Los Angeles

Highlights from National URBAN Conference

On April 30th and May 1st, the first national URBAN gathering took place at UMASS Boston. Forty-five scholars from across the country gathered for a 2-day working conference on “Collaborative Research for Equity and Action in Education.” Funded by a grant from the American Educational Research Association, the conference was designed to bring together scholars who practice different forms of action research to share lessons, identify commonalities and clarify differences in this diverse research tradition. According to Mark Warren, “the URBAN conference came at the right time. Scholars are increasingly looking for ways for their research to be more relevant to addressing pressing needs facing urban communities. Participants left with a stronger understanding of the ways that research can work together with community change agents in support of equity and social justice goals.” Continue reading

The Formation of a Grassroots Movement

When the city of Los Angeles banned gas-powered leaf blowers in 1996, the law sparked one of the most dynamic grassroots campaigns by Latino immigrants in recent history. Latino immigrant gardeners, working with a small group of Chicana/o activists, organized the Association of Latin American Gardeners of Los Angeles (ALAGLA), which pressured city leaders to reverse the ban. ALAGLA pursued its objectives by engaging in the political process, taking direct action, advocating technological adaptations, and reframing the gardeners and their tools in a positive light. Turning public opinion in their favor, they persuaded city leaders to void the draconian elements of the ordinance, which included a misdemeanor charge, a $1,000 fine, and jail time for gardeners using the blowers. ALAGLA’s movement can be compared in some ways to earlier immigrant-organizing efforts by organized labor, notably the United Farm Workers and the Service Employees International Union’s Justice for Janitors campaign, but it is also distinguished from them by ALAGLA’s nonbureaucratic grassroots structure. The association’s campaign for social and economic justice shows the potential for collective action among marginalized immigrant workers and petty entrepreneurs in the informal economy. Continue reading

Ferguson Syllabus

This syllabus focuses on the death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed him.  The syllabus was created for a first-year composition class by Evan Kindley, Visiting Instructor in the Department of Literature at Claremont McKenna College.  It is in part the result of crowd-sourced conversation that began on Facebook.

URBAN is thankful for the opportunity to share this syllabus.  In the spirit of providing the authentic context from which this syllabus was created, the email written by Mr. Kindley to his students is included. Continue reading

Prison Divestment CA Statewide Meeting

The Private Prison Divestment CA Statewide Meeting will bring together youth and community organizations from across the state who recognize that in order to address the criminalization of communities of color and systemic harassment of immigrants, we must confront the profit motives behind anti-immigrant and pro-incarceration policies. The session will provide participants with the organizing tools needed to bring successful private prison divestment campaigns back to their campuses and communities, develop statewide divestment strategy,and strive for abolition and true, just immigration reform.

Join us in continuing to strengthen Black and Brown alliances to build the movement against mass incarceration and immigration enforcement. For more information about the Prison Divestment Campaign please visit Enlaceintl.org

Prison Divest CA Statewide Meeting
Date: November 14th 2014 from 9:00am- 6:00pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

RSVP here

Enlace Prison Divestment Toolkits

Among the proposals that emerged from the LA Node Mass Incarceration and Deportation Forum is the idea of organizing campaigns to pressure universities to pull out of private prison investments and to reinvest in socially responsible alternative criminal justice and immigrant rights programs.  Enlace has kindly shared toolkits which focus on pension and university divestment from the for-profit prison industry.

Mass Incarceration and Deportation Forum (p I)

On April 19 URBAN LA will convene an interactive forum of leaders and activists who have been engaged in work on immigrant rights, mass incarceration, or both. The increase in mass deportation and mass incarceration reflects a systematic criminalization of communities of color, especially youth of color. Dialogue between scholars and community leaders will promote the exploration of potential alliances, joint research, and strategies to advance organizing and policy change. Continue reading

Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate

On October 9, 2013, Alvaro HuertaChicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) visiting scholar presented a talk on his new book, “Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm” (San Diego State University Press, 2013).  In this collection of non-fiction essays, Huerta asks readers to reassess critical political and cultural issues unfolding along the U.S./Mexico border. Paired with the photography of Antonio Turok, Huerta’s words move readers “towards a humanistic paradigm” in a work that has been called a “must read” for students, scholars, and policy-makers alike. Huerta’s presentation was followed by a conversation with UCLA professor of history and former CSRC director Juan Gómez-Quiñones.


Text and video by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC)