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Atlanta- The Southern Regional Council (SRC), a multi-racial organization founded in 1919 to combat racial injustice in the South, recently completed a project, funded by the the Carnegie Corporation of New York, examining coalitions among African American and Latino communities in the South.
"I am ecstatic about the meaningful and timely report which we have produced. 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, SRC report examines coalitions among African Americans and Latino communities in the Southeast to address issues of mutual importance. The SRC Project Team convened focus groups and individual interviews with key participants in a number of Black/Brown initiative s that led to significant action, i.e. the formation of organizations that actively engaged in a sustained effort to confront political, social or economic inequities and injustices adversely impacting both minority populations. Focus groups were convened in Florida, North Carolina, and North and South Georgia.
This project was be led by Joel Alvarado, Policy Director for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. 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 offered 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 was 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 faculty 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 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.
SRC's research shows that African Americans and Latinos in the South often face similar challenges as they seek to achieve their full social and economic potential. Instead of joining forces to achieve goals which they have in common, however, they often see themselves as competing in a “zero-sum-game” for limited social, economic and political opportunities. Standing against this trend are examples in which African-American and Latino communities have come together to work collaboratively around issues of common concern.