Jan 09, 2019
Dmitriy Ivanov

Exploring Vocation Through Research on Latino Critical Race Theory

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Jose Garcia ’19 has been awarded a SOPHIA Community Engagement Grant to conduct interdisciplinary research on issues affecting Latinos in the United States. Garcia will travel to Los Angeles, CA; Tucson, AZ; and Orlando, FL to obtain a deeper understanding of Latino Critical Race Theory.

According to the UCLA School of Public Affairs, Critical Race Theory (CRT) “provides a critical analysis of race and racism from a legal point of view” and “recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society,” a society in which white privilege reigns and people or color are often marginalized.  Garcia will focus on how CRT plays a role in the lives of Latinos and Latinas, why, according to Garcia, many never leave their neighborhoods.

In conducting his research, Garcia will include a variety of perspectives to discover the answers to question such as:

  • Do Latinos self-preserve themselves from discrimination or do they self-segregate?
  • What has caused Latinos to not advance further in key social, economic, and political areas in the United States?
  • Is there still discrimination against Latinos in the United States?

The grant as made possible by Assumption’s High-Impact Summer Grant Program through SOPHIA (SOPHomore Initiative at Assumption)–one of many Assumption programs created to reflect its mission to form graduates known for critical intelligence, thoughtful citizenship, and compassionate service.

“Through SOPHIA, I found that my vocation and calling in life is to go back to my community and help other young Latinos find a better living then where they are currently at,” Garcia shared in his grant application. “This research is important to me because it will help me lay a background on why Latinos/ Latinas have not been able to leave the barrios. This is a personal motivation and a driving force to figure out the results.”

The SOPHIA grants support student pursuits in three categories: community engagement, faith, and life of the mind. Recipients can discover a deeper connection between their spiritual and religious commitments and their personal and professional lives, in terms of vocation. SOPHIA fosters a culture of vocational exploration at Assumption and helps students discern and choose lives of meaning. During the academic year, students enrolled in SOPHIA are encouraged to apply for the summer grants, which are funded by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Lily Foundation.