State legislators, faculty celebrate launch of Latina Futures, 2050 Lab
UCLA community members and state legislators are pictured at a launch event for the Latina Futures, 2050 Lab. The lab aims to increase Latina representation within California offices.(David Rimer/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Jessica Gonzalez
Nov. 4, 2022 12:14 a.m.
Community members and California legislators commemorated the launch of the Latina Futures, 2050 Lab at UCLA on Wednesday.
The 2050 Lab is a project seeking to empower and increase visibility for Latinas in California through policy research that addresses their experiences in areas such as education and law. The group of leaders gathered from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Wescom Student Terrace to celebrate receiving over $15 million in funding from the 2023-2024 state budget for the lab, as well as for the Hollywood Diversity Report.
[Related: UCLA faculty launch research lab to address inequity, uplift Latina leaders]
California state senator María Elena Durazo and state assemblymembers Sabrina Cervantes, Wendy Carrillo and Isaac Bryan were in attendance and spoke at the event.
In a speech at the launch event, Veronica Terriquez, director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, said the aim of the research conducted by the 2050 Lab is to create a more equitable future for Latinas by influencing policy.
Terriquez added that the lab’s research will focus on Latinas with different backgrounds. Through its partnership with the Chicano Studies Research Center, the 2050 Lab will also be able to conduct archival research and publish their findings.
“We are focused on Latinas’ experiences in the labor market, their well-being and their civic leadership,” Terriquez said. “Our work is in part driven by the fact that Latinas remain extremely underrepresented in critical fields that will determine the future of our state, our country and our planet.”
Cesar Montoya, senior policy analyst at the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute, said he attended the event to celebrate the lab’s launch as well as the investment they received from the California State Assembly to fund their projects.
Senator Durazo said the work done by Latino advocates at UCLA helps elevate Latinas to powerful roles such as those within the judicial system. She added that seeing Latinas in these positions can help combat negative stereotypes of Latinos in the media as well.
Sonja Diaz, the founding executive director of the Latino Policy and Politics Institute, said at the launch event that the research done by the 2050 Lab is necessary to advance the positions of Latinas given the policies that marginalize them.
“Our project is really thinking about how we frame progress and opportunity for everybody through a Latina lens,” Diaz said. “I want to share that now is really the time to no longer be sidelined and to no longer respond to wait a turn. We need everybody to lead.”
The event then turned to a discussion of a new funding opportunity for the Hollywood Diversity Report, which analyzes the relationship between profits and diversity on- and off- screen.
[Related: UCLA community members discuss 2022 Hollywood Diversity Report at town hall]
The funding – amounting to $1,250,000 – will primarily go toward compensation for involved students and researchers, said Darnell Hunt, executive vice chancellor and provost. As one of the only of its kind, the report is important because it allows them to track the representation within movies and television shows, he added.
“What people don’t understand is the entertainment industry isn’t just entertainment,” Hunt said. “In a diverse society … the images that we circulate should be inclusive. They should not only look like the population, but the people behind the images who do the writing and the directing and producing, who tell the story.”
The event concluded with a reception for community members to discuss future funding and policy opportunities.
“I’m deeply grateful to the legislators who are committed to advancing racial justice and gender equity here in California and beyond,” Diaz said. “UCLA is the right place for this project, given the diverse leadership that is committed to the success of California’s diverse populations.”
Contributing reports by Catherine Hamilton, national news and higher education editor.