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Category: Socioeconomic and Race Relations

Working the HERC

When I started volunteering in the Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC) at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte two years ago to help men build resumes, apply for housing and search for employment. I saw the experience as a way to familiarize myself with the needs of Charlotte’s homeless community. I was in my first year of teaching at Garinger High, where roughly 5% of the student population is homeless. Through the shelter’s guests, I thought I’d be able to learn about the city’s complex social service system so I could be a better resource for my students and their families. Read the…

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Social observations of urban and rural Peru

I’m four seven weeks late to write this, but I’ve come to learn that life gets in the way like that sometimes. My 10-day trip to Peru … well it was a 10-day trip to Peru. Lima, Cusco, the Andes, Machu Picchu — the story is in the pictures, and we have thousands of them. My observations, however, didn’t translate quite well to film. Lima is a magnificent city, one that often gets unnecessary flack from travelers for “being empty” of value for tourists. I disagree wholeheartedly, as the Peruvian capital is one of the greatest places I’ve had the pleasure of…

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Starving for Hope in Los Angeles County

On a crisp November morning in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park, dozens of scattered bodies stir to life. Woken by families setting up picnics and the whistles of tamale vendors, the homeless rise from beds of dirt with aching stomachs. A new morning has arrived with hunger, along with the fear that another day will pass without a hot meal. Kara Smith, a 25-year-old Westlake apartment manager, is doing her best to feed them a little hope. One Sunday a month, she organizes a free community meal in the park. Volunteers come from across LA County and beyond to serve platters…

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LA police department uses “Chinese Twitter” to boost civic engagement

USC Annenberg’s hyperlocal, trilingual news site Alhambra Source launched a groundbreaking social media partnership with the Alhambra Police Department earlier this month. Using Weibo, a Chinese-language micro-blogging site often compared to Twitter, the agency created a digital platform through which the San Gabriel Valley community’s large Chinese immigrant population can interact with city officials. “The long-term goal is to help the Alhambra Police Department establish something to help more Chinese immigrants, especially the newer ones, become more assimilated and engaged in the civil process,” said Walter Ma, an Alhambra Source community contributor. To read the full article, click here.  

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Why Americans aren’t revolting: Government owns the media

Marty Kaplan, director of USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center, appeared on Moyers & Company to explain why Americans aren’t following the path of Brazilians to seek political reform. “We have unemployment and hunger and crumbling infrastructure and a tax system of whack and a corrupt political system,” he said. “Why are we not also taking to the streets is the question.” Kaplan said that present-day American journalism’s focus on “infotainment” distracts the public from paying attention to issues of high national importance. “The stuff that is being reported on the news tends not to be the kind of stuff that we need to…

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Traveling the South Pacific

It’s taken me a few days to sit down to write. When you realize the end of a life-changing journey has arrived, it’s difficult to digest. The people with whom I’ve shared some of the highest and lowest moments of my young life will be out of the picture in five days. “Temporary” goodbyes become more permanent with each passing day, and promises to stay in touch prove to be nothing more than coping mechanisms to dull the pain of the present fading into the past. This is where I now stand. I am lucky to have spent the past week…

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NZ Trade Mission to PNG Highlights Economic Growth Between the Pacific Nations

A group of 30 New Zealand representatives with public- and private-sector interests is visiting Papua New Guinea for a week-long trade mission. For the fifth time in the last two years, the New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council has organised a mission that reflects the growing economic relationship between the Pacific nations. This delegation — a joint venture between the NZPNG Business Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise — will largely focus on infrastructural development. Read more here.

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