Friday, May 8, 2009

Miami Workers Center Focus Group

Atlanta – The Southern Regional Council (SRC), an interracial organization founded in 1919 to combat racial injustice in the South, recently conducted the third in a series of focus group interviews designed to examine coalitions between African American and Latino communities that have led to significant action, such as the formation of an organization that has actively engaged in a sustained effort to confront political, social or economic inequities and injustices impacting both minority populations.

Project Director Joel Alvarado and Principal Investigator Charles Jaret recently traveled to Miami, Florida, to interview several African American and Latino residents of the Liberty City and Wynwood communities who have worked to improve conditions through a variety of multi-ethnic collaborations. With support from the Miami Workers Center, working class people have developed grass roots coalitions to address welfare reform, voter rights, racial justice, gentrification, economic development and fair trade.

"We are very grateful that Badili Jones and his colleagues from LIFFT (Low Income Families Fighting Together) and MIA (Miami in Accion) were able to share their stories with us. Their experiences will be extremely valuable to others in the region trying to organize two distinct communities across racial, cultural and linguistic lines," observed Charles S. Johnson, Chair of SRC.

The Miami focus group follows earlier focus groups in Atkinson County, Georgia and Greensboro, North Carolina, as part of SRC's effort to examine coalitions among African American and Latino communities in the Southeast to address issues of mutual importance. These focus groups will form the basis of case studies to be included as part of report to be published in a special issue of the Southern States Legislative Review. Funding assistance for the project comes from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Alvarado has previously served as a policy analyst for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, as Associate Director of the Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy, and as a Congressional Aide. Dr. Jaret is Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University, whose teaching interests lie in the areas of urban sociology, race/ethnicity and immigration.

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