Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date

Winter 2016


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2016.


This research focused on Latino and African American experiences with law enforcement and the impact that those encounters have on health, well-being, parenting, and violence in communities of color. The community setting that was selected for this project was an elementary school in California’s South Bay. Three Latino parents, who live in the local neighborhood, and whose children attend the elementary school, agreed to participate in this study. Additionally, an African American male from the San Francisco Bay Area participated in the project as well. Qualitative interviews were conducted with all four participants. Results from the interviews reveal themes of powerlessness, identity shift, limited physical movement, and health impacts. Broader implications from this research reveal that institutional racism, specifically manifested through police brutality, is a social determinant of health. In other words, police brutality is a public health issue, yet it is often not viewed in that light. Findings from this research can help inform how to best approach and address police brutality, so that Latino and African American communities do not continue to be profoundly harmed by this social and public health issue.



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