September 22, 2017
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john powell urges us to expand the conversation on speech and harm

Haas Institute Director john powell has taken part in a number of public conversations over the issues surrounding free speech sparked by this month's appearances of far-right personalities at UC Berkeley. Appearing on a September 8 faculty panel on campus hosted by Chancellor Carol Christ, powell reminded the audience that speech has the potential to create physical and mental harm. "A lot of the people we are talking about are engaging in harmful acts. That’s their intent. They don’t want a dialogue," powell said. Watch the video, which also includes Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and others.

powell expanded on this concept in a public statement, arguing that the right-wing figures "are exploiting democratic principles meant to protect and expand our communities. In doing so, they are attempting to co-opt and pervert the concept of free speech itself." That doesn't mean speech ought to be banned, powell said, but its harmful effects must be taken into consideration. 

Read a summary of powell's remarks at the free speech panel here. Watch a video of the panel here. And read powell's statement on speech here.

The Haas Institute is creating a new online Resource Guide on issues related to free speech that we will be releasing later today and updating throughout the weekend and next week as issues related to freedom of expression continue to dominate our campus and the national conversation. Bookmark for more information. 

Cover of The Color of LawHaas Institute Senior Fellow Richard Rothstein Nominated for National Book Award 

Richard Rothstein's recently published book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, was nominated for the prestigious National Book Award last week. Rothstein's book, which outlines how the US government in the mid-20th century adopted policies to segregate white and Black residents through federal public housing projects, will go up against nine other books for the award for non-fiction.

The book has been widely praised in reviews. It was described by The New York Times as “powerful and disturbing,” while Washington Post contributor Jared Bernstein lauds Rothstein’s “meticulous” research. Finalists will be announced on October 4, and the winner will be announced on November 15. 

Rothstein will be presenting his book at a September 28 event on campus. He is also co-organizing our upcoming Kerner Commission at 50 conference which will be exploring many of the same themes from his book and decades of research. Congratulations, Richard!


Left-right alliances challenging local governments

Karen Trapenberg Frick, Assistant Adjunct Professor of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, showcased her research last week on the success of left-right alliances in defeating projects they saw as harmful to their communities.

Speaking as part of the Haas Institute’s Thinking Ahead lecture series on the topic of “Rethinking Activism: Strange Bedfellows in Digital Organizing,” Frick detailed three recent case studies in different parts of the country in which city planners and local governments were dealt blows by citizens on the left and right who collaborated to defeat transport and infrastructure proposals. While the alliances started off as loose formations to address single issues, many later became established groups that fought for other causes both sides had interests in, such as renewable energy. Read a write-up of the talk here.


The Haas Institute's report on Islamophobia published earlier this month has been featured in a number of media outlets. Legalizing Othering: The United States of Islamophobia is a major research initiative of the Haas Institute that traces the origins of the contemporary Islamophobia movement in the US and examines its impacts at the state and federal legislative levels. Read a piece from Quartz here, from the Middle East Eye here, and a story from The Daily Beast is posted here

Cover of Racial Equity: Getting to resultsGovernment Alliance for Race and Equity unveils tool for jurisdictions to consider racial equity lens

The Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a joint project between the Center for Social Inclusion and the Haas Institute, has unveiled a new resource guide developed to assist jurisdictions use a racial equity lens to identify a set of metrics and implement a community process to have greater impact in their work. The tool, called Racial Equity: Getting to Results, connects a racial equity lens to the Results-Based Accountability (RBA) methodology to help empower jurisdictions to make good decisions and advance racial equity. An anti-racist, racial equity-focused RBA starts with the desired end results and works backwards towards the “how” to ensure that Racial Equity Action Plans move towards community results with stakeholder-driven implementation. Read more about the resource guide here, and join an October 2 webinar to introduce the tool through this link.

Upcoming Events

Check out our events page for more details.

Thurs, Sept. 28: Haas Institute Senior Fellow Richard Rothstein will be hosted by the Terner Center and the Department of City and Regional Planning to present on his book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America. Details here.

Sept. 30: Academic Ableism: Moving Beyond the Gesture
10am - 5pm, Alumni House, Toll Room 
"For too long, disability has been constructed as the antithesis of higher education, often positioned as a distraction, a drain, a problem to be solved. The ethic of higher education encourages students and teachers alike to accentuate ability, valorize perfection, and stigmatize anything that hints at intellectual, mental, or physical weakness, even as we gesture toward the value of diversity and innovation."  -Jay Dolmage, Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education (University of Michigan Press, forthcoming 2017)

More details and the full symposium schedule here. ***This event is free, open to the public, and being held in a wheelchair-accessible venue. ASL interpretation and closed captioning will be provided. Attendants are asked to refrain from using scented products; a scent-free seating area will be reserved. Contact with any questions or accessibility requests.***

Mon, Oct. 2: The Government Alliance on Race and Equity will hold a webinar to introduce a new resource guide, titled "Racial Equity: Getting to Results." Sign up for the webinar here.

Tues, Oct. 10: Head of the Haas Institute's Global Justice Program Elsadig Elsheikh will present on Moving Targets: An Analysis of Global Forced Migration, a recent report he co-authored. The title of the talk is "A European refugee crisis or a humanity crisis?" Find out more here.

Tues, Oct. 10: The latest in the Thinking Ahead discussion series will feature Cristina Mora, Associate Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, who will speak on "Making 'Hispanics:' How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American." Details 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?"

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. Follow the conference webpage for all announcements on speakers, registration, and other details. The event will take place on the UC Berkeley campus.


Perspectives on DACA from Dreamers

In a moving post responding to the announcement that the Trump administration intends to do away with DACA, former Haas Institute summer fellow Kemi Bello notes that the move is consistent with the White House's record this year of policies that exclude and scapegoat many communities. A DACA recipient, Bello says the news comes not as a shock, "but as an unfortunate confirmation that it is the very character, humanity, and worth of immigrants that is under question, not simply our contributions or our ability to pay taxes." Kemi says that ending DACA should prompt defiance, not despair. "Your best revenge today is not only to survive, but to thrive and to take up space and to love and to fight for others and to keep the fire within you lit, no matter how heavy the rain, as its own act of resistance," she writes. Read Kemi's perspective here.

Haas Institute research assistant Joel Sati used the news of DACA to expose the flaws of the program in an op-ed for the Washington Post. Sati notes that the inception of DACA split undocumented community into two categories of deserving or undeserving. "In addition to exceptionalizing a few of us, DACA essentially threw non-DREAMer immigrants under the bus," Sati writes. Sati, a beneficiary of DACA, says he is not against the program or the efforts to retain it, but believes stronger policies should be instituted to address the larger issue of immigration that don't criminalize or exclude the millions of other undocumented immigrants in the country. "Our movement must make a fundamental shift in how we frame our experience in the struggle for substantive immigration protections." Read Joel's piece here.

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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