American Sociological Association

2020 Community Action Research Initiative Grant Winners

ASA is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Community Action Research Initiative (CARI) grant awards. These sociologists bring social science knowledge, methods, and expertise to address community-identified issues and concerns. Each CARI recipient has proposed pro bono work partnering with a community organization. The three principal investigators are listed below, along with a brief description of their funded proposals.


A person wearing a suit and tie standing next to a green fieldDescription automatically generatedKwan-Lamar Blount-Hill, Borough of Manhattan Community College, for Building a Model for Black Business Incubation in Response to Collective Trauma following Police Shootings of Black People: The Case of Sherman Phoenix, Milwaukee.

The killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests of police violence against Black residents of socioeconomically disadvantaged communities as one of many examples of structural violence against people of color. Sometimes, these protests were followed by hostile encounters between civilians and police, looting and significant property damage, a cycle repeated over and again. In 2016, Sylville Smith was shot and killed by police, leading to civil unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In response, community-minded developers and community advocates established The Sherman Phoenix to house and support minority-owned business in the neighborhood. The operational assumption was two-fold: (1) A vibrant small business sector, owned by and serving local residents, could thrive if supported as a collective in a culturally affirming environment; and (2) this would improve psychological wellbeing throughout the neighborhood, bringing a sense of hope and possibility. In 2020, the Foundation of Freedom (FoF), an economic empowerment organization, partnered with Sherman Phoenix businesses. Using the CARI grant, FoF is working with Blount-Hill on a focused ethnography of the Sherman Phoenix to inform immediate supportive and fundraising activities on behalf of the Sherman Phoenix; efforts to replicate this work elsewhere; and academic and public scholarship to disseminate the findings. This project will also contribute to broader sociological discourse on collective trauma, state violence, and community wellbeing, as well as open disciplinary dialogue with research in entrepreneurship – especially social entrepreneurship – and enterprise social responsibility.



Stephanie L. Canizales, University of California at Merced, for Living Legal Trauma: How Global Refugee and Health Crises Impact Service Providers' Well-being in Los Angeles, California.

A person smiling for the cameraDescription automatically generatedBy the end of 2020, Central American communities in the U.S. confronted three crises: the rise in refugee migration, and especially of unaccompanied minors, the systematic attack on asylum-seekers by the Trump administration, and the deleterious effects of the CoVID-19 pandemic on minoritized individuals and families. As researchers rightfully continue to examine the effects of these crises on asylum-seeking children and their families, the purpose of this CARI grant is to interrogate the effects the converging refugee and health crises on legal, educational, health, and social service providers lives. I have partnered with Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, a Los Angeles, California-based organization to more clearly understand the impact of intersecting crises on the work dynamics, practices, attitudes, and overall well-being among service providers working with asylum-seeking Central American children, families, and communities. CARI Grant funds will be used to develop a personal- and community- care best practices report and resource guide for organizations and individuals working with asylum-seeking Central American children and their families in Los Angeles. This work is important for sustaining the longevity of the workforce and supporting the health and well-being of immigration and immigrant community’s service providers. Beyond this, however, this collaborative research is important for understanding how to better meet the needs of asylum-seeking children and their families who are at the center converging global crises.



Laura Heinemann and LaShaune Johnson, Creighton University, for Traveling Mercies on the Road to Health: Journey-Mapping After Acute Care.

In this project, we aim to bring research and action together to support Black seniors’ health and well-being. Systemic racism and the lived experience of it over a lifetime 1) place Black older adults at disproportionate risk for chronic and acute illness and injury which can lead to hospitalizations, 2) leave them facing significant barriers to accessing high-quality hospital care,and 3) generate forms of vulnerability throughout post-discharge recovery. Thus, it is clear that the path toward addressing health inequities and their accumulation over the life course must be informed by Black seniors who have journeyed through a hospitalization. Resources from the CARI grant will support a community-academic partnership with Immanuel Community Church (ICC) and Black seniors of the North Omaha community, one long impacted by redlining and disinvestment, yet with local organizations, residents, and leaders deeply committed to community-based action, justice, and equity. With ICC, we will pilot a modified journey-mapping process informed by Peak and Anderson’s (2018) Journey Scroll technique, a collaborative participatory method designed to equitably document a process, movement or program based on stakeholders’ recollections. We will use telephone interviews, seniors’ creative drawings mailed by post, journey mapping share-back events, and community discussions to learn from seniors’ recollections of a recent hospitalization. Together, we will collaborate to discern and foster the conditions that will better ensure that seniors have what they need to recover after a hospitalization, receive highest-quality care during a hospitalization, and that the larger structural landscape will be more supportive of health.

Read about CARI awards from previous years.


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