report cover featuring diverse group of advocates supporting faith
Social Movements and Governing Power

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). 

April 2012

By the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity

As the world of organizing shifts towards a more “transformational” model that connects with the soul of organizers and the soul of the nation, faith-rooted organizing offers a deep way to engage people of faith in social movement organizing.

Putting Faith First: Traditions and Innovations in Organizing within Religious Communities provides a brief overview of the experience of nine organizers throughout the nation. They are finding that this innovative model of organizing touches a broader spectrum of leaders, leads people to bold and sustained engagement, and enables people of faith to focus on racial, economic, and immigrant justice. In this report, organizers, funders, and researchers discuss challenges like working with the secular left, funding, and the need for more research. They also lift up opportunities including building transformational alliances that can connect mainstream America with social movements for justice.

The conversation captured in Putting Faith First was not initially intended to be made widely available, but the conveners felt the rich content deserved documentation. Compiled by the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, the report offers an important glimpse into the possibilities of how faith-rooted organizing can help strengthen faith communities, their civic engagement efforts, and broader movements for change.

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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