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Immigrant Inclusion & Racial Justice

November 9, 2020

By Manuel Pastor, Ashley K. Thomas, Preston Mills, Rachel Rosner, and Vanessa Carter

The way in which demographic change is impacting our nation’s civic landscape is clear. The projection that the U.S. will become “majority minority” in 2045 is a headline gripping the national imagination—filling some with hope, roiling others with anxiety. We can go the way of national tragedies like the 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas inspired by xenophobic fervor or towards the multiracial solidarity like that seen in the aftermath of the Pulse shooting in Orlando. The choice is ours.

Bridges|Puentes focuses on just one part of our multiracial future: Black-Latino coalition building. As the largest non-white demographic block, this potent coalition can do much for racial justice by moving the needle on quality education, political enfranchisement, decent and well-paying jobs, affordable housing, healthy environments, and more. As such, it is frequently undermined. This research looks at that dynamic in four places: Jackson, Mississippi; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Orlando, Florida; and Oakland, California—vastly different based on their regional specificities.

From these places, we learned:

  1. the importance of understanding history and context as coalitions have unique regional flavors
  2. to center the struggle against anti-Blackness in political and community work
  3. that lifting up anti-Blackness forms a different sort of Latino identity that lends itself to solidarity and improving upward mobility for all
  4. the utility of a disciplined analysis of power that illustrates the importance of an interconnected, cross-cultural fight against oppressive systems
  5. that tailored and intersectional approaches to multiracial power building can be helpful and how youth are leading in that endeavor

Along the way, we include a handful of very practical recommendations for funders, organizers, policy advocates, and other racial equity stakeholders. All of this points towards the reality that Black-Latino organizing is not a sideshow, it is the main act for racial equity and structural transformation in the U.S.

Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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