Juan Herrera, Oregon State University and Nic John Ramos, Brown University | Newberry

Juan Herrera, Oregon State University and Nic John Ramos, Brown University

Friday, November 17, 2017


Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar

Nic John Ramos–Displacement without Disavowal: Emergency Medical Systems, Public Health Clinics, and the Management of Working Poverty in Los Angeles County, 1971-1986

This talk examines the prioritization of Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) over public health clinics by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors after President Reagan passed two interlocking federal laws in 1986: President Reagan’s signature Amnesty law, and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), his landmark mandate that required hospitals to provide reasonable medical examination of any patient seeking care in the emergency room. The laws prompted the County to shift the purpose of its public hospital system to manage not just undocumented immigration but also crime and the desires of a white suburban electorate.

Juan Herrera–Revolution Interrupted: The Racial Effects of the 1969 Tax Reform Act

At the height of 1960s mobilizations for racial and economic justice, social movement actors throughout the United States utilized newly-formed community-based organizations to advance their plight. The Southwest Council of La Raza (SCLR), for example, was the first 501(c) 3 Mexican American nonprofit organizations funded by the Ford Foundation to channel funding to Chicano projects. This chapter uncovers a history of the events that led up to the 1969 Tax Reform, a congressional reform that prohibited nonprofit organizations from engaging in political processes and that increased federal oversight over private philanthropy. While scholars of nonprofit organizations have recognized that the 1969 Tax Reform Act was a federal policing of the growing power of private foundations and nonprofit organizations, they have largely overlooked the important role of race in deliberations over the congressional reform and the racialized effects of the act. Drawing from oral histories, interviews with nonprofit leaders, and archival research at the Ford Foundation Archives, I argue that the tax reform operated as a racial project that stymied the political fervor of 1960s social movements. The 1969 tax reform act was a historical turning point in the incorporation of racialized movements into what were deemed more appropriate and moderate modes of mobilizing. I examine how federal policing of Ford Foundation projects resulted in new philanthropic programmatic limitations on its nonprofit grantees. Although the federal government strictly linked “politics” with electoral processes, in practice the anti-political mandate de-radicalized nonprofit projects because leaders feared that their actions would be prohibited.

Although most scholarship of this era has focused on the policing of radicalism, in this chapter I demonstrate how even the most moderate Mexican American organizations came to be targeted. This chapter shifts attention to how activists wrestled with the inherent contradictions of procuring funding from private foundations and the new set of power relationships they encountered.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Scholarly Seminars are pre-circulated. For a copy of the paper, email scholarlyseminars@newberry.org. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.