This report chronicles the most significant findings from more than two years of research with the people of the Inland Empire — the two-county region of Southern California consisting of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, often identified as a periphery “at the margins” in relation to Los Angeles. This research, carried out as part of the Blueprint for Belonging (B4B) project, seeks to understand prevailing beliefs, opinions, and narratives across different demographic subgroups in the region on topics including intergroup relations, the idea of community, economic opportunity and inequality, the role of government, and civic participation.
Through collaborative work with on-the-ground organizations in the Inland Empire, we bring forward the most salient lessons relevant to contending with and transforming narratives and conventions in ways that foster inclusive, active civic identities and belonging. Our research in the Inland Empire in many ways puts a spotlight on the overlooked and the unappreciated, and positions the “peripheries” at the center. Our primary data collection with residents of San Bernardino and Riverside counties spanned the period of June 2019 through August 2020, but it is relevant to note that secondary research and ongoing dialogue and engagement with nonprofit and social-change leaders also inform the analysis. This engagement began in the first months of 2019, and remains ongoing.
Credits and Acknowledgments:
All of the research on which this brief is based was carried out as part of the Blueprint for Belonging project. The authors would like to thank Alex Aguirre, Gerald Lenoir, and Evitarus, Inc. for their critical roles in the qualitative data collection process. We also thank the Blue Shield of California Foundation and The California Endowment for their generous support.