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Envisioning California Conference postcard image

19th Annual Envisioning California Conference

The contributions of our immigrants - culturally, linguistically, economically - have made California a global innovator in industry, arts and science.

Envisioning California Conference
September 19, 2007
Skirball Cultural Center
Los Angeles, California

This year's Envisioning California Conference on September 19th at the Skirball Cultural Center examines California's rich history of immigration. The contributions of our immigrants - culturally, linguistically, economically - have made California a global innovator in industry, arts and science. Whether one views immigrants as partners or competitors, it is clear that immigration from all over the world has come to define the character of the state. This year's panels will examine immigration through the lens of the state's most pressing issues. Each panel is designed to assess the impact of immigration on a specific service area - historically, presently, and into the future. As always, the conference will bring together diverse experts from across the state to address these issues.


The Center for Southern California Studies (CSCS) was established in 1996 to provide research, education, and service on public policy issues facing Southern California. The Center offers diverse programs that facilitate pathways to productive policy dialogue aimed at building community capacity and participation.

The Center for California Studies is a public service, educational support, and applied research institute of California State University, Sacramento. It is dedicated to promoting a better understanding of California's government, politics, peoples, cultures and history.

Panel Topics

Opening Plenary Panel The opening plenary sets the tone for the day by bringing together Val Zavala, anchor of KCEO's Life and Times, and Patt Morrison, host of Patt Morrison on KPCC and columnist at the Los Angeles Times, for a conversation on the diversity of the immigration experience in California.

Where Would We Be Without Our Immigrants? This panel examines the subtle and complex roles immigrants play in holding our communities together within economic, political, social, and cultural domains. Panelists will explore the many contributions of these diverse and vital communities, historically, currently, and into the future.

Living Together: Multiculturalism and Race Relations If California were an independent nation it would be one of the most diverse. With over 35 million people from all over the world, California is a state struggling to define its culture. What is a typical Californian? How do different communities interact? Are we moving toward competing identities or a common identity? This panel examines California's diversity, with a particular focus on areas where multiculturalism thrives and those in which greater diversity needs to be fostered.

Justice For All Equal protection under the law is the foundation of our justice system and our notion of democracy. Yet, not all Californians enjoy the same protections. This panel examines the formidable hurdles facing immigrants in the areas of legal protection, public safety, environmental justice, and housing discrimination. Panelists will explore the critical issue of social and economic inequalities among immigrant communities and discuss solutions for an equitable system.

Jobs: Partners or Competitors California has been heavily impacted by immigration over the past half century. At the same time, the state's economy has grown to become the world's fifth largest producer of goods and services. This panel examines the impact and contributions of immigrants on California's job market. Do immigrants compete for employment with current residents or does their impact on the state economy create jobs?

Bottom of the Class: California's Failing Grade in Education Prior to the 1970s, California ranked at the top of national reports for per pupil spending. Currently, the state ranks near the bottom. How has immigration affected education, and how have immigrants been affected by the decline in California's educational capacity? This panel examines education in California with a focus on its commitment to enhancing the educational experience for its children.

Vital Signs: Immigrant Access to Health Care California, like the nation, is experiencing a crisis in its ability to provide health care to its residents. While immigrant communities are disproportionately impacted by high costs and poor service, health care providers are increasingly reliant on immigrants to staff essential health care positions such as nurses and doctors. This panel examines the varied and often confounding experience of immigrants with our state's health care system.

California Immigrant Literature Through Three Ethnic Lenses: Basque American Poetry, Italian American Memoir, and Filipino American Fiction This panel will explore California immigrant experiences through different ethnic lenses and through both a creative and critical approach. Reading their own poetry and fiction and analyzing some memoir, the panelists will deepen our understanding of the challenges and dreams immigrants face in an alien landscape and culture.

Closing Plenary Session The closing plenary convenes a key group of community leaders to reflect on the broad impacts immigration has on our communities, and to examine the role community organizations play in serving our newest residents. Panelists include John Trasvina, President of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center; Blair Taylor, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League; and Pilar Marrero, political editor and columnist for La Opinion. The plenary is moderated by Larry Mantle, host of KPCC's AirTalk

Schedule of Events

8:00 am                Registration

8:30 am                Continental Breakfast and Coffee Service

9:00 am                Opening Plenary

                                                Val Zavala and Patt Morrison

10:15 am                Break

10:30 am                Panel Sessions

                                                Where Would We be Without Our Immigrants?
                                                Living Together: Multiculturalism and Race Relations
                                                Justice for All
                                                California Immigrant Literature Through Three Ethnic Lenses: Basque American
                                                Poetry, Italian American Memoir, and Filipino American Fiction

Noon                Lunch and Keynote (Hector Tobar)

1:45 pm                Art & Literature Exhibit (all afternoon)

2:00 pm                Panel Sessions

                                                Jobs: Partners or Competitors
                                                Bottom of the Class: California's Failing Grade in Education
                                                Vital Signs: Immigrant access to Health Care

3:15 pm                Coffee Service

3:30 pm                Closing Plenary with Larry Mantle (Moderator)

                                                MALDEF - John Trasvina
                                                Asian-Pacific Legal Center - Stewart Kwoh
                                                LA Urban League - Blair Taylor
                                                La Opinion - Pilar Marrero

Click HERE for more information

   Sponsored by
  • Center for California Studies /California State University, Sacramento
  • The Center for Southern California Studies/CSU Northridge

For more information call the Center for California Studies (916) 278-6906