Working for Dignity: Rural Urban Stories in a Changing California

Steven McKay, Sociology, UC Santa Cruz
Catherine Ramirez, Latin American and Latino Studies, UC Santa Cruz

The principal investigators and our community partner, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), will engage in a project to build a digital, interactive archive of stories by and about low-wage workers in Santa Cruz County to spark a public dialogue about human dignity and the meaning of work. The project extends research collaboration between the UCSC Chicano Latino Research Center, Center for Labor Studies, undergraduate research trainees, and CRLA. The online archive will feature digital tools – data visualization, maps, audio recordings, slideshows – to make interviews, research results, and teaching materials accessible to researchers, K-12 educators, workers and the public. The project will culminate in a campus-community event to launch the website and feature a community discussion of dignity and low-wage work. The project documents how the changing economy and relations between coastal and inland California play out for low-wage workers, who straddle but also connect the rural-urban divide.