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New policy brief examines strategies to engage voters from underrepresented communities

The Haas Institute released today a new policy brief which draws on scholarship from the Haas Institute Diversity and Democracy faculty research cluster to recommend how to confront voter disaffection and increase democratic participation among underrepresented groups. 

"Realizing a More Inclusive Electorate: Identity, Knowledge, Mobilization," authored by Senior Fellow Joshua Clark, argues that many conventions of polling, categorizing, and engaging voters in campaign outreach reinforce chronic disparities in US election turnout—disparities that are particularly stark in midterm years like 2018. The brief raises the critical point that to work towards a voting electorate that more closely mirrors the country’s diverse citizenry, we must confront the ways the information we do or don’t collect—and the outreach we do or don’t fund—contributes to a cycle of exclusion and non-participation. Recommendations include ideas on how researchers, pollsters, political donors, and public officials can make their work supportive of broader and more inclusive civic participation. Read the full brief here.

The Haas Institute Diversity and Democracy research cluster, which coordinated the production of this policy brief, is comprised of a wide range of faculty working across UC Berkeley disciplines, including from Sociology (Irene Bloemraad, Cybelle Fox, Cristina Mora, Samuel R. Lucas, Kim Voss), Education (Lisa García Bedolla), Ethnic Studies (Michael Omi, Chris Zepeda-Millán), Political Science (Taeku Lee, Sarah Song), Philosophy (Jay Wallace), and Berkeley Law (Christopher Edley, Jr., Bertrall Ross, Jonathan Simon, Christopher Kutz). Findings from this brief will be discussed at a public event at UC Berkeley to be held on Friday, September 21. 
The new policy brief is the first of a series of new reports to be released that highlight research and recommendations from the Haas Institute-affiliated faculty clusters. Four additional briefs will be released on Friday, Sept. 21 at a public event at UC Berkeley that will feature a panel discussion among UC Berkeley faculty. More on the event, including a list of all publications to be released and the roster of speakers, can be found on our website

New research shows Baltimore residents unimpressed with police body cameras as tools for accountability and transparency

Erin Kerrison headshotUC Berkeley faculty Erin Kerrison, who is a member of our Diversity and Health Disparities research cluster, published a new piece, "Stop-gaps, lip service, and the perceived futility of body-worn police officer cameras in Baltimore City," in the Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work. In the piece, Kerrison and coauthors reveal that Black Baltimore residents remain unimpressed by police accountability that is overly reliant on body camera footage. The article notes that residents stated they have always had access to irrefutable evidence of state violence. In addition, constantly-circulating reminders of harms committed against their communities was found to be triggering and gratuitous. The authors note that residents found bearing witness to evidence of state harm, followed by a lack of recourse against institutions that commit those harms, is uniquely crushing. Read the full article here.
Ralf Hotchkiss balances on the rear wheels of his wheelchair on UC Berkeley campus

Designer and disability rights advocate Ralf Hotchkiss on poor wheelchair design, why it's so widespread, and his decades of work to improve accessibility for wheelchair riders 

The Haas Institute's Marc Abizeid sat down for an in-depth audio interview with renowned disability rights activist and engineer Ralf Hotchkiss about his work to improve the safety and durability of wheelchairs worldwide. Ralf, who we also profiled in the our news magazine, is a co-founder of the Berkeley-based Whirlwind Wheelchair project, which works with wheelchair riders and mechanics around the world to rebuild and reinforce shoddy or unsafe chairs so they can be used on rough terrain. Listen to the interview here and read Ralf's profile here.

In the News

Taeku Lee, member of our Diversity and Democracy research cluster, was quoted in an article on, “Is This Person a US Citizen? A Census Question that Spells Trouble.” The piece explores concerns around the Trump Administration’s new plan to ask about citizenship status on the 2020 census. Although the Trump administration argues this data will allow the Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act, critics like Lee see it as a purely political maneuver and “worry it would redefine the government’s definition of ‘the people'.”
AAP News published an article last month on a recent study co-authored by Diversity & Health Disparities affiliated faculty Rachel Morello-Frosch that shows a significant drop in the rate of premature births in regions where oil and coal power plants had been shut down, which had mostly been impacting Black and Asian populations. The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, was consistent with past research that shows links between air pollution and birth problems. Read the story here.
Research by UC Berkeley economist Hilary Hoynes was featured in an article on about how geographic inequalities in SNAP—commonly known as “food stamps”— limit the program’s effectiveness. The piece cites a Brookings Institution article by Hoynes and James Ziliak, stating that “The price of food varies widely across different locations… In places with higher food prices, rates of household, adult, and child food insecurity are higher.” Hoynes is a member of the Haas Institute's Economic Disparities research cluster.
Research by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, a member of the Haas Institute's Religious Diversity cluster, was featured in an article in The Hill on the possible unintended consequences of the Trump Administration's plan to ask about citizenship status in the 2020 census. Population scientists are concerned that this question will decrease participation in the census, the author writes.
piece about poverty co-authored by our director john a. powell and American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks was cited in a recent article in Aeon Magazine written by Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institute. Reeves, who gave a talk co-sponsored by the Haas Institute in January, argues in his piece that a lack of respect for people with lower incomes is an obstacle in creating a more fair society. Read Reeves' piece here, and the piece about poverty here.
Report coverThe Haas Institute published a new piece from the Berkeley Food Institute about its "Foodscape Mapping Project" and its new findings on the landscape of campus members who encounter major obstacles to participation in UC Berkeley's food system. The Foodscape Map offers extensive data on the structural factors affecting the UC Berkeley food system, highlighting a variety of food-related activities on campus through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Read more here.

On the Blog

New from our Haas Institute Summer Fellows:

  • Miranda Simes writes about US cities' climate action plans—and how many are lacking in their strategies to tackle environmental racism or disparities in environmental burdens. "When it comes to environmental harms, studies continue to show that low-income communities of color are disproportionately burdened," Miranda writes. "Policymakers have yet to critically acknowledge race-based disparities when it comes to environmental realities and vulnerabilities." Read Miranda's post.
  • "The struggles for immigration justice and climate justice are inextricably linked," writes Evan Yoshimoto in his blog post. As destruction caused by climate change continues, nations that have the most culpability for climate change need to be held accountable for those who are displaced by its effects. "Rather than acknowledging its role in the climate change and the global refugee crises, the US is instead impeding progress and relief on both fronts at the national and international levels," Evan writes. Read Evan's post.


The Haas Institute is looking to fill several student and staff positions—find all our job openings posted on this page. Specific positions we're recruiting for now include: UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center is looking for a writing fellow to produce content about bridging the divides in our modern world. Learn more about this opportunity here.
Sept. 14 - 15: Reading Matters. This two-day workshop at UC Berkeley, co-sponsored by the Haas Institute, will provide the opportunity to work closely with professors and graduate students to explore alternative modes of reading through intensive seminars with four faculty instructors. More event info here.
Sept 21: The Haas Institute is hosting a half-day public event to highlight faculty affiliates, who in collaboration with Haas Institute staff and graduate students, have produced a new series of policy briefs. Learn more about this event here.
April 8–10, 2019: The 2019 Othering & Belonging Conference will be in Oakland. Visit the conference website to sign up for the Othering & Belonging mailing list for all info related to the conference. Registration will open in September! 
See all upcoming and past events here.
Image of speaker LaToya Ruby Frazier at a microphone with a banner behind her on the stage that reads "Advancing a World Where All Belong"
The 2019 Othering & Belonging Conference will be held April 8–10, 2019 in Oakland. This video montage of the 2017 conference showcases the conference experience. We hope to see you at the 2019 conference! 

Pictured above: Keynote speaker, photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier. Video by Lea Bruno Productions.
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