“Since I’ve gotten old, I have wondered how I did all the things that I did then,” Ida Louise Jackson reflected in 1984 at the age of 82. Jackson participated in some of the major movements of the 20th century: the Great Migration, school desegregation, the battles for equitable education and health, and the Civil Rights Movement. Some of her earliest activism began at Berkeley when she organized the first Black sorority on the campus.
For Grace Lavery, coming out as a trans woman was nerve-racking at first. A professor in Berkeley’s Department of English, she was afraid of how her colleagues and students would react. As she explains, a certain amount of criticism comes with the territory of being in academia, adding that, “in my profession, there’s always some degree of anxiety.”
I didn’t realize there was a kind of basic prejudice against women during the field trips in my second semester at Berkeley. There were two women and 26 guys on the trips. The T.A. always tried to make it too tough for the women. It was like, “Well, the girls couldn’t keep up, just go back and forget about it.”
It was only later that I analyzed the T.A.’s actions and realized how unwelcoming they were.
On May 16, 1992, Armed Forces Day, veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the segregated Japanese American World War II unit that was the most decorated in American history, planted a redwood sapling in Oakland’s Roberts Regional Recreation Area to honor their buddies who never made it back. And they’ve returned every year since then to hold a memorial service under that sapling, which has grown into a towering tree.
One of the casualties of the pandemic was UC Berkeley grad Esteem Brumfield’s Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, where he was researching the country’s prison system. It was canceled. But don’t worry about him; he’s already falling back on Plan B: going to grad school this fall at Brown, where he’ll be studying the connection between health care and incarceration.
Regarding the pandemic, here’s more bad news: One of the lowest-paying specialties in medicine is infectious diseases.
I have always said that I like hard problems, but the current set of crises we are facing is challenging even my taste for the difficult. As a nation, we are facing three complexly inter-related series of events—the pandemic, the economic disruption resulting from it, and urgent self-questioning about social justice and systemic racism.
History has been written by the victors—and also by the men, it seems. It’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed firsthand in the annals of this very magazine, which started in 1897 as the University of California Magazine and operated for many decades as the California Monthly before becoming simply California, in 2006.
In mid-April, the United Nations Secretary-General formally identified a parallel “pandemic” to COVID-19: a “misinfo-demic” or false news about the virus. Conspiracy theories, dangerous fake health advice, and discrimination and stigma related to the virus—from its origin to how it can be prevented or cured—have all spread like wildfire.
Posted on August 20, 2020 - 12:08pm
Throughout her childhood in Oakland, California, Bettye Kearse was told that she was descended from President James Madison and his slave, Coreen. “Always remember,” her family told her, “you’re a Madison.
Posted on June 25, 2020 - 3:27pm
“The future will not, in crucial ways, be anything like the past, even the very recent past of a month or two ago,” the author Rebecca Solnit, M.A. ’84, wrote of the pandemic in the Guardian in early April. In a crisis, Solnit wrote, “Our focus shifts, and what matters shifts. What is weak breaks under new pressure, what is strong holds, and what was hidden emerges.”
I FOUND OUT VERY EARLY ON THAT I COULD RUN FAST. Shell, the company my dad worked at for 40 years, hosted these annual picnics where they’d put on a 50-yard dash for the kids. I’d win every year, my dad bragging, “That’s my boy!” Now, if it had been up to him, I would have played third base for the Giants. But at age 13, I pledged the next decade of my life to becoming the world’s fastest human.
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 13, UC BERKELEY CHANCELLOR Carol Christ announced that instruction for the remainder of the semester would be moved to an online platform, clearing parts of the campus at one of its busiest times of the semester. Many students were surprised, others weren’t. But the majority saw the decision as a signal that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was yet to come.
Posted on April 2, 2020 - 11:12am
LADAN SANJANI CAN BARELY FOCUS ON TODAY let alone tomorrow. She and her husband, Farhad Jalali, own Pasta Bene, an Italian restaurant on Telegraph Avenue, just blocks from the campus their son attended. Now they are struggling to keep the lights on in the face of a crisis that seems to have darkened every corner of the globe.
Posted on March 25, 2020 - 12:00am
My earliest memory of Disneyland was going on Splash Mountain when I was 3. It was upsetting and wonderful all at the same time.
The theory behind Disneyland is what drew people by the millions year-round to experience something, and it was that something I really wanted to get to know psychologically, architecturally.