With a shared commitment to advance democracy through research and alliances with civil rights organizations and progressive social movements, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the UCLA Luskin School, in this fourth year of the program, are excited to welcome Leonardo Vilchis, Elizabeth Blaney, and Jane Nguyen as the 2020 UCLA Activists-in-Residence.
Leonardo Vilchis, with Pico-Aliso residents, co-founded Union de Vecinos to stop the demolition of the projects. They won a contract for the 250 organized families to stay in the development. His experience has helped put Union de Vecinos, Eastside Local of the LA Tenants Union in a leadership role against gentrification in Boyle Heights. Leonardo is also a co-founder of the Los Angeles Tenants Union.
Elizabeth Blaney, a former CPA turned community organizer and popular educator who has dedicated her life to building an organized base of community members fighting to change the political, social, and economic conditions that create oppression. In 1996, she co-founded Union de Vecinos, a grassroots community-based organization that formed the first tenant union in East Los Angeles and co-founded the citywide Los Angeles Tenants Union.
Jane Nguyen, a co-founder and core organizer of Ktown for All, has led outreach and policy advocacy since May 2018 when the organization was founded to counter-protest protesters of a proposed homeless shelter in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Nguyen is active with the Services Not Sweeps coalition as a founding member and serves on the board of Invisible People.
Please join us in warmly welcoming our activists to UCLA. Come mix and mingle with them over drinks and food. These residencies were made possible through the generous support of the Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee Endowment in Social Justice and Immigration Studies and the James Irvine Foundation.