Manuel Pastor’s contribution to the “Just Environments” series interrogates how social movement organizations, often led by communities of color, pushed for progressive reforms in California. Through a set of sophisticated tactics—including mobilizing new constituents, marshalling research, proposing new policies, and working with political figures—these organizations played critical roles in shaping more equitable and sustainable agendas. Pastor suggests the success and lessons associated with California’s story offer one path out of our current national state of racial, environmental, and economic anxiety.
Manuel Pastor is professor of sociology and American studies & ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), where he directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). He is the USC Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, and holds an economics PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Pastor writes and speaks widely on issues including demographic change, economic inequality, community empowerment, environmental justice, and social movements. His recent books include Unsettled Americans: Metropolitan Context and Civic Leadership for Immigrant Integration (Cornell University Press, 2016), coedited with John Mollenkopf; and Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America's Metro Areas (University of California Press, 2015), coauthored with Chris Benner. Pastor’s current research culminates in the release of his forthcoming book, State of Resistance: What California's Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America's Future (The New Press), in April 2018.