Rios, a Chicano sociologist who once was a gun victim in juvenile hall and a high school drop out, only to become a prominent sociologist and professor. Rios’ research exposes the policies and prejudice of communal and institutional hate, especially where intersectional identities are most vulnerable. Rios is particularly focused on at risk youth, helping them avoid being profiled, needlessly imprisoned, and culturally cornered by the way many are conditioned to see those that are different. Rios’s work, such as project GRIT (Generating Resilience to Inspire Transformation), provides at risk youth with educational resources and career opportunities by pairing civic leaders and community members to enhance social development,” says Peter Kitzes, CSU Sociology M.A. student. “As a former teacher and someone who worked with many at risk youth, immigrants and refugees, I know how impossible it can feel for kids to walk the right path. Helping those overcome such obstacles and see they too can do anything is what’s desperately needed in most children. There’s no greater feeling than empowering youth to feel free to accomplish their dreams. Rios highlights the many reasons we need to change both the system and the culture to accomplish this. We need to create collaboration rather than conflict, foster graduates instead of gun victims, and elevate education as the key to uplift children and enlighten communities.”

Dr. Victor Rios is a professor in the Department of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara. He specializes in urban ethnography, juvenile justice, and Latino sociology. This information and much more can be found on Dr. Rios’ profile at UC Santa Barbara.