In conducting the community research inventory we were primarily interested in gaining a better understanding of three areas:
To get at these three areas of concern, we set up and conducted a total of six interviews with local/grassroots groups working on a variety of EJ issues. The larger purpose of the inventory was to gain information that would allow us to create the infrastructure at UC Davis for promoting participatory action research on EJ issues — research in which communities and universities work collaboratively and productively to address the numerous instances of environmental injustice experienced by communities throughout the Central Valley.
The selection process for the groups began with the same scan list of EJ organizations that we used to identify non-academic literature on EJ in the Central Valley. From this extensive list, we attempted to identify some of the major intermediary EJ organizations in the Central Valley (i.e., larger, regional, and statewide organizations that work and network with grassroots groups locally). Our purpose in doing so was to solicit recommendations on which grassroots groups to contact from those most knowledgeable of and plugged into local activist networks. These intermediary organizations included:
Upon contacting these organizations, we asked for their recommendations on which grassroots groups or activists they thought might be interested in sharing their experiences and research needs with us. Based on the input gained from this process, we compiled a list of grassroots contacts and then called or emailed these contacts to invite them to participate in either a focus group or individual interview. Those who responded to our invitation were included in the process.
One of our main goals in selecting grassroots groups and activists to interview was to balance a number of factors so as to compile a group of interview respondents that would represent the diversity of geographic locations, issues and races/ethnicities found in our region. To that end, the locations, organizations, and respective issues we selected include the following:
While we attempted to organize as representative a sample as possible of the communities, issues, and geographic sub-regions within the Central Valley, our efforts here should be viewed as the start of a much larger ongoing process that needs to take place rather than anything final or definitive. There are many more issues in many more communities around the Central Valley that we would have liked to include, and whose experiences and research needs remain to be heard and documented.