American Studies

Anavictoria Avila - Family, Violence, and Youth Development

After graduation in May 2014, Anavictoria returned to Southern California to provide post-surgery recovery care for her mother. She also worked with several community organizations to develop pilot projects for training Anaheims youth in civic awareness and engagement. With the many policy and political changes occurring in the City of Anaheim, Anavictoria wanted to support her communitys youth throughout summer projects so that their voices and concerns influence current policy discussions. Anavictoria is currently a 2L at Northwestern School of Law, where she hopes to build from the substantive and practical foundation that her American Studies Major provided for serving and advocating for her community.

Area of Concentration Courses

Anthropology 119: Violence and Human Rights in War and Peace
Legal Studies 155: Government and the Family
Psychology 131: Developmental Psychopathology
Public Health 210B: Adolescent Health
Legal Studies 163: Adolescence, Crime, and Juvenile Justice
Sociology 130AC: Social Inequalities, American Cultures


Anavictoria Avila : - The Disposables: An Analysis of Street Memorials and their Implications for Youth Gang Violence and Incarceration among Marginalized Black and Latino Youth (Class of 2014)

While national homicide rates are at a record low, socioeconomically disadvantaged Black and Latino youth experience death rates disproportionately, violently, and at ages far too young. Anavictoria Avilas honors thesis centers on literal and figurative premature death among disadvantaged Black and Latino youth through street violence and incarceration. Her research includes the contexts and stories behind makeshift street memorials in East Oakland and East Anaheim, where she conducted field work. She considers how street memorials reflect socio-cultural factors as well as criminal and public policy that manufacture premature death for youth in marginalized communities. Anavictoria argues that the premature death of low-income Black and Latino youth is perpetuated by public policy that neglects to consider the racial, political, and social histories that have predetermined the disadvantaged Black and Brown body as disposable, criminal, and unworthy of consideration in legislative and legal decisions. In response to current intervention methods of cracking down on gangs and crime through mass incarceration, Anavictorias honors thesis concludes with an intervention proposal that focuses on human dignity, family, community, education, and youth empowerment.

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