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Veronica Vélez, Lindsay Perez Huber, Corina Benavides Lopez, Ariana de la Luz, and Daniel Solórzano

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Battling for Human Rights and Social Justice: A Latina/o Critical Race Media Analysis of Latina/o Student Youth Activism in the Wake of 2006 Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

Vélez and colleagues provide theoretical and practical insight into the media framing of the Latina/o student mobilizations that took place immediately before and after the mass demonstrations that occurred throughout the country against H.R. 4437 in the spring of 2006. Prevailing media images of the demonstrations offer a variety of mostly negative portrayals of these Latina/o students. Utilizing a Latina/o Critical Race Theory framework, they argue that contrary to what these images claimed, the majority of Latina/o student activism critically expressed concerns about rising and persistent anti-immigrant sentiment and were motivated by emancipatory goals. Based on a content analysis of print news media, they contend that these forms of Latina/o student activism critically responded to a broader context of racism, violence, and dehumanization that is committed daily against these students, their families, and communities. In this way, their actions sought a societal commitment to human rights and, thus, a more inclusive understanding of social justice that addresses racist nativism, as materialized in the anti-immigrant actions and sentiments that surround the current immigration debate. They also highlight documented forms of activism by Latina/o youth within larger pro-immigrant mobilizations as a way to demonstrate the wide array of activism that took place and to provide a deeper theoretical understanding of youth activism for social justice in the contemporary time. Vélez and co-authors ultimately discuss how national institutions legitimize and subjugate forms of citizenship.

Latina/o Critical Race Theory, youth activism, immigration, racist nativism, media analysis, H.R. 4437

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 1 (2008): 7-27