Toward Autonomy: Investigating Grassroots Latino Projects Pursuing Community-Centered Economic Development

Jesús Vásquez-Cipriano : Interdisciplinary Studies

Mentor: Malo André Hutson, Environmental Design

Impoverished communities of color (ICC) continue to lack economic self-sufficiency. This diminishes their self-governance and self-determination. However, Latino communities and other racially marginalized peoples continue to develop grassroots, community-led projects that address their need for communal self-sufficiency and political empowerment. Jesús investigates: What types of organizational models are emerging within Latino projects? Are these projects using established models or are they creating distinct, uncommon models? If so, what is influencing their innovation and adaptation? Jesús will work alongside a few Latino community-led projects in California, conducting qualitative research involving interviews and participant observation. By broadcasting their experiences and advancing critical frameworks and data, he strives to enhance ICCs’ power to influence law and institutions that impact their economic and political experiences.