Pitzer Professor José Z. Calderón’s New Book Explores Immigrant Rights, Repression, and Resistance

José Z. Calderón
Professor José Z. Calderón

Claremont, Calif. (July 29, 2022)—Organizing Lessons: Immigrant Attacks and Resistance!, a new book co-edited by Pitzer College Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies José Z. Calderón, is a collection of articles by immigrant rights activists, labor activists, and scholar-activists who are dedicated to immigrant and workers’ rights. The anthology, co-edited with Victor Narro of the UCLA Labor Center, explores how policies have shaped immigration flows and analyzes “the racialized, gendered, and class character of these movements of people.”

“The readings articulate how immigration policy is related to larger questions of national building, racialization, political participation, and social and economic inequality,” the introduction says.

Calderón wrote or co-authored three of the book’s six chapters, including “Immigration Raids in the Inland Empire” and “Organizing Immigrant Workers: Action Research and Strategies in the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center,” co-written with Pitzer alums Suzanne Foster ’00 and Silvia L. Rodriguez ’00. Foster and Rodriguez were Calderón’s students when they began conducting research and teaching ESL classes at the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center (PEOC), a nonprofit focused on improving conditions for immigrant workers that Calderón helped found in the late 1990s. Foster eventually went on to serve as the executive director of the PEOC.

Calderón writes about the intersection between immigrant rights and educational justice in his chapter “The Same Struggle.”

“My own life experience and trajectory show how the pursuit of education is fundamental to the immigrant struggle,” Calderón writes. “I am an organizer, an educator, and a member of the community. I use community-based research and organizing to build bridges across immigrant communities and between the immigrant rights and educational justice movements.” 

Organizing Lessons is part of the Taking Freedom Book Series, which is published through a collaboration between the Racial Justice Center of the Service Employees International Union, the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and MIT Community Innovators Lab. Other books in this series include Achieving Racial Justice and Economic Equality by Pitzer Trustee Angela Glover Blackwell, who founded the nonprofit PolicyLink.

José Z. Calderón is also the author of Lessons from an Activist Intellectual: Teaching, Research, and Organizing for Social Change (2016) and Race, Poverty, and Social Justice: Multidisciplinary Perspectives Through Service (2007), among many other writings. Calderón joined Pitzer College’s faculty in 1991. He has received numerous awards for his community-based work, including the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center Community Award.

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