critical research around issues of diversity and inequality.

To support graduate students through the Dean’s Fund for the Study of Diversity and Racial Inequality, please visit this site.

OR

To submit a research proposal for the Dean’s Fund for the Study of Diversity and Racial Inequality, please apply by submitting your information HERE, where you will be asked to provide:

1.  Name

2.  Department/Program (Must be a department/program in the UCLA Division of Social Sciences)

3.  Year in program

4.  Other summer support

5.  Project title

6.  Project abstract (one page max)

7.  Faculty support letter

Sonja Diaz, founding director of the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, testified in a virtual hearing on Ensuring Free and Fair Access to the Ballot for the Committee on U.S. House Administration’s Subcommittee on Elections on April 1.

The hearing was held as 361 restrictive voting bills have been introduced in 47 states and as the U.S. Senate considers an expansive voting rights bill, the For the People Act, already passed in the House. Diaz was one of four witnesses that included Allison Riggs of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Marcia Johnson-Blanco of the Lawyers’ Committee, civil rights advocate Deb Adegbile, and Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

In the face of an avalanche of restrictive voting bills, Diaz argued that they come in response to the growth of a youthful and diverse American electorate.

“Oftentimes, when we talk about voter suppression, we focus on a set of jurisdictions that have long been bad actors in our law textbooks – places like Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida,” Diaz said. “But this frame too often leaves out an important fact: vote dilution, voter suppression, and the attack on Americans’ fundamental right to free and fair access to the ballot happens everywhere.”

Diaz received a medley of questions from Representatives Aguilar (CA-31), Leger Fernandez (NM-03), and Davis (IL-13) about the consequences of voter suppression tactics for Latino voters. Diaz argued that a vibrant democracy required that everyone have fair and equal access to practice their constitutional rights – and that it’s not entirely a coincidence that the growth of these restrictive bills comes from the very states where Latinos and voters of color were consequential to the 2020 election.

“Voter suppression is a feedback loop,” she said, and one that elected officials need to act to end.

——

Diaz, with support from Voting Rights Project staff and fellows, submitted written testimony in advance of the hearing that is now part of the Congressional Record.

 

Academy Award®-nominated actor Edward James Olmos announced today that the Latino Film Institute (LFI) has named Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, director of research and civic engagement of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as the inaugural Latino Film Institute Scholar. The award comes with a $100,000 restrictive gift to be used over a two-year period for research designated by Dr. Ramón, including but not limited to, The Hollywood Diversity Report and a dedicated study on Latino representation in Hollywood and the Latino audience.

“It is a great honor for the Latino Film Institute to be able to provide our inaugural award to Dr. Ramón who has worked vigorously in raising awareness about the lack of diversity in Hollywood. It is of the utmost urgency that we, as a society, realize the importance of having diversity not only on our screens but also behind the camera. For the benefit of our future Latino generations, we must all do better at creating positive and accurate representation of Latinos in Hollywood, and it is by supporting the research and work done by Dr. Ramón that we can continue to make the necessary changes in our industry, culture and education to push and move forward to a better and more equitable future.”

“The Latino Film Institute does tremendous work in the community and in Hollywood to launch the careers of Latinx content creators and artists. So, I am honored to be the inaugural Latino Film Institute Scholar,” stated Dr. Ramón. “This generous award helps fund the research that UCLA Dean Darnell Hunt and I have been doing for several years on racial/ethnic and gender representation and their relationship to the bottom line in film and television. Most importantly, it will provide funding to conduct a study focused on Latinx representation and the Latinx audience informed by my expertise in Latinx and other race/ethnic and gender research. I look forward to continuing to advance the work that will uplift the Latinx community and to provide data that can be used by both content creators and Hollywood network and studio executives.”

The Latino Film Institute (LFI) is dedicated to showcasing, strengthening, and celebrating the richness of Latino lives by providing a pipeline, platform, and launching pad from our community into the entertainment industry. LFI’s three most prominent programs are the  LatinX in Animation (LXiA), the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) and the Youth Cinema Project (YCP). LXiA represents a diverse group within the Animation, VFX, and Gaming industries dedicated to uniting a talented pool of innovators with a heart to create exceptional stories across multiple platforms by organizing activities and events. LALIFF is a premier international event dedicated to showcasing the entirety of human experience from the Latino perspective, whether through film, television, digital, music, art, or any other vehicle, regardless of platform. As previously announced, LALIFF will host a virtual festival for the 2021 edition that will run from Wednesday, June 2 through Sunday, June 6.  This year’s program will be comprised of feature films, episodics, music, XR projects and short films, including those from LALIFF’s inaugural Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series. YCP introduces elementary, middle, and high school students to the art of filmmaking and bridges the achievement and opportunity gaps by creating lifelong learners and the entertainment industry’s multicultural future, implemented in public schools across California.

Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón is the Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA. Dr. Ramón is a social psychologist who has worked on social justice issues related to equity and access in higher education and the entertainment industry for over fifteen years. She is the co-principal investigator of the Hollywood Advancement Project and manages its graduate research team. She is the co-author (with Dr. Darnell Hunt) of the annual Hollywood Diversity Report series that the project produces. She is also the managing editor of LA Social Science, an e-forum that showcases the vibrant and cutting-edge knowledge generated within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

The UCLA California Policy Lab (CPL) recently released a new analysis of California unemployment insurance (UI) claims as part of a policy briefs series publishing research conducted in partnership with the Labor Market Information Division of the California Employment Development Department.

Overview
Historically, the share of unemployed workers receiving regular UI benefits (recipiency rate) in California has been relatively low (as has also been the case in other states). This Data Point combines administrative data from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) with monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) data to construct an improved recipiency rate to measure the extent to which unemployed and underemployed Californians are receiving regular UI benefits.

Dr. Till von Wachter, a co-author of the analysis, UCLA economics professor and faculty director at the California Policy Lab, says about this new analysis, “The share of unemployed workers receiving UI benefits tends to rise during economic downturns, but even during the Great Recession, we didn’t approach the high rates that we’re seeing now.”

Three key findings from this new research:
1) The recipiency rate in California has increased dramatically over the course of the crisis, from about 50% in April to nearly 90% in December.  
The analysis found that over 2.5 million unemployed Californians were not receiving regular UI benefits in April and May 2020, and while some of these workers likely received benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, at least 500,000 workers did not. As the share of workers receiving regular UI benefits increased, the number of workers not receiving regular UI benefits decreased, hovering at around 250,000 in the last four months of 2020.
2) There are geographic disparities in the rates of UI benefit collection that correlate with income, race and ethnicity, access to technology, and other social and economic factors. In counties with higher median household incomes, a larger share of their unemployed workers tended to receive UI benefits, while a smaller share of unemployed workers received benefits in counties with higher poverty rates.
3) CPL’s Recovery Index highlights substantial county-level differences in the economic recovery. Higher-income counties have recovered more quickly than lower-income counties, while counties with a higher share of Black and Hispanic residents have seen slower recoveries than counties with more White residents.

To see the map which tracks the Labor Market Recovery, click HERE.

To see table code of County Level Measures of Economic Recovery and UI Recipient Rates, click HERE.

To read CPL’s latest policy brief on this issue, click HERE.

Conducting a focus group with Mixtec farmworkers in Madera, California, 2018. Photo by Leopoldo Peña.

by Sayil Camacho, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University; and Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center

The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) contracted with the UCLA Labor Center to evaluate the LWDA’s educational resources on workplace rights and health and safety for California farmworkers. The goal was to ensure that those resources were accessible to Mexican immigrant and Indigenous populations who may have limited or no English or Spanish literacy.

Most California farmworkers are Mexican immigrants (68%), and a third of those are Indigenous. They are multi-ethnic and multilingual; Spanish is not their first language, and they are more likely to be fluent in Mixteco, Zapoteco, Triqui, or Mayan. The Labor Center developed an evaluation system that allowed us to assess the literacy levels, language barriers, and accessibility of LWDA educational resources to identify the communication barriers that made Mexican immigrants and Indigenous people more vulnerable at work. In addition, we presented LWDA with a series of recommendations guided by the lived experiences of Mexican immigrants and Indigenous people: (1) support workplace rights and access to health and safety information; (2) build coalition-based support within the workforce and in collaboration with community advocacy groups; and (3) translate educational resources into oral-based languages.

Our goal was to understand why Indigenous farmworkers experience higher levels of poverty and more discrimination within and outside of the workplace and how those experiences create communication barriers. More specifically, we sought to understand the ways that power functions to disenfranchise Indigenous people politically, socially, and economically and exacerbates linguistic and cultural barriers. The examination of power within communication is referred to as a “structural humility” approach, which obliges researchers to recognize and affirm the human dignity of immigrant and Indigenous people. Our research challenged standard cross-cultural competency methods by operationalizing Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and critical race theory.

Using a structural humility approach grounded in the lived experiences of Indigenous migrant workers, we were able to identify the forces that determine workplace vulnerabilities, the shift in attitude required by the LWDA to reduce the number of worker rights violations and on-the-job injuries and deaths, and the practices needed to make LWDA’s educational materials truly accessible.

The process of creating academic knowledge has historically failed to center the experiences and voices of Indigenous peoples or break down the hierarchy of knowledge production between researchers, organizations, stakeholders, and historically marginalized populations. Collaborative research must do the extra work to identify the structures that separate academics from community collaborators and research participants. As the Zapotec intellectual Odilia Romero explained, “Bene shtill shla gune ratgr gushalgshu disha chego concha bi gat disha checho da bguan bene gurase checho, le kate gat disha cha, ka na gat neda [White people have to open the path and talk to us so that our word will not die, because when my word dies, I will die too].”

 

Access the full article “Lost in Translation ‘en el Fil’: Actualizing Structural Humility for Indigenous Mexican Farmworkers in California” HERE.

Sayil Camacho (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles) is the inaugural director of the master’s in leading organizations program in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests aim to actualize transformative reform for oppressed and repressed populations.

Gaspar Rivera‑Salgado (PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz) is a project director at the UCLA Labor Center, where he teaches classes on work, labor, and social justice in the United States, and immigration issues.

UCLA Center for the Study of Women Presents:

GENDER, RACE, AND AGE BEHIND BARS:

IMPACTS OF LONG-TERM SENTENCING

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

RSVP: csw.ucla.edu/behindbars

Join us for a rare opportunity to hear from two formerly-incarcerated women activists on the compounded adverse impacts of long-term sentencing on the elderly, women, transgender people, and people of color in prison and beyond.

 

 

 

 

Jane Dorotik was incarcerated for almost 20 years on a wrongful conviction. She was released in April 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, and her conviction was reversed in July 2020.

Romarilyn Ralston was incarcerated for 23 years, and is now the Program Director of Project Rebound at the California State University-Fullerton. Both are organizers with California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP).

Dorotik and Ralston will be in dialogue with LA County Public Defender, Ricardo Garcia, and moderator Alicia Virani, the Gilbert Foundation Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the UCLA School of Law. This event is hosted by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, and co-hosted by the Criminal Justice Program at the UCLA School of Law and the LA County Public Defender’s Office.

            

 

 

 

 

Read CSW’s 2020 Policy Briefs, “Confronting the Carceral State, Reimagining Justice, ” featuring briefs written by Jane Dorotik and Romarilyn Ralston at csw.ucla.edu/policy-briefs.

Free and open to the public.

Register for the Zoom Webinar at csw.ucla.edu/behindbars.

This activity is approved for 1 hour of general MCLE credit.

UCLA School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.

                                

 

On November 15, the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles honored the UCLA Labor Center at its annual celebration. “For over 80 years, NLG has acted as a legal arm of social justice movements, working tirelessly to defend the rights of the most marginalized communities.” Labor Center Director Kent Wong, recently appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti to the Mayor’s Advisory Council on International Affairs, was the master of ceremonies. The virtual event included a powerful program that spotlighted this year’s incredible honorees who have spent decades fighting for justice.

LA Social Science would like to congratulate Director Wong on his new appointment to the Mayor’s Advisory Council on International Affairs, and to the UCLA Labor Center for the outstanding work it does to serve the Los Angeles community.

To learn more about the NLG annual awards celebration, click HERE.

Dr. Celia Lacayo, Associate Director of Community Engagement in the UCLA Division of Social Sciences, contributed to the KCET documentary, 187: The Rise of the Latino Vote. It focuses on a pivotal moment of California history, the passage of California’s Proposition 187 in 1994, which sought to deny public services to undocumented immigrants. The measure which sought to discourage the “immigrant threat,” served to mobilize non-immigrants and immigrants in Latino communities as well as their allies across the state. It transformed the state’s electoral politics.

Check out the next telecast on election day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 6:30 PM PT on KCET-HD OR watch the full episode now HERE.

In addition to being an associate editor and contributor to LA Social Science, Dr. Lacayo is an adjunct professor in the UCLA Chicana/o & Central American Studies Department and the African American Studies Department.

LA Social Science recently spoke with Dr. Shannon Speed, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center, about the newly launched Hate Crime Map. This research and application looks to address the need for a publicly available resource documenting hate crimes.

Hate Crimes are a national and global human rights problem. According to the latest FBI statistics, hate crimes in the United States rose almost 22% between 2015 and 2018, with the vast majority reported as motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry bias (59.6% in 2018). However, due to under reporting and inconsistent definitions of hate crime among states, statistics are notoriously unreliable, while the need for a publicly available resource documenting hate crimes is great.

The Hate Crime Map addresses this need by offering an anonymous, crowd-sourced platform for victims of hate-based assault and crime to record their experiences. In addition, the map includes a subset of COVID-related hate crimes. It is searchable, producing pie charts and tables that break down the types and causes (race, gender, religion) of the attacks by state so that researchers and policy makers have more complete information. The map includes data provided by ProPublica, the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center, and from published and online sources.

www.hatecrimemap.com

Stop Hate: Map the Attack!

To read the UCLA Newsroom story about the launch of the Hate Crime Map, click HERE.

 

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Left image: The inaugural public event hosted by the Black Feminism Initiative, held in February, featured a conversation between local reproductive justice advocate Kimberly Durdin, left, and UCLA graduate student Ariel Hart.
Top right image: Audience at the event.
Bottom right from left: Kali Tambree and Jaimie Crumley, student co-coordinators of the Black Feminism Initiative.

The UCLA Newsroom recently spotlighted the UCLA Black Feminism Initiative, which was launched by the Center for the Study of Women in 2019 under the leadership of Dr. Sarah Haley. Its mission is to support, develop and perpetuate Black feminist scholarship and ideas among the campus community. It also offers mutual aid for the interdisciplinary approach and community-engaged research of its graduate students. Dr. Haley believes this initiative will make higher education and UCLA more aware of the work of Black feminists of the past, present, and future.

“In the current cultural moment, Black feminism has a lot to teach us all about institutionalized modes of care, and institutionalized modes of harm,” Dr. Haley is quoted as saying about the Black Feminism Initiative. To read the fully story written by Jessica Wolf, click HERE.

 

Click HERE to learn more about the Black Feminism Initiative and click HERE to learn more about the Center for the Study of Women.