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Race, Class, Gender & Culture- Challenges to CBR Participation – Round One

"Gender and Power in Research for Community-based Conservation"

Diane Russell, Central African Regional Program on the Environment, US Agency for International Development

Women learned to interview neighbors in a Solomon Islands community that was part of a large conservation project.  But no one read their reports and later the reports were misplaced.  This neglect was one reason for failure of the project.  The women had uncovered the fact that the project was not benefiting young people and women and that there were serious resource management problems that were not being addressed.  Young leaders of a Fijian community were trained in scientific monitoring of marine species.  They received praise at an international meeting and were invited to train others in another village.   A powerful chief remarked “they are getting too important to do their proper jobs in the village.  If this continues, I will have to replace them.”  After a university based research institute in the Philippines trained an NGO of indigenous people in socioeconomic research, the NGO decided that they no longer wanted the university to be involved in the project and so requested the funders to eliminate them from the budget. These are all stories from the Biodiversity Conservation Network, a seven-year program designed to fund community-based conservation enterprises, research and monitoring at twenty sites in seven countries of the Asia-Pacific region. They illustrate some of the social dimensions of community-based research for conservation.

"What's Place Got to Do With It? "

Annalisa Lewis Raymer (Cornell University and Community Development)

Few would argue that community-based research is place-specific; so how does the context of locality play out? This session offers concepts maps based on place understandings of fifteen community builders and invites discussion of questions such as: How does place impact our work in communities? What implications for practice do place understandings suggest? Participants will be engaged in some mapping of their own ideas about place and community and planting seed questions about how those affect how they see their work. Discussion will consider how our internal, cognitive assumptions about the nature of place impact what we envision as possible in community-based work.

"Translating Native Tongues (TNT)"

Theresa Montgomery Okwumabua  (Mid-South Africa Link, Inc);  Janice Merriman; & 2 TNT Participants 

During this workshop, participants will learn about a unique program, Translating Native Tongues (TNT), that is currently underway in Memphis City Schools.  Sponsored locally by Mid-South Africa Link, a community-based grassroots organization whose mission is to link the Mid-South with Africa, the program provides English-as-a-Second Language students an opportunity to positively impact their community.  Following extensive training and exposure, the students volunteer to provide translator/interpreter services to individuals from the community in need of such services.  During the workshop, facilitators of the program as well as several members of the group will share their experiences with the program.  Information about developing similar programs in other communities will be provided.  This workshop offers participants a new approach to youth development and leadership training as well as ideas about how to engage youth in meaningful service activities.  Lessons may also be gained about effective school-university-community partnerships.

"Community-based Participatory Research in Multi-cultural Communities: Implications from the Field"

Clarence Spigner

A significant number of community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects have involved ethnically homogenous communities.  Few have included racial and ethnically diverse populations forced to occupy the same residential space because of their low-income status.   Such diversity may have a profound impact on the conduct of CBPR.  Three projects conducted by Seattle Partners for Healthy Communities, a CDC funded Urban Research Center, will be described to provide examples of the challenges faced when doing multicultural CPBR. Each project has applied CBPR principles to develop and evaluate interventions that address social determinants of health.  Significant representations of Southeast Asian, East African, Hispanic, Native American, African American, and Whites live closely together in Seattle neighborhoods where these projects are being conducted. Race, ethnicity, social class, culture, gender, language, religion, immigration, and acculturation are explored within the dynamics of the CBPR approach.

"Successful CBR in Rural Arkansas and Appalachia"

Becky Williams (Williams Consulting), Kerin Cosey (Delta Women Achieving Goals), Marcus Kennedy & Aaron Minor (Delta Youth Achieving Goals); George Loveland (Ferrum College) & Representatives from Just Connections.

Workshop facilitators from community organizations in rural Arkansas and West Virginia will lead participants in practicing several participatory rural appraisal tools used for gathering information, planning, and community organizing. The workshop will feature presentations from organizations which have experienced success in participatory research. The conveners include representatives from three community organizations, a community activist and a college faculty member. This combination represents the mix of  “race, class, gender and culture” that the conference will address. Participants will learn the basic principles and several tools used in participatory rural appraisal (PRA); how to join community members in seeing and hearing how the PRA process is being used to assess current and future uses of technology for learning in rural areas; and how to show rural community members that participatory research can be conducted and used by local residents.

Race, Class, Gender & Culture- Challenges to CBR Participation -- Round Two

"Building Cross Class Working Relationships"

Ernie Smith (Brandon Blair Youth Center);  Steve Schumacher (Alliance for Leadership & Interconnection)

We will examine racial and class dynamics related to establishing an organizing  research program with community based organizations in poor and working class communities in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. These dynamics include: 1. Ways information is gathered from institutions outside those communities, 2. Ways information is passed around a neighborhood, 3. Circles of exchange, 4. The state of organization of many Cincinnati community based organizations, 5. Class-based separation of mental and manual work and its interplay with doing participatory research, 6. Working class educated community workers, middle class researchers, and working class residents finding common mission. Facilitators are Ernie Smith and Steve Schumacher. Ernie is a community organizer, founded the Brandon Blair Youth Center which he directs and has served on the boards of the Hamilton County Community Action Agency and the S. Fairmount Community Council where he lives. Steve directs the Alliance for Leadership & Interconnection (ALLY) which trains facilitators in popular education and consults with community organizations and churches. He is a former community organizer and literacy teacher. We will start with a paired interview format to surface many of the class and race themes mentioned above. Secondly we’ll move into small groups to develop an organizing process for finding and training researchers from community based organizations who can work effectively with researchers from outside the community. We’ll finish with discussion on key questions in building cross class research partnerships.

"Community Safety Initiative: Youth Violence in Winston-Salem, NC"

Charles Richman  & Willie Pearson, Jr. (Wake Forest University); Robert DuRant (Wake Forest University School of Medicine);  Carlous Caple &  Michelle Linster Glenn (Winston-Salem State University);  Jeffrey Mullis (Emory University)

The overall goal of this two-year initiative is to substantially reduce youth violence in Forsyth County, North Carolina below state and national levels by using both short-term and long-term strategies.  To accomplish this goal, an interdisciplinary team of scholars from two local universities conducted community-based research to identify the characteristics of violent incidents (e.g., locations, time of day, etc.) and of victims and offenders (e.g., family history, place of residence, relationship between victim and offender). The panel presents key research findings: (1) A small fraction of all youth are responsible for most violent and serious crimes committed by juveniles. (2) Low income neighborhoods, African Americans, and males are over represented. (3) Juvenile violence flourishes around certain types of businesses and blocks. (4) Older individuals are involved in co-offending behavior with juveniles. (5) A substantial proportion of one-time and repeat offenders has  psychological and emotional disabilities. and (6) Results are influenced by systemic inequities and lack of coordination. The panel will engage the audience in a discussion of the following substantive issues: (1) How race/ethnicity and class affect the development and composition of partnerships.(2) How communication serves as a barrier to effective partnerships. (3) How politics affect outcomes (4) Challenges to universities in providing action-oriented research expertise to address community-based problems. (5)  How to ensure useful and usable research results (6)  How to bring underserved communities into the decision making process, and to share power effectively and equitable. (7) Building trust among partners, and  (8) Openly addressing controversial issues, such as racism among practitioners, and racial profiling.

"Reality Check:  Challenges and Benefits of Action Research"

Sharon Prager, Washington Welfare Reform Coalition

The  WA Welfare Reform Coalition, made up of over 75  diverse CBO's, was created in 1996 as a community driven response to address the devolution of  social welfare policy. The Reality Check project is a grassroots effort of  Coalition members to monitor the impacts of welfare reform. In the first  year, 1400 surveys were collected statewide which resulted in a report that  publicly challenged the state's claim that welfare reform was a huge success. The project relies on diverse participants such as direct service agencies, volunteers, low-income participants, activist groups, academics, health organizations, funders, the media and includes geographic and ethnic diversity. This paper/presentation examines the challenges of addressing 

the needs of diverse communities, how CBR can be used both as an organizing tool and means to change public policy, and the challenges and necessity of attracting funders, volunteers and the media.


S. A. Khan, M.S. Tara & M. Bharat Kumar  (National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development, Uttar Pradesh, India)

The presentation attempts at introspecting some of the community based actions initiated by rural women in India.  Inadequate facilities & some of the prevailing problems in the community compelled local women to launch, a “grain bank” for food security, a “toy bank” for early childhood stimulation and “medicine bank” for timely dispensing medicine for common ailments. The commendable achievement of women’s group, the challenges faced by these women, the sustainability of such initiatives will be the focus of this presentation. The collective actions as has been observed, are not usually effective, when organized through existing power structure or through formal institutions, as they have proved to be more of “enrichment of individuals” than “empowerment of the community”.  The lessons learnt from such experience clearly demonstrate that there is a need to create new mechanizes & structures at the community level, which helps them to promote their own self.  Thus, the emphasis of this paper is on capacity building of local groups to exercise their own “social controls.” 

"Who is Out and Who is In? Gay and Lesbian Themes Regarding Community-Based Participatory Research"

Clarence Spigner

A critical overview of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender content in published community-based participatory research (CBPR) literature from 1990 to the present was conducted.  We hypothesize that gay/lesbian concerns have not been sufficiently addressed, if at all mentioned. Gay and lesbian populations share many community-based attributes used to assess health issues in traditional CBPR, chief among them are “location” (residence as a collective by geographic location), “identity” (sharing a sense of culture), and “interests” (sharing common goals and objectives).   Homophobia and legal discrimination against gays and lesbians call for the adaptation of the CBPR approach to assess the extent or degree that CBPR projects are addressing gay and lesbian concerns, and such findings can serve as a baseline to support a more progressive CBPR response to these populations.

Race, Class, Gender & Culture- Challenges to CBR Participation -- Round Three

"Mapping the Domains and Terrain of  Race and Class in Community Based Research: Surpassing the Geographies and Hierarchies of Marginalization and Exclusion"

Enoch Page & Jason Benaquista (University of Massachusetts)

This workshop assumes that assuring equitable Community Based Research throughout the nation requires a coordinated national effort, not many uncoordinated local ones. Participants will develop a model for looking at the race and class parameters observable in the design and execution of published or completed community based research projects. We will discern cases where race and class barriers were confidently and effectively surpassed by researchers accepting leadership from marginalized communities. We will identify where such barriers remained impediments, especially in cases where direction from marginalized communities may not have been accepted by researchers.  Among cases where problems are found, participants will say what can be done differently to inhibit the subordiation of race and class in community based research and what can be done to secure the full integration of marginalized constituents in the planning and execution of community based research, both locally and nationally?

"Building Relationships with Native American Tribes: Experience from the Colorado Plateau"

Cheryl Wiescamp (Colorado Plateau Forum) and Hubert Williams (Native American Center)

Workshop participants will be given general background information on Indian tribes from throughout the Colorado Plateau.  More specific information will be provided on the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Navajo Nation.  The group will then participate in a ‘Talking Circle’ in which all participants will introduce themselves by describing their ‘clans’ or their background.  Each participant will then talk briefly about their experience with race issues.

The desired outcome is for participants to understand that accepted norms in the dominant culture are sometimes in direct conflict of the norms of minority cultures and that consideration must be given to these cultures when collaborative efforts are embarked upon.  In addition, participants will learn that all Indian Tribes are different and each has its own individual cultural identity and norms, so that it is necessary to become familiar with each individual Tribe and not resort to stereotypes.

"A Barrio Experience-- Community Based Research and a Strategy for Community Change in Austin, Texas"

Miguel A. Guajrdo, Patricia Sanchez, Juan Valadez, Orson Aguilar, Tomas Cruz, Richard Galvan: Austin, Texas" 

This research is in response to a social problem. This problem is the role and practices of outside agents/agencies in researching traditionally marginalized communities. This practice is prevalent in academia and professional research non-profit organizations. The dynamic is consistent with the colonial practices and conquest of the 18th, 19th and present 20th century, but the playing field has changed and the occupation is not land, but a space that is intellectual and based on information and knowledge. Power issues of money, knowledge, and information are skewed and unequal between the power (the researcher) and the powerless, (the natives/community residents). The strategy for this research is to focus on the concept of community change as seen by residents, service providers and partnering research entities. The thesis is that developing the capacity of community organizations and neighborhood residents in East Austin will increase the quality of services provided, quality of decision making process and redistribute the power dynamics in the community so that the local residents will become more self reliant and interdependent with each other.

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