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Structural racism and Covid-19: The political divide, reopening society, and the need to bridge

Two weeks ago we co-organized an online panel on the debate around reopening the economy, the attitudes of Californians toward issues surrounding Covid-19, and the disparate impacts of the pandemic on people of color. The event, titled, “Structural Racism and COVID19: The Political Divide, Re-Opening the Society and Health Impacts on People of Color,” featured Cristina Mora, co-director of the Institute for Governmental Studies; Mahasin Mujahid, associate professor of epidemiology; john a. powell, director of OBI; and was moderated by Denise Herd, associate director of OBI.

The panelists called for bridging among different social and racial groups to help recognize their common interests at a time when the pandemic is being politicized so we can emerge from pandemic more unified. They also called on public health officials and academic researchers to collaborate with community members to help build trust in institutions for more positive health outcomes.

Click for a video, transcript and short write up of the event on our website. You can also read a write up published in the Daily Cal here.

Also, revisit a previous event we co-hosted on some of the same topics.
Image shows protesters (one holding a sign with the words "i cant breathe") confronting police, with barricades separating them.

Podcast: Can we imagine a society without police?

Last week on our Who Belongs? podcast we interviewed Erin Kerrison, an associate professor of social welfare, about her vision for transforming society without police, without prisons, and where all people can thrive. Kerrison, who is also an institute faculty member, says our lack of imagination is what holds us back from realizing such a future. She said: "If police exist as an arm of the state to control groups that are maligned with the middle-class ideals, ... then policing will take whatever shape it must to control people that don't align with that. ... It's about controlling people who don't fit." Click to listen to the interview or read a transcript.
soundbar preview which includes an image of a statue in Belgium of King Leopold II with red paint splattered on it.

Podcast: A historian's take on why the statues need to come down

In a previous episode of Who Belongs? we interviewed Adam Hochschild, a prominent historian and journalist, about the efforts around the world to topple statues and other monuments that memorialize historical figures known for their brutality and racism. He said: "There are millions of white Southerners ... who, in some deep way inside, I think are nostalgic for a time before the end of slavery. ... I do think that's one reason why so many white Southerners are attached to those statues." Click for the podcast and interview transcript.
Opportunity Map of california shows a ton of census tracts colored in various cool colors, like different shades of blue, green, and a yellowish thing.

California approves latest 'opportunity map' for affordable housing sites

A California state agency recently approved for the second consecutive year the use of an opportunity map we developed with partners which is designed to guide the siting of affordable housing using a federal tax credit. Specifically, the 2020 TCAC/HCD California Opportunity Map provides guidance to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC), which administers housing funds through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, on where to direct resources for the construction of low-income housing. Read more about this project here.

Bertrall Ross named chair of our Diversity & Democracy cluster

On July 1 Bertrall Ross became the Administrative Chair of the Institute's Diversity & Democracy Cluster. Ross is a Chancellor's Professor of Law, and has played a vital role in the cluster for a number of years. He teaches Legislation, Election Law, and Constitutional Law. His research interests are driven by a normative concern about democratic responsiveness and a methodological approach that integrates political theory and empirical social science into discussions of legal doctrine, the institutional role of courts, and democratic design. Read more about Professor Ross here.

Impact report recaps our first 7 years as an institute

Last week we released our impact report, titled, "Expanding the Circle of Human Concern," which looks back at our first seven years as a center of research, advocacy, and change. The report showcases select projects that illustrate our approach to the work as well as the breadth of our focus areas. The diversity represented in report underscores the way the Institute’s approach has always been multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral. Check out the impact report here, and read a letter from Director john a. powell announcing the report last week here.

News & Media

Faculty member Mahasin Mujahid, who is an associate professor of epidemiology, was quoted in this AP articled, titled, "Latino, Black neighborhoods struggle with test disparities."
Assistant Director Stephen Menendian was interviewed in a CBS SF Bay Area report on the impacts of systemic racism in housing on Black communities. "Growing up in a predominantly Black, segregated neighborhood impacts your health outcomes tremendously," he says in the interview. "In fact, we saw four or five years of life expectancy are taken away just from living in a segregated neighborhood."
A new book co-authored by faculty scholar Paul Pierson on how the right-wing rules in an age of extreme inequality was reviewed in The New York Times.
Faculty scholar Elena Conis wrote an article published on the Berkeley Blog entitled "Remembering the history of polio can help in finding a coronavirus vaccine." 
Faculty scholar Karen Chapple is one of six Berkeley scholars who have been awarded a research grant from the Digital Transformation Institute to use artificial intelligence to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Chapple will specifically be investigating COVID-19-related eviction risks.
Faculty scholar Henry Brady, who is also the Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy was quoted in a recent Atlantic article on how "intentional voter suppression and unintentional suppression of the vote will collide in November."
Research by faculty scholar Irene Bloemraad was featured in a Policy Options article entitled "Do Canada's Most Powerful Federal Posts Reflect the Country's Diversity?"
Faculty scholar Eric Stanley was quoted extensively in a Daily Cal article on Transgender activism's long history in Berkeley.
Research by faculty scholar Hilary Hoynes was cited in a recent New York Times article, "Coronavirus Is a Crisis. Might It Also Narrow Inequality?" Despite a great increase in welfare spending during the 2008 recession, the safety net was less effective than during the recession of the 1980s in protecting those living at half the poverty line or less, Hoynes' research has found.
Faculty Scholar Sonia Katyal co-authored an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times, titled, "Aunt Jemima Is Gone. Can We Finally End All Racist Branding?"

Upcoming Events

July 9The Power of Belonging: Conversations on Transformation. Join Director john a. powell and others for a discussion about The Power of Belonging. This talk is the fifth in a series organized by Building Belonging on 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 16: Toward Belonging Digital Dialogue 2: Hopes and Fears in a COVID world. Join us for the second in our Toward Belonging dialogue series for a discussion featuring new research findings from More in Common on how Covid-19 is impacting perceptions of solidarity, division, and belonging. There is a window of opportunity that we can try to seize. The impact of the pandemic on social cohesion, othering, and belonging, is not predetermined. 

Job Opportunities

The following position is open to UC Berkeley graduate students:
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