Saturday, May 16, 2009

Southern Regional Council to Examine Black-Brown Relations in South

Atlanta- The Southern Regional Council (SRC), a multi-racial organization founded in 1919 to combat racial injustice in the South, was recently awarded a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to enable SRC to research and publish a special issue of the Southern Legislative Review focusing on African American and Latino relations within various Southern states.

"I am ecstatic about this opportunity for SRC to engage in this meaningful and timely research. The demographics of this region are changing exponentially and we have a responsibility to illuminate the challenges which this change represents," stated Charles S. Johnson III, President of the SRC board.

Specifically, the purpose of this project is to examine coalitions among African Americans and Latino communities in the Southeast to address issues of mutual importance. A critical component of this research is convening focus groups and individual interviews with key participants in any Black/Brown initiative that led to significant action, i.e. the formation of an organization that has actively engaged in a sustained effort to confront political, social or economic inequities and injustices adversely impacting both minority populations. Focus groups have been scheduled in Georgia and North Carolina with more forthcoming.

This project will be led by Joel Alvarado, President of Power of the Pen, LLC, a political communications and consulting company located in Atlanta, Georgia. His past work as a Policy Analyst for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Congressional Aide and current Executive Committee Member for the NAACP Atlanta Branch offers Mr. Alvarado excellent insight as to the complexity and possibility of forging strong Black/Brown relations. He is originally from New York and has lived in Atlanta, Georgia for 17 years. Mr. Alvarado holds a B.A. in History from Morehouse College.

The other principal researcher is Dr. Charles Jaret, Professor of Sociology at GSU. His research and teaching interests lie in urban sociology, race/ethnicity, and immigration. Dr. Jaret's research focuses both on individuals' attitudes and behaviors (e.g., racial-ethnic identity; responses to racial-ethnic humor), as well as on larger units and social processes (e.g., connections between metropolitan economic restructuring and economic inequality among racial groups; the process of suburban sprawl). He also studies immigration and recently published a comparison of American attitudes towards immigrants today and in the early 1900s. Dr. Jaret earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has been on the facult of GSU since 1975.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York was created in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. "We are delighted the Carnegie Corporation has decided to support our effort to effectuate positive change in the region by examining the issues and identifying viable solutions that will benefit the common good. We are also ecstatic to have Georgia State University as a partner," offered Johnson.


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