The ASA Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy announces the recipients of the 2016 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 pro bono work partnering with a community organization or local public interest group. 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.
Amanda Cheong, Princeton University, with Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
The project, “Citizenship from the Grassroots: Local Identity Cards, Integration, and Access to Mainstream Institutions among Undocumented Immigrants in Mercer County,” will run a series of focus groups to assess the impacts of the Mercer County Area Community Identity Card Program on the social, economic, and civic integration of undocumented immigrants. In recent years, municipal identity card initiatives have launched across the U.S. as a local-level response to federal immigration policies. The goal of the project is to: 1) produce evaluative evidence for policymakers and civil society stakeholders about the individual- and community-level impacts of the ID card program; 2) contribute theoretically and empirically to the study of immigrant-state relations below the federal level; and 3) highlight the voices, challenges, and everyday contributions of undocumented immigrants within their local communities in a time of high anti-immigrant sentiment and mass deportations.
Stephanie A. Malin, Colorado State University, with Rocky Flats Downwinders.
This project will provide financial and research support to the Rocky Flats Downwinders to enhance their capacity to conduct a community-based health study examining community-wide exposure to radioactive contamination from the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant. The project has two main goals: 1) to assist Rocky Flats Downwinders in executing their health study and collect oral histories of residents; and 2) to build a support network for Rocky Flats Downwinders by building regional research capacity and by cultivating relevant collaborations among northern Colorado social scientists and public health practitioners. This research will be based on community needs and assessments, from research design to interviewing and data analysis.
Collin W. Mueller, Duke University, with Alliance Medical Ministry, Raleigh, North Carolina.
With the project “Addressing Unmet Health Needs and Understanding Social and Economic Hardships among Uninsured Residents of a Southern City,” Mueller aims to enhance the quality of health-promoting resources provided to uninsured residents of North Carolina by Alliance Medical Ministry (AMM), a faith-based primary care clinic in Raleigh’s healthcare safety net. The project will closely examine how uninsured community members take on strategies to overcome everyday hardships (e.g., food insecurity, unreliable transportation), and how healthcare access barriers are experienced within and across patients’ kinship networks. In-depth qualitative interviews in conjunction with survey and medical record data will be systematically analyzed using inductive and geospatial modeling techniques. These efforts will enable the researchers to better understand patients’ perspectives and map social conditions of interest to improving AMM’s delivery of healthcare and health-promoting resources.
Tracy Perkins, Howard University, with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.
With her project, “Digital Ward Valley: Nuclear Waste, Solar Farms and the Fight to Protect Tribal Lands,” Perkins seeks to demonstrate how scholarly research involving campus-community collaboration can be combined with the field of digital sociology. Specifically, it focuses on construction of an interactive digital archive to document the success of a decade-long campaign in the 1990s against a nuclear waste landfill in California’s Mojave Desert. The project focuses on participation by the Colorado River Native Nations Alliance, consisting of the Fort Mojave, Chemehuevi, Colorado River, Quechan, and Cocopah First Nations. Poor people and people of color have an important role to play in the history of American environmentalism, but their version is largely absent from the popular understanding of the U.S. environmental movement. The goal is to make the Ward Valley campaign visible through storytelling that is widely accessible to a broad audience.
Kevin Riley, UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program, with National Day Labor Organizing Network.
The project, “Documenting the Injury Experiences of Day Laborers in Residential Work Settings,” will investigate the injury experiences of day laborers working in residential settings and their efforts to access compensation from employers when work-related injuries occur. Laborers hired by homeowners and residential contractors are often at elevated risk for occupational injury, yet few are able to secure compensation when work-related injuries result in lost work time and/or the need for medical attention. The grant will support the collection and analysis of qualitative data from 25–30 day laborers regarding their experiences with work-related injuries, their efforts to access compensation from employers, and the impact of work injuries on themselves and their families. The findings will lay the groundwork for a subsequent survey of day laborers throughout California.
Daisy Rooks, University of Montana, with Missoula Area Central Labor Council
In “Identifying ‘Best Practices’ in Rural Labor-Environmental Coalitions,” Rooks has partnered with the Missoula Area Central Labor Council (MACLC), an organization that represents workers and their unions in four counties in Western Montana. She will conduct qualitative case studies of three labor-environmental coalitions in the Intermountain West and Great Plains, and conduct a brief literature review of research on “best practices” in labor-environmental coalitions. After identifying some of the barriers to forming these coalitions, and the challenges of sustaining them, she will share her findings with MACLC via two presentations and a technical report.
Jason Eton Scott, University of California, Berkeley, with College Track.
With the project, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Socio-emotional Learning Intervention in an After-School Setting,” Scott will partner with College Track in Oakland, CA, which supports students through every crucial step of high school and college through college graduation. The organization runs out-of-school time interventions for high school and college students from low-income families, with the goal of improving students’ educational outcomes, particularly college graduation rates. Scott’s work entails designing and conducting quasi-experiments and experiments when possible to measure the impact of interventions conducted by the organization.
Elena Shih, Brown University, and Bella Robinson, Executive Director, with COYOTE Rhode Island.
The project, “Policing Modern Day Slavery: Sex Work and the Carceral State in Rhode Island,” will examine the efficacy of legal initiatives to combat modern-day slavery. Prior to 2009, Rhode Island was one of two states in the U.S. to have legalized indoor prostitution. Following pressure from anti-trafficking advocacy groups, the state re-criminalized prostitution to protecting victims of sexual exploitation. This study focuses primarily on the impact of the 2009 re-criminalization on Rhode Island sex workers and asks: How have contemporary anti-trafficking efforts generated new forms of policing? How do they build off existing policing of racial and sexual minorities and immigrant communities? And, how has re-criminalization impacted the levels of violence and exploitation that sex workers experience? The CARI grant will support in-depth follow-up interviews with prior survey respondents and public dissemination of completed research findings.