Community University Research and Action for Justice (CURAJ)
California’s Central Valley, one of the richest agricultural areas in the entire world, has produced the worst poverty in our nation. In the fall of 2005 the Henderson Center launched this initiative with a symposium that brought together academics, lawyers, community activists, and policy makers to discuss strategies for alleviating the conditions of poverty in the Central Valley. From that symposium the Community-University Research and Action for Justice (CURAJ), a partnership of the Henderson Center, UC Davis, UC Sacramento Center, UC Merced, and legal and community organizations in the Central Valley, was born. CURAJ provides a bridge between UC and the organizations working to alleviate poverty in the Valley and facilitates community engaged research that highlights solutions to rural poverty.
Spring 2011 Update
CURAJ has been awarded one of the inaugural grants issued by the UC Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California. CURAJ will use the award funds to establish a Participatory Action Resource Center in Fresno, California that will serve as a catalyst for multiple research projects and as a dedicated site for training community members, faculty, and students on the principles and best practices of participatory action research (PAR).
The PAR Resource Center will also focus on building the community’s advocacy capacities by training community members about how to develop research questions and how to use various research methodologies.
The research projects will initially focus on the links between health and environment, and on the work of the San Joaquin Cumulative Health Impacts Project; Central Valley Air Quality Coalition; and Asociación de Gente Unida Por el Agua (AGUA).
UC Merced Professor Robin Dugan, CURAJ’s Academic Co-Chair and UC Davis Professor Jonathan London, a CURAJ founding member, are the grant’s co-principal investigators. Rey Leon, Director of San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement and Policy (LEAP) and a CURAJ founding member, is the major community partner. The CURAJ Board will serve in an advisory capacity.
Restorative Justice Center at UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley’s Initiative for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity has awarded the Henderson Center and its collaborators a two-year innovation grant to establish a Restorative Justice Center at UC Berkeley to educate and train students, staff and faculty in restorative justice practices.
The Henderson Center’s collaborators include Berkeley Law’s Restorative Justice Committee, which was founded by law students in spring 2010; UC Berkeley’s Peace and Conflict Studies; the SEEDS Community Resolution Center; and the UC Berkeley Multicultural Center.
The activities of the Restorative Justice Center are already underway. On February 4 and 5, 2011, the Restorative Justice Center held a restorative justice training at Berkeley Law that drew faculty, staff and students from across the UC Berkeley campus. Sujatha Baliga, a nationally renowned restorative justice trainer and attorney, led the training. The Center continued to host trainings throughout spring 2011, drawing to campus leaders in the national restorative justice community, such as Eddy Zheng, a former San Quentin inmate. The Restorative Justice Center has also participated in the bi-monthly Restorative Justice Roundtables at San Quentin Prison.