Community Scholars Program 2001-2002


Community Scholars Program 2001-2002

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Department of Urban Planning
Center for Labor Research and Education
School of Public Affairs
University of California, Los Angeles


In the wake of the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001, the way we live, work, and play, we are told, has been changed forever. The international conflicts and policies that are being played out by and towards our government have had a trickle-down effect that has reached into every aspect of our domestic lives. We are concerned about our health and safety, our daily activities, the kinds of work we do to earn a living, and the places where we play. Such concern can lead to tensions and conflicts but also represent opportunities for empowerment and coalition building.

On the international front, previously built coalitions are being strengthened and new ones formed as the U.S. Government continues to conduct a military campaign while dropping humanitarian food packages. In the national arena, Congress has authorized appropriations for security measures and emergency funding to bail out the country's airline industry. Locally, city and county governments have increased security budgets and are revamping existing policies.

The effects of these events are felt at the neighborhood level in homes where family members work as parking lot attendants, as cashiers in gift stores, in food and restaurant franchises or where they are airport security guards or sky caps, or janitors and maids in hotels and other tourism industry employees. In an economy that was already experiencing a downturn, workers who earn less than a living wage are now competing with those who have been laid off from higher paid white-collar jobs.

This year, UCLA's Community Scholars Program will focus on the aforementioned relationship between international policy and domestic life. In particular we will explore the aftermath of September 11 as it has effected low-income and working poor neighborhoods in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.


The Community Scholars Program will be conducted over two quarters, in the winter and spring, of 2002. Classes will meet every Wednesday evening in winter quarter, beginning on January 9.

Discussions in the winter quarter will center on the connections between local, national, and international policies in light of the events of September 11. Among the issues and strategies to be researched will be:

  • Competing values: Do the events of September 11 require labor and community non-profits to depart "from normal practice," as labor historian David Brody described the World War II environment
  • The role of the public sector: Could the expansion of government signal an overall increase in government involvement in other areas of planning and policymaking--such as health, housing, education, welfare--similar to when the G.I. Bill of Rights and the National Housing Act were passed during the 1930s and 1940s?
  • Historical lessons: Could strategies developed during the period from the Depression years of the 1930s through the post-World War II era be useful to overcome conflicts and tensions that arise from present-day competing values?Spending priorities: Will spending on the international "war" against terrorism further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots in Southern California?

  • Security: Will governmental security measures change the environment for our daily activities, the kinds of work we do to earn a living, the institutions where we study, and the places where we play? Will measures infringe on civil liberties and will that result in greater economic, social, and cultural segregation
  • Movement building: Do the histories of the environmental justice movement and the peace movement provide strategies for coalition-building that are appropriate for today’s world?
  • Local coalitions in a global context: How does local work in L.A. reflect local actions internationally? What are the connections and strategies across national boundaries?
  • Immigration: Will new proposals for immigration lead to exclusionary policies; what impacts are there on existing proposals for amnesty and family reconciliation?
  • Racial intolerance and hate crimes: How do current racial intolerance and hate crimes resemble the trends, and what responses have been found to prevent such attitudes and behavior?

Case studies and position papers on these or other issues impacted by the September 11 aftermath will be developed during winter quarter. A glossary of terms will be defined as a means of clarifying issues. This work will be the basis for a collaborative project by the Community Scholars and students during the spring quarter.

The Community Scholars may also meet periodically, as a group, at an off–campus facility. These meetings are primarily intended as a forum where Scholars can exchange ideas and brainstorm about issues brought up in classes and the relationship to their work. By bringing together labor and community leaders with urban planning students to study issues in depth, the program provides these community leaders with a forum in which to develop and further skills required to influence policy.

Community Scholars receive the same access to faculty advisors, library services, and other academic resources and privileges granted to full–time students. In addition, scholars may enroll in other courses within the Department of Urban Planning and, by special arrangement, within the other departments of the School of Public Affairs.