October 19, 2017
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We can't address poverty as long as we view the poor as an 'Other'

CityLab published a new piece co-written by Haas Institute director john a. powell and Arthur Brooks, who leads the conservative American Enterprise Institute, that emphasizes the limitations of addressing poverty in America until we stop Othering poor people.

Brooks and powell are both members of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, a Gates Foundation-funded initiative that includes 24 thought leaders from across the country of different political, academic, and religious affiliations, including Raj Chetty, Ai-jen Poo, and many other leading voices. Part of the impetus of the piece was to illustrate areas of common ground across policy or political differences in reducing inequality. Whereas there is often an inclination towards insularity for people on both the left and the right when forced to confront divisive issues, the article demonstrates how reaching out across traditional divides, or bridging, can help us build a future that is more inclusive and empathetic towards each other's circumstances.

Read the piece on CityLab here or republished on the Haas Institute website here.


New Bay Area mural humanizes housing crisis

A powerful new mural informing renters of their rights was unveiled this month on the facade of a building in Richmond, CA, as part of a Haas Institute-affiliated program. The "Know-Your-Rights" mural, located on 23rd St. and Ohio Avenue, celebrates community action for a more equitable housing landscape, and draws attention to Rent Control, Just Cause Eviction, and Fair Chance Housing laws.

Staying Power, the project behind the initiative, is a fellowship program for Richmond residents that focuses on supporting a stronger housing environment for those most in need of stable, quality housing through art and research. It is supported by the Safe Return Project, the RYSE center, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and the Haas Institute.

Members of Staying Power last month read aloud a set of poems at a Richmond City Council meeting about housing. Watch that presentation here, starting at 4:06:25. The project is planning a full launch for early next year. Read more about this project, and view more photos of the mural, here.


Haas Institute launches 'Research to Impact' colloquium series

"Research to Impact" is a new, year-long colloquium series organized by the affiliated faculty of the Haas Institute that aims to share leading-edge research and spark generative exchange and collaboration on issues of diversity and inclusion.

The first two events of the series are taking place back-to-back this week, first with a presentation today, Thursday, October 19, by Joseph Fischel whose talk is titled "Screw Consent: Horses, Corpses, Kink & Cannibals," and the following day by Erin Kerrison on "The Costs and Benefits of an Addiction Diagnosis: A Critical Look at Racial Disparities in Prison-Based Drug Treatment Rhetoric Buy-In."

Other upcoming Research to Impact series talks to watch out for:

Nov. 17 - Jovan Lewis of UC Berkeley
Dec. 1 - Paul Frymer of Princeton University
Dec. 8 -  Elizabeth Alexander of Columbia University

Read more about each event and speaker on the series page here.


Video: Elsadig Elsheikh provides background of the global refugee crisis

Elsadig Elsheikh, the head of the Global Justice Program at UC Berkeley, presented last week on his recent report on the global refugee crisis, titled "Moving Targets: An Analysis of Global Forced Migration." The talk, hosted by the Center for African Studies, provided an overview of contemporary and historical refugee crises, and contrasts the global responses to the displacement of people during World War Two with the current mass flow of refugees who are fleeing their homelands due to neo-liberal policies, land-grabs, war, and climate change.

At the talk, Elsheikh noted that in contrast to the numerous protections set up by international bodies following WWII for refugees, powerful countries are today shirking their responsibilities to accept and help refugees by building fences and shutting their borders. He also noted that contrary to common perceptions, the vast majority of refugees remain in developing countries, with Europe hosting a tiny fraction of the more than 60 million refugees in the world.

Watch the talk here, and read a full transcript of the remarks here. Download the PowerPoint presentation here.


Video: Cristina Mora explains how distinct ethnic groups came to be known as Hispanic

Cristina Mora, Associate Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley and member of the Haas Institute's Diversity and Democracy cluster, presented earlier this month on her book, Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American. In the talk, which was a part of the Institute's Thinking Ahead lecture series, Mora explained that in the US in the 1960s diverse ethnic groups like Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and others were all classified as white by the Census Bureau.

Activists from these different groups, inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, thus came together to demand that the Census Bureau create a new category that separates them from the descendants of Europeans as part of the larger struggle for equal rights. The activists wanted to obtain data on their ethnic groups, which had been mixed with data on people who were actually white, and didn't face the same forms of discrimination as those who originated from countries south of the border. Later, the media and businesses offered support to the push for a "Hispanic" category, as they viewed this group as a lucrative, untapped market.

Watch a video of the talk here, and download Mora's PowerPoint presentation here.


Director john a. powell was quoted in a Michigan Chronicle opinion article written earlier this month about the barriers for Blacks in America to own homes. The article cites a recent study showing that only 3.1 percent of all mortgage loans for purchasing homes went to Blacks in 2016, and that Blacks were denied loans at a rate twice that of whites. “This problem which is both historical, structural and interpersonal will not be addressed unless we face and make affirmative interventions,” powell said.

Read the article here.

Haas Institute Assistant Director Stephen Menendian was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor story from earlier this week about a phenomenon observed in California's San Joaquin Valley where politically and ethnically diverse residents inhabit relatively tranquil spaces despite the deepening divisions and increasingly tense atmosphere seen in other parts of the country. The author suggests this reality is the result of residents of all backgrounds interacting on a daily basis which leads to empathy and recognition of each others' situations. In the story, Menendian is cited as saying that such interactions, while helpful on a personal level, do not do much by way of addressing the structural issues from which divisions arise in the first place.

Read the CSM story here.

Haas Institute summer fellow presents US Islamophobia report to Australian audience

Rhonda Itaoui, a PhD candidate at the University of Western Sydney who served as a 2017 Haas Institute summer fellow, presented our recent report on the US Islamophobia movement at her home school earlier this week. The talk featured a Q&A via video link with report authors Elsadig Elsheikh and Basima Sisemore from the Haas Institute's Global Justice Program.

The report, titled "Legalizing Othering: The United States of Islamophobia," shows how far-right actors exploited the tragedy of 9/11 and used growing racial animosity and anxiety to target Muslims through various campaigns. The report has been featured in Al Jazeera English, Quartz, the Middle East Eye, and The Daily Beast.


Diana Iniguez, a student assistant with the Haas Institute and DACA recipient, had a letter to the editor published in the New York Times this week in response to an article outlining the White House's immigration demands in exchange for retaining the program for 800,000 undocumented youths to stay in the US. In the letter, she urges legislators to make a deal to save DACA before the six-month deadline set by President Donald Trump expires.

She writes: "I and other Dreamers belong in this country. I spent only the first year of my life in Mexico, but because I was born there, this government fails to see me as American. Whether some like it or not, immigrants continue to shape and be a part of America. It is time that we stop dehumanizing fellow Americans." Read the letter here.


The recently-launched UC Berkeley branch of the "Resistance School" lecture series will include talks from two Haas Institute-affiliated faculty members, Robert Reich of the Goldman School of Public Policy, and Ian Haney López of the law school. The "Resistance School," founded by students at Harvard University in the wake of President Donald Trump's election to offer lessons on progressive activism, consists of recorded lectures by distinguished faculty members broadcast every other Thursday. The first talk of the Harvard branch of the Resistance School was given by Marshall Ganz, a senior lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, and who participated in a panel discussion at the Haas Institute's 2017 Othering & Belonging Conference in May. Reich's lecture is set to be released later today, October 19, and López's video will be available on November 16. For a list of past and upcoming talks of the Berkeley chapter visit this page.



Thursday, Oct. 19: Joseph Fischel, an associate professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Yale University, will give a talk titled, "Screw Consent: Horses, Corpses, Kink & Cannibals." Read more about the event here.

Friday, Oct. 20: Erin Kerrison, an assistant professor of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and member of the Haas Institute's Diversity and Health Disparities cluster, will give a talk on “The Costs and Benefits of an Addiction Diagnosis: A Critical Look at Racial Disparities in Prison-Based Drug Treatment Rhetoric Buy-In.” More details on the event here.

Oct. 20 - 22:  Bioneers Conference, San Rafael, CA. Director john a. powell and Senior Fellows Victor Pineda and Sonali Sangeeta Balajee will speak at Bioneers and the Haas Institute will have a table at the conference with copies of our Journal and other publications. Details below and on the Bioneers website.

Friday, Oct. 20: At 11:00 am, Victor Pineda will provide a keynote address on Radical Inclusion: Cities, Technology and the Power of Inclusive Thinking. At 2:45 pm, Victor will be on the panel Digital Inclusivity and Urban Resilience in the Global South, and Sonali S. Balajee will speak on the panel Radical Organizing: Successful Strategies to Transform Institutions and Systems

Sunday, Oct. 22: At 11:30 am, john a. powell will provide a keynote address on the topic of Co-Creating Alternative Spaces to Heal, along with Bioneers founders Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons. At 2:45 pm, john powell, Heather McGhee of Demos, author and organizer Jonathan Smucker and artist and strategist Connie Cagampang Heller will speak on the panel "Reclaiming Belonging: Is Resistance Enough?"

Friday, Nov. 17: Jovan Scott Lewis, an economic anthropologist from UC Berkeley, is set to speak on "Reparations, Deferral, and the Promissory of Poverty." Read more about this talk here.
Friday, Dec. 1: Paul Frymer, professor of Politics and the Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University, will speak on "The Politics of Mass Deportation in the United States: State Authority, Public Activism, and Government Removal Policies Targeting Native Americans and African Americans in the 19th Century." Details here.
graphic for Kerner Commission at 50 conference

On February 27–March 1, 2018, the Haas Institute is organizing and hosting The Kerner Commission at 50, a conference that will explore race, segregation, and inequality 50 years after the release of the historic Kerner Commission Report. Former US Senator Fred Harris, the only surviving member of the Kerner Commission, is set to participate in the conference. Follow the conference webpage for all announcements on speakers, registration, and other details. The event will take place on the UC Berkeley campus with a satellite event in Washington, D.C.

Our work advancing a fair and inclusive society is more pressing than ever before. If you can help support our work, please consider making a donation to the Haas Institute. Thank you!
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