Bridging Borders in the Public Interest: La Peña Cultural Center’s Promotion of Intercultural Understanding and Social Justice

  • Janis Teruggi Page University of Illinois, Chicago


To illustrate the interdisciplinary breadth of public interest communications (PIC), this study explores the societal importance, engagement strategies, and public impact of La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA, an internationally known nonprofit organization founded in 1975. It responds to Downes’ (2017) advice on approaching PIC investigation and his call for “research readily informed by those ‘in the field,’” (p. 34), or those engaged in actual social/cultural changes resulting from PIC consciousness. Drawing from past scholarship on practices in community-based social justice organizations and public interest communications, interviews with La Peña’s leaders, the author’s own experiences as one of its founders, and source materials from its documentarian, this study encapsulates La Peña’s 44-year history of serving as a change agent through amplifying marginal voices.

Author Biography

Janis Teruggi Page, University of Illinois, Chicago

Visiting Assistant Professor, Departmart of Communications


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Original Research