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Cal Connections: Regina Jackson ’84

December 2, 2020

Quick Facts

Degrees: BA, political science; honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, University of San Francisco

Currently: President and CEO, East Oakland Youth Development Center; member, Black Alumni Association

Tell us a little about yourself.

In addition to my day job as president and CEO of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), I serve as chair of the Oakland Police Commission. Our purpose is to oversee Oakland Police Department policies, practices, and customs to meet national standards. I serve on six advisory boards, including the UC President’s Advisory Committee on the African American Presence. I am also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Fellow; our research study is to identify the upstream factors for youth violence in Oakland. One of my teammates is Dr. Kris Madsen at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

What was your life like at Cal?

I was a transfer student from the College of Alameda. I found an incredibly supportive academic home with the support of Dean of Student Services Michelle Woods, and many African American professors, including Harry Edwards, Barbara Cristian, and Percy Hintzen. I sang in the gospel choir and was a featured soloist during the 1984 Black Graduation, singing Irene Cara’s “Out Here On My Own” from the film Fame. Back then, [African Americans] were 3% of the student body. There was a plethora of activism that awakened the protester in me. These included marches to change Grove Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and to place a stoplight on Bancroft Way. Perhaps the most important was the call for divestment in South Africa during its apartheid regime.

What are you working on currently?

My focus is on transformational policing in Oakland and social justice activism. I participate, I lead, and I teach the next generation of young leaders. The Oakland Police Commission’s policies on parole, probation, and use of force are some of California’s most progressive. Measure S1 (which approves stronger powers) was overwhelmingly approved by 81% of the Oakland citizens. More than 70% of my professional staff are EOYDC alumni, and we continue to have a small number of Cal graduates. Recently, I was delighted to be a guest speaker for a Graduate School of Social Work seminar. Providing insights and application to real, work-world challenges and opportunities is exciting for me—and I think also for the students! We are building the leadership I expect to see in the world.

How do you tap into your Cal alumni network?

Today, I call on many incredible alumni friends to support the causes I am interested in. They include a host of donors who provide support and resources at a moment’s notice. A Cal alumni friend was responsible for bringing the Magic Johnson Empowerment Center to EOYDC in 2004. In addition, Cheryl Wright ’83 and Terry Blanchard ’85 serve in leadership roles on our Board of Directors.

Find Regina on Twitter @reginaoak.


Please join UC Berkeley’s Black Alumni Association (BAA) in its strategic initiative to “Look Back, Give Back.” BAA’s mission is to advance the needs of the Black Cal community (alumni, students, university, and Black community) by providing opportunities for meaningful and lifelong engagement, and partner with the University to promote our core values.

What are the Black Alumni Association’s core values?

  • Champion Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Education
  • Promote Healthy Living for Black Cal Community
  • Stimulate Economic and Political Empowerment
  • Leverage Our Collective Knowledge, Experience, Strengths, and Connections
  • Realize Social Justice

For more information, follow the UC Berkeley Black Alumni Association on Facebook.

Regina Jackson ’84 | Image courtesy of Regina Jackson