May/June 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 5

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Six Projects Are Funded by the 2012 CARI Grant

Beth Floyd, ASA Minority Affairs Program

The ASA Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy announces the recipients of the 2012 Community Action Research Initiative (CARI) awards. This small grants program encourages and supports sociologists in bringing social science knowledge, methods, and expertise to address community-identified issues and concerns. Each applicant proposed a project of pro bono work with a community organization or local public interest group, the group’s request for collaboration, and the intended outcomes. CARI provides up to $3,000 for each project to cover direct costs associated with the community action research. The principle investigators are listed below along with a description of their funded proposals.

Natalie Boero, Sang Hea Kil, and Carlos Garcia, San Jose State University, will implement their project, “Documenting Health Capital, Understanding Health Literacy: Exploring Health-Seeking Practices among Mexican American Immigrants in Silicon Valley,” through work with the Latino community, Latinas Contra Cancer (LCC). LCC was founded to address the void in culturally and linguistically sensitive programs that meet the healthcare needs of Latino and Latinas around issues of cancer; it targets underserved, low-income, Spanish-speaking individuals and families. The CARI Grant will support phase two of their research. Their research goals are to explore the role of health capital in health practices, clinical interactions, and medical decision making of Mexican-origin immigrants in the Silicon Valley with cancer. The team hopes that their research “can be used directly by health care professionals in their interactions with immigrant patients as well as to come up with culturally sensitive ways to help immigrants better navigate the health care system and feel empowered in their interactions with health care professionals.”

Brianne Dávila, Willamette University, will collaborate with Willamette Academy, a college outreach program housed at Willamette University for her community project, “Overcoming Adversity: Fostering Resiliency through Education.” The Academy serves a group of low-income students in grades 8-12 from the Salem-Keizer School District. The college preparatory program is committed to serving students that are underrepresented in higher education. The program provides year-round tutoring, enrichment programs with topics such as financial aid and SAT prep. The Academy also has programs to help families support their children in their preparation for college. Currently in phase one of the research, Davila is focusing on developing a long-term plan for systematic data collection and an evaluation process through a comprehensive literature review and collection of data from public school students in Oregon, the Salem-Keizer School District, and Willamette Academy. The second phase will consist of ethnographic observations during the 2012 Summer Academy program. This observation will provide insight on how to conduct the interviews. Dávila and Willamette Academy seek to develop an internal evaluation report, conference presentations, and a journal article from the project.

Emily Drew, Willamette University, will work with CAUSA on her project, “Under One Roof: Studying the Effects of Immigration Policy for Mixed-Status Families in Oregon”. Founded in 1995 by farm workers, immigrants, and allies, CAUSA is the largest Latino rights and advocacy organization in the Northwest. CAUSA’s mission is to organize, educate, and mobilize to build power among the immigrant community. Drew and her team of two undergraduates will conduct in-depth interviews with community members who have seen first-hand the effects of anti-immigrant policies. CAUSA’s major campaigns include support for tuition equity, access to driver’s licenses for undocumented workers, ending the deportation and separation of Latino families, implementing prosecutorial discretion, LGBTQ and marriage equality, and “Breaking the chain” between local law enforcement and immigration/customs enforcement. The team’s goal is to produce a collection of articles that CAUSA could use to continue their work for immigrant justice and strengthen CAUSA’s internal capacity to organize for extending rights to all residents of Oregon.

Valerie Leiter, Simmons College, will continue her work with the Neighborhood Access Group (NAG) in Boston. The group is a non-profit that fights for full access to all sidewalks and streets for the community. Leiter’s project will look at the city’s sidewalk accessibility. Most known for their fight against brick sidewalks that replaced functional concrete on Huntington Avenue in 2003-04, for which they were successful, NGA organizes protests and educational events to facilitate individual’s access to their communities. NAG has collected initial data from its members, which documented member accessibility issues. NAG has used this date to inform the public about how brick sidewalks diminish access and make life more difficult not only for those with mobility issues but for people who are blind and even people with strollers. Even with their success with the Huntington Avenue project, NAG needs more comprehensive data on city-wide sidewalk accessibility. With the help of an undergraduate and research assistants, Leiter’s project will collect this data—providing the necessary tools for NAG to prioritize its next steps in working with the city to improve physical accessibility on public walkways.

Gretchen Purser, Maxwell School of Syracuse University, will work with the Worker’s Center of Central New York for her project, “The Formerly Incarcerated, Worker Centers and the Struggle for Jobs with Justice.” The Worker’s Center is a community-based organization focused on the problems facing marginalized, low-wage workers in the greater Syracuse area and aims to build collective power through education. The Worker’s Center offers information and trainings related to worker’s rights and occupational health and safety as well as offering legal assistant in matters relating to employment and immigration. Teamed with members and leaders of the Worker’s Center, Purser will conduct in-depth interviews with formally incarcerated community members. Purser and the Worker’s Center intend to produce a report and a set of podcasts, by recording the interviews, to help identify how the center can begin to address the challenges in workplace justice. The center plans to expand its advocacy efforts with the findings.

Robert Silverman, University of Buffalo, will work with Housing Opportunity Made Equal (HOME) in evaluating and implementing the City of Buffalo’s Al report. The Al report identifies impediments to fair housing and promotes the Fair Housing Act’s goal. HOME is a non-profit, membership-based civil rights organization based in western New York. The organization’s mission is to “promote the value of diversity and to ensure the people of western New York an equal opportunity to live in the housing and communities of their choice—through education, advocacy, enforcement of fair housing laws, and the creation of housing opportunities.” HOME provides comprehensive services to victims of housing discrimination. Silverman and HOME have set four goals for this project: to enhance the quality of evaluation implemented by HOME, to use a graduate student assistantship to identify and train future generations of fair housing scholars and advocates, to affirmatively further fair housing in Buffalo, and to turn the results into academic products. 


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