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Immigration: Manuel Pastor on the Changing Face of California

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Manuel Pastor
Manuel Pastor

When it comes to a discussion of environmental justice, social and economic equity, immigration and many other issues affecting the urban landscape, few know more than Manuel Pastor. 

A Los Angeles native and son of a janitor, Pastor grew up in a working class community and experienced first hand the struggles of being part of the lower economic scale.  Expectations were low for kids in his neighborhood. A college education was not in the cards for most of them, Pastor has said.  After getting the highest SAT score in his high school, Pastor defied the odds and earned a degree from University of California Santa Cruz. It was the first of several academic achievements. 

Pastor is a professor of Sociology, American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Pastor runs USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, and is Director of its Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. He’s the author of numerous studies on social and economic equity and immigration. He has also written several books, including: “This Could Be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity are Reshaping Metropolitan America.” He’s considered a leading expert on California’s economic inequality and its demographic changes. On KCET’s upcoming series, City Rising, Pastor is a commentator on the impacts of gentrification in low income areas.

In a recent study on immigration, Pastor points out that in Los Angeles County, one-third of residents are immigrants, nearly half of the workforce is foreign-born, and two-thirds of those under 18 are the children of immigrants, 90 percent of which are U.S. born. In dollars and cents impact: immigrant spending power is nearly 36 percent of the region’s total. 

Bioneers Summit - Manuel Pastor - How Do We Build Movements Based on Vision and Values

This article was originally published on July 11th. 

Manuel Pastor will join Val Zavala for a discussion on the impact of immigration on Southern California. The conversation is part of "Town Hall Los Angeles."

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