This session includes multiple presentations. Timestamps are indicated in parentheses so you can forward to the presentation you want to view.

Town/gown social justice initiatives: University of La Verne and Cultural Awareness and Inclusion (00:00)

Presented by Devorah Lieberman, University of La Verne, and Gil Ivey, Cultural Awareness and Inclusion (CASI)

The University of La Verne is located in the city of La Verne, 35 miles east of Los Angeles. Several years ago, leaders from the city of La Verne and leaders from the University of La Verne joined together to create a partnership that focuses on how, together, to formalize an initiative to address “belongingness” and inclusion for all constituents at the University and throughout the City.  The group that has been officially endorsed by the La Verne City Council is named:  CASI: Cultural Awareness and Social Inclusion. The President of CASI, Gil Ivey and the President of the University of La Verne are pleased to participate in the CUMU panel. Their presentation will focus on:  Why the initiative was created?  How the initiative was created? The goals and results of the initiative in the community of La Verne and at the University of La Verne.

The official mission of CASI—Cultural Awareness and Inclusion follows:  The mission of the Committee on Cultural Awareness and Social Inclusion in the City of La Verne is to educate, inform, encourage and build awareness.  The focus of the committee is to provide understanding that every inhabitant is entitled to equal accommodations with the City; this includes economic, political, public services, and educational opportunities.

Mapping ecosystems in a virtual world (26:09)

Presented by Gabriel Velez, Saul Lopez, and Veronica Mancheno, Marquette University

Systems level thinking holds vast potential for addressing deeply embedded inequities in urban contexts, but the material resources and time to conceptualize issues at this level is often challenging for local non-profit organizations. Mapping communities and the partnerships that make them up is no easy feat, much less in the middle of a pandemic. Rather than to use this constraint to pause our work, the Black and Latino/a Ecosystem and Transition (BLEST) Hub decided to pursue the question of community engagement from a virtual angle. Through many online conversations, data gathering, and workshopping of visualizations, the BLEST Hub created a public facing asset map of the ecosystem of support organizations for Milwaukee-area Black and Latino/a students. To date, the visualization has been positively received by community organizations and activists, but considerable challenges remain in continuing to make it productive and fruitful for addressing inequities in these young people’s lives.

Our presentation will highlight the methodologies used to compile, evaluate, and represent data onto our asset map, powered by KUMU. This interactive visualization charters the network of non-profits, organizations, and institutions that serve Milwaukee students from middle school through post-secondary completion and/or entrance to the workforce. The BLEST Hub team will share initial takeaways, research questions, and programming efforts that have come out of this project, as well as challenges and reflections on building out these systems understanding of an urban context from our positionality at a private, predominantly, and historically White institution with a complicated history of community engagement. This presentation addresses the following questions:

  • How can the process and product of visualizing ecosystems serve urban communities and members who live within them?
  • How can this process serve to effectively engage community partners?
  • How can asset maps and visualizations support synergies across organizations, institutions, and government efforts?
  • How does the meaning of “partnership” shift when we enter a virtual/hybrid world?

The project is still in its initial stages. Currently, we are seeking to engage a broader audience in hopes of creating dialogue and sharing key takeaways when working with local non-profit leaders in engaging the issues of serving Black and Latino/a students.