Community and Urban Studies; Local Economic Development & Race in the U.S.; Race, Ethnicity, & Civic Engagement; Gentrification; U.S. Welfare State; Organizations; Poverty; Qualitative Methods; Networks; Nonprofits; Grassroots Movements; Gender, Race, and Community Organizing; Adult Play.
Drawing on 30-months of ethnographic fieldwork in two Chicago neighborhoods, this paper discusses how Chicana and Black women activists strategically deploy discursive and aesthetic frames as tools for local redevelopment. Combining cultural signifiers, such as “ratchet” and “rasquache”, I highlight how women of color activists in Chicago disrupt negative narratives of both their neighborhoods and women-led movements. Gonzales, T.I. (Principal)
Chicana activists in Chicago are at the forefront of challenging environmental racism, rethinking conventional urban design practices, and advocating for environmental cleanup of contaminated land within Latina@/x communities. Drawing on a 30-month ethnographic case study of grassroots organizing in La Villita, a predominantly working-class Mexican-immigrant neighborhood of Chicago, and fourteen interviews with local community organizers and residents, I highlight how Chicana activists draw on a history of women of color guerilla organizing to transform abandoned and blighted spaces. Using an asset-based framework, Chicana activists cultivate local knowledges, skills, and strengths as seeds for justice. This includes the work done by the women-led Little Village Environmental Justice Organization around the closure and reimagining of the Fisk & Crawford Coal Plants, the cleanup of a superfund site and its later transformation into a public park, and the creation of a community-garden. These activists’ efforts have led to increased resident ownership over local land, and civic activity by both community-based organizations and residents. At the same time, I argue that their actions showcase the ability and flexibility of Chicana-led grassroots organizations in addressing larger structurally and environmentally racist development policies at the city, rather than at the neighborhood, level.
Gonzales, T.I. (Principal)
Under contract with NYU Press, Trust as a Mask bridges an important gap in the literature to showcase how distinct types of community organizations negotiate disparate power relationships through locally based campaigns. With a focus on two neighborhoods in Chicago, I pay particular attention to the differences and similarities between Black and Latin@/x-led neighborhood organizations that strategically use mistrust, or what I term collective skepticism, in order to influence redevelopment initiatives within their communities. Gonzales, T.I. (Principal)