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A Blueprint for Belonging in California 

The Haas Institute today launched a new online hub for its Blueprint for Belonging (B4B) project, a collaborative initiative with movement organizations working to develop and operationalize a meta-narrative that will underpin our collective work across issue, policy, campaign, and community. This work is informed by a belief that a shared narrative is essential to animate and sustain a multiracial, progressive political identity that crosses regional and class lines in California, that this narrative must be based on rigorous analysis and empirical data, and that it must accurately represent and center not only the concerns and realities of marginalized communities, but also their engagement and leadership.

Some of the just-released pieces from the B4B project include: 

  • Findings from a new statewide survey conducted on attitudes towards several policy goals and social values, as well as responses to messages based on a strategic, inclusive narrative. The study gives the B4B project an initial baseline for understanding where as a state and regionally we are in relation to core pillars of progressive agendas. (See the East Bay Times' coverage of the survey findings here.)
  • series of newly published research briefs from scholars and movement leaders such as Rashad Robinson of Color of Change, Manuel Pastor from USC, Rachel Godsil of the Perception Institute, Alan Jenkins of The Opportunity Agenda, and UC's john a. powellGeorge LipsitzIan Haney LopezChris Benner, among others. These papers were developed to offer analysis and proposals on issues identified as critical to informing a meta-narrative centered on belonging and inclusion. 
  • new video that documents the success of social movements in California in creating a more progressive political atmosphere in the state, pushing for policies that challenge dog whistle politics, xenophobia, and structural racialization.
  • new long-form audio interview with community organizing leader Christina Livingston and our director john powell on the work needed to dismantle a dominant anti-government, pro-corporate, hyper-individualistic narrative, while building a new narrative based on radical inclusion and belonging, and a government and public sphere that serves people over profits. 

Explore more of the new B4B content below or from the new B4B landing page.

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john powell with microphone, seated on stage, next to another speaker

MLK's Radical Vision

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was prepared to teach us to become a democracy where all people counted, our director john powell explained during a panel discussion at the King Center in Atlanta earlier this month marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination. "We have to remember he died when he was 39, and if you watch the trajectory of his life, he was getting deeper and growing more and more profound. And he brought many things to us, most of which we still haven't learned."

Read more about this event, and watch a video of the panel on this page. Also, read powell's blog piece on King's legacy 50 years after his death here.

Scholar Cathy Cohen on how new media shape political knowledge among Black youth

University of Chicago political science professor Cathy Cohen presented some findings from her research on political knowledge at UC Berkeley last week. In the talk, titled, "Reimagining Political Knowledge: Race and the Carceral State," Cohen argued that the advent of new media has changed how young, Black Americans are more in control of capturing and disseminating visuals, and that such a shift has also impacted their levels of political knowledge. Media theorists have long pointed to the significance of visuals during the Civil Rights movement, but today's movement for Black lives differs in who is taking the pictures, what types of devices they are using, and how those images are disseminated. "We believe that the access, reach and control of media content has increased significantly--in this case we focus on Black youth. We contend, however, that not only has the access, reach and control of young people increased significantly, but the images of their vulnerability are now readily available with the affordance of new media," Cohen said.

This lecture was part of the Research to Impact speaker series. Learn more about the series here.

Fair Housing Act at 50:
The Fight Goes On

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. The final major legislative accomplishment of the Civil Rights Movement, this act was preceded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed for an “open housing” law several years before, but severe losses in the 1966 congressional mid-terms, as well as a southern filibuster, prevented that from happening. Although the Kerner Commission Report of February 29, 1968 made a federal open housing law one of its chief recommendations, such a bill seemed to be going nowhere until the assassination of the Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4. With fear of further uprisings in the streets, legislators moved swiftly, and the Fair Housing Act was on President Johnson’s desk a week later. Read the rest of this op-ed, authored by Haas Institute Assistant Director Stephen Menendian, here.

More Videos from the #Kerner50 Conference 

We've uploaded more videos from our recent "Race and Inequality in America: The Kerner Commission at 50" conference. Find the full set of videos here on our YouTube channel, or on this page.

PS: If you attended the conference we would love to receive your feedback! Please take a minute to fill out this survey.

Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels provides remarks followed by the second panel of the conference, titled, "History, Origins, and Legacy of Kerner Commission" with John Koskinen, Fred Harris, Victor Palmieri, and Jay Kriegel.
Presentation by a student art collaborative which includes Nikko Duren, Dulce María López González, Ashley Holloway, el lee, Lulu Matute, Kiana Nicole Parker.
Keynote Address by Robert Sampson | #Kerner50
This video features a keynote address by Robert Sampson, who is the Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University, with an introduction by Stephen Menendian, the assistant director of the Haas Institute.
This video features the third panel, titled, "Black Lives Matter & Criminal Justice Reform," and features Bill Keller, Sandra Smith, Ronald Davis, Sonya Joseph, and Chris Magnus.
This video features the fourth panel, on "Housing & Neighborhoods" and features Richard Rothstein, Betsy Julian, Camille Charles, and Myron Orfield.
Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc, gives a keynote address.

New York Times, others pay homage to Saba Mahmood

The New York Times and others have published obituaries following the death of Saba Mahmood, a leading figure in anthropological studies, and member of the Haas Institute's Religious Diversity cluster, who passed away last month from pancreatic cancer. The New York Times wrote that Mahmood, a native of Pakistan, "challenged entrenched notions about secularism and religion, particularly in Muslim societies." Raka Ray, a sociologist at UC Berkeley, wrote about the profound influence Mahmood had on her own thought, in an eloquent piece published in the Economic and Political Weekly journal. The Kashmir Reader, a newspaper based in India, and The Daily Times, based in Pakistan, also published obituaries paying homage to Mahmood. You can also read the Haas Institute's piece on Mahmood's passing here.

A gathering will be held on Monday, April 30 to honor and remember Mahmood's life and work. Details on that event can be found here.

In the Media

The LA Times last month cited a study co-authored by Rucker Johnson, a member of the Haas Institute's Economic Disparities, and Diversity and Health Disparities clusters, that showed the benefits of increasing investments in the education of children from low-income families. Read the LA Times story here, and Johnson's study, titled "Money and Freedom: CA School Finance Reform," here.

A New York Times editorial marking the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, which outlawed discrimination in housing, cites the critically-acclaimed book by Haas Institute Senior Fellow Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How the Government Segregated America. Read the editorial here.

In a separate piece, Rothstein published a book review in the Times this month of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing, by Ben Austen. The book looks at the history and policy around the 23 federally-mandated high-rise towers on Chicago's North Side which were later demolished. Read Rothstein's book review here.
The Mercury News last month quoted Heather Bromfield, a former Haas Institute housing research analyst, in an article about proposed legislation in California to crack down on cities that fail to meet their requirements for building low-income housing. Read the article here., a science news site, quoted Samir Gambhir, the director of the Haas Institute's Equity Metrics programs, in a story published in March that shows how mapping techniques are being used around the world to identify areas facing serious problems, including health epidemics. Read that story here.

Research by Hilary Hoynes, a member of the Economic Disparities cluster, is mentioned in a Huffington Post opinion piece about a federal proposal that could move at least 670,000 more children into poverty. Read more here.
A column in the Chicago Maroon, a student newspaper from the University of Chicago, cites research by Economic Disparities cluster member Enrico Moretti, who found that every educated worker job creates five service worker jobs. The column looks at how both Black and white communities have lost manufacturing jobs in the US, which challenges a popular narrative used to explain the results of the 2016 presidential election. Read the column here.

Upcoming Events

 TOMORROW! Thursday, April 19: The American Cultures Center is organizing an interactive symposium called "'Breathe For Me, Sing for Me': Hip Hop and the Black Lives Matter Movement," from 5-8 PM at 125 Morrison Hall. It's free and open to the public, and will feature Mistah F.A.B., Donte Clark, BLK MGK, and others. For more click here.


Thursday, April 19: Sheldon Danziger, President of Russell Sage foundation, will be speaking on "Anti-Poverty Programs That Work" in an event co-sponsored by the Haas Institute and others. More details on the talk here.

Friday, April 20: The Haas Institute is sponsoring a talk by Noliwe Rooks, Associate Professor of African American Studies at Cornell University, on her book, titled Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education. View details of the talk here.


Wednesday, April 25: We are co-sponsoring an event titled "Tech Profiling, Policing and Disruption of our 'Sanctuary Cities'," a conversation and strategy session with Lara Kiswani, Christina Sinha, Cat Brooks, Stephanie Lacambra, facilitated by Leslie Dreyer. Read more about this event here.


Friday, April 27: Professor Lisa García Bedolla will be speaking on "Taking Back Democracy: Relational Organizing and Political Engagement" at the Women's Faculty Club on the UC Berkeley campus, from 12:00pm - 1:30pm, as part of the Research to Impact speaker series. More details here.


Friday, April 27: Authors Damien M. Sojoyner, Assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine, and Sabina E. Vaught, an associate professor in the Department of Education at Tufts University, will discuss their new books and engage the audience in critical questions about race, power, discipline, and the prison and educational institutions in the United States. Find out more here.


Monday, April 30: There will be a gathering in Downtown Berkeley at the Brower Center to honor the late Saba Mahmood. More details here.

Thursday, May 3: The US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty will be hosting a day-long conference, called "Dramatically Increasing Mobility from Poverty," which will include a keynote by Haas Institute Director john a. powell, and talks by Ai-jen Poo, Raj Chetty, and more. Read more here.

See our Events page for latest details on all our upcoming events.
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