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Tampa Harper Lecture with Virginia Parks – Jobs and Politics: Urban Grassroots Responses

Sunday, February 17, 2013 | 2–4 p.m.

Floridan Palace Website
905 North Florida Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33602 USA


Over the past 15 years, cities increasingly have become sites of political engagement around issues of jobs and inequality. Cities have served as the most active political arena for the debate over low-wage work, primarily in response to the political claims made by grassroots actors calling for improved job standards and higher wages. 

In this talk, "Jobs and Politics: Urban Grassroots Responses," Virginia Parks examined political efforts to raise urban employment standards through local campaigns and policy initiatives. Drawing upon a comparative case study of Walmart site disputes in Chicago and Los Angeles, Parks shows how community actors have addressed the problem of low-wage work in unexpected ways.

Virginia Parks is a past associate professor at the School of Social Service Administration. A geographer, Parks specializes in the study of urban inequality. Her teaching and research interests include urban labor markets, racial and gender inequality, immigration, urban politics and policy, and community organizing. Her recent research includes an analysis of the sources of metropolitan racial wage inequality and the ways in which unions mediate the racial and ethnic division of labor.

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Skylar Cole

Skylar Cole, AM ’14

Cole has quickly advanced to a leadership role that includes training staff and supervising social work interns. She developed a professional development plan that emulates what she learned at SSA regarding policies, practices, and perspectives. She also believes that SSA prepared her very well to work on teams, both professionally and in the community.