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‘Breaking Bread’ With Veterans About Westwood Garden

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UCLA Food Studies Certificate Program hosted a panel discussion on Nov. 7, 2017, about the community and health benefits of urban farming for the veteran population. The discussion, titled “Breaking Bread: Community Building with Veterans and Farming,”  included moderator Kris Skinner, a retired Army captain and UCLA alumnus; physician Peter Capone-Newton MA UP ’09, PhD ’13 of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Mick Deluca, assistant vice chancellor, UCLA Campus Life; Jeremy Samson, a military veteran and urban farmer; and Julie Sardonia, program director for Veteran Farmers of America. A reception at La Kretz Garden Pavilion in the UCLA Botanical Gardens preceded the panel discussion, which focused on efforts to revitalize a 14-acre garden on the U.S. Veteran Affairs campus in West Los Angeles. Learn about our Off the Table series or read about previous sessions. Access a Flickr gallery below.

'Breaking Bread: Community Building with Veterans and Farming'

‘Indivisible and the Resistance’ Focuses on Local Activism

On Election Day, Nov. 7, 2017, “Indivisible and the Resistance” addressed local activism and organizing as a powerful and effective strategy. Sponsored by the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, the on-campus event featured Billy Fleming, co-author of the “Indivisible Guide,” followed by a panel discussion and Q&A moderated by Ananya Roy, professor of urban planning, social welfare and geography, and the director of the Institute. In addition to Fleming, panelists included Melany De La Cruz-Viesca of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center; Laure Murat of French and Francophone Studies; and Abel Valenzuela of Urban Planning and Chicana/o Studies. Valenzuela is also special adviser to the Chancellor on immigration policy at UCLA. “Urban Planning is about remaking the relationship between power, knowledge and space, and perhaps so is the INDIVISIBLE team,” said Roy, setting the tone for Fleming’s remarks about effective tactics to engage members of congress — town halls, public events, office visits and phone calls. “It’s been a year,” Roy said. “But the fight to make change is stronger than ever before. We will be seen. We will be heard.” For a video of the event and more information about the series of “#OnRace” events to follow, check the IID website. View a clickable album of photos from the event below.

'Indivisible and the Resistance'

Catalysts For Change

On Nov. 1, 2017, Global Public Affairs @UCLA Luskin hosted a lunchtime talk with Duncan Green, an educator, writer and head of research at Oxfam GB, about power and how power systems shape global policy and change. As detailed in his latest work, “How Change Happens,” Green shared his expertise and knowledge gained through years of working with different institutions of power ranging from governments to grassroots social and political activists.

A Flickr album of photos from the presentation can be accessed below.

Author Duncan Green

Boyle Heights, Gentrification and Beyond

The UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy hosted a panel discussion on Nov. 1, 2017, focusing on the current state of Boyle Heights as a microcosm for a larger conversation about the rise of gentrification and the slew of other issues to which it contributes in Los Angeles. “Gentrification and its Discontents: Boyle Heights and Beyond” included Rina Palta of KPCC News as moderator; Professors Abel Valenzuela and Eric Avila, whose appointments include positions in UCLA Luskin Urban Planning; Cecilia Estolano MA UP ’91, co-CEO of Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors; and Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist. The discussion was followed by an enthusiastic Q&A that included a detailed political history of rent control in Los Angeles from Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative. Access a Flickr gallery of photos by Aaron Julian from the event below.

Boyle Heights and Beyond

Festival, Panel Focus on Food Security Issues  

UCLA Luskin and the UCLA Food Studies Certificate program hosted a Food Week festival and panel discussion on food security issues on Oct. 26, 2017. “Harvesting Change: Fostering Partnerships for Food Security” was held on the 3rd Floor Commons of the Public Affairs Building and included food, games and information booths. The event segued into a panel discussion hosted by Urban Planning alumna Jessica McBride MURP ’14, founder of Open Silo and project manager for three6ixty. Fatinah Darwish, a program manager at the L.A. County Department of Public Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity, talked about county efforts to reduce food insecurity by increasing inter-agency coordination among government, healthcare and non-profit organizations. Mental health expert Rhea Holler, Ph.D., spoke about the shame and feelings of failure often experienced by people who are unable to afford food for themselves and their families. UCLA Luskin Senior Fellow Rick Nahmias, founder and executive director of Food Forward, talked about his organization’s history and its ongoing efforts to repurpose surplus food from fruit trees, farmers markets and other sources to provide hunger relief in Southern California. Attendees also heard from Frank Tamborello of Hunger Action LA, which is working to end hunger and promote healthy eating through a variety of advocacy, direct service and organizing efforts that benefit Los Angeles residents. Access a Flickr gallery from the event below.

'Harvesting Change' festival

Symposium Looks at Global Issues and Local Impacts

A series of discussions under the umbrella title, “Global Climate Change, Local Growing Pains,” highlighted the 2017 UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium on Oct. 15-17, 2017. This annual gathering organized by the Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA Luskin has tackled the connections between transportation, land use and the environment since 1991. Participants learned of the latest research and most innovative practices from around California and the globe related to questions of land use and climate. This year’s attendees included a diverse and influential group of policymakers, private sector stakeholders, public sector analysts, consultants, advocates and researchers. Summaries of the presentations can be found here, along with a video that includes interviews with UCLA Luskin faculty and alumni. Hover over the image below to access a Flickr gallery of speakers, snapshots and scenes from the event.

2017 Lake Arrowhead Symposium

Chinese Delegation Learns About Social Work in K-12

Social Welfare Field Education faculty members Gerry Laviña MSW ’88 and Hector Palencia MSW ’08 hosted a group of social workers and school administrators from China on Oct. 23, 2017. The delegates were interested in the implementation of social work practices in primary and secondary schools in California and the United States. Laviña, UCLA Luskin’s director of field education, shared insights from his role as a field liaison for social welfare issues within area school systems, including the Los Angeles Unified School District. Palencia talked about his extensive practice experience as a school social worker. 

Gerry Laviña MSW ’88 and Hector Palencia MSW ’08 of the UCLA Luskin Social Welfare faculty hold mementos presented to them by the visiting delegates from China.

Partnership of Social Workers and Medical Students Enters 2nd Year

Thanks to a partnership between UCLA Luskin Social Welfare and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, medical students at UCLA are again learning from social workers about the issues they face in medical workplaces. The project, now entering its second year, was initially put together by former Social Welfare chair Todd FrankeGerry Laviña MSW ’88, director of field education; and Michelle Talley MSW ’98, a member of UCLA Luskin’s field education faculty and a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Read more about the effort.

Inside Look at State Politics

Cristina Garcia’s day at UCLA began with a meeting with Ramona Cortés Garza, executive director of UCLA State Relations, and LPPI’s leadership — Political Science and Chicana/o Studies Professor Matt A. Barreto, Luskin Dean Gary M. Segura and LPPI Director Sonja Diaz. They discussed how to leverage research to inform evidence-based policy solutions that are tailored to meet the needs of diverse Californians. Photo by Bryce Carrington

Cristina Garcia of the California State Assembly spoke about her efforts to make government more transparent during an Oct. 16, 2017, gathering at UCLA hosted by the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative. Garcia talked about the grassroots battle against political corruption in the 58th Assembly District in Southeast Los Angeles that eventually led her to seek office. “I’m an idealist at heart, and I do believe that we can have a democracy that works for us all.” Garcia talked about her three policy pillars: government transparency, women’s issues and environmental justice. She believes in standing up for the majority-Latino district she was elected to represent, but she envisions California as a place where every group of voters has equal input and access to the political system. She advocates for a more diverse and representative political system in which all Californians have an equal seat at the table. “For me, when I talk about where I want to see my society, we can’t shy away from race,” she said during a Q&A with students, staff and faculty from UCLA Luskin, the Division of Social Science, Grad Division, UCLA’s Early Academic Outreach Program, the Institute of Environmental Studies, and UCLA’s Government and Community Relations. “We can’t shy away from things that are real systemic barriers.” Although she faces hurdles when pushing many issues of importance to her constituents, she said that time and changing demographics are on her side. “Latino power is growing. We have had some losses and some steps back, but sooner or later we are going to be a majority,” Garcia said of California’s evolving population. “And we are also going to be a majority in those demographics in the State Legislature.”

Hover over the image below to access a Flickr gallery of photos.

Assembly member Cristina Garcia

At the Farm

Members of the UCLA Luskin community gathered at Wattles Farm on Oct. 7, 2017, to serve as leaders during UCLA’s Volunteer Day. Once on the farm in the heart of West Hollywood, this assorted group of Luskin faculty, staff and students organized and worked alongside UCLA undergraduates to participate in ongoing work there. Wattles Farm is an organic community farm whose mission is to provide the area’s diverse local population with a rare opportunity to participate in sustainable agricultural practices. Luskin volunteers not only got to spend a morning aiding with maintenance of a sustainable mainstay of Los Angeles, they also further united with UCLA and the greater Los Angeles community through conversations and life stories shared over snacks of oranges, granola and water. Hover over the image below to access a Flickr gallery of photos taken that day by Aaron Julian.

Volunteer Day 2017