Perspectives

How to Make Black Lives Matter at Berkeley

On Nov. 10, 2020, California magazine assembled a select panel of Black faculty, students, administrators, and alumni to discuss, via video conference, the question, “How do we make Black lives matter at Berkeley, and beyond?” 

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

Editor’s Note: Confronting Challenges Head-On

After we put a Black woman on the cover of this magazine (Alysia Montaño, Fall 2019), a reader wrote to say that he could think of many more inspiring cover subjects and that ours was “more appropriate for Howard U.” Howard is, of course, the historically Black college in Washington, D.C.—Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s alma mater.

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

Chancellor’s Letter: Striving for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Berkeley is blessed with a unique set of aspirations and responsibilities. We are the product of Abraham Lincoln’s vision for “people’s colleges”—an accessible system of public higher education for all, without regard to inherited privilege. We are an engine of socioeconomic mobility, a center of resistance to the status quo, an institution animated by a determination to make the world a better place. We strive for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

Forging Pathways On and Off the Court

Former Cal basketball star Shareef Abdur-Rahim was named president of the G League, the official minor league of the National Basketball Association, in 2018. Per its website, the G League operates as a research and development laboratory to prepare players, coaches, and staff for an NBA career. Under Abdur-Rahim’s leadership, it is also challenging basketball’s status quo with the implementation of a new “professional path program” for elite players who have not yet met the age requirement to be drafted into the pros.

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

The Wall Stands Only a Few Feet Tall. But What It Stands for is Significant.

WALLS HOLD A MYTHICAL PLACE IN OUR SOCIAL ORDER. Pilgrims push slips of paper with wishes and prayers into the many cracks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The Great Wall of China is a spectacle of ancient defensive architecture and a symbol of strength. The Berlin Wall evolved from a barbed wire and cinder block line of demarcation into a series of 15-foot-high concrete walls separating East and West Germany. It was a Cold War monument to their conflicting ideologies.

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

Transitioning with Grace: Coming Out in Academia

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.”

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

As A Young Scientist, Angela Little Battled Sexism at Every Turn

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.

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

A War Veteran Held a Silent Vigil Among the Redwoods

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.

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

He Grew Up Illiterate. Now His Sights Are Set On the Supreme Court.

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.

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

Chancellor’s Letter: Navigating A Triple Crisis

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.

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

Editor’s Note: Rewriting History

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.

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

In the Age of Information, Can We Weed Out the Fake News?

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.

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