Just as people had high expectations for the Great Society programs instituted to address poverty after the Watts riots of 1965 so, too, did people have high hopes for a turning point in federal initiatives to address the plight of the urban poor after the Los Angeles rebellion of 1992. Indeed, both analysts and community activists were hopeful that a more sympathetic administration would be able to capitalize on the political momentum that resulted from their electoral victory and implement somewhat unpopular programs in Congress. This could not have come at a better time for blacks and Latinos in the cities who make up a large part of the urban poverty population. Over the past two decades, concentration of blacks and Latinos in segregated and impoverished urban communities has increased, thus making them more vulnerable to the negative effects of urban restructuring. In many ways, easing the plight of the urban poor is not simply dependent on the existence of federal urban initiatives, but on their success. In this paper, we argue that the success of urban economic development largely depends on the articulation of these programs to communities and, in particular, on recognizing the role that racial and ethnic networks play in mobilizing resources around an economic development agenda. We will present a case study of economic development in Latino communities as an example of how an understanding of race and ethnicity may contribute to more effective public policy.
Melendez, Edwin and Stoll, Michael A., "Community Economic Development and the Latino Experience" (1995). Gastón Institute Publications. 2.