Professors, lawyers and community activists recently joined forces at UCLA to discuss a recent success for Latino immigrants in Los Angeles.
UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center held a symposium May 13 to examine a grassroots social movement by Latino immigrants that helped reform a city law that banned the private use of leaf blowers and negatively affected immigrant gardeners in the city.
Alvaro Huerta, an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the department of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women’s studies department at Cal Poly Pomona, was invited to participate as a facilitator and presenter in the symposium.
“I think it’s important for people in the U.S. to see the value of immigrants in this country and to challenge unjust laws with a negative impact on these mostly honest, hard-working individuals,” says Huerta.
The other presenters at the symposium included community activist Adrian Alvarez, UCLA law professor Scott L. Cummings and immigrant activist Victor Narro.
A peer-reviewed essay written by Huerta and Alfonso Morales titled “Formation of a Latino Grassroots Movement: The Association of Latin American Gardeners of Los Angeles Challenges City Hall” served as the basis of the symposium.
“Historically, university students have been in an ideal position to make positive change in this country,” Huerta says. “Thus, I encourage students at Cal Poly Pomona and beyond, as our future leaders, to learn from past organizing efforts like the case of Latino immigrant gardeners in Los Angeles to build a more just and humane society for los de abajo, those on the bottom.”
Huerta plans to host a similar event at Cal Poly Pomona next winter.
The symposium is available for viewing online.