July 22, 2020  /  View this email in your browser
Logo for Othering & Belonging Institute- three circles joined
Image grabe shows the four speakers at this online event on covid-19

On our hopes and fears in the era of Covid-19

Last week we hosted our second installment of the Europe-based Toward Belonging dialogue series with a vibrant discussion on what new research is revealing about the hopes and fears in this era of Covid-19. The participants discussed the fractures in societies across the globe, some perhaps deepened by the pandemic, while also revealing the power of community and solidarity at local levels. This uplifting conversation showed how new connections have been made, and the possibility of change has come alive, even amid tragedy and division.

Participants in the event included Tim Dixon, Co-founder of More in Common; Míriam Juan Torres, a Senior Researcher at More in Common; john a. powell, director of the Othering & Belonging Institute; and Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Losing My Cool and Self-Portrait in Black and White.

Visit this page for a recording and transcript of this illuminating event.

Remembering John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian

We at the O&B Institute are saddened by the news of the loss of Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian, two giants in the civil rights struggle and lifelong fighters for justice. Both figures were close associates of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. who organized non-violent civil disobedience actions during the era and taught us important lessons over the decades about struggle and sacrifice on the road to justice that remain critical today. It would be impossible to sum up the extraordinary lives and deeds of the two leaders, who were lifelong friends and who died hours apart on Friday.

john lewis Lewis was a former chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and an original Freedom Rider who suffered multiple arrests and beatings from white mobs and police. He later served in Congress from 1987 until his death last week. He continued to get into what he called “good trouble” throughout his life, getting arrested a 45th time in 2013 for protesting for comprehensive immigration reform.

Vivian headshotVivian was one of MLK’s most trusted advisors and a member of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference. His justice work stretched back to the 1940s when he participated in his first sit-in to desegregate a cafeteria in Illinois. He was later involved in countless civil rights actions, including the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Like Lewis, Vivian was also a Freedom Rider who was subjected to many beatings during his peaceful protests.

Yet both Lewis and Vivian remained steadfast in their actions and committed to their principles. Both lived in their commitment to building a community in which all people could belong and be free. In an interview several years ago, Vivian was quoted as saying: “Nonviolent, direct action makes us successful. We learned how to solve social problems without violence. We cannot allow the nation or the world to ever forget that.”

We at the Institute mourn the loss of these two truly great Americans whose courage, love, and humanity helped shape our own vision and commitment to building a world where all belong. They will be sorely missed, but their legacies live on.
Chart showing no correlation between police spending and violent crime rates in the inland empire

New study reveals bloated police budgets of Inland Empire cities

Today we released a new study that reveals that following the 2008-2009 foreclosure crisis, Inland Empire police budgets ballooned to a massive $1 billion annually, with increases unrelated to violent crime rates. The study, titled “Governing Inequities through Police in the Inland Empire," spotlights the immense share of expenditures that cities in the Inland Empire of Southern California have dedicated to policing since the Great Recession, while cities largely failed to tackle rising poverty and housing insecurity. Click here for a summary and links to download the full study.
Image grab of Erin Kerrison in a video
Watch this short video interview with faculty scholar Erin Kerrison, who is an assistant professor of Social Welfare about the role of police in schools.

"If the idea is removing problematic children or making sure that kids who cut class are brought to truancy court, if the point of policing is coercion, management of unruly populations, then fine. ... But that's not actually addressing the root causes for why children are missing school."

Watch the video here. And listen to our podcast with Professor Kerrison on policing here.
Image: 2020 AIR Complex Movements' Oakland dialogue with Aneb Kgositsile

Call for Applications: Belonging Artist-in-Residence 2021

We are thrilled to release the call for the third year of our Belonging Artist-in-Residence program. The residency will support one artist or artist collective whose work can offer deep insight into the radical transformation of elements of society towards belonging. The application is open to all artistic forms. Visit this page to learn more and apply to the program.
Earlier this week we observed #StrikeforBlackLives with the release of a new animated video exposing how corporations wield outsized influence over our society, inhibiting workers, particularly from Black communities and other communities of color, from accessing the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
Check out the video here.

News & Media

Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex by Eric Stanley, the co-chair our LGBTQ Citizenship cluster, was selected as one of this month's books for the rapper Noname's book club. 
Director john a. powell was quoted in a recent SF Chronicle article entitled, "Old, new Martinez clash amid debate over defacing of BLM mural" as well as in a Nonprofit Quarterly piece, "On Mutuality and Reciprocity as Systemic Medicine for What Ails Us."
Faculty scholar Erin Kerrison, assistant professor in the School of Social Welfare, was quoted this San Francisco Chronicle article about the Berkeley City Council vote to slash the police budget and introduce reform measures.
“We are not back to normal and are not going to be back to normal for quite some time," faculty scholar Jesse Rothstein is quoted as saying in a recent SF Chronicle article on the record levels of unemployment caused by Covid-19. 
“Communities of color, and in particular poor communities of color, are more likely to live in places with poor air quality than their white, wealthier counterparts,” says faculty scholar Rachel Morello-Frosch in a Sierra Club article, "I Can’t Breathe: What air pollution and police violence have in common." 
Faculty scholar Hilary Hoynes was quoted in this New Yorker article on the promising results of a basic income experiment in Stockton. 
Along with Jesse Rothstein, Hilary Hoynes also spoke on a recent UC Berkeley panel on how Covid-19 has revealed a fraying US safety net.
Associate Director Denise Herd was quoted in an article, "Latino And African American Workers In Sacramento Region Face High Economic Hardship, Job Concerns As Pandemic Continues," from
A new book, Let Them Eat Tweets, co-authored by faculty scholar Paul Pierson was profiled by Berkeley News.
Faculty scholar Kurt Organista was chosen as one of two recipients for the 2020 American Cultures Excellence in Teaching Award.

Upcoming Events

July 23: Bridging and Belonging: Conversations on Transformation. Join this discussion which will feature director john a. powell about Bridging and Belonging in this ongoing series called Conversations on Transformation. These are curated conversations about different aspects of transformation: of ourselves (I), our societies (We), and our systems (World), to co-create a world where everyone belongs.
July 24: Black Power Matters: Real Talk, Real Change. You are invited to the upcoming Black Power Matters Panel where you will have the opportunity to engage with Black leaders and allies from our community and discuss challenges and opportunities for building Black political power in the census and redistricting process. Participants will discuss: What's at stake given the pandemic and political uprisings? What are the biggest opportunities and challenges ahead? What are the short-term and long-term levers for structural change?
Subscribe to our enewsletter
Donate Today!
animated gif of Othering & Belonging Institute logo
Copyright © 2020 Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
University of California, Berkeley
460 Stephens Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-2330
Tel: 510-642-3326

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.