Black Future Summer

Principal Investigator: Renee Tajima, Professor, Asian American Studies

Tajima requested support for “Black Future Summer,” a 40-minute documentary she describes as being about “a disparate multiracial group of young people who came together in the summer of 2020 in Los Angeles to mobilize against racial and police violence.” The film combines interviews and verité footage, as well as video and photographic documentation by citizen and independent journalists. The goal of the project is to provide a close-up view of an emergent social movement, and draw from comparative ethnic studies to examine the challenges of organizing across race, class and gender lines. 

Stewards of the Land: Race, Space, and Environmental Justice

Stevie Ruiz, Assistant Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies, Cal State Northridge 
While in residence at the CSRC, Ruiz, the CSRC's IAC VIsiting Scholar for 2021-22, intends to complete his first book project, “Stewards of the Land: Race, Space, and Environmental Justice.” The book, which is based on his dissertation and under contract with University of North Carolina Press, is premised on the central question, what were the racial origins of land stewardship and environmental justice in the American West prior to the 1960s? The answer, Dr. Ruiz says, requires reassessing the history of environmental justice prior to the environmental justice movements of the 1960s (that is, starting with the labor organizing movements in the1930s), thereby extending that history into the early 20th century. He argues that Chicana/o and other immigrant communities in effect advanced an environmental agenda in their struggles over labor, land, and water. In addition, conflicts among white pioneers, Asian growers, Mexican immigrants, and Native Americans over land use in the present-day American Southwest are in fact environmental struggles that intersect race, environmental justice, and capitalist development in complex ways. Finally, Dr. Ruiz reveals that Chicana/os were active participants in early conservation movements of the 1930s that led to post World War II environmental protections (in addition to farmworker safety standards, a topic explored by other scholars). His research depends on a wide range of archival documents, newspapers, U.S. federal inspection reports, California Labor Commission reports, criminal trials, historical photographs, and community records from California’s Imperial and Central Valleys.

Assessing Employers’ Perceptions of Racial Minority Veterans in Hiring Decisions

Ryan Cho, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology

As part of his dissertation focusing on understanding why Black and Latino veterans experience substantially different labor market trajectories than their White peers, Cho seeks funding for a conjoint survey experiment administered to a nationally representative sample of 300 hiring authorities to examine why these unequal outcomes exist. Cho states that conjoint survey experiments have proven useful to social scientists interested in understanding the mechanisms that drive hiring decisions, and help provide an accurate portrayal of behavioral patterns and attitudes toward job applicants. Cho expects his research will add to literature examining how discriminatory notions towards Black and Latino veterans persist yet also vary between these groups. Cho hopes his findings will help lead to the creation or revision of programs aimed at transitioning veterans of color into the workforce.

Conceptualization of Mental Health among Filipina-Americans

Kristine Joy Chua, Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology
Mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minority communities in the U.S. is a critical
issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the leading cause
of death among Asian Americans between 15-24 years of age. Depression and anxiety tend to be
the best predictors for suicidal thoughts and actions (Wong et al., 2011). Yet, there remains an
open question as to how individuals from different cultures define depression and anxiety.
Evidence from medical anthropology and psychiatry suggests that culture influences individual
conceptualization and manifestations of emotions, mental health, and illness (Kirmayer, 2001;
Kleinman, 1987; 2004). Furthermore, despite the growing awareness of mental health research,
Asian Americans, specifically Filipino Americans, are significantly understudied which
highlights a need to explore the etiology of cultural beliefs and conceptualizations of depression
and anxiety (reviewed in Tuliao, 2014). This study aims to examine factors that shape cultural beliefs and attitudes toward mental health (i.e., depression and anxiety); cultural explanations and expressions of mental health; and how cultural attitudes may impact care and utilization of mental health services. It will utilize open-ended interviews with approximately 60-80 individuals within the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles. In addition, self-report questionnaires to gather data from their psychosocial environment, plus epidemiological and public health data, will contextualize incidence and prevalence estimates of mental health illness within the Filipino American community. The goal is to describe how depression and anxiety is defined and shaped by Filipino cultural beliefs and attitudes among Filipino Americans recruited from California.

Contesting Contemporary Colonial Logics in Los Angeles: Coloniality, Arts, and Public Space

Isabel Duron, Doctoral Candidate, Chicana/o and Central American Studies

Duron’s dissertation aims to address gaps within Settler Colonial Studies and Chicana/o studies by examining the ways in which colonial logics operate in the management of arts and public space against and amongst Indigenous, Native American, and Latina/o communities. The management of urban space (e.g. redlining, racial profiling), particularly in Los Angeles, has been used as a tool to disempower and marginalize—politically, culturally, and economically people of color and Indigenous people. Duron’s study seeks to bring to light the layered colonial legacies that operate in Los Angeles, particularly within arts management, and how Native American and Latinx activists and artists contest these logics. Duron states she uses auto ethnographic methods, spatial analysis, visual analysis, and in-depth interviews to examine: (1) the struggle to remove and deaccession the Christopher Columbus statue in downtown L.A. from public space; (2) anti-gentrification activists’ resistance in Boyle Heights; and (3) painter and performance artist Sarita Dougherty’s performance piece “Red Hawk Sighting.”

Guachachi’ Reza: Zapotec Identity and Culture amongst 20th-Century Mexican National Projects

Angelica Waner, Doctoral Student, Spanish and Portuguese
Waner requested funding to analyze the most successful and longest-running literary and cultural magazine published by Zapotec authors in Oaxaca from the 1970s to the 1980s, titled Guchachi’ Reza (Sliced Iguana). Guchachi’ Reza was published in Mexico City by Zapotec university students, as were its literary magazine predecessors Neza and Neza Cubi, All three are the primary sources for Waner’s dissertation, which will seek to recover erased Indigenous voices from the 20th century Mexican literary canon of the 1930s through the 1980s. Waner’s larger study explores how these magazines provided counter-narratives to the national projects that dominated the 20th century Mexican cultural landscape; how student writers based in Mexico City framed their indigeneity; and how Zapotec literature can inform our understanding of 20th century Mexican literature and culture. Waner argues that although these magazines did not declare themselves as political, they can be read as sources of resistance for Indigenous Zapotec people due to the topics they covered and the language they chose to use. In order to execute a close reading of the text and images of Guchachi’ Reza, Waner sought funding to print every issue of the magazine, currently available online, for ease of study. Waner does not know whether the magazine will always be available online and she needs to be able to annotate the material, thereby making printing a necessity. Analyzing the complete collection of Guchachi’ Reza will help Waner do the necessary work to advance to candidacy in 2021-2022.

Fear at the Tap: Factors Contributing to Public Drinking Water Mistrust in Latinx Communities

Silvia Gonzalez, Senior Researcher, UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge
Access to safe and affordable drinking water is a social justice issue, yet there is limited research on the factors that influence trust of tap water within the Latinx population, which is heterogeneous from genetic, cultural, and socioeconomic perspectives. Existing research on tap water trust in Latinx communities focuses primarily on Mexican Americans. Further, published research has not explored the structural factors that contribute to tap water mistrust.  This study seeks to explore mistrust of tap water among residents of the San Joaquin Valley, specifically Latinx adults and children living in Kern County. The mistrust has led to documented economic and health concerns in this community attributed to the choice to consume sugared beverages rather than water. The three key objectives of this proposed study are (1) understand how trust influences beverage purchase choices among Latinx adult householders; (2) inform strategies to decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (part of Luskin’s Center for Innovation program to improve health of disadvantaged children); and (3) address the paucity of research on the factors that influence water trust among the Latinx population. This proposed project will seed a longer-term study that examines the relationship between tap water trust and the purchase and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among communities of color, as well as community support for, and preferred revenue uses from, a tax on sugared beverages.
For this study, the investigators will conduct two focus groups (one in English and one in Spanish) with families with children in Kern County, recruited via project partner the California Children and Families Commission in Kern County, a.k.a. First 5 Kern. The purpose of these focus groups is to understand tap water concerns, bottled water and sugared beverage consumption patterns, and community support for a tax on sugared beverages. The groups will also inform the development of a survey instrument. Ideally, the focus groups will be conducted in-person but may take place remotely due to the pandemic. The focus groups will have a goal sample size of 100 respondents and will be conducted this summer; the surveys will be administered online by UCLA via the Survey Monkey in the fall. Results will be shared with First 5 Kern and parent participants by Winter 2022 and by Spring 2022 a journal article will be developed using the findings.