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Research

Youth in the City of Inmates

My current research examines how criminalization, community-based educational spaces, and the social organization of Los Angeles shape the lives of Black and Latino young men. Leveraging multiple sources of qualitative data—participant observations in a community-based educational space, fieldwork in South Central Los Angeles, interviews, focus groups, and a curated digital archive—I trace the consequential nature of the carceral state. Particularly, I examine the racialized and gendered ramifications of criminalization on Black and Latinx young men. I do so with a particular attention to racialized emotions, gender ideologies, and gendered practices. In addition, I highlight the role of activism and community-based educational spaces in buffering the consequences of policing and criminalization.

Youth Safety and Carcerality

This project examines how carceral logics operate in school boards and organizational responses to abolitionist youth movements and demands. Moreover, I examine discourse on youth safety and its relationship to school police reform, abolition, and defunding debates.

Mapping Youth Power in California

Since 2016, I have worked on several projects that examine youth of color organizing and civic engagement across California. Informed by a community-engaged approach—which includes undergraduate and high school students from the communities we study—this research draws on mixed-method approaches to examine how youth of color across the state impact social change, youth voter engagement, trauma and healing informed practices, personal growth and well-being, critical civics education, and political identity. Reports can be found at https://dornsife.usc.edu/pere/bhc-youth-leadership/

Community-Based Participatory Research

I have co-created community-based participatory research projects with youth organizations in Los Angeles and the Student Success Equity Research Center at UCSC. These projects have centered on addressing the well-being of college students and youth of color. As such, I have mentored, trained, and published with first-generation college students and high school students.

Campus Racial Climate and Hispanic Serving Institutions

My prior research includes examining campus racial climates on two university campuses designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions. Drawing on interviews and focus groups, these studies examined how students experience and perceive what I refer to as “campus racial microclimates.”

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