photo of youth and staff participating in youth programming initiative offered by Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement in Salinas, California

July 2017

By Dr. Veronica Terriquez, Dr. Ruben Espinoza, Uriel Serrano, and Ana Mendoza

From 2008 to 2019, the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI) published reports under our previous name, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE).



“This report describes youth programming offered by Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement (MILPA), a grassroots collective in Salinas, California. MILPA’s mission is to promote community well-being through civic engagement, coalition building, professional development, and spiritual healing practices. The collective’s multi-faceted work includes programming that aims to re-integrate formerly incarcerated men into the community; “Rites of Passage” curriculum focused on youths’ social, emotional, and character development; healing arts; culturally-relevant political education; grassroots organizing and advocacy; and internships for college students. Much of MILPA’s programming is informed by Uto-Aztecan philosophies, the guidance of diverse elders of color, and the cultural traditions of their predominately Mexican-American members.”

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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