Ariella received a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2003 and completed her PhD in Fall 2011. She accepted the position of Visiting Assistant Professor in Gender and Women's Studies at Connecticut College. While at Rutgers, she studied women-led community organizing efforts by New York’s Mothers on the Move and CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities. Ariella taught undergraduate courses in women's and gender studies and social justice.
“Pushing Back” analyzes women-led activism of transnational communities of color through an examination of social justice campaigns around domestic work, housing, and environmental policies and practices. Through a case study of New York City from the 1980s to the present (2011), the dissertation argues that one key to progressive women’s successful organizing efforts is their ability to draw upon a range of political stances and to cross traditional identity-based boundaries. This study addresses three central questions: Which issues do organizations representing transnational communities of color identify as key to their communities and how do they frame them? What forms of advocacy do they wield and what do such approaches look like in practice? and How do they negotiate internal diversity (gender, race/nationality, class, etc.) and engage the broader community, particularly as women-led groups? The study focuses on two grassroots organizations, the pan-Asian/American CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and the South Bronx’s largely Puerto Rican and Black Mothers on the Move/Madres en Movimiento. A complex picture of activism is produced through original archival research in previously unprocessed papers at each organization, oral history interviews, participant-observation, and the evaluation of relevant governmental and media sources.