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UCLA Alum Rafael Agustín (’03 & ’04), TV Writer (Jane the Virgin) and CEO of the Latino Film Institute (LFI), discusses writing and bringing Latinx stories and characters to film and TV; his experience at UCLA; and helping the next generation of Latinx filmmakers.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

0:33 – What got you interested in theater and television?

1:38 – What was your experience at UCLA?

3:16 – Why is it important to tell Latinx stories in TV and film?

5:05 – New projects, and advice on breaking into TV and film.

Learn more about Mr. Rafael Agustín and the Latino Film Institute (LFI) by visiting their website at https://latinofilm.org/.

Read about LFI’s advocacy of the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report series HERE.

Read about LFI naming Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón their inaugural LFI Scholar in 2021 HERE.

 

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In LA Rising: Korean Relations with Blacks and Latinos after Civil Unrest, UCLA Anthropology Professor Kyeyoung Park revisits the 1992 Los Angeles unrest and provides a deep dive of the interrelations between minority groups. She provides a comprehensive examination of how race, class citizenship, and culture impacted relations between multiple groups in South Los Angeles. This is an important read as many of the past issues examined are still relevant today.

Interview Chapters:

0:04 – Intro

0:53 – What is the main argument/contribution of the book?

5:09 – How did racial cartography allow you to examine relations between Korean, Black, and Latino populations?

10:09 – How does your book add to and/or challenge the narratives around the 1992 civil unrest?

13:00 – How does the book connect with current unrest related to police brutality?

15:34 – Why should someone read/assign this book?

To learn more, check out Professor Park’s book LA Rising: Korean Relations with Blacks and Latinos After Civil Unrest.

 

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In the latest interview in the book series, UCLA Professor Laura E. Gomez discusses her new book Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism where she provides a historical and comprehensive examination of how Latinos have become constructed as a racialized group in the United States. Professor Gomez also offers clear and powerful strategies to combat racism against Latinos in the United States.

Interview Chapters:

0:57 – What is the genesis of this book?

3:18 – How is Latin American history connected to Latinos becoming a racial group in the US?

6:06 – Latino integration into America?

9:49 – What are the racial barriers Latinos face?

15:37 – When does the book come out? And why should we get it?

To learn more, check out Professor Gomez’s book Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism

 

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Leading expert and pioneer in his field, UCLA distinguished Professor Otto Santa Ana takes us through a historical and contemporary account of how stereotypes of Latinos in the media have led to anti-immigrant and anti-Latino policy. He also discusses his latest research that was cited in the recent Supreme Court decision that upheld Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

0:46 – How do media narratives affect Latino stereotypes?

6:04 – Analysis of Trump’s language about Latinos and the Supreme Court fight for DACA

11:13 – What do you say to new scholars who want to have an impact?

15:50 – Final thoughts

18:37 – Closing

To learn more, check out Dr. Santa Ana’s book, Brown Tide Rising.

 

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UCLA Political Scientist and Race, Ethnicity, and Politics expert Dr. Natalie Masuoka discusses how changing demographics have affected the last elections. She describes how Asian American and Latino voters are advocating for their communities and are involved at the local, state and national levels. She also gives us some insight into how these voters may impact the presidential election this November.

00:00 – Intro

00:55 – How are the growing demographics of Latino & Asian Americans affecting elections?

01:38 – What are some specific issues Latinos and Asian Americans are advocating for?

03:10 – Barriers to voting

04:18 – What are political parties doing to incorporate Latino & Asian American voters?

06:00 – Data on how these communities are affecting state, local, and national elections

08:23 – Projections on how these voters will make a difference in the 2020 presidential election

09:33 – Closing

To learn more about Dr. Masuoka‘s research, check out a recent report by the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI) and the Asian American Studies Center titled “Democratic Primary 2020: Analysis of Latino and Asian American Voting in 10 States” (June 2020). This ten state analysis of high density Latino and Asian American voting precincts offer valuable insights into the preferences and participation of these electorates going into the November election. Among those states in which we have data, the Latino and Asian American electorates did not grow significantly when comparing ballots cast between the 2016 and 2020 primary elections. The exception to this pattern was among high density Asian American precincts in Texas where the growth of new voters was strong. While the COVID-19 pandemic may partially explain the slow growth of voters, it does suggest that the Democratic party can do more to mobilize Latino and Asian American voters for the general election. Given the fact that Vice President Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee when Latino and Asian American voters had offered strong support for Sanders in state primaries, Democrats will need to make solid efforts to encourage Latino and Asian American voters to turn out in November. To read the full report, click HERE.

 

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In a recent Washington Post (Monkey Cage) essay, Dr. Efrén Pérez, UCLA Professor of Political Science and Psychology, discusses how all racial minorities have been in solidarity with one another during the current anti-racism protests. His research suggests that rather than participating as individuals of separate racial identities, they are probably acting as politically engaged members of a shared group and identifying as “people of color.” He writes:

“My research reveals that the label “people of color” was created by — and for — African Americans and has evolved into an identity that politically mobilizes many nonwhites toward common goals — unless “people of color” feel that others in the coalition are ignoring their own racial group’s unique challenges.”

To read the full article, “‘People of color’ are protesting. Here’s what you need to know about this new identity,” and to learn more about the research into this new identity, click HERE.

The current state of relations between multiple arms of law enforcement and the similarities and differences between police brutality aimed at Latinos and African Americans is discussed with Dr. Amada Armenta, UCLA assistant professor in Urban Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) faculty expert. She also addresses points of solidarity between both groups.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Introduction

0:35 – Major changes to immigration enforcement

3:12 – How do local law enforcement agencies participate in immigration enforcement?

8:08 – What is the relationship like between local police and Latina/o immigrant communities?

14:10 – How are the relationships similar and different from African Americans’ experiences with police brutality? Detention/Deportation?

17:45 – Closing remarks

To learn more, check out Dr. Armenta’s book, Protect, Serve, and Deport The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement.

 

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On May 19, 2020, UCLA’s Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, and Ong and Associates (an economic and policy analysis consulting firm) issued the brief, “Struggling to Stay Home: How COVID-19 Shelter in Place Policies Affect Los Angeles County’s Black and Latino Neighborhoods.” It aims to support policies and programs that address inequities facing those in neighborhoods where compliance with shelter-in-place is difficult and to provide guidance for public officials as California rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study finds that more than 2 in 5 Blacks and Latinos in Los Angeles County face high burdens from the county’s shelter-in-place rules. These communities are seen to be densely populated with restricted access to open spaces and limited access to food.

The research brief provides five core recommendations for Los Angeles city officials and other jurisdictions with burdened populations:

  1. Expand COVID-19 testing with a focus on neighborhoods who face the highest risk sheltering in place.
  2. Provide transportation assistance and add personal care resources like hand sanitizer at bus stops.
  3. Expand paid leave options for low-wage workers or employees in the service sector to discourage people from going to work when they feel sick.
  4. Increase food assistance.
  5. Expand high-speed internet access and social safety net to include more relief, including Medi-Cal, childcare and early childhood education programs, by expanding eligibility and elongating the benefit period.

This brief is the third in a series of research papers examining the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on neighborhoods in L.A. County. Previous research papers found that Asian-American and Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles County were most vulnerable due to the pandemic’s impact on the retail and service sectors, and Latino neighborhoods were less likely to receive the individual rebate under the CARES Act.

Download the full report HERE.

LPPI Media Contact:

Eliza Moreno

E: lppipress@luskin.ucla.edu

P: 310-487-9815

By UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI)

In their 5th Annual Latinx Criminal Justice Convening, LatinoJustice PRLDEF partnered with Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network brought local and national organizations to Brownsville, TX to engage in conversation about Latinos in the criminal justice and immigration systems.

This two-day encuentro was intended to create a space for Latino leaders, activists, academics and impacted community members to explore the connection to the criminal justice and immigration systems across the United States while strategizing new efforts for a more inclusive movement that does not leave anyone behind.

Latino Justice PRLEF’s Jorge Renaud welcoming attendees and introducing the convening and its goals.

“It’s important to be collaborating [and to] bring that intersectionality in this space,” said Christina Patiño Houel, Network Weaver for RGV Equal Voice Network. Intersectionality and inclusivity were interwoven throughout the convening, being cognizant of the ways different structural oppressions work in tandem to affect the most vulnerable in our communities, in order to combat these injustices effectively. An example was how interpreters established a multilingual culture, ensuring Spanish and English-only speakers communicated smoothly with each other, as the organizers understood that language barriers hinder those trying to combat the injustices within the justice system and also understood that interpretation and translation were necessary since the event was a community-centered multi-generational convening. This emphasis was also felt when formerly-incarcerated individuals were welcomed home for the first time, integrating a healing component for all participants.

The discussions began by exploring how criminality, incarceration, immigration and the war on drugs have all played a role in the current relationship between the Latinx community and the criminal justice system. The lack of data on this community was highlighted by LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s president, Juan Cartagena, when he discussed how every system “affects us and we don’t even know how… we’re invisible.” He explained how even as the largest ethnic minority in the country, the system could not answer simple questions as to how many Latinxs are arrested. This point was underscored by Dr. Edward Vargas’, from Arizona State University, urgency for not only the need for data but accurate data. For example, polls said that 34% of Latinos had voted for Trump in Texas, but this number was proven to be wrong. When the precinct data was scraped, the actual number was 16%.

ACLU’s National Campaign Strategist, Jessica Sandoval; Texas Criminal Justice Coalition’s Policy Analyst Jose Flores; and Youth Justice Coalition’s Anthony Robles talking speaking on the best strategies to end youth solitary confinement.

Community members highlighted their work on the ground to end collaboration between the state and local police departments with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the states of Texas and Georgia, jail closure and the prevention of a new jail in Los Angeles, and litigation. Crimmigration was the focal point of these conversations, where attorneys explained the importance of litigation and the need for patience in both the length of the process and the lack of social justice lawyers.

The conversation zeroed in on experts as they engaged in fishbowl conversations, discussing the development of gang databases and its impact on the immigrant community, the fight towards ending youth solitary, and the impact of these efforts on a national level.

Day one came to a close with the screening of Bad Hombres: From Colonization to Criminalization by award-winning filmmaker Carlos Sandoval, with attendees expressing their impressions to the documentary.

The second day was reserved for breakout sessions encouraging collaboration and the exchange of best practices in order to advance efforts and find resources in the community. Accountability partners were found and followed-up conversations were scheduled to further collaborate as a group.

“Learning more about crimmigration and its impact on the Latinx community has been eye-opening,” noted second-year UCLA Luskin student María Morales who attended the convening.  “It was an honor being able to attend this convening and feel such passion and dedication in the room.”

Attendees identifying action steps to continue collaboration among the organizations present.

The California Latino Legislative Caucus and UCLA LPPI staff gather for a photo that commemorates the second year of their partnership which aims to increase access to pertinent data science on Latinos.

By Celina Avalos and Sonja Diaz

On May 20, 2019, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) hosted its second annual California Latino Legislative Policy Briefing in Sacramento. The policy briefing, co-hosted by the California Latino Legislative Caucus and UCLA Government & Community Relations, featured research presentations by three LPPI faculty experts: Dean Gary Segura, Dr. Melissa Chinchilla and Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante.

The policy briefing was attended by 50 guests who are policy advocates, legislative staff, and community leaders. The meeting convened at La Cosecha in Sacramento where the group learned more about LPPI’s latest research findings and discussed policy interventions that could improve the lives of California residents.

LPPI expert Dr. Melissa Chinchilla and LPPI Executive Director Sonja Diaz introduce LPPI’s recent report on Latino homelessness to a packed house in La Cosecha.

Attendees heard from the LPPI faculty experts on a wide-range of domestic policy issues including voting, housing, and health. The issues discussed in the briefing are critical policy challenges that the California legislature is addressing through new lawmaking. Each issue has unique impacts on California’s plurality. Fortunately, LPPI’s legislative briefing provided a space for policy leaders to understand more clearly which policy solutions are better suited to address the disparities faced by Latinos.

Kicking off the policy briefing was Dean Segura, who presented his research on public opinion trends leading to the 2020 presidential election. In 2018, LPPI’s research documented a 77% increase in Latino votes cast. This increase was configured by looking at and comparing the midterm elections from 2014 to 2018. Dean Segura’s presentation expanded on trends identifying leading public opinion sentiments that influenced voters of color (Asian Americans, Blacks, and Latinos) on issues involving immigration, #MeToo, access to affordable health care, and support for gun laws. Largely, the 2018 election illustrated the upward potential of Latino vote growth in and beyond California. The numbers showed voters of color embraced Democratic positions on guns, health care, and immigration at higher rates than their white peers.

Next, Dr. Chinchilla followed with her research on homelessness in Los Angeles County. In her policy presentation on Latino homelessness, Dr. Chinchilla cemented the lack of accurate data on Latinos facing housing insecurity and reiterated the fact that this demographic group remains undercounted.

LPPI Policy Fellow Celina Avalos met UFW leader and advocate Dolores Huerta during visits to the State Capital discussing LPPI’s work on housing and health.

Highlighting findings from her LPPI report, Stemming the Rise of Latino Homelessness, Dr. Chinchilla shared that homelessness is not a one size fits all narrative. She stated, “Many factors contribute to the undercount of Latinos facing housing insecurity, like immigration status, economic vulnerability, and cultural and language barriers.”

Dr. Vargas Bustamante concluded the policy briefing with his work on the California Latino physician crisis, which addresses a key issue facing the state—the shortage of healthcare workers. Dr. Vargas Bustamante’s policy presentation integrated findings from his report, Latino Physician Shortage in California: The Provider Perspective. He shared, “As California’s plurality, Latinos will represent 44.5% of California’s population by 2050. However, currently only 4.7% of physicians in California are Latino.”

According to Dr. Vargas Bustamante, the contributing factors to the Latino physician shortage include: lack of financial support and opportunity, academic disadvantages, navigation, underrepresentation, and citizenship.

LPPI’s briefing provided a novel opportunity for leading policy stakeholders to engage in timely policy issues centered on the needs of the state’s plurality. This briefing builds upon LPPI’s legislative portfolio of engaging elected and appointed officials on critical policy issues with data and facts, breeding new research-practice partnerships and accelerating the capacity for evidence-based policy.