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.

UCLA Sociology PhD candidate Debanjan Roychoudhury discusses policing, police misconduct, and police policy with LA Social Science. Roychoudhury, who grew up in New York City, examines NYPD data regarding stop and frisk and references his work “South Side We Outside: Policing and Placemaking in Historic Jamaica Queens New York,” as well as providing insight into his teaching pedagogy.

 

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LA Social Science wants to highlight a summer course being offered within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

UCLA summer courses are open to BOTH UCLA students and NON-UCLA students. All Summer 2021 courses are being offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can enroll as long as you are 15 years of age or older by the first day of summer and you do NOT have to be enrolled in an academic institution in order to participate in UCLA summer sessions. For more information, click HERE.

UCLA’s Communication Department has amazing courses this summer. Check out Comm 109: Entrepreneurial Communication offered in Summer Session C (starting August 2). Comm 109 fulfills crossover requirements for a Comm Practicum AND Comm Additional Area Elective. It also fulfills a requirement for the Entrepreneurship Minor. Enroll here TODAY!

Here at UCLA, community engaged scholarship is not an option – it is an imperative. Los Angeles is a profoundly diverse, multicultural city and a gateway to the rest of the planet. In the Division of Social Sciences, we take our location and our embeddedness in Los Angeles very seriously. The findings that come out of our research are findings that can be applied to real world community problems. In this sense, we are engaging LA to change the world.

 

LA Social Science is pleased to share this video highlighting two researchers, Dr. Jason De León and Dr. Jessica Cattelino, and the important community engaged scholarship they are leading in the social sciences.

As a public institution, our work is ultimately in service of you, our community. By engaging LA, we are changing the world.

Presenting UCLA’s first conference on

Data-Informed Governance (DIG)

July 7, 2021

Online, starting at 8 a.m. PDT

REGISTER NOW

Watch three panel discussions featuring experts and peers from the public, private, and civic sectors.

Exchange innovative, actionable approaches to real-world policy issues.

Find out why it is increasingly critical for state and local governments to become technology proficient, using data to inform critical policy decisions.

Join with participants from a wide spectrum of organizations and geographies – from local nonprofits to national research institutes, small cities to regional governing bodies.

LEARN MORE

The DIG Conference is a convening of people from diverse backgrounds that aims to demonstrate the potential for structured peer-to-peer learning on this subject. This cross-section of attendee profiles encourages the advancement of data-centric solutions for public policy that are accessible, scalable, and pragmatic.


DIG is made possible thanks to the support of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, the Luskin Center for Innovation at UCLA, the College of Social Sciences, the LA Social Science Initiative, the Anderson School of Management, the Ziman Center for Real Estate, and Impact@Anderson.

UCLA Gender Studies presents a series of public-facing conversations with social justice activists and filmmakers invited to a UCLA undergraduate course (Gender Studies 131, Feminist Politics in Korea and the Korean Diaspora) taught by Prof. Ju Hui Judy Han. With topics ranging from queer and transgender politics to reproductive justice, from transnational adoption and anti-violence activism to prison abolition and migrant justice, the conversations emphasize intersectional feminist praxis and the transformative power of solidarity.

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Gender Studies, UCLA Center for Korean Studies, UCLA Center for the Study of Women, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and GYOPO.

The series is free and open to the public. Registration is required at https://www.otherwise.net/feminist/.

Sessions are in English except when noted otherwise.

For more information, see the flyer below and/or contact feministpoliticskorea@ gmail.com

Dr. Ju Hui Judy Han is a cultural geographer and Assistant Professor in Gender Studies at UCLA, where she teaches classes on gender and sexuality, Korean studies, (im)mobilities, and comics. Her research and publications concern conservative religious formations, queer activism, and protest cultures. Judy grew up in Seoul and has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Berkeley/Oakland, Vancouver, and Toronto.

As summer 2021 approaches, LA Social Science will be highlighting some of the summer courses being offered within the Division of Social Science at UCLA.

UCLA Summer Courses are open to BOTH UCLA Students and NON-UCLA Students. All Summer 2021 courses will be offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can enroll as long as you are 15 years of age or older by the first day of summer and you do NOT have to be enrolled in an academic institution in order to participate in UCLA Summer Sessions. For more information, click HERE.

The Asian American Studies Department has an amazing course this summer on web development and GIS for social change. Check out the course listed below. For more information, please reach out to Albert Kochaphum at albertkun@idre.ucla.edu. Register HERE or enroll HERE today!

As summer 2021 approaches, LA Social Science will be highlighting some of the summer courses being offered within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

UCLA summer courses are open to BOTH UCLA students and non-UCLA Students. All summer 2021 courses will be offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can enroll as long as you are 15 years of age or older by the first day of summer, and you do NOT have to be enrolled in a academic institution in order to participate in UCLA Summer Sessions. For more information, click HERE.

Check out Professor Brian Hurwitz’s UCLA ONLINE summer course, “Sex and the Cinema.” Since the Lumière brothers first screened their short films to an astonished Parisian audience in 1895, movies have continued to leave an indelible imprint on media studies and communication rhetoric. They influence the way we walk, talk, dress and dine. Simultaneously, the medium has profoundly affected our perception of beauty, romance, intimacy and love. Yet much like fashion, such perceptions have been routinely altered owing to evolutions and revolutions in social, political and institutional conditions.

This course examines the contextual forms and factors that have directly led to film shaping the way we communicate about sex and sexuality. Starting at the dawn of the twentieth century, we will engage in a decade-by-decade analysis of cultural norms, the movies that were made in accordance with them and the ones that were produced in opposition to them. This examination will further explore how the cinema has informed our attitudes towards gender identity, cultural taboos and social movements. By evaluating the manner in which erotic imagery is presented and how sexual symbolism is represented, students will gain an understanding of how past, present and future views on sex and sexuality are impacted by the cinema.

For more information about this course, see the preview video below, and register HERE or enroll HERE today!!