Welcome to Kenneth Burt’s blog.
Over the last several weeks I have pondered the meaning of being part of a dynamic, diverse, and ever-changing community of scholars and activists that stretches from coast-to-coast. I’ve also thought about my own passion and priorities.
The passion for Latino politics has led to a book, The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics (2007). It has also resulted in an entry in the Encyclopedia of the American Left, and chapters in five anthologies that have focused on such varied topics as California politics, civil rights, and labor and the Cold War.
One of the most interesting projects was a PBS documentary on Latino veterans. Realidades: Los Soldados Americano, aired on American Family, in 2002. This was particularly memorable given my late father-law’s leadership in the American GI Forum.
I am struck by the overlap between the worlds of activism and academics. This fall at the California Alliance for Retired Americans in Los Angeles, I ran into an friend, John Perez. He is the retired president of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), a post from which he exercised considerable political influence. He told me of Franklins D. Roosevelt’s Economic Bill of Rights, and emphasized how it addressed so many of today’s pressing issues.
A few days earlier, I was at the UC Berkeley Labor Center for a presentation by Amy Dean on her new book, A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement. She discussed the power of labor-community alliances, and used the example of preserving bus lines that low-income Latinas need to get to work.
Over lunch afterwards, she volunteered how much she liked my website. It reminded me of my last conversation with Yale professor Stephen Pitti, author of The Devil in Silicon Valley: Northern California, Race, and Mexicans (2003). As helpful as the site may be, it was largely static. It needed to be more interactive. This blog addresses that need.
About once a week I will post my insights and experiences that flow from the extraordinary people I meet as well my ongoing research on the history of Latino politics, starting in the 1930s and 1940s. There will also be occasional guest post by scholars and political pioneers. More than any thing else, the goal is to have fun, to share information, and to build a community around a common interest. Hope you will be part of this experience.