Winter 2020: Black Voices

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F R E D M O T E N’ S M U SI C A L M O D E R NI S M WE D NE S D AY S AT T HE W A LL NI A I M A R A R E A C H E S F O R T H E S T A R S



Contents

WINTER 2020 VOL. 131 NO. 4

“We should call it transformative action, not affirmative action, because affirmative action is based on the notion that the system, the structure, is basically good and fair.” —Professor john a. powell

24

The Way Forward

OLIVER CONTRERAS/SIPA USA VIA APIMAGES

A roundtable discussion of Black lives at Berkeley, featuring Prudence Carter, Caleb Dawson, Kyndall Dowell, Takiyah Franklin, Walter Hood, Takiyah Jackson, Olufemi Ogundele, and john a. powell

36

38

42

46

Darrin Bell ’99 won a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. We asked him to draw one for us.

For more than 50 years, “the wall” has been a place where Black students gather. Now it’s getting recognition. BY ANDE RICHARDS

The modernist verse of poet and 2020 MacArthur Fellow Fred Moten, Ph.D. ’94, is like jazz on the page. BY JULIA KLEIN

Artist, activist, and astrophysicist Nia Imara, Ph.D. ’10, keeps her eyes on the sky. BY ASHAWNTA JACKSON

Drawing on Hypocrisy

Wednesdays at the Wall

The Right to Be Obscure

Reach for the Stars

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 1


Departments

5 Inbox 7 Editor’s Note

Welcome to The Edge A podcast for surviving our modern world.

Telegraph

The Gate

9 Campus Refuge

51 New Pathways

From the beginning, Stiles Hall has been a safe haven for students.

Q&A with NBA G League president Shareef AbdurRahim ’12

BY MADDY WEINBERG

BY SOLOMON HUGHES

10 Gleanings Two new Nobel laureates; genius of contraception; diversity in science; etc.

13 Five Questions Q&A with California Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris ’96

With help from UC Berkeley experts, California magazine editors Laura Smith and Leah Worthington explore cutting-edge, often controversial ideas in science, technology, and society.

15 Now This What’s cookin’ with CRISPR?

17 Mixed Media Yahya Abul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale; Cal Performances at Home; Willie Brown’s oral history; and more

22 Big Picture A patchwork exhibition

Listen to The Edge on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

57 The Chancellor’s Letter Forging an institution that is anti-racist in both words and deeds

58 In House News from CAA

6 4 Spotlight Jaylen Brown; Thelton Henderson; Mika Hilaire; Cynthia Marshall; Kurt Streeter

Supplement Class Notes / Snapp Chats: RoBhat Labs; Charles Shere; Class of ’54 / In Memoriam

Online Exclusive You’ve heard about CRISPR, the Nobel prize-winning technology that is changing the world. But what does the process actually look and sound like? We sent video producer Marica Petrey to the Innovative Genomics Institute to find out. Watch “Inside a CRISPR Lab.”

Our Podcast: The Edge Episode 6: “Are Cities Over?” As reopenings stall and some companies extend work-from-home indefinitely, Leah and Laura wonder what the future of cities looks like. Architect and professor Vishaan Chakrabarti talks about how the pandemic may create opportunities for big change. Find these and other exclusives at californiamag.org.

MARCUS HANSCHEN

Visit bit.ly/californiaedge for details.


Editor in Chief Pat Joseph

Deputy Editor Laura Smith

Senior Online Editor Leah Worthington

Design Director Michiko Toki

Design Associate Anita Wong ’78

Video Producer Marica Petrey ’12

Production and Social Media Assistant Brooke Kottmann

Interns Maddy Weinberg ’20

Boyce Buchanan ’22 Dylan Svoboda M.J. ’22 Advertising Sales

Dir. Business Development Stephanie Tomasco

stephanie.tomasco@alumni.berkeley.edu

Marketing and Communications

Graphic Designers Cheryl Kalberer

Scott Sanchez

Editorial Office 510/900-8250 californiamag@alumni.berkeley.edu

Change of Address 510/900-8210

info@alumni.berkeley.edu

Winter 2020, Volume 131, No. 4 californiamag.org

You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: twitter.com/californiamag facebook.com/californiamag instagram.com/californiamagazine

Gear up for Winter. ShopCAA.com The Cal Alumni Association (CAA) and Fanatics have teamed up to bring you all your favorite Golden Bears merchandise. Plus, more than 20% of your purchase benefits CAA!

California (ISSN 0008-1302) is published quarterly by the Cal Alumni Association, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley CA 94720-7520. Membership dues include an annual subscription price of $6.50. Periodicals postage paid at Berkeley, California, and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to California Address Change, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley CA 94720-7520. Annual membership is $75; life membership is $1,000. CALIFORNIA™ and © 2020 Cal Alumni Association.


Once, life was a job. Now it’s a craft.

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Executive Director Clothilde Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79 Chief Operating Officer Susie Cohen Crumpler Senior Dir., Human Resources Jenny Robles ’96 Dir., Executive Office & Board Anjeannette Schnetz ’89 Chief Revenue Officer Matt Terwilliger Chief Program Officer Anh Tran ’06 CFO Ann Truong General Manager, Pinecrest Operations Mike Yaley BOARD OF DIRECTORS Officers President Amanda Pouchot ’08, Park City Vice President Demetrios Boutris ’83, New York Vice President, Finance Kiran Rao ‘98, Los Altos Secretary-Treasurer Clothilde Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79,

San Francisco Directors Until 2021: Carol Liu ‘63, C.EAS ‘82, Los Angeles;

Ryan Waliany ‘08, San Francisco; Diane Dwyer ’87, Orinda; Justin Hogenauer ‘22, Los Angeles; Dionicia Ramos Ledesma ’01, San Leandro; Danielle Silveira ’11, Los Angeles Until 2022: Allard Chu ’09, Orange; Robert G. Sproul ’70, Moraga; Kirk Tramble ’93, Castro Valley Until 2023: Morris Budak ’70, Palo Alto; Talia Kennedy, M.J. ’09, San Francisco; Marsha Roberts ’90, Danville; Alfonso Salazar ’90, Los Angeles Until 2024: Anne Chambers ’75, MBA ’79, Moraga; John Palmer ‘05, Oakland; Amy Tong ‘12, San Francisco; Art B. Wong ‘63, San Francisco Distinguished Members

Carol Christ, Chancellor Jim Koshland, Chair, UC Berkeley Foundation Diana Harvey, Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications & Public Affairs Jim Knowlton, Director of Athletics Julie Hooper, President, UC Berkeley Foundation Eric Mart ’70, Alumni Regent Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Chair, Academic Senate Diana Wu, Dean, UC Berkeley Extension Victoria Vera ’21, President, ASUC Luis Tenorio ‘19, ‘26, President, Graduate Assembly

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And there were more, all of them deserving of inclusion. All we can say is, we couldn’t get everyone in there, which, let’s face it, is further testament to the greatness of the University and the women who have helped make it thus. OUR FALL ISSUE RECEIVED AN ABUNDANTLY POSITIVE RESPONSE

especially in regard to the 11-page timeline chronicling 150 Years of Women at Cal (p. 27). Understandably, many readers pointed to omissions. Just a few examples:

• Eric Hayashi, Ph.D. ’78, called our attention to Professor Julia Robinson ’40, Ph.D. ’48, whom he rightly names, “one of the most important figures in 20th century mathematics.” • Jerry Bowden, J.D. ’67, reminded us that Dr. Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong ’12, J.D. ’15, who became a full-time faculty member at Berkeley in 1935, is reputed to have been the first woman appointed to the law faculty of a major university. • Dr. Gordon Green, MPH ’72, highlighted Professor Helen M. Wallace, M.D., MPH, “a world-renowned, influential professor of Maternal and Child Health at Berkeley” who, after her death, “endowed UC Berkeley’s Helen Wallace Center for Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health, a major multidisciplinary research and training center.”

Less forgivable were our errors, of which we made quite a few. • In our opening piece on Julia Morgan (p. 9), we mistakenly claimed the pioneering female architect had 70 buildings to her name. In fact, more than 700 of her designs were built. • In the same paragraph, we mistakenly asserted that Girton Hall is now a childcare center. It was until 2014, when the building, now Julia Morgan Hall, was relocated to the UC

Botanical Garden. • On page 29, we claimed that, by 1900, women were 60 percent of the student body. The real number was 46 percent. Female enrollment did not surpass male enrollment until World War II. • On page 31, we called the Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha “the first Black sorority in the western United States.” The Berkeley chapter of rival Black sorority Delta Sigma Theta was founded just prior to AKA. • Finally, in the piece entitled “Swift Justice” (p. 44), we wrote that former Berkeley Law Dean Sujit Choudhry resigned in 2016 but “was reinstated as a faculty member and received tenure and research funding— part of the terms

of his settlement agreement with Tyann Sorrell, the woman he admitted to touching inappropriately.” The last part should have read, instead, “part of the terms of his settlement with the University.” As always, we apologize for our errors and welcome your feedback. Send email to californiamag@alumni.berkeley.edu and address letters to California Magazine, 1 Alumni House Berkeley CA, 94720. (Note that, with the pandemic, we are only able to check mail sporadically.) You can also comment on stories on our website, californiamag.org, and on our social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. —The Editors

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Editor’s Note

NATASHA MOUSTACHE/GETTY IMAGES

After we put a Black woman on the cover of this magazine (Alysia Montaño ’08, Fall 2019), a reader wrote to say that he could think of many more inspiring cover subjects and that ours was “more appropriate for Howard U.” Howard is, of course, the historically Black college in Washington, D.C.—Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s alma mater. What this alumnus was saying, clearly, was that a Black person did not belong on the cover of his university’s magazine. That may seem shocking. It shocked me. And yet I doubt it would surprise most Black Cal students, faculty, or alumni, many of whom say they’ve never been made to feel welcome on campus. That was certainly the message Berkeley biology professor Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. ’93, sent last June. In an open letter to his colleagues, Hayes detailed his ill treatment on campus, beginning with being taken for a custodian by one of his professors. “I didn’t know they let you guys take classes,” he remembers her saying. The alleged slights and injustices continued after he joined the faculty, and the letter provided a litany of instances. “When all I asked for was equal treatment,” Hayes wrote, “the message from everyone seemed to be, ‘you do not belong here.’ ” Belonging is at the heart of the roundtable discussion in these pages, which features a select group of Black students, staff, faculty, and alumni to whom we posed the question: “How do we make Black lives matter at Berkeley, and beyond?” Admittedly, the phrasing is a bit problematic. As one of the panelists, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Olufemi Ogundele, put it, “When we talk about ‘How do we make Black lives matter,’ I think the big question is, who is the ‘we’ that we are trying to get these Black lives to matter to?” You can read “The Way Forward,” beginning on page 24, or view the discussion online. One space on campus that Black Berkeley students long ago carved out for themselves is the wall in front of the Golden Bear Café on Sproul Plaza. As contributor Ande Richards, M.J. ’22, observes, “the wall” itself is a “simple, nondescript concrete structure” standing only a “few feet high,” but it looms large in the lives of the students who congregate there weekly for Black Wednesday. Richards’ story begins on page 38. While Black graduates are a small minority of Cal alumni, they have left their mark on the world, and continue to do so, in all walks of life. Among

the Black voices featured in this issue are those of artist and astrophysicist Nia Imara, Ph.D. ’10, (see “Reach for the Stars,” p. 46), poet and 2020 MacArthur Fellow Fred Moten, Ph.D. ’94, (“The Right to be Obscure,” p. 42), and Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist Darrin Bell ’99, who drew the provocative, and thought-provoking, cartoon introduced on page 36. I opened this note with a letter from a reader. I’ll close with another, from an alumnus who, in response to our last issue about the 150th anniversary of women at Cal, wrote that “many of us are weary of identity politics” and asked that we “please write about something else.” Man, I couldn’t agree more. I’m also tired of masks and social distancing and hurricanes named for Greek letters and smoke from wildfires blotting out the summer sun. Which is to say I’m tired of 2020, our annus horribilis. Good riddance to it. But I’ll say this as well: If 2021 and the coming years and decades are going to bring better, it won’t be because we ignored difficult issues. It will be because we had the courage to confront them head-on and change things for the better. Happy New Year everyone. —Pat Joseph

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 7


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Campus Refuge From its beginnings as the Berkeley “Y,” Stiles Hall has provided a safe haven to students. By Maddy Weinberg ’20

PHOTOGRAPH BY MARCUS HANSCHEN

FOR ARLINDA RUIZ ’21, the road to higher education was not an easy one. A 45-year-old domestic violence survivor, she worried there wouldn’t be a place for her in the world of academia. “I’m this short Mexican girl, dark, Indigenous, blasted up with tattoos,” Ruiz says. “I was homeless at 13, a teen mom, a high school dropout. … I didn’t really see much of a future for myself.” After ending an abusive marriage, however, Ruiz decided to pursue her collegiate ambitions. Through Stiles Hall, she found the Underground Scholars Initiative, which offers academic support to formerly incarcerated and other “system-impacted individuals” like Ruiz. Now, with new friends and mentors to guide her, she is earning a degree in social welfare and plans to attend graduate school. “I found a community that isn’t willing to settle. [We’re] pushing barriers, and I’m so thankful to be part of that crusade.” A private nonprofit located across the street from campus, Stiles Hall has served under-represented students and community members for nearly 140 years. Since its inception in 1884, Stiles—originally the Berkeley YMCA—has dedicated itself to addressing the ever-changing needs of California’s most vulnerable. During World War II, Stiles’s then-General Secretary Harry Kingman helped dozens of Japanese American students escape internment by relocating them to schools in other parts of the country. Kingman, known to some for his short-lived career with the New York Yankees, also initiated the Berkeley Student Cooperative in an effort to combat the city’s deeply segregated housing system. In the 1950s and ’60s, Stiles served as a megaphone for marginalized voices. Before there was a Free Speech Movement at Cal, Stiles opened its doors to those considered too radical to speak on campus, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. For over two decades, Stiles has focused on helping more Black and brown students get into college. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, prohibiting public universities from considering race in admissions processes and limiting their ability to build student bodies representative of the state’s racial makeup. In response, Stiles created the Experience Berkeley Program, which helps students from underserved and under-represented groups apply to top colleges. Every year, Experience Berkeley accepts about 120 high school juniors and 120 transfer students from all over California into its mentorship programs. According to one of the program directors, Jonathan Nussur, more than 50 percent of the mentees in recent cohorts gained admission to Cal. Executive Director David Stark describes Stiles as an “incubator for small initiatives that grow, spin off, and change the world.” Both he and Nussur hope that programs like Experience Berkeley and Underground Scholars will one day become their own independent

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 9


Gleanings organizations—or succeed so completely that they are no longer necessary. Occasionally, members of Stiles’s Board of Directors— which includes Board President Ana Jackson, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Berkeley Law Professor john powell, and Judge T h e l t o n He n d e r s o n — o f f e r career advice to Stiles mentees. Henderson, for example, has been known to invite prospective law students to his office to discuss their ambitions over sandwiches. Such meetings have been put on hold for now. In keeping with COVID-19 regulations, Stiles has temporarily closed its doors. On a typical, pre-pandemic day, Stark says the building would be buzzing. Students would pop in between classes to chat, study, or meditate. In the evenings, clubs would meet at Stiles to watch movies, plan community service events, hold discussions, or share meals together. To many, Stiles’s “living room” atmosphere provided refuge from the stresses of college life. Now, Stiles—housed inside the new David Blackwell Hall on the corner of Dana Street and Bancroft Way—sits empty, awaiting their return. Stiles’s staff continue to run programs virtually to help students stay motivated. They also plan to launch a YouTube channel early next year with videos covering topics such as undergraduate research, internship opportunities for undocumented students, and financial literacy. Nussur hopes that with new online tools, Stiles will be able to reach more students than ever before. In the meantime, those who used to frequent Stiles miss the physical space. “All I ever wanted was somewhere that I was safe,” says Ruiz. “A place where I can rest my head, where my children could be safe.” For her, Stiles Hall was that place. She hopes it will be again soon.

10 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

More Diversity, Better Science “THE FALSE DICHOTOMY OF ‘EXCELLENCE OR DIVERSITY’ MUST END,”

four Berkeley alumni wrote in a letter published in the journal Science in September. “Diversity results in better, more impactful, and more innovative science,” the letter continued, “and it is essential to building novel solutions to challenges faced by marginalized and nonmarginalized communities.” The four biologists—Paul Barber, Ph.D. ’98, Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. ’93, Tracy Johnson, Ph.D. ’96, and Leticia Márquez-Magaña, Ph.D. ’91—decided to write their letter after reading various petitions that circulated in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing by police earlier this year. “We saw that lots of people were signing these petitions,” says Barber, a professor at UCLA, in an email, “and [we] wanted to push people to commit to more and be active agents of change.” Nobel Prize-winning economist and The letter outlines several actions that universiformer Cal visiting professor, Amartya ties can take to curb structural racism in academia, Sen, describing, in the New York Times, such as developing more equitable tenure processes how Vice President-Elect Kamala for minority faculty and special programs to support Harris’s parents, Don Harris, Ph.D. ’66 Black, brown, and Indigenous students. Barber and his and Shyamala Gopalan Harris, Ph.D. ’64, coauthors largely relied on word of mouth to gather found community in civil rights support. The first draft they submitted had some activism at UC Berkeley 1,500 signatories. By the time the letter was published, it had more than 10,000. “The editor at Science said that it’s likely the most signatories to a letter they’ve had,” Barber says. Aside from a few “trolls,” COVID AND CAMPUS he adds, the overall response to the letter, which he calls “an important first step” to addressing systemic racism in STEM, has been largely positive. “Many of these issues have been discussed elseMILLION MILLION where, but synthesizing this previous work and elevating it by publishing it in Science creates a much bigger platform and amplifies the message.” Total projected financial Projected budget deficit —M.W. impact to campus of for fiscal year 2021

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Telegraph

YOU DON’T HAVE TO PLAY THE TRUMP CARD TURNS OUT NICE FOLKS DON’T FINISH LAST, AFTER ALL. A Berkeley-led study

published in August in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science found that “disagreeable individuals,” defined as those with combative, selfish, and manipulative traits, don’t achieve greater career success than their kinder counterparts. So, how does that explain the rise of a bully like Donald Trump? According to the study’s lead author Cameron Anderson, a professor of organizational behavior at the Haas School of Business, the research showed that while, “disagreeableness did not help people attain power, ... it also did not hurt their pursuit of power.” To conduct the study, Anderson and his research team assessed participants’ personalities prior to entering the workforce, then measured the power that they had attained more than a decade into their careers. According to the findings, there are as many jerks at the top as there are gems. This result held true across a variety of industries, despite differences in gender, ethnicity, and intellect. So why do we persist in believing that jerks prosper? Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the “That’s what I’d like to know!” National Institute of Allergy and Infecsays Anderson, who hopes to tious Diseases, speculating on the end of tackle the question in a future study. “One possibility is that COVID-19 in a live, virtual forum hosted when we see someone in power by UC Berkeley on Oct. 8 and warning who is disagreeable, like Trump, the more than 3,500 viewers to expect that example really stands out. … a very gradual return to normal But for now, it’s still a mystery.” — M.W. TRUMP: ASSOCIATED PRESS; LISHKO: JOHN D. AND CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR FOUNDATION

“It’s not going to be like turning a light switch on and off, at all.”

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17

64,566

Number of students living in campus residence halls, Fall 2020 (compared to 7,000 normally)

Percentage of freshman deferment requests approved by the University, Fall 2020

The number of coronavirus tests conducted by campus between April 8 and Nov. 15, 2020

Contraceptive Researcher Gets Boost out of the Blue WHEN POLINA LISHKO RECEIVED A CALL IN SEPTEMBER

informing her that she had won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, she almost hung up. The physiologist had had so many grant applications turned down in recent years that several mentees had switched fields out of frustration. Now, she was being presented with $625,000 she hadn’t even applied for. “I initially seriously suspected it was a prank.” An associate professor of cell and developmental biology at Berkeley, Lishko will use the money to fund her research on ovarian and sperm cells. By uncovering the physiological mechanisms that allow sperm to fertilize eggs, she hopes to advance the development of new unisex contraceptive drugs to prevent unwanted pregnancies without using hormones, which can cause harmful side effects. “Women deserve better options,” says Lishko. “As well as men, who currently can only rely on either condoms or [vasectomies].” The MacArthur Fellowship is a boon to more than just the bottom line. “Psychologically, it is a huge boost—not only for me, but for the team, as well,” Lishko told Berkeley News. “It shows a recognition of the importance of the field of reproductive physiology.” Number of positive — M.W. tests between April 8

259

and Nov. 15, 2020

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that women’s work can be recognized as much as men’s,” Doudna said in a press conference. “I think for many women there’s a feeling that no matter what they do, their work will never be recognized as it might be if they were a man, and I’d like to see that change, of course, and I think this is a step in the right direction.” Doudna herself was first inspired to study CRISPR by the work of Berkeley Professor Jillian Banfield. Later, with Charpentier, she figured out that the Cas9 protein in strep bacteria was particularly efficient at slicing DNA—not to mention, programmable. Doudna FROM THE GALAXY and Charpentier’s simplification of this cleaving technology to create CRISPR/ TO THE GENOME: Cas9 has forever changed chemistry BERKELEY SCORES and, in turn, the world. Now, scientists can program these molecular scissors to TWO MORE NOBEL PRIZES cut and edit DNA molecules at precise locations. Using this revolutionary new tool, scientists are quickly developing ways TWO NEW NOBEL LAUREATES WILL RECEIVE now can be pictured with remarkable clarity. Although the black hole itself is to treat inherited diseases, discovering FREE LIFETIME PARKING SPOTS on the Berkeley campus this year. And for the not visible, Genzel and Ghez have been cancer therapies, and making crops more first time in Cal’s history, a woman will able to sense its gravity by tracking how resistant to climate change. Doudna stars and gas spin around it. hopes that in a few years scientists will enjoy this perk. Genzel knew he had hit upon some- start using CRISPR to remedy diseases R e i n h a r d G e n z e l a n d Je n n i f e r Doudna received back-to-back Nobel thing big when he set in muscle tissue, like Prizes on Oct. 6 and 7, respectively—Gen- his sights on one pecumuscular dystrophy liar star. “[Nature] gave zel in physics and Doudna in chemistry. and cystic fibrosis and, Genzel shares the physics award for us a star which was on after that, neurodehis work on some of the largest and most an orbital timescale of generative disease like elusive forms in our galaxy, while Doudna 16 years,” Genzel said Alzheimer’s. CRISPR shares the chemistry prize for the discov- in a Berkeley press concan also be used to ery of CRISPR/Cas9, the “molecular scis- ference. “The orbital investigate phenomena that previously were sors” that can make precise edits in the timescales of most of 2020 Nobel Prize winner Jennifer these stars are hunchallenging to study at genome. Doudna in the New York Times: “CRISPR the genetic level, such As a postdoctoral student at Berkeley dreds and thousands evolved in bacteria because of their as the origins of bipedin the 1980s, Genzel worked closely with of years, so that’s even long-running war against viruses. We alism and the way patNobel laureate Charles Townes, building longer than a long-lived humans don’t have time to wait for our technology to improve telescopes. As a Berkeley professor. … own cells to evolve natural resistance to terns form on butterfly professor at Berkeley, Genzel expanded We were lucky.” [COVID], so we have to use our ingenuity wings. Just 24 hours after “I’m over the moon,” on his mentor’s work, making it possible to do that. Isn’t it fitting that one of the G e n z e l ’s p r i z e w a s said Doudna, who coto peer into the very center of the galaxy. tools is this ancient bacterial immune founded the Innovative Genzel, along with UCLA ’s Andrea announced, Doudna system called CRISPR?” Genomics Institute at Ghez, with whom he shares the award, made history by becomBerkeley to promote has come to the conclusion that there ing not only the first “affordability, accesmust be a supermassive black hole in the f e m a l e l a u r e a t e o n middle of the Milky Way, controlling the the Berkeley faculty but also, with col- sibility, and sustainability” in genome orbits of the multitudes of stars around laborator and co-recipient Emmanuelle editing. “I’m in shock, and I couldn’t be it. Genzel has spent nearly 30 years refin- Charpentier, half of the first all-female happier to be representing UC Berkeley.” ing telescopic technology, improving it contingent to share the prize. “I think that it’s great for, especially, — Boyce Buchanan more than a thousandfold—what before was obscured by interstellar dust clouds younger women to see this and to see

“Nature is beautiful that way.”

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GENZEL: MATTHIAS BALK/PICTURE-ALLIANCE/DPA/AP IMAGES; DOUDNA: JEFF GILBERT / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Gleanings


5 Questions

Telegraph Do you expect COVID-19 to have a longlasting impact on the health of today’s youth and public health in general? Research from other natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes, and even the 1918 flu pandemic, shows that large-scale public health emergencies have had significant and lasting effects on health and development. We believe that the pandemic is proving to be a significant risk factor for toxic stress, both by increasing ACEs, such as intimate partner violence and substance dependence, and also by limiting access to the buffering relationships that we know are healing. Add to that the economic hardship so many are experiencing, plus the vicarious trauma of witnessing racial injustice, and we recognize that there is a dramatically increased risk of toxic stress for this generation.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris ’96 on Toxic Stress and the Pandemic

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

As California’s first-ever surgeon general, how do you hope to shape the position? Governor Newsom established the position of California Surgeon General with the understanding that some of the most pernicious, but least-addressed health challenges are the upstream factors that eventually become chronic and acute conditions that are far more difficult and expensive to treat. As the first California Surgeon General, I have prioritized early childhood development, health equity, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and toxic stress. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many new challenges, but the work around health equity and ACEs and toxic stress is more important now than ever. What is toxic stress, and what led you to concentrate on it? Exposure to repeated, severe, or chronic stressors, without the buffering protections of trusted, nurturing caregivers and safe, stable environments, can lead to prolonged activation of the biological stress response, which can alter the structure and functioning of children’s developing brains, metabolic, immune, and neuroendocrine systems, and even the way our DNA is read and transcribed. Stress is a normal, and even essential, part of human development. However, several decades of scientific research have identified toxic stress as a key mechanism by which adverse childhood experiences lead to increased risk of serious acute and chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Studies have shown that the coronavirus pandemic is having a disproportionate effect on Black and brown people. How does the state plan to address racial health disparities? We know that Black and brown people are falling sick and dying from COVID -19 at disproportionate rates. These disparities didn’t just come out of nowhere. They are the result of generations of policies and decisions communicating what and whom we value. If we don’t act intentionally and inclusively, COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities will worsen those existing disparities. California is the first state in the nation to create and implement an equity metric tied to the state’s reopening, which ensures that counties are approaching reopening with an equity lens. This metric aims to provide greater equity in access to COVID-19 testing, education, and supports to reduce transmission of the virus among all communities in California. The state will be working closely with counties to reach those equity goals. California also launched the ACEs Aware initiative in January, a first-in-the-nation effort to train physicians and health care providers on how to recognize and respond to the toxic stress response. As part of this training, we have included the science that recognizes exposure to racism and discrimination as a risk factor for toxic stress. It’s unclear how long the pandemic will persist. What’s your advice for coping with that uncertainty? I just want to say that if it feels hard, that’s because it is hard. This is a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic, and it has changed our daily lives. One approach that’s helpful is focusing on the things we can still control. We can control how much we exercise, how we nourish our bodies, how much media we expose ourselves to, and whether we take a few moments out of the day for some mindfulness. All of these simple actions can help us cope with the stress and uncertainty of COVID-19. Remember, self-care is not selfish. —M.W.

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Golden Bears Life Membership

Academese

Congratulations and thank you to our newest Golden Bears Life Members for expressing an ongoing allegiance to the past and future of our incomparable alma mater.

1950s

1990s

Claudia Nettle ’58 John M. Carr ’59 Carrol Jeanne Sharkey ’59

Dr. Susan A. Enfield ’90 Shaw Sun M.A. ’90, Ph.D. ’99 Jason A. Ginsburg ’91 Bruce M. Le Fevre ’91 Carla D. Johnson ’95 Jin H. Chang ’96 Steve H. Chang ’96 Omar F. Shakill ’96

1960s Wendy Martin ’62 Honorable Maxine M. Chesney ’64, J.D. ’67 Thomas E. Gaffney ’66, MBA ’72

1970s

2000s Wayne C. Boddy ’01 Stephen E. Schultz MBA ’01 Catherine K. Yoshimoto ’01 Taeho D. Park ’08 Jennifer A. Vilchez ’08

Honorable Bruce Van Voorhis ’70 Suzanne Chenault ’71, M.A. ’74, J.D. ’85 Robert R. Heynen ’72 Richard M. Theile ’72 Richard L. Maas ’76 Dennis F. Mullen ’76, MBA ’80 George C. Wong ’76 Donald C. Arns, Jr. MBA ’77 John P. Carty, III ’77 John P. Carty, III ’77 Kathryn L. Crepeau ’78

2010s Larry Fernandez ’10 Lihi L. Rosenthal M.A. ’10, C.EAS ’11 Ardella J. Dailey Ed.D. ’11 Gregory K. Gordon ’12 Manus Paul Clinton, IV ’13 Raymond S. Ma ’15 Andrew L. Haughey ’16 Harrison M. Corbett ’18

1980s Randall J. Enstrom ’80, M.D. Robert M. Kinosian ’83 Tracy Wade Levine ’83 Lucille F. Stauduhar ’84 Dr. Grace K. Goo ’85 William H. Hanson ’85 Peter M. Logan ’85, Ph.D. ’91 Isabel A. Tirado Ph.D. ’85 Susie Go ’87 Kevin B. Nelson ’88

2020s Patrick A. Burns ’20

Friends of the University Lyle Blake Finley

Become a Golden Bears Life Member Today!

The Singularity

Think back to 1970. The personal computer had yet to be invented, and we were still decades from widespread adoption of cell phones. Now imagine what kind of technological changes lie ahead, from quantum computing to artificial intelligence (AI). Some experts, witnessing the pace of change, think we could be headed toward the so-called singularity—a point when human intelligence is surpassed by AI, potentially leading to our extinction. — D.S. Anthropause

How does the bustle of human society affect the habits and movement of animals? With the pandemic shutdown researchers have had the perfect opportunity to find out. In a recent study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers coined the term “anthropause” to denote the sharp drop in human activity, particularly in terms of travel. One surprising find: in the absence of noise pollution, songbirds sang more quietly. — B.B.

888.CAL.ALUM • alumni.berkeley.edu/goldenbears Current Life Members

(one time, tax-deductible payment)

New and Annual Members

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$300 $1,300

Future Golden Bears Life Members will be recognized in California magazine and will also receive a custom-made blue and gold Golden Bears lapel pin and a special new membership card.

The list of Golden Bears Life Members above is accurate from July 6 to October 11, 2020.

The Great Acceleration

For 70-plus years, society has experienced unprecedented, exponential growth in everything from population to energy use, a historical phenomenon dubbed the Great Acceleration. World population nearly tripled from 1950 to 2010. Carbon emissions have grown by nearly 90 percent since 1970. Human activity now has global-scale impacts, the ecological consequences of which we are struggling to confront. — D.S.

AA FILM ARCHIVE / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Golden Bears Life Membership:


Now This

Telegraph In October, Cal professor Jennifer Doudna shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of CRISPR/Cas9, a gene-slicing tool that can be programmed to make precise edits to DNA. Since its discovery, CRISPR has captured the imaginations of everyone from pig farmers to infectious disease researchers. Here are just some of the ways it is already being put to work. — M.W.

ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Agriculture Animal and plant pathogens pose a serious threat to global agriculture. To combat this, Berkeley-based Caribou Biosciences Inc. is exploring ways to use CRISPR to make livestock less susceptible to disease. Scientists at Cal’s Innovative Genomics Institute, meanwhile, are developing gene-editing techniques to make cacao more resistant to disease and drought in the face of rising global temperatures.

Disease Prevention Berkeley researchers are hoping to use CRISPR to sterilize female mosquitoes to control the spread of malaria, dengue, and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Known as a gene drive, the technology propagates a particular set of genes throughout entire populations, offering a cost-effective and, advocates contend, environmentally friendly solution to insect-borne disease.

Therapeutics With CRISPR in our toolbox, human genetic disease may become a thing of the past. Researchers from Berkeley, UCSF, and elsewhere have used CRISPR to fix the mutated gene that causes sickle cell anemia. Berkeley bioengineering professors have also used CRISPR to repair the mutation that causes muscular dystrophy in mice. Soon, gene editing might be used to treat viral infections, inflammatory diseases, and even cancer.

Diagnostics In the age of COVID-19, the need for rapid, reliable diagnostics for infectious diseases is more urgent than ever. Mammoth Biosciences— co-founded by Jennifer Doudna—has developed nucleic acid tests that use CRISPR to detect the virus in less than an hour. Mammoth is also developing CRISPR-based diagnostic tests for non-infectious diseases, including cancer.

Warfare At Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute, professor Fyodor Urnov is co-leading an initiative to identify genes that, when turned on or off, could protect soldiers from acute radiation sickness. With funding from DARPA, the researchers also hope to develop CRISPRbased medicines to both prevent and treat radiation sickness.

Eugenics? In 2018, scientist He Jiankui drew criticism for using CRISPR to make germline edits—alterations that are passed to future offspring—in human embryos, despite the potential dangers and taboo against it. While Dr. He insisted he was protecting the babies from HIV, critics fear that the technology could be used for more nefarious ends. For more on the implications of He’s experiment, listen to the fifth episode of California’s podcast, The Edge,“Can You Make Your Baby Glow?”

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 15


THE FINDINGS OF THE 2004 STUDY WERE STARTLING: A campaign

to treat thousands of children in western Kenya for parasitic worms yielded significant, long-term health and educational benefits. Across the 75 primary schools involved, rates of intestinal worms and student absenteeism decreased—the latter by around 25 percent compared to the control—suggesting, essentially, that healthier kids stayed in school. Now, two decades since the first deworming treatment, lead researchers Edward Miguel, a professor of environmental and resource economics at Berkeley, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Michael Kremer, are back with more data and even bigger conclusions. Calculating the overall costs and benefits to society, this small investment—less than a dollar per kid per year—yielded a 37

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Deworming Pays Dividends

percent rate of return annually. “People’s lives really changed,” says Miguel, explaining that those same kids who stayed in school became adults who sought higher-paying jobs, enjoyed greater disposable income, and ultimately contributed more to their local economy. “All of this because of a health treatment that was really, very cheap.” Does it all come down to education? Miguel says it’s complicated. “Say I’m a student in the treatment school, not only did I get treated, but all the other kids in a treatment school also got treated. So not only was my health better, but the health and education of my peer network was better, too.” The researchers found that former school friends often helped each other land higherpaying jobs. In this way, the benefits of the program multiplied over time, and even spilled over into untreated communities. However, not everyone agrees. During the so-called “Worm Wars” of 2015, researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine claimed to have debunked the original study. While Miguel and Kremer were able to correct some coding and statistical errors, critics remain skeptical. Also, what accounts for continued economic disparities between men and women? Can the benefits of deworming carry over to future generations? And will the findings apply outside of East Africa, in places where worm loads are typically much lower? These are questions the team is actively trying to answer. But, in the end, Miguel insists, one thing is clear. “Deworming is just a very cost-effective way to boost living standards. It’s not going to double income. But if something very cheap can even improve living standards by a few percent, for the world’s poorest people, that’s really valuable.” — Leah Worthington


Mixed Media

Sound Sleep Can Prevent Alzheimer’s

BRAIN: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM; PROTEST: ASSOCIATED PRESS

SLEEP IS GOOD MEDICINE.

As Berkeley neuroscientist Matthew Walker wrote in his 2017 book, Why We Sleep, “There does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough). That we receive such a bounty of health benefits each night should not be surprising.” Still, you might be surprised to learn that, according to the findings of a Berkeley-led study published in the journal Current Biology in September, deep slumber can even help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease. The research, led by Walker and recent Ph.D. graduate Joseph Winer, focused on the correlation between sleep quality and the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques, an early sign of Alzheimer’s, that typically begins forming 10 to 15 years before memory loss manifests. Researchers conducted a sleep study on participants to track how each person slept, then measured the buildup of beta-amyloid in their brains over the next few years using PET scans. They found that those with fragmented sleep patterns were more likely to accumulate beta-amyloid in the brain. It should be noted that none of the participants developed the disease during the study, and Winer stresses that not everyone with amyloid plaques will inevitably develop Alzheimer’s later in life. Nevertheless, the upshot is clear. To stay healthy, improve your sleep. “I think it’s important,” says Winer, “for people to think about their sleep health in the same way they think about diet and exercise.” — B.B.

Telegraph

Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast Cohosted by Matt Levin ’07 Ask any California resident what they hate about the Golden State. If their answer isn’t wildfires, it’s likely housing costs, the focus of the new biweekly podcast Gimme Shelter. Cohosts Matt Levin of CalMatters and Liam Dillon of the Los Angeles Times explore issues ranging from housing affordability to bureaucratic gridlock at the State Capitol. While never straying too far from dire realities like housing shortages, homelessness, and gentrification, the hosts actually make housing policy fun. Give it a listen. They just might convince you to turn that backyard tool shed into a tiny home.  —D.S.

The Road from Raqqa By Jordan Ritter Conn, M.J. ’10 In his debut book, The Road from Raqqa: A Story of Brotherhood, Borders, and Belonging, Jordan Ritter Conn covers the story of two brothers, Riyad and Bashar Alkasem. The pair grew up during the violenceridden 1970s and 1980s in Raqqa, Syria, which later became the home of ISIS. The two split ways in their early adulthoods when Riyad moved to the United States. The book explores the brothers’ relationship with each other and their home. When he isn’t writing books, Ritter Conn, who honed his writing chops at J-school, is crafting long-form articles for The Ringer.  —Dylan Svoboda

A People’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area By Rachel Brahinsky ’12 and Alexander Tarr ’14; photography by Bruce Rinehart ’06

Historically, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most progressive regions in the United States, if not the world. That history is undergirded by an endless class and racial struggle against those in power. A People’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, written by Berkeley alumni Rachel Brahinsky and Alexander Tarr, and illustrated with photography from Bruce Rinehart, chronicles thousands of years of the region’s history through the lens of activists and unsung heroes. “The Bay Area is a place with entrenched injustices—racism, economic violence, homophobia,” the introduction reads. “This means that the work of understanding what has come before and how people have survived, fought back, reimagined, and dreamed is essential here, and beyond here.” —D.S. CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 17


Mixed Media

BLACK CULTURAL HISTORY AT CAL: A SAMPLER Berkeley has historically been a magnet for African American activists, artists, and thinkers but never more so than during the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s. And with a little googling, many of these historical appearances can still be seen, heard, and savored online. In honor of the upcoming 45th annual Black History Month (February 2021), here’s a selection of Black speakers and cultural events that the Cal campus has played host to over the years. (For links to archival audio and video, see this story on our website, californiamag.org.)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the legendary AfricanAmerican company, first performed in Berkeley in 1968 and returned every year thereafter, until COVID-19 canceled the planned 2020 appearance. As contributor Chinwe Oniah wrote on the 50th anniversary, “When the Alvin Ailey dancers are in the house, Zellerbach [Hall] can feel more like a church than a theater.” The spiritual overtones are no accident. Ailey’s successor, Judith Jamison, told the magazine, “Our job has been to lift people when they come and make sure they stay lifted when they leave.” On May 17, 1967, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an anti-Vietnam speech before a packed Sproul Plaza in which he praised Berkeley students as “the conscience of our nation” and called for a revolution of values. “America has brought the nation and the world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future,” King told the crowd. “And yet we have not learned the simple art of walking the earth as brothers and sisters.” Four years earlier, on October 11, 1963, Minister Malcolm X was interviewed in Dwinelle Hall by sociology Professor John Leggett and then-graduate student Herman Blake. His appearance and Dr. King’s are a study in contrasts, as the Black Muslim leader spoke unequivocally in favor of Black separatism. White liberals and conservatives, X contended, differed “in the same way that the fox differs from the 18 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

wolf. Their appetite is the same. Their motives are the same. It’s only their mannerisms and methods that differ.” In addition to activists, Black musicians came to Cal as well— beaucoup, in fact. Between the Berkeley Blues Festival and the Berkeley Folk Music Festival, which ran from 1957 to 1970, some of the greatest blues musicians on earth, including Big Mama Thornton, Howling Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, and Bessie Jones rocked the Greek Theatre, Pauley Ballroom, and other on-campus venues. For a taste, try the Arhoolie record, “Live! At The 1966 Berkeley Blues

Festival,” recorded in Harmon Gym and starring Zydeco king Clifton Chenier, guitar virtuoso Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Texas songster Mance Lipscomb. There was jazz too, of course, including the one and only Sun Ra, who came to Cal in spring 1971 as artist-in-residence and delivered a course called “The Black Man in the Cosmos.” Decades before the term “Afrofuturism” was coined, Ra, born Herman Blount in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1914, seemed to embody the idea with his otherworldly costumes and tales of space travel. In his free-form classroom lectures, the galactic jazzman blended his own brand of myth, history, politics,

Cal has played host to countless authors over the years, but few as incisive as James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time, If Beale Street Could Talk), who delivered a speech in Wheeler Hall on Jan. 15, 1979, entitled “On Language, Race, and the Black Writer.” His words are by turns humorous and scathing, and always fiercely challenging, as when Baldwin recasts the Civil Rights Movement as a slave rebellion and stresses that there were no writers who could serve as his models as a child. “For example, I did not agree at all with the predicament of Huckleberry Finn concerning Nigger Jim. It was not, after all, a question about whether I should be sold back into slavery.” What every writer must realize, Baldwin told his audience, “is that he is involved in a language that he has to change.” —P.J.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ART FRISCH / SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE / POLARIS; ASSOCIATED PRESS(2); JIM MCCRARY/REDFERNS

and spirituality to define—or redefine—the Black experience. He liked to say, “History is only his story. You haven’t heard my story.” And, “My story is mystery.”


Telegraph

The Wombs of Women By Françoise Vergès ’95 In 1970, newspapers revealed a horrific human rights abuse. Doctors on Frenchruled Réunion Island, situated in the Indian Ocean, had been systematically giving Black Réunionese women forced abortions without their knowledge. Yet, the French feminist movement of the era largely ignored the atrocity. Vergès, who grew up on the island, illuminates this missing chapter of French history in order to challenge the entire construction of France’s historical narrative. First published in French in 2017, The Wombs of Women has a message that transcends borders. Vergès urges readers to leave behind the Eurocentric and nationalist feminism of the 1970s and embrace a multidimensional feminism that amplifies the voices of women of color.  —B.B.

Hella Black Podcast By Blake Simons ’16 and Delency Parham

Oakland community organizers and educators Blake Simons and Delency Parham seek to advance Black political education and promote “all things related to Blackness” on their podcast Hella Black, which they launched in 2016. “We want to empower the people that are listening to go out and do something,” Simons told the East Bay Express. Simons and Parham also founded People’s Breakfast Oakland in 2017, a grassroots Black socialist organization that provides food, clothes, and hygiene supplies to Oakland’s homeless community. Look for Hella Black on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.  —B.B.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ’11 THIS FALL, NETFLIX RELEASED THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, a histor-

ical drama in which recent Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II portrays Bobby Seale, cofounder of the Black Panther Party. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, the film recounts the infamous trial of eight activists indicted for conspiracy to incite a riot after protesting the Vietnam War outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Seale—the only Black defendant—was not one of the “Chicago 7,” as the group became known, and hadn’t even met the other defendants prior to the indictment. “I’m not with them!” Seale (Abdul-Mateen II) blurts out in one courtroom scene. “And speaking frankly, the U.S. attorney wanted a Negro defendant to scare the jury.” Seale was charged with contempt and, eventually, bound and gagged by bailiffs. “I wanted to do two things with this role,” Abdul-Mateen II, who studied architecture and ran track at Cal, told NPR. “I wanted to represent for Oakland, and I wanted to advocate for Bobby Seale and for his experience—the experience that he had in this trial. And I knew that if I could step into those shoes, and if I could go through that humiliation, that brutalization as Bobby Seale would call it … and portray a victory, as opposed to a defeat, then I felt like I would be doing a good job.”  —M.W.

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Mixed Media

Over the Moon Screenplay by Audrey Wells ’81; starring John Cho ’96 Before her passing in 2018, Audrey Wells penned the screenplay for Over the Moon, an animated musical fantasy film in which Chinese tween Fei Fei grapples with the death of her mother. When Fei Fei’s father—voiced by John Cho—decides to remarry, the young heroine embarks on a lunar mission to find legendary moon goddess Chang’e, with the hope that proving her existence will make her father reconsider. Released in October 2020, the film is the first animated feature from a major Hollywood studio with an all-Asian cast. Dedicated to Wells’s memory, Over the Moon is now available to stream on Netflix. —M.W.

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Cal Performances at Home Do you miss the feeling of being in an audience, the anticipation building in your stomach as you wait for your favorite performer to walk on stage? Thankfully, Cal Performances at Home brings the stage to you. The series, which began in October, features stunning performances from around the globe, streamed directly to your home screen. From the comfort of their couches, audiences can enjoy an evening with Yo-Yo Ma, feel the rhythms of Bria Skonberg’s jazz set flowing out from Louis Armstrong’s historic house in Queens, and listen to Julia Bullock’s powerful soprano. The programming is complemented by artist talks and interviews with Berkeley faculty. Viewers can catch all the performers they might have missed in an eclectic New Year’s Eve musical celebration that highlights the fall roster. Calperformances.org —B.B.

Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, was placed under lockdown on January 23, 2020. What happened in the months that followed was largely hidden from the outside world. In August, however, renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who briefly studied English at Berkeley, released Coronation, a surprise documentary chronicling the harshness of life under quarantine. Ai directed the film from exile in Europe with the help of dozens of volunteers in Wuhan, who, armed with concealable cameras, captured footage inside the city’s ICUs, temporary hospitals, and crematoria. The resulting vignettes display both the impressive efficiency of the Chinese government and the crushing emotional toll on Wuhan’s 11 million inhabitants. “Yes, it’s about the corona lockdown,” Ai told the New York Times, “But it is trying to reflect what ordinary Chinese people went through.” In one scene, mourners collect their loved ones’ ashes as state officials stand by, watching closely to ensure that their grief does not devolve into anger toward the government. “China has this very clear view that once you lose control, then chaos follows,” said Ai. Coronation is available to stream in the U.S. on Alamo On Demand. —M.W.

WELLS: ALBUM / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; CAL PERFORMANCES: RAS DIA; OVER THE MOON: NETFLIX

Coronation Directed by Ai Weiwei


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UP NEXT Bria Skonberg

Julia Bullock, soprano

Laura Poe, piano

Back to School with Maz Jobrani Co-hosted by Maz Jobrani ’94

BROWN: ASSOCIATED PRESS; JOBRANI: STORM SANTOS

Oral History Project with Willie Brown There may be no person as important to California and San Francisco’s recent political history as Willie Brown. The powerhouse politician served for 30 years in the California State Assembly and two terms as mayor of San Francisco. Now he’s telling the story in his own words in a new 10-hour oral history from the Oral History Center of the Bancroft Library. Brown begins his tale in 1992, picking up where his earlier installment left off—in his last few years at the State Capitol and continuing into his tenure as the City by the Bay’s mayor, 1996 to 2004. —D.S.

Why do people believe conspiracy theories? What is it like to run for city council during a pandemic? Can you buy Coca-Cola in Cuba? Maz Jobrani doesn’t have the answers, but he can find people who do. The comedian and frequent panelist on NPR’s news quiz Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me launched his educational podcast, Back to School with Maz Jobrani, in 2019 after his 10-year-old son stumped him with a question. Instead of relying on Google for answers, Jobrani calls upon professors and experts from all over the world. In September, he and his cohosts, Tehran Von Ghasri and Kaitlin Gleason, interviewed foreign correspondent Reese Erlich ’70, who confirmed that you can, in fact, buy Coca-Cola in Cuba. —M.W.

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PERFORMANCES

AT HOME Cal Performances continues doing what we do best—providing the high-quality, professionally produced performing arts experiences you love, but this time, all enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. Featuring a wide variety of new and full-length videos—all available to stream directly to your home screen. Each week a new video is released in a special premiere event.

Can’t make it for the premiere?

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NOW AVAILABLE ON DEMAND

NATHALIE JOACHIM AND SPEKTRAL QUARTET FANM D’AYITI

MANUAL CINEMA FRANKENSTEIN

LEIF OVE ANDSNES, piano

DOVER QUARTET

DARCY JAMES ARGUE’S SECRET SOCIETY REAL ENEMIES

MANUAL CINEMA’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL

DAVID FINCKEL, cello WU HAN, piano

MATTHEW WHITAKER QUARTET

WINTER 2010 21 calperformances.org/at-home CALIFORNIA | 510.642.9988


Big Picture

PHOTOGRAPH BY MARCUS HANSCHEN 22 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG


Telegraph

PICTURE AT AN (EMPTY) EXHIBITION: BAMPFA media manager A.J. Fox stands alone in a gallery of the Berkeley Art Museum hung with the resplendent quilts of Black artist, Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936-2006). The retrospective exhibit, which opened this past February, has been closed to the public since March due to COVID-19. Curious patrons can still view a selection of Tompkins’ quilts (part of the museum’s permanent collection) online, although a virtual tour hardly does them justice. “When you walk into a room of her work, you are hit by emotion,” said Lawrence Rinder, former BAMPFA director, when the physical exhibit first opened. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith seemed to agree. She called Tompkins’ quilts “canon-busting”— “crafted objects that transcended quilting, with the power of painting. … They gave off a tangible heat.” — L.W. CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 23


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The Way Forward A Roundtable Discussion of Black Lives at Berkeley

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 25


PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON RUFFIN

MODERATOR TAKIYAH FRANKLIN

Faculty Research Coordinator, Othering and Belonging Institute

PANELISTS TAKIYAH JACKSON

Director, African American Student Development OLUFEMI “FEMI” OGUNDELE

Assistant Vice Chancellor, Director of Undergraduate Admissions PRUDENCE CARTER

Dean, E.H. and Mary E. Pardee Professor, Graduate School of Education

KYNDALL ELISE DOWELL ’22

Racial Justice Now Vice Chair, UC Student Association CALEB DAWSON ’19

On November 10, 2020, California magazine assembled a select panel of Black faculty, students, administrators, and alumni to discuss, via video conference, the question, “How do we make Black lives matter at Berkeley, and beyond?” You can read a lightly edited version here or watch the full conversation on our YouTube channel. TAKIYAH FRANKLIN: Before we get started, I’m going to take this moment to give a brief background on the trajectory of the struggles of Black and brown people at UC Berkeley. In 1968 there was a five-month strike that demanded a radical shift in admissions practices. And that was followed swiftly, in 1969, with a three-month strike that led to the creation of the Ethnic Studies department. Fast forward to 1999 and protests against financial cuts to that very department. The protest continued with rallies and sit-ins that led to a five-point agreement and the creation of a research center on campus now called the Center for Race and Gender. Fast forward to 2014. Again we have Black students demanding space amid the Black Lives Matter movement, which resulted in the creation of the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center and the African American Initiative. Now, again, we’re seeing ongoing demands and fights to maintain and sustain those demands. 26 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

At the present moment, we have the protests and uprisings that erupted around the country in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others who we are constantly having to name and keep present in our consciousness so that we can stay clear around why these struggles continue. Where do we go from here at Berkeley? What do we make of the exhaustion, the sense of this never-ending struggle? How do we orient ourselves? What do we want Black students to know? What do we want all students to know when we talk about Black lives and what that means in the current socio-political context? I would love to open up the table, with reflections

Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow, Graduate School of Education

WALTER J. HOOD, M. ARCH, M.L.A. ’89

Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design / Principal, Hood Design Studio / 2019 MacArthur Fellow JOHN A. POWELL, J.D. ’73

Professor, Berkeley Law, African American Studies, Ethnic Studies / Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion / Director, Othering and Belonging Institute

on our organizing question (and whether it’s even the right question), ‘How do we make Black lives matter at Berkeley, and beyond?’ And I would ask for reflections from Femi Ogundele and Takiyah Jackson first, considering that both of you are at very central points in the campus in terms of dealing with the day-to-day experiences of Black students. TAKIYAH JACKSON : Before I think about

what we need to do, I’m seeking clarification and understanding of why we have to answer that question. I think about the formation of the University in 1868. How did they envision it, and who did they envision


Where do we go from here at Berkeley? What do we make of the exhaustion, the sense of this neverending struggle? How do we orient ourselves?

—Takiyah Franklin

TAKIYAH FRANKLIN

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 27


it for? Obviously it wasn’t for us because we were not even allowed to be here, right? I think back to the first group of Black students that entered in the 1920s, and my question is: what did the University do to prepare for those students? How did they envision creating belonging, or did they just say, ‘You’re here, so you have an equal opportunity to thrive’? Ida Louise Jackson, who was a leader just like most of our Black students today, was the first to create her sorority on the West Coast and raised a lot of money to be in the UC Berkeley yearbook at the time, only to have the chancellor say, ‘We don’t want you in our yearbook. We’re not going to include you because you don’t represent what we consider our student body.’ Why is it that Black students had to demand better for themselves? The first time that I know of them doing it specifically for Black students was in 1989, when the students demanded that they have their own director. African American Student Development was born out of those demands, and then all the other multicultural offices were born out of that. Why wasn’t everyone pushing for this? We had student climate surveys; we knew what the Black experience was. It wasn’t a surprise that it wasn’t good. I think it’s part of the challenge that it’s not a ‘we’ thing, it’s not everyone saying this is unacceptable for our peers and fellow students. It’s just us saying this is not right for us. We’re allowed to get our education here, but we’re not allowed to thrive like everyone else. What’s also really telling is you can look at a student that went to UC Berkeley in 1920, in 1960, in 1989, and 2020, and they will have had very similar experiences. What I’ve seen is a lot of supplementing and very little transformation. It’s like: ‘Here’s something to appease you. We gave you a director, so that should change your experience. Now you have a center; you shouldn’t have anything to complain about.’ But the culture is not being transformed. In fact, it’s barely being touched. So how can we expect different results? So when I think about Black lives mattering, it’s like, to who? And who is going to fight for what we need for Black lives to matter to everyone? Because of course it matters, because we fight for it. But in my experience, students spend most of their time fighting for Black lives and do not get to spend as much time on their education or extra opportunities. The labor is on the backs of the students. And that’s what I would like to see change. I would like 28 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

TAKIYAH JACKSON

As much as representation matters, as much as space matters, as much as resources matter, I think that is sometimes seen as people doing us a favor. Really, we need to start thinking of it as justice.

—Takiyah Jackson


I think it’s important to recognize that what we build is just as important as what we dismantle, and that one does not need to happen before the other. We can be building and dismantling at the same time.

—Femi Ogundele

OLUFEMI “FEMI” OGUNDELE

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 29


Black students to leave not having labored the whole time to transform the University. Also, I would like them to leave and be prideful of being a UC Berkeley graduate, not just a Black community member but a UC Berkeley graduate. FEMI OGUNDELE : To pick up where Taki-

PRUDENCE CARTER

We need to think about our own ideological diversity because white supremacy is not just for white folks. Anti-Blackness is not just for white folks. Or other people of color. And it’s important for us to understand how we have internalized some of that too.

—Prudence Carter

30 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

yah’s leaving off, there’s no doubt in my mind that there is a coalition of people on this campus that absolutely care about the Black lives and the Black experiences that students have, and they’ve been here for quite some time. But they are not in the majority. And so when we talk about ‘How do we make Black lives matter,’ I think the big question is, who is the ‘we’ that we are trying to get these Black lives to matter to? And that requires us to take a hard look at ourselves as an institution. I think that one of the things that’s always challenging when it comes to combating the historical references, or the frameworks of Black bodies and experiences, is that it really goes in one of two directions: either Black experiences or bodies are demonized or they’re erased from history. And I think those two tactics are incredibly effective in not allowing folks to understand just how far along in the relay race they might actually be. Because there’s been an erasure of institutional memory, students find themselves fighting the same fight they fought in 1989, in 2009, and in 2019. Admissions plays a role, I think, in an institutional identity because its job is really to tell the narrative of an institution to the public. And, because there’s so much to draw from, we can decide the narrative we want to construct. It’s not just going out there and trying to get in front of diverse communities but really thinking about the audiences we are putting ourselves in front of and asking what are the important pieces of our history that will matter to them. There’s a lot of work that we can continue to do in admissions, starting off with recognizing our data, not just from a quantitative perspective, but a qualitative perspective. We can say, for example, a great percentage of the students we invite to Cal Day actually decide to enroll. Is that the case for the Black students who come to Cal Day? Is that the case for the Latinx students who come to Cal Day? And if we don’t know that information, we don’t know if we’re being effective to those communities.


But, to Takiyah Jackson’s point, if diversity or equity is something that is additive or ad hoc, then the moment that the budget starts to dry up, the personnel gets low and the decisions get tough. Those things are compromised. If we are really thinking about how we can not just supplement but truly transform, then it does require us to center our work around some of the most disenfranchised populations that are out there. And if we start there and actually do the hard work, there’s no doubt in my mind that all of the boats will rise, that everyone will benefit. TAKIYAH FRANKLIN: Dean Carter, I’d like to

invite you to share some of your reflections on this question and offer your insights as a dean. When students come to this campus, what are some of the structures that are either helping or hindering their experience?

PRUDENCE CARTER : First, I want to say that, although it is insufficient, representation matters. This is the first time I’ve been in a selective institution where the numbers have been this small when it comes to Black lives and Black bodies. Femi has done an extraordinary job as the director of admissions to increase this year’s class, but when I arrived here the Black undergraduate student population was at two and a half percent. The faculty numbers are similar. Visibility matters. Representation matters. It does. It’s the first step. But I don’t think this institution can be divorced from what’s happening outside of its walls. Many of our faculty members, many of our students, many of us have grown up in segregated neighborhoods. What are the opportunities or the conduits through which we can actually change the The reality for a lot of Black students habits, hearts, and is they don’t get to be students. Some minds of those 70 milfaculty say your sole purpose at Cal is lion plus people in our to be a student first, but I don’t think country who still would that we’re allotted [that] privilege. vote for someone who —Kyndall Dowell is an avowedly and unapologetic racist? And many of those people, if you survey them, will probmindsets. There has to be more of a spiriably say they think racism is bad, that tual movement. anti-Blackness is bad. But what happens We can try to make people do things by when it comes to their actual behaviors? policy, but then there’s a decoupling for The self-interests prevail. And so I’m tryhow well it gets implemented. And I think ing to figure out how we actually get to a that’s what the University has actually stronger cultural movement. No policies, struggled with. The implementation tends no mandates can actually change people’s to be anemic because the hearts and the

KYNDALL DOWELL

habits are not changed. I think it’s a vexing problem for us to consider as we try to move forward. TAKIYAH FRANKLIN : I’d love to hear from Kyndall and Caleb, the undergraduate and graduate students, to reflect on your experiences and all that’s been said so far. KYNDALL DOWELL: The reality for a lot of

Black students is they don’t get to be students. Some faculty say your sole purpose at Cal is to be a student first, but being a Black student at Cal, I don’t think that we’re allotted the privilege to just solely exist in spaces. Being at the University has CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 31


always been a struggle. You know, I have disabilities, I’m low-income, and I’m firstgen. All these different layers have affected how I enter the classroom and how I’m received in the classroom. I’ve experienced microaggressions and all kinds of discrimination in my courses—and failed classes, even—over needing to be accommodated or simply recognized, or afforded an opportunity, or just access. I came to Cal understanding that it would be this liberal mecca and the expectation that I would be accepted here and that this is where I can openly and freely exist—only to get here and realize that’s not necessarily true, or hasn’t been true for me. And so I did spend a lot of my time doing community work, organizing, traveling to other campuses every other weekend and working with other Black students because it’s a widespread issue within the whole UC system. I think a lot about what needs to happen because me and my peers are tired. CALEB DAWSON : A lot of things Black undergraduates experience around microaggressions, around feeling unwelcome, or like they’re entering into hostile environments where they can’t fully show up as themselves, that’s something that many Black graduate students also experience. And it goes beyond students to the staff experience at Cal and the Black faculty experience at Cal, and for me these things are connected. It’s really alarming to see the ways that some Black faculty don’t feel like Berkeley is a place that they want to be, as much as they want to be here for us and show up in the space and support us doing great work. You know, seeing some of our role models and people we really admire not feel like the place is hospitable to them sends signals to It’s really alarming to see the ways us too. that some Black faculty don’t feel like I think we’ve got to Berkeley is a place that they want to think about the entire be, as much as they want to be here ecology of the campus, for us. so it’s not these isolated — Caleb Dawson spaces that might feel like some Black folk can fit into. Because Black folk are also really diverse, and so we need work to make the campus more hospitable, to make it survivable. In addition to to think about how we can make an entire campus a place where a variety of Black Black folk being demonized, I think Black folks can show up and feel like their lives, folk are also giving away too much work, their interests, their desires, their needs including our Black faculty who are called upon to play numerous roles in diversity are being prioritized. issues and problem-solving—a lot of times I’ve noticed that not only Black undergrads but also grad students do a lot of without the credit that they need. 32 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

CALEB DAWSON TAKIYAH FRANKLIN : Thank you, Caleb. I would love to rope in Professor Hood and Professor powell, particularly in thinking about what art can do to facilitate some transformation and change that can make Cal less of a traumatic experience for some, and less of a struggle. What role does art play in that? And Professor powell, I’m thinking about your work on radical belonging as a response. Can you give us some insight on how to think about belonging as a way of being? WALTER HOOD: I was a student at Cal in the ’80s, and I feel, Kyndall and Caleb, everything you said. Nothing’s quite changed.


I came to Berkeley thinking it was going to be a different place. I came from the East Coast. And what I’ve learned over the 30 years of being here is that UC Berkeley is a reflection of the U.S. I thought I was in this bubble out here for a while at countercultural Berkeley, where I could stop ironing my shirt, I could be whatever I wanted to be. Until it hit me … a couple times. As an assistant professor, I came to school on a football day, showed them my ID card, and they thought I was joking. I walked through campus, people asked me, ‘What are you doing here?’ So these things still come up, and seeing this litany from ’68 to ’69 to ’99, and we can keep going … This is America. But when you’re inside the academy, there’s a different, liberal way of talking, and I first noticed it when I had to move to Oakland, and all my colleagues had to move to Berkeley. It became that clear. They don’t come to Oakland to visit. In 25 years, they don’t come to Oakland to visit. I make art. I teach these subjects, but I find that I have more power outside the University. And that scares me, that I get more power outside of the University because there are more diverse voices in different places that can collect and actually do work. I do think art has the ability, though, to move away from the objective and become more speculative. The work that I’d like to engage more in is really thinking about speculative futures for Black communities. How do we dream about our future? And the hard and scary part is even we can’t see a future. Sometimes art can give us a window where we can see ourselves, not in reality but in a profound, more speculative way. And so I try to do that every semester with my students, and in my work, but I’ve kind of given up on the public university as this kind of beacon that is pushing against the world. I used to hate to even think about going to Harvard or Yale or Princeton, but they have the resources to do things. Kyndall, one last thing: You said you don’t get to be a student. A lot of faculty don’t get to be faculty. And that’s really, really sad. JOHN POWELL: These are really complex, layered questions, and we can’t address them adequately in the amount of time we have, but I just want to lift up some things and maybe complicate things a little bit. You know, when you’re driving around and you see a sign saying this is a drug-free neighborhood, you say, ‘Okay, they have

WALTER HOOD

The work that I’d like to engage more in is really thinking about speculative futures for Black communities. How do we dream about our future? And the hard and scary part is even we can’t see a future.

—Walter Hood

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 33


a drug problem.’ They don’t have those signs where they don’t have a drug problem. In a similar way, when we talk about Black Lives Matter, we say that because there’s so many expressions in our society that Black lives do not matter. We can certainly talk about the police. We could talk about George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. That’s a graphic expression of Black lives taken because of their Blackness, apparently. Why do I say ‘apparently’? Well, really their lives are not being taken because of their Blackness, their lives have been taken because of whiteness. The heart of the problem in this is not about Blackness. It’s whiteness. It’s white supremacy. So how do you have a place where Black lives can matter, in a society that in many respects is organized around white dominance and white supremacy? So even as we think about, like, can we have our corner? Can we have our office? As a prophylactic that may be the best we can do. But ultimately, the challenge is to understand and dismantle white dominance and white supremacy. And so when we study African American studies, when we study ethnic studies, that’s important. But really what we’re talking about is white studies, which is the rest of the campus. But they don’t call it that. They just call it ‘studies’. They just call it ‘the curriculum.’ I’ve worked with a lot of big companies, and they say we need to go to historically Black colleges and find Black students. Great. I support that as well. In many historically Black colleges their percentage of white students is higher than the percentage of Black students going to Berkeley, Stanford, or Yale—which is to say, historically white colleges. But we don’t call them that. When you say to students, you need to take an African American or ethnic studies course, they’re like; ‘What does that have to do with my education? My education’—they don’t say this, but—‘my education is really understanding, reproducing, and embracing white dominance.’ Someone said, ‘ Who discovered water?’ And the answer is, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll bet you it was not a fish.’ White people, they’re not going to discover the reaches of white dominance. Years ago, after visiting South Africa, Brazil, and some other places, we were talking about affirmative action. I said, really, we should call it transformative action, not affirmative action, because 34 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

affirmative action is based on the notion that the system, the structure, is basically good, fair, and we need to add some people who are left out. I have this analogy that if you get on a train that is going from one broken system to another broken system and the passengers on the train are all upper middle class, older, straight white men, we can say, ‘Okay, let’s get some Black people on the train, let’s get some Native people on the train, let’s get some gay people.’ I support that. But the train is still going from point A to point B. We’ve changed representation, but we haven’t changed the destination. And transformation is an expression of belonging. Let’s have a discussion about where we’re going. Jefferson’s idea of education—that famous slave holder—was that education would help make us into citizens, and his idea of citizenship was that you have the ability to take the other person’s perspective. In a white-dominant society, white people can’t take Black people’s perspectives, so they don’t understand why Black people are upset about being killed by the police. Which means, from our perspective, we’re not educating. The power structure of the university has to be rethought and it has to be about belonging, which means you’re not joining, you’re not being included, you’re cocreating the thing you’re joining. That’s the larger mission that we have to embrace if we actually want to make Black lives matter. PRUDENCE CARTER: I love that term, ‘trans-

the Black community and our ability to influence it. Too often we believe that the demographic shifting is something that’s happening to us rather than something that we can actively partake in and actively engage in, in a way that shows our responsibility to serve this changing demographic and this changing public. And while incremental progress is important, I think we do need some radical change. I think we need some radical thought to go with that, and we shouldn’t be afraid of leaning into some of that. I think it’s important that we recognize that what we build is just as important as what we dismantle, and one does not need to happen before the other. And so we can absolutely be building and dismantling at the same time. I’m always using the analogy of renovating your house. If you want to renovate your kitchen, the first part is demolition. Right? And so it’s always important to think about what systems and structures we need to dismantle in order to build at the same time. Not to say that we should completely tear it down and be lost. But we do have an opportunity to build and tear down at the same time, and I think we need to be thoughtful about that. And I think, to Dean Carter’s point, we need to think about that in every facet of the work that we do: representation, messaging, what do we incentivize, what do we value? TAKIYAH JACKSON : I was also thinking, Femi, about like, as we demo and as we create a new blueprint, who is represented at the table to say how it’s built? Because if it’s the same people, then it will be built the same. Right? And so I think it’s really important that we are cocreators in the rebuilding. The other piece, I think that we have to get to—because no one’s figured it out, and it’s the only way that we’re going to get there—is to deal with whiteness, as

formative action.’ I’ve been trying to figure out how we could actually reclaim our time from the misuse and abuse of affirmative action. So perhaps it’s just a reframing. I don’t believe that we’re going to really radically change the institution without shared power. For me, the bottom line is shared power—that is material, economic, that is in leadership, in terms of representation of students and faculty at The heart of the problem in this is not every level in every field Blackness. It’s whiteness. It’s white on this campus. It’s the supremacy. So how do you have a place sharing of power across the dimensions. where Black lives can matter, in a soci-

FEMI OGUNDELE: I

would simply just say it’s going to require us, as an institution, to really pay attention to what is happening in

ety that in many respects is organized around white dominance and white supremacy?

—john powell


JOHN POWELL

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 35


Professor powell said. We know that white students can come into the University with the ideas that they had and probably leave with the same ideas—that they will be untouched and unchanged, because there’s nothing in place to say, ‘this is how we want to change hearts and minds.’ And so I think that until we deal with that, the Black experience for students, staff, faculty will not change because the culture and the climate will remain the same. And as much as representation matters, as much as space matters, as much as resources matter, I think that sometimes can be seen as people doing us a favor. But, really, we need to start thinking of it as justice. CALEB DAWSON: A point of reference for

me is the Black campus during the ’60s and ’70s. The Black Power movement was on campuses. There was a push for these campuses to be Black campuses and serving the Black community. And so I wonder, can Berkeley not only be serving those on the campus but can Berkeley be serving the Black community beyond? I’m not interested in Berkeley having these clear, very strict social boundaries where we’re interested in Black people who are members of campus, but if you’re not a member of campus, we have no ethical obligation to treat you with dignity or respect or to value or to prioritize your needs and well-being. If all Black lives matter, we need to dissolve this boundary. But I don’t think that we can prioritize Black life and not disrupt the exclusive hold on economic, social, and political power that other folks have enjoyed.

KYNDALL DOWELL: I think about an expe-

rience that I had this past summer. I had the opportunity to take this course—it was Education 190, a course in critical pedagogy—and I absolutely loved it. That was the first time in my experience at Cal that I felt safe in a classroom. It was a very healing experience to take that course. And I have been reflecting a lot on what the difference was between my other courses or past experiences. And with this course I think the difference was a recognition of my humanity, with my instructor being so deeply accommodating and just taking the personal responsibility to meet me halfway or to see me fully.

JOHN POWELL: Kyndall, In terms of what

you just shared, we, … from my perspective, we don’t want structures that don’t discriminate or structures that even

36 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG

accommodate, we want structures that actually lift up and engage. We shouldn’t be thinking about a structure that accommodates here, we should be thinking about designing a structure of reflection. And so we have to be more affirmative. How do we design structures to do the work we want them to do? We don’t build a house and then say, ‘Oh, yeah, we need to add a ramp.’ No, you build a house recognizing the community it’s serving, and the house is designed from the very beginning to reflect that. And the people are participating in the design. So, to me, that’s where belonging takes us; it takes us beyond inclusion and accommodation. In the ’90s, we used to talk about tolerance. It’s like, really? We’re going to tolerate Black people. Really? TAKIYAH FRANKLIN: It sounds like we need a new institution inside the institution. Can we get an HBCU at Berkeley? PRUDENCE CARTER: But I don’t think that

we want to necessarily essentialize Blackness either, because there are some Black people who were willing to put the Trump administration back into power. I mean 13 percent is a significant percentage. We’re diverse. We need to think about our own ideological diversity because white supremacy is not just for white folks. AntiBlackness is not just for white folks. Or other people of color. And it’s important for us to understand how we have internalized some of that too. So we want pro-Black institutions and organizations, but that doesn’t mean that the people necessarily have to be Black. I mean, they can be allies.

TAKIYAH FRANKLIN : Absolutely. I agree

with that wholeheartedly. That’s going to be the next conversation. Well, thank you all so much for being present and sharing your brilliance. I’m hoping that we can continue to have these kinds of dialogues and start to move toward implementing these visions. And I will continue to hold this idea of cocreation, right? Like, in order to transform power structures there’s something about being really radical about the power that we have within us and the spaces that we can influence when we step into any room. And so that’s the work to do, continuing to unlock that power and to know that it’s ours. And we gon’ be alright, like Kendrick Lamar says.

PRUDENCE CARTER: We gon’ be alright.

Drawing on Hypocrisy IN 2019, DARRIN BELL ’99 BECAME THE FIRST BLACK ARTIST TO WIN A PULITZER PRIZE

in editorial cartooning. The prize committee recognized the freelancer for his “beautiful and daring editorial cartoons that took on issues affecting disenfranchised communities, calling out lies, hypocrisy and fraud in the political turmoil surrounding the Trump administration.” In addition to his editorial work, which runs in papers across the country, Bell is the author of two syndicated comic strips, Candorville and Rudy Park. He cocreated the latter with his fellow Cal alumnus, Matt Richtel ’89. A Pulitzer winner in his own right (national reporting, 2010), Richtel calls his friend and collaborator a creative force. “He sees hypocrisy like no one else. It’s like he has a third hemisphere in his brain. Not only does he see it, but then he translates it brilliantly into words and pictures.” Bell worked for the Daily Californian as an undergraduate. In a recent DailyCal Live! interview, he quipped that he majored in cartooning at Cal and minored in college. While he considers Candorville his day job, Bell told webcast viewers he’d continue doing the editorial work whether it paid or not. In all his work, he said, “If I’m not a little bit uncomfortable with the political points that I’m making, or any of the other points … then I feel like I’m not going far enough. So, I’ll rewrite that a bunch of times until I’m kind of ashamed to show it to my mom, and then I know it’s done.” California asked Bell to contribute a cartoon for this issue. The result is on the opposite page. —P.J.


CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 37


For more than 50 years “the wall” has been a place where Black students gather. Now it’s getting recognition. By Ande Richards, M.J. ’22

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PHOTOGRAPH BY MARCUS HANSCHEN


WEDNESDAYS AT THE WALL WALLS HOLD A MYTHICAL PLACE IN OUR SOCIAL ORDER. Pilgrims push slips of paper

with wishes and prayers into the many cracks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The Great Wall of China is a spectacle of ancient defensive architecture and a symbol of strength. The Berlin Wall evolved from a barbed wire and cinder block line of demarcation into a series of 15-foot-high concrete walls separating East and West Germany. It was a Cold War monument to their conflicting ideologies. Those walls were symbols that branded the identity of countries, their political philosophies, and their people. UC Berkeley has its own wall, but, unlike most other walls, it brings people together. “The wall,” located in the heart of Cal’s campus at Sproul Plaza, has long been a communal space where Black folks gather and connect. The wall itself is a simple, nondescript concrete structure standing a few feet high and roughly 50 feet long, behind which is a row of bike racks and a set of steps leading to the Golden Bear Café. But what it stands for is significant. Black students have always been a tiny minority of the school’s population, but when they gathered at the wall as a group, the number didn’t feel so small. For over 50 years, the wall has served as an unofficial CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 39


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THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE: COURTESY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENT DEVELOPMENT

meeting place where students could feel culturally represented and find a sense of comfort and belonging. Timothy Bluitt attended Berkeley from 1970 to 1974 after serving This year several student groups at UC a 13-month tour in the Vietnam War. He studied philosophy and often Berkeley, known informally as “the Triad” went to the wall to check out the scene there. Back then, the Black Power (African American Student Development, movement was at its peak. Black people proudly wore their hair in afro Black Student Union, and Black Recruithairstyles and donned dashikis in a nod to mother Africa. According to ment and Retention Center) and the CamBluitt, you could feel the energy when you entered that space. pus Experience Working Group made a Bluitt remembers watching a future star work on her craft at the wall. recommendation to memorialize the wall “Whoopi Goldberg used to come up there and do her street perforto celebrate the legacy and impact that the mance on campus,” he says. “She would wrap a T-shirt or towel around Black community imprints on Cal. The her head and wave her head back and forth making fun of a white girl memorial will be a reimagining of that pubwith blonde hair.” lic space. Goldberg would go on to play that character on a Broadway stage, As of this writing, the design for the wall but Bluitt said the campus police eventually banned her from campus has not been finalized, but ideas include because of the profanity in her performance. painting it red, black, and green “It was so alive,” he says. “I can see how a lot of peolike the colors of the Pan-Afriple got distracted, not going to class, because there can flag and putting up markwas so much going on in that particular area.” ers so that people know they The wall was a popular place for people to hang Mia Settles-Tidwell, an Afriare entering a sacred space. out—and to check each other out. can American alumna ’92, and Walter Hood, a professor of “These brothers used to stand there and make Cal’s current assistant vice landscape architecture & envicatcalls and flirt with the women as they walked chancellor and chief of staff for ronmental planning and urban by,” Bluitt says. “One of the Black custodians saw equity and inclusion, fully supdesign, also presented ideas me and pulled me to the side, and told me, ‘You ports the recommendation. that were discussed at a talk should be ashamed of yourself.’ And I said, ‘What “The wall is a historic and in September titled “Stories are you talking about?’ He said, ‘You’re wasting traditional site of Black excelof the Black Wednesdays: Reiyour time doing this.’ Then he told me about the lence, belonging, innovation magining Space for Public Art sacrifices he and other custodians made for us. and community,” she said in at UC Berkeley.” They actually threatened to go on strike because an email. “Memorializing the “We should grab it all. The they didn’t see any of us there.” wall symbolizes UC Berkeley’s creek. The space,” Hood said After their talk, Bluitt noticed that many of the commitment to the Black comin the webinar. “We should try Black students would shy away from the Black cusmunity, acknowledges the multo reimagine the space because todians. They didn’t want to recognize them. He tiple contributions of current you have everything there. You said the custodian reminded him of his workingstudents and Black alumni, have water, you have vegetaclass father, so he took his advice: hang out less, and enshrines Black existence, tion, trees. Most people don’t study more. persistence, and resilience even know the creek is there. throughout decades of growth There is a powerful narradespite limits.” tive here, and we can start to exhume the landscape, what’s beneath, the ground, and start to speak about it in a different way.”


BLACK STUDENTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A TINY MINORITY OF THE SCHOOL’S POPULATION, BUT WHEN THEY GATHERED AT THE WALL AS A GROUP, THE NUMBER DIDN’T FEEL SO SMALL.

Wayne Riley graduated in 1984. He said that some of his fondest memories began and ended at the wall. “I’m originally from the East Coast, and in high school, I only applied to one college—Howard University,” he says. “After getting accepted and attending the summer orientation, I made a last-minute decision to forego my admission there and came out to California to be with my older brother, DJ Riley.” Wayne took classes at the College of Alameda to gain transfer credits and eventually joined his brother at Cal. “I spent all my non-academic time hanging out at Cal with my brother,” he says. “He turned me on to the wall, which became a daily meeting spot to see the few but mighty people of color at UCB.” Campus geography had a hand in Riley’s experience. His classes took place near Sproul Plaza, in Barrows Hall. “The true magic … came when I transferred into Cal’s Undergraduate School of Business,” he says. I focused my schedule around having a couple of classes a day but making sure I was free at noon daily when the wall was most poppin’. It was my daily happy place.” “I’m also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity,” he says. “We brought our pledge activities, step shows, and Greek life out to the center of Cal’s campus often, and the wall became the place to showcase one’s ‘stepping’ talents, recite our proud Afrocentric history, and demonstrate our culture, intelligence, and brotherhood.”

Patricia Stewart Owyang ’83 says in a text, “Looking back … I realize it gave us a chance to see other people that looked like us when there were so few of us around. It gave us a safe place to learn from each other and talk about our daily escapades, challenges, and successes. We strolled, stepped, danced, laughed, and had so much fun there. Some of us met our future spouses, and many of us built lasting relationships that are still with us today.” In the talk about public spaces, Mia Settles-Tidwell reflects on how much meaning the reimagining of the space known as the wall will have on the UC Berkeley community. “There is a long history at the wall, so memorializing it is not only appropriate, but it is overdue. It was more than space, it was a part of our identity and our existence.”

Ande Richards is currently enrolled in the Graduate School of Journalism. She makes her home in South L.A. with her rescue pit bull, Ralph.

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NORMAN LEWIS (1909–1979), STREET MUSICIANS, 1948, OIL ON CANVAS, 49 3/4 X 40 INCHES (126.4 X 101.6 CM), SIGNED. COLLECTION OF MICHAEL ROSENFELD GALLERY LLC, NEW YORK, NY. © ESTATE OF NORMAN LEWIS; COURTESY OF MICHAEL ROSENFELD GALLERY LLC, NEW YORK, NY


The Right to Be Obscure

The musical modernism of Fred Moten’s poetry By Julia M. Klein

When Fred Moten reflects on his childhood, he thinks of music. His mother once slipped a coat over his

pajamas, so he could accompany her to a late-night concert by the jazz singer Joe Williams on the Las Vegas Strip. She also played the piano, collected jazz and blues recordings, and baked pies for legendary bluesman B.B. King. “Her social and political commitments were very much entangled with her cultural and aesthetic commitments, particularly her love of music,” Moten, 58, professor of performance studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, recalls over Zoom. His work—both dense cultural theory bursting with wordplay and poetry rich in musicality—reflects her abiding influence. One of his poetry collections, B Jenkins, bears her name. On Oct. 6, Moten, who received a doctorate in English from Berkeley in 1994, was named a MacArthur Fellow, winning a nostrings-attached $625,000 award, to be paid out over five years. Dubbed “genius grants” by the media, the MacArthur Fellowships reward creativity and often favor interdisciplinary pursuits. Moten’s MacArthur citation praises his “relentless exploration of sound and its importance as a medium of Black resistance and creativity.” It notes that, in Moten’s poetry, such as in the collection The Feel Trio, a 2014 National Book Award finalist, “language hovers at the edge of sense so that sound rises to the fore and the reading of the poem approaches musical performance.” Drawing on both Black vernacular and the modernism of T.S. Eliot and James Joyce, the poems are fragmentary and infused with references to figures as diverse as the composer Kurt Weill, the theoretical physicist Edward Witten, and the Chicago installation artist Theaster Gates. Moten’s prose works—including In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003) and a three-volume set of essays, consent not to be a single being (2017– 18)—touch on music, art, philosophy, and politics, and are arguably more cryptic still. “I don’t mean to be cryptic,” says Moten, who is given to circumlocution and paradox even in speech. “To work at the border and the edge of those things is, also, at the same time, to work in the very heart of those things. … Imagine some image of a whirlwind or a black hole: It’s not that the outside edge of the thing isn’t crucial, it’s just that there’s the inside edge of it, too.” CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 43


the archive dance of frank gehry crumples to the sky its finger and walking bridge. the mummers disappear my city sounds. dance crumples to the archive sky of fela. the breaking public crush a lot and pilgrimage from greenville (to farmville) to ruleville up the road. let me place Mrs. Hamer, who

broke composition, in parchman. lula and helena strayed to the dock, founded the hiding republic of the westside trucks to come (inland curving bridge, endless waterways) dragged the repeating public folds into the open work we made, unembarrassed with children, out of the expanse’s closed walls from Béère’s market to black saturday, loved by old hands, the breaking law of movement of farms like wagon wheels to christopher street and dim lights on the edge of abeokuta, mississippi, damn. “we may not have a home to call our own but we’re gonna make it”

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FRED MOTEN, “TONK AND WATERFRONT, BLACK LINE FADE, UNBUILT HOTEL, THAT UNION HALL” FROM HUGHSON’S TAVERN (LEON WORKS, 2008). COPYRIGHT © 2008 BY FRED MOTEN. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF FRED MOTEN.

crush like an architect outside, like

JOHN D. AND CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR FOUNDATION

tonk and waterfront, black line fade, unbuilt hotel, that union hall

So, Moten is claiming the right to be obscure? “It’s a right to be obscure,” he agrees, “but it’s an obscurity that’s out in the open—it’s an exposed obscurity.” Moten’s parents arrived separately in Las Vegas as part of the Great Migration of Southern Blacks to the North and West. His maternal grandmother was a gifted pianist who cooked, cleaned, and took care of the children of a white family. His Louisiana-born father never got past ninth grade but always stressed the importance of education. He worked hard, sometimes two jobs at once: as a laborer at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a casino porter, a bus driver, and a janitor at the Nevada Test Site. Moten’s mother, from small-town Arkansas, graduated from college and taught at a segregated elementary school in their tight-knit Westside Las Vegas neighborhood. An only child, Moten attended the private Las Vegas Day School, “a little place in the middle of the desert.” His parents divorced when he was 11. He attended a parochial school in Pittsburgh while his mother pursued graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. The two returned to Arkansas when his maternal grandfather became ill, and Moten finished high school there. High standardized test scores and the advocacy of a Black admissions officer who happened to be from Arkansas helped him secure admission to Harvard. It was not an easy fit. His mother had been a sociology major, and Moten imagined that economics and sociology courses might involve “the kind of liberationist politics that I grew up in.” But, at the Harvard of that era, those disciplines “didn’t really have anything to do with the struggle for Black freedom,” he says. Moten read widely, but not necessarily for his courses, and acquired an important mentor, government professor Martin L. Kilson Jr., the first Black full professor at Harvard College. “I struggled academically,” Moten says, “but I flourished intellectually. It was just that the intellectual part of it didn’t necessarily coincide with what I was supposed to be doing in class.” His grades suffered, and he was asked to withdraw for a year. Back in Las Vegas, Moten took a job—like his father before him—as a janitor at the Nevada Test Site. He already knew the work of poets such as Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Nikki Giovanni. But during the long bus rides to work, he immersed himself in T.S. Eliot and Dante. The effect was galvanizing. “I shifted from imagining


that I was going to be some kind of Marxist sociology professor to being, basically, a Marxist literature professor,” he says. He returned to Harvard as an English concentrator, studying modern American poetry and publishing his own verse in the Harvard Advocate. His perspective also was shaped by deconstruction, a school of postmodern criticism founded by the French philosopher and UC Irvine professor Jacques Derrida. When he arrived at Berkeley in 1985, Moten, whose mother took him to his first civil rights protest at age five, says he discerned “echoes and traces of the Free Speech Movement and the Black Panther Party.” His own political involvement included demonstrating in

favor of the University’s divestment from companies doing business in apartheid South Africa, helping to establish a graduate student union, and supporting Palestinian activists. Moten’s Berkeley dissertation, on Baraka and his book Black Music, furthered his interest in “those moments where the laws of literary meaning break down.” Another major influence was his dissertation adviser, Julian C. Boyd, a linguist who called himself a “philosophical grammarian”—in Moten’s words, “someone who sought rigorously to understand the philosophical and psychological implications of grammar.” Even more important, Moten says, was “how good he was to people—how generous and kind.”

“I struggled academically,” Moten says, “but I flourished intellectually. It was just that the intellectual part of it didn’t necessarily coincide with what I was supposed to be doing in class.” In the Break, which moves from the sound of an enslaved woman’s scream to Black resistance more generally, established Moten’s reputation. The book reflects on such disparate icons as Baraka, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, and Emmett Till in prose that flirts with the limits of meaning. “The flipside of fetishistic white hipsterism’s recourse to black authenticity,” Moten writes, “is a white avantgardism whose seriousness requires either an active forgetting of black performances or a relegation of them to mere source material.” A decade later, in 2013, he published The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study, coauthored with Stefano Harney, a close friend from his Harvard Advocate days. It was a critique of the contemporary university that, according to a 2018 Harvard Magazine article, was passed around campuses like samizdat. “The university swallows up and tolerates its critics the way a body uses antibodies,” Moten says. His own commitment, he says, is to a broader conception of “social and aesthetic and intellectual life.” The university, by contrast, has been “an institution which is designed to regulate,” he says, “and I’m interested in what it is to resist that regulation.” Moten has, nevertheless, spent much of his life in academe, alongside his wife, cultural studies theorist Laura Harris, with whom he has two sons. He has taught at UC Riverside, Duke, and the University of Iowa. In recent years, he also has collaborated with artists such as Wu Tsang, a 2018 MacArthur Fellow. In one of their videotaped works, the two read an exchange of their voicemail messages; in another, Moten, in a velvet cape, dances and lip syncs to the song “Girl Talk.” One common thread in Moten’s poetry and criticism seems to be joy in the possibilities of language. “That’s true,” Moten says, “but what’s also true is it’s pain, too. Because this is writing that’s in and of the Black experience. The mathematics of it is such that it’s not just equal parts pain and equal parts joy—because that would presuppose that the joyful parts and the painful parts are ever separate in the first place. And they never are.”  Julia M. Klein is a cultural reporter and critic in Philadelphia. CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 45


THE ART, ACTIVISM, AND ASTROPHYSICS OF NIA IMARA BY ASHAWNTA JACKSON

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IA IMARA, PH.D ’10, ISN’T CONTENT

to just look at the stars, so she’s printing a 3-D replica of one she can hold in her hands. “We can’t actually touch these things,” says the astrophysicist and artist, but it’s about imagining the possibilities. “I’m a big believer in that; we can see things not as the way they are. We have the ability to project our vision of the world onto the world.” Imara’s work has been rooted in trying to bring the magic of the universe closer to a wider audience—first during her time at Berkeley as the Astronomy Department’s first Black female Ph.D. in astrophysics, then through her postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. But what’s unique about her approach is that she does it not just through her science work but through art and community building, too.


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understand what my place is in the universe,” she says. And what better way to find that understanding than by studying exactly how the universe began. “I can remember as a child, I was interested in sort of the big, big questions, you know, the philosophical questions, questions of a theological nature,” says Imara. “[In high school] I had a physics teacher who approached us and encouraged us to take his class. From day one, I realized that science was going to be the way that I could address some of these really burning questions that I had.” At Berkeley, she looked for those answers in stellar nurseries, the place where stars are born. These nurseries, also known as molecular clouds, “are enormous structures of cold, dark, gas, and dust,” Imara explains. The wavelength of the light they produce is invisible to the human eye, only coming to life through radio and infrared telescopes, then using “false color imaging to visualize them,” she says. The resulting images are soft, technicolored clouds stretching across a vast universe. Her love of art was being cultivated at the same time as her love of science. “I saw these beautiful images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and that just captivated me.” It was the light, she says. “Astronomers are experts on understanding what light is. We can’t touch or sense most of the objects that we

COURTESY OF NIA IMARA

Imara, who recently started as an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, just launched her newest project, Onaketa, an organization she founded that provides free science and math tutoring to underserved students of color. It’s a personal project for Imara, who grew up in the Bay Area with parents who are both educators. Her commitment to community activism only grew as she put down roots in Oakland through endeavors like Generation of Oakland, a project documenting multi-generational stories of Black life in the city, and later by opening a gallery in the Uptown neighborhood to showcase her work and the work of other Black artists on their own terms. Onaketa, an initiative led entirely by Black and brown women, continues that work. The program isn’t just about improving student performances but also celebrating and uplifting them in ways that support “the beauty and intellect” inherent in each student in a world and education system that often discourages them. “I grew up in an environment where love for my people and for our culture was expressed all around me,” she says. “I was raised to identify with Black people around the globe.” But, to Imara, her interests are larger than just global identity: “I approach science from the perspective of wanting to


study, other than from the light that we receive from them.” They have this in common with painters, she says. Color is just light, after all. Imara was part of the Breakthrough Starshot program led by Harvard astronomy Professor Avi Loeb, among others. The project is part of a series of initiatives that grapple with the question “Are we alone in the universe?” Imara’s collaborators see her creativity as an important asset to her work with the project. Being an artist is “another way of looking at the world,” Loeb says. When you’re trying to innovate, there’s no one way to think, so it’s complementary that she has talent in both science and art, he says. Berkeley astronomy Professor Emeritus Gibor Basri, who worked closely with Imara during her time at the university, agrees. “She has quite a unique approach, which I think people have begun to appreciate. We talk about how diversity will open up new possibilities, and she’s a prime example of that. She thinks of stuff that no one has done and does it—pulls it off.” Now Imara is trying to expand her field’s diversity by bringing science from the lab to the community. “It was a conscious choice to try to make my astronomy people-centered,” she says, pointing to astronomy’s ability to fascinate the public. “Everyone’s captivated by astronomy, by the stars, what’s out there in the universe,” Imara says. “And so I made a conscious choice a long time ago that I wanted to share my work with the community, with Black folks and other people of color, especially.” The work can’t just live in the scientific community, she says, which is one of the reasons she’s committed to doing public-facing work in ways ranging from school assemblies to PBS documentaries. “It’s a whole other kind of fun to be able to bring science talks to public audiences,” she says. “That’s something that I love to do.” Bringing her work to the public also helps demystify astronomy and demonstrate its long, cross-cultural history. “How did certain African cultures practice science in the past? I came to understand and see that [in] different cultures, you have certain famous scientists who really blended the arts and sciences,” she says. “I started reading more and educating myself more about how science is practiced in non-Western traditions. I think that was part of my process of starting to blend art and science.” One of the most valuable things she took from expanding the scope of her field was the use of storytelling. “Story is so powerful,” she says. “Because it’s the way that we understand the world. It’s a way that we understand ourselves better, it’s the way that we make connections with people.” In her art, too, Imara tries to tell a fuller story. “One strong motivation has been wanting to portray Black people in all the beauty that I see in them,” she says. “I take a lot of joy in that.” She approaches portraiture like a still life, placing her subjects in such a way that the viewer has no choice but to be drawn in. In a still life, she explains, “All of the focus and attention is on that vase of flowers or that bowl of fruit, and I wanted to do the same thing for people. The way that manifested in most of my portraits is that you don’t see a background where there’s a context of the physical location, or even the time that the person is existing in; I just want everything to be drawn to that person.” Being seen is a theme that comes up in her science as well. “Some of the inequities [in science] are particularly noticeable compared to other fields. But for me, it’s a much bigger issue about education and racial injustice in this country.” With that in mind, much of her community work has been focused on creating pathways to science and math for Black and brown students. “It’s frustrating for me, when people just talk about things at a superficial level and then try to solve the problem through diversity programs.” Understanding the foundational issues—from the roots and causes of racism and school segregation to higher numbers of Black and indigenous children living in

poverty—must be coupled with a real willingness to do the work change requires, Imara says. “I think that institutions, universities, should take more responsibility and have more accountability in terms of who they’re serving.” It’s not simply about the numbers, it’s about “imagining our own standards and changing the culture of science, changing the culture of academia and education.” Imara describes a new kind of science, one that is concerned with more than just research, one in which “we engage with social issues, with issues of history and racism.” Basri agrees. “[In astrophysics], until very recently, you could count the number of Black Ph.D.’s being awarded in the entire country, as zero, one, or two, basically,” he says. But, like Imara, he’s hopeful that rethinking how students are engaged in the sciences will lead to change. “Slowly, we’ll provide more role models, and other folks will see that it’s possible to do this. I’m hopeful that in the future there will be more graduate students of color, and then that will translate later into more faculty of color.” Imara’s career can serve as an example. “She has a brilliant future,” says Loeb. “[It’s like] seeing a flower when it starts to blossom. It’s just the beginning.”  Ashawnta Jackson is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 49


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Forging Pathways On and Off the Court Q&A with Shareef Abdur-Rahim ’12 By Solomon Hughes ’03

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 51


Former Cal basketball star Shareef Abdur-Rahim was named president of the G League, the official minor league of the National Basketball Association,

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This fall, I had the opportunity to speak with Abdur-Rahim over Zoom for California. I was curious to hear his thoughts on a variety of topics, including his decision to finish his degree, the work of his charitable foundation, and the role of athletes as activists. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You were a heavily recruited high school basketball player who had an incredibly successful freshman year at Cal before being taken as one of the top picks in the 1996 NBA draft. When you look back on that time what do you remember?

I was just excited to be in a place that I had worked to get to and dreamed of being in. My freshman year at Cal exceeded my own expectations. Seeing [fellow high school player] Kevin Garnett go pro during my senior year in high school started to make the idea of the NBA a potential reality for

ASSOCIATED PRESS

in 2018. Per its website, the G League operates as a research and development laboratory to prepare players, coaches, and staff for an NBA career. Under Abdur-Rahim’s leadership, it is also challenging basketball’s status quo with the implementation of a new “professional path program” for elite players who have not yet met the age requirement to be drafted into the pros. Notably, the program offers NBA-bound players an alternative to the obligatory year in the NCAA after high school—the so-called “one-and-done” rule. Abdur-Rahim was one of those players. The Georgia native attended Berkeley for a single year before turning pro. Drafted third overall in 1996, he enjoyed a stellar 12-year career in the NBA, marked by first team All-Rookie honors in his debut season and an All-Star appearance in 2002. After retiring as a player, Abdur-Rahim returned to Berkeley to complete his studies, earning his degree in sociology in 2012. He has served various roles in the NBA, including associate vice president of basketball operations, before assuming leadership of the G League, which offers top young players salaries as well as personal development opportunities, including scholarships. Bolstering the NBA’s minor leagues makes sense, Abdur-Rahim told Sports Illustrated last April. “We have kids leaving the United States—Texas and California and Georgia—to go around the world to play, and our NBA community has to travel there to scout them. That’s counterintuitive. The NBA is the best development system in the world, and those players shouldn’t have to go somewhere else to develop for a year. They should be in our development system.”


The Gate

“When I finished playing, and I came back to finish my degree, ... that was the real Berkeley experience.” me. It was a surreal time. Going into my rookie year, a group of us took a picture at the rookie transition camp that turned out to be pretty legendary, as it is just a bunch of us from that era entering the NBA—guys like Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

AP PHOTO/MARK J. TERRILL

You could have played much closer to home in Georgia. What made you choose Cal?

Todd Bozeman, who was Cal’s coach at that time, did an unbelievable job of making Berkeley a reality for me. I could have gone to schools like Duke or Kentucky, but he did a good job of making my mom comfortable with Berkeley. And she encouraged me to hear what he had to say. He really painted a picture of what Berkeley was like. Dr. Harry Edwards was still teaching at the time and Dr. Hamid Algar was in the Islamic studies program. Additionally,

playing, and I came back to finish my degree, that was like the real experience of getting involved in study groups, and finding all the libraries, and getting to know the different professors. That was the real Berkeley experience of being able to sit, study, read, and be on campus. You know, I really valued that. That was really cool.

Coach Bozeman talked about the myriad of activities, activism, clubs, and groups on campus. He really helped explain the place and its history, so the decision became less about basketball.

This year we’ve seen athletes become much more outspoken on social justice issues. And as usual there has been a lot of pushback, with some people suggesting that athletes should just stick to competing. What are your thoughts on athletes engaging in politics?

Was there a particular course that left a strong impression on you at Cal?

I think you have to do what is authentic to you, what you’re comfortable with. I just think it’s impossible for sports to be separate. In a lot of ways sports is a microcosm of what’s going on in broader society. You know, I heard someone say, “I see George Floyd, but that could be my younger brother. That could have been the kid I grew up across the street from.” So how can you ask that person not to have a voice? That’s not human. So, to me, it is natural, it is a part of life, being civically informed. Some people would make the case it is a civic responsibility.

Not one course in particular, but the thing I figured out later was … I’d go to the library to write a paper, and everything I am citing is from my actual professors. So I was learning that the professors at Cal were very accomplished people—all celebrities. When I was playing at Cal it was more like 100 miles an hour, and I was trying to juggle being a college athlete and getting things done, and it was really transactional. I had to do what I had to do, because my time was short. But then, when I finished

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We are in a time where a lot High-flyer: of the things that we’re discuss- Abdur-Rahim in action ing and advocating for aren’t against UCLA new issues. COVID , in a way, in 1996 has illuminated longstanding, systemic issues. There are a lot of people out of work, a lot of people are suffering and dying at a disproportionate rate. So it is illuminating things that we knew. There has also been increased dialogue about how we, as a country, memorialize the Confederacy. What was it like attending a high school named for a Confederate general?

It was demoralizing. Now, there is another part of Atlanta where the schools were named after people like Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. So that was different, but that’s in the city. The high school I was supposed to go to was Benjamin Banneker [named after the free Black almanac-maker and natural historian]. I left that neighborhood and moved north, and I ended up going to Joseph Wheeler High School. When you think back on your first year at Berkeley, if you could go back in time, what are some things you would tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to be supercurious, go learn and meet people. I know you love basketball, but there is other stuff going on out here. Learn as much as you can. You will be surprised how that will come back and benefit you. Be bold. The only things you are gonna regret are the opportunities you didn’t take. And, enjoy it. 54 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG


JENNIFER DOUDNA,

Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, UC Berkeley

What’s Your Vision For 2020? “To positively impact human life through curiosity-driven science. Our clinic is open to keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp. (510) 642-2020 | eyecare.berkeley.edu


The G League created the pathways program as an alternative to college basketball. You were pivotal in developing this opportunity. What do you want readers to know about it?

It’s about the empowerment of young people. More and more, we see young people demanding a different option than half a year in college. Whether they were taking a gap year, or going overseas, you saw the demand for something different. I left school after a year, but it was an unbelievably agonizing decision. I did not, in any way, come to Cal with the idea that I would leave after a year. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I exceeded my own expectations. I think we just have an opportunity based on all that, to provide an option to young people who are heading into the NBA . I think we also have the ability to program and create curriculum that will start to prepare them, in general, for life and, hopefully, set them up, prepare them for the ongoing journey of wanting to learn and continue to develop as a person. One of the core competencies of the G League is development. And I think people take that only as on-court development, but a big part of it has to be the off-court aspects of helping to develop and grow people.

“I left school after a year, but it was an unbelievably agonizing decision. I did not, in any way, come to Cal with [that] idea.” Can you talk about the Future Foundation that you started and the work you’re doing in underserved communities?

The idea was born at Cal. A friend of mine, and a Cal alum, Hashim Ali ’91, ran a mentoring program for kids from neighboring areas like Richmond and Oakland. He would bring them to campus and would ask me to speak with them. So from there I wanted to be able to connect with the communities that I grew up within in Atlanta. What we’ve done is we’ve created programming for young people who, in many cases, start with us in elementary school and stay with us through high school. In some cases, we go into high schools and do programming. But we started with 15 young people. We now serve around 800 young people a

year. And the idea really is to bridge the gap of resources for underserved young people, mostly Black people. It evolved with my sister Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim, also a Cal alum (’99), who was our CEO and who was just appointed to serve as the chief equity officer of the city of Atlanta. She helped us develop this model, of creating essentially a second family for our young people. We strive to become a somewhat complete support system. We work with young people who, after March, went to remote learning due to COVID . Ninety percent of them didn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity at home. All of them depend on free lunch and free breakfast. We’ve been fortunate that since we started, 100 percent of the young people that worked with us graduated high school—in some cases from high schools where the graduation rate is around 40 percent. It’s hard work. You are always fundraising, programming, and innovating. And, looking back, we now have over 20 years of doing this, we have young people that went all the way through our program and have come back to volunteer with us. My wife Delicia ’97 (who I met as a student at Berkeley) and I founded the organization, and it has been extremely rewarding. Any parting thoughts you’d like to share?

When I think about my connection to Cal, and the way that I’ve grown and developed, the people that I met through the school, I can’t imagine a more fulfilling experience and relationship with a university. Just the knowledge base and resources there, everything that the University stands for. And there is room to keep growing and get better! I’ve been unbelievably fortunate to be connected to the University.  Solomon Hughes ’03 is an actor and educator in the Bay Area. He served as captain of the Cal men’s basketball team from 2001-2002. Find him on Twitter at @solomonyhughes. 56 CALIFORNIAMAG.ORG


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Class Notes COVID-19 has once again decimated

reunion plans for the class of ’51. This time, Lefty Stern reports that Pappy’s Boys canceled their September event with the consensus that COVID-19 was the No. 1 consideration of the group and out of their control. Masks and distancing were major obstacles to a successful gathering. The final gathering is now scheduled for the 2021 Cal football season with events being monitored as they occur. Lefty and Gay Stern are staying close to home, but the Napa-Sonoma fire forced their evacuation for eight nights in October. How are the rest of you managing during this extraordinary time? Do send me an email on your adaptability. We have all learned some challenging survival skills, and, like Pappy’s Boys, we will meet again. Class Secretary: Elayne McCrea, 23500 Cristo Rey Drive, #503H, Cupertino, CA 95014, elayne.mccrea@yahoo.com

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Greetings to the class of ’52. These notes are written while the pandemic is raging. Perhaps by the time you read these the situation will have improved. In the meantime, I hope all of you and your families are well, safe, and using “sheltering time” to pursue rewarding interests. I just read A Tale of Two Cities (“the best of times, the worst of times”) in its entirety—468 pages of fine print. Challenging, but highly recommended. Our University has a new President—Michael Vincent Drake—whom we welcome and wish success and satisfaction in his new role. We lost two members of the class committee in July: MaryLou (Willis) Berg and Nancy (Balch) Fischer (please see “In Memoriam”). Notes from classmates include one from Russ Levikow in which he writes about reconnecting with friends from our 65th reunion. He has designed a bench in the name of a fellow crew member, Bill Andersen, that will be part of the new Crew Boathouse project. Bonnie (Ritzenthaler) Wilson wrote in favor of a 70th reunion in 2022. She celebrated her 90th birthday in August and keeps in touch with friends from our student years. Robin (Haseltine) Robinson lives in San Rafael, keeps in touch with MaryDell (Fisher) Clarke, and has been involved for some time in a project that encourages high school students to continue their education. However we observe the holidays, by Zoom or not, stay well and hopeful for a brighter New Year. Fiat Lux! Class Secretary: Elaine (Hartgogian) Anderson, 1326 Devonshire Drive, El Cerrito 94530, 510/ 232-3419

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Emanuel Williams, a resident of Atlanta, GA, is a visitation pastor in his church. As a global health-care chaplain, Emanuel has traveled to Cambodia, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Spain, and Vietnam on mission trips. In 2019, at an Assemblies of God chaplain’s conference, he was honored with an award for his service, which

will be given in his name annually. Emanuel runs 5K races for Christian charities, conducts Christian services for family and friends in America, and participates in Balboa High School alumni activities. Wow. Al Manzano writes that he and Barbara ’54 are staying mostly at home, going out only for routine appointments and shopping—like everyone else. Their local daughter keeps in touch daily, but the rest of their four children, 16 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren are mostly seen over short videos. The telephone is their social life, plus nearby friends who come over. Al and Barbara keep busy gardening. He writes essays and poems and is on the Carlsbad Housing Commission. He does crossword puzzles every day while Barbara does jigsaw puzzles. Of course, for them, the game groups and clubs are all in abeyance, and they worry about how journalism and the arts are suffering. Al and Barbara miss live performances, but they know it is the life we all share during the pandemic. They join fellow Californians in their concern for the deteriorating environment. They hope for a general recovery and the end to the pandemic. Stay well ’53! Class Secretaries: Beth Mott, 14 Mariposa Drive, San Luis Obispo 93401, bethmott@ charter.net; Oliver White, 292 Hacienda Carmel, Carmel 93923, ollie@razzolink.com

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Bill Morrish thoughtfully submitted the following: “Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the class of ’54 Gate, here are some remembrances of those exciting days when we celebrated our 35th reunion and some of the events that made it special: We knew that all classes were being asked to undertake a major fundraising campaign for their 35th reunion. Our committee was invited by Chancellor Heyman to the president’s house to hear his pitch. He intended to create 100 endowed Chairs ‘on his watch’ and wanted us to support that effort. Many of us were willing, but others wanted to create some architectural monument we could show off to our children and grandchildren when someday we might take them on a tour of the campus. We had a lively but inconclusive discussion. Finally, Chancellor Heyman offered us a deal: ‘If you will help me with a Chair, I will help you with a monument. You can build a gate at the campus’s north entrance, and we will put in the necessary infrastructure to support it.’ Don Denton spoke up: ‘All right then, let’s do both.’ Silence followed. We all looked at one another. Midge Zischke said: ‘We can do it.’ There was general applause. The rest is history. We raised the largest amount of any class up to that date and gave the campus two gifts: the class of ’54 Gate and

an endowed Chair in undergraduate teaching. Not bad for a bunch of public school kids who made it up as we went along.” Class Secretary: Beryl Smith Voss, 1330 Jones St., Apt. 604, San Francisco 94109, berylvoss@ gmail.com, 415/673-2074

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Our class has supported the Library Preservation Department with our Class of 1956 Humanities Endowment for the Library Preservation for many years. We also continue to support the class of ’56 conservator, Martha Little. Now we want to continue our efforts by helping the unmet needs of the Preservation Department. These specific needs are: three adjustable height tables with stools, $1,233 each; paper conservation vacuum suction table with humidification dome, $23,335; Ceelite flexible light sheets, $425; preservation pencil to direct vapor to small area, $2,925; quick cut hot knife with three different blades, $900; and two Dahle selfhealing cutting mats, $270. Choose an item for your donation or contribute any amount to the goal of $31,000. Class members Peter Van Houten and Wes McDaniel have each pledged for an adjustable table and stool. Any gift will make a huge difference in continuing the Preservation Department’s vital role at the University. The goal is to complete this campaign prior to June 2021, the 65th anniversary of our graduation. Send donations to: University of California Berkeley, Donor and Gift Services, 1995 University Avenue - Suite 400, Berkeley, CA 94704-1070. And Go Bears! Class Secretary: Barbara Jopp Chinn, 5405 Carlton St., #404, Oakland CA 94618, chinnacres@sbcglobal.net

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Nancy Cupit Higham writes that one of her greatest pleasures during the pandemic has been one-hour Zoom meetings with her book club. In 2006, a band of Berkeley High School sisters had a reunion at Asilomar to celebrate 50-plus years since their graduation in 1954. Out of this rollicking reunion grew a new book club, Bookies, which includes a number of class of ’58 Bears. In addition to Nancy, Sheilah Macleod Fish, Margaret Snyder Lynwood, Marilyn Porter Foreman, and Marilee Goodwin Maslin join her. Nancy reports that the group meets weekly, and they enjoy sharing fresh coping activities, books, online theater talks through Berkeley Rep, and updates on politics. Once a month they cover a book at the meeting. Nancy says that it is comforting to have regular chats and share their family doings. She pointed out that during the endless quarantine, most of the “bookies” have regular Zoom meetings with their extended families and find it a rich resource for understanding CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 CAL1


each other’s lives and viewpoints, “unlike the amount of contact in our former lives.” John Amos, a consultant for global construction projects, reports that the pandemic has delayed or canceled many large projects and conferences around the world. The conferences are offering virtual meetings instead. During the pandemic, he has been writing articles and working on Zoom meetings for conference organizers until we can get together once again. Class Secretary: Ann Bradshaw Jenkins, 109 Walnut Ave., Unit 102, Santa Cruz 95060, anndobie62@gmail.com

Training, and Kevin Rojas De Leon, who interned with the National Immigration Forum—received funding awards for the fall 2020 semester, which was held virtually for classes and internships. For a list of CCDE programs and digital recordings of public lectures, visit gspp.berkeley.edu/centers/ccde/ public-events. Thanks to all those who contributed to the Big Give this past spring and those who continue to support the center. For more information, visit gspp.berkeley.edu. Class Secretary: Diane Moreland Steenman, 2407 W. Hazelhurst Court, Anthem, AZ 85086, dsteenman@aol.com, 702/521-5237

How many projects have we managed to finish during this shutdown? Weldon Smith has published a novel, The Archer’s Hand. Themes of the book include: family disintegration, World War II, crime and punishment, the attempt to recapture home, and the past, in addition to the ongoing struggle for equal rights for Native Americans and Latinx people. The book is available on Amazon. Hoping other class members will share recent accomplishments. Class Secretary: Sandra Mitchell, 14170 Barrows Rd., Unit 3, Tigard, OR 97223, sandramitchellphd@gmail.com, 503/521-8730 Hi all, this is, by any measure, a short column. You know the old maxim, “No news is good news?” As we all know, it ain’t necessarily so. Writes class member Sheryl Wong, “It’s hard to have any news when you aren’t going anywhere! You’re right, we’re all in our bunkers of varying kinds. Hope you are healthy and safe in yours. …” Ditto, Sheryl. Class Secretary: Diana Powers, 100 Marin Center Drive, #14. San Rafael 94903, dianapowe@aol.com

Carlos Morales shared news that he retired this past June after a 50-year career that included his bachelor’s in industrial engineering from Cal and an MBA from Fordham in New York City. He worked for several multinational companies, such as Chiquita Brands in Latin America and RhônePoulenc and Solvay in Europe. Carlos recalls the summer of ’68 at Cal with lots of tear gas, sometimes even seeping down to Larry Blake’s Rathskeller where he waited on tables. He’ll never forget the battle for People’s Park in May ’69 when shotgun blasts peeled the paint off of buildings on Telegraph. However, Carlos says he will always love his Berkeley days in part because he married a Bay Area girl. The Moraleses have been living in New Jersey since 1977, where he was transferred by Chiquita. Carlos and his wife have no plans to move, as their two daughters and eight grandkids live within 30 minutes from them, but they do plan to travel during retirement when the pandemic permits. Carlos also takes courses on Coursera, does lots of reading, and enjoys his family and the Jersey Shore. Class Secretary: Richard Carter, 99 Florada Ave., Piedmont 94610, camktgrp@comcast.net

Class of ’68 gatherings continue. Gatherings are for classmates, alumni, and friends of Cal. To join the class of ’68 email list, please contact cal68@ blueconnect.org and tell your friends. The Goldman School of Public Policy Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement (CCDE) was founded by the class of ’68. On Oct. 17, during Homecoming 2020, CCDE co-sponsored a panel discussion on “An Election Like No Other: Ensuring Democracy’s Survival,” which focused on ensuring high turnout and minimizing voter suppression during COVID19. Panelists included Berkeley School of Public Health Professor John Swartzberg, She the People Founder Aimee Allison, and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. The panel was moderated by CCDE Faculty Director Dan Lindheim. CCDE continues to provide support for Cal undergraduates, including those in the UC Washington program. Two Cal students—Joyce Ma, who interned with the Association for Diplomatic Studies and

Lif Cory Strand’s first novel, Evolution Device, was published on July 28. Here is an excerpt from a book review by Canadian author George Case: “Evolution Device is an entertaining mix of backstage drama and spiritual fantasy, imagining a quintessential 1970s rock ’n’ roll success story from the not-quite-real perspective of an artistic muse who makes the music possible.” Taking off from a fictionalized amalgam of Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and Heart, mixed with a bit of Janis Joplin and a dash of the Jefferson Airplane, Lif Strand introduces an unusual (but refreshingly original) angle of Native American mythology into the more familiar Behind-the-Music elements. After Cal, Lif ran a horse breeding and training facility with her husband in Watsonville. In 1994 she moved to New Mexico where she lives in the middle of nowhere, off the grid. Her novel is available at all bookstores and on Amazon. Susan Lokerse Singleton is serving on the school board for Vallecito Union

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School District in Calaveras County. Class Secretary: Debra Klohs DeZarn, 7018 Shiloh Place, Stockton 95219, dezarn@cal. berkeley.edu, 303/424-1498

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Vivian Kleiman is a Peabody Awardwinning and Emmy-nominated filmmaker known for tackling challenging subject matter and edgy cinematic approaches. Vivian is a longtime collaborator with landmark filmmaker Marlon Riggs. She supervised Marlon Riggs’ completion of Black Is … Black Ain’t. Vivian executive produced the Academy Award-nominated documentary short Last Day of Freedom, Maquilapolis, and First Person Plural, among others. As an educator, she taught Documentary Film & Video Production to graduate students at Stanford University for nine years. She also served as the inaugural mentor for the James Yee Mentorship Program of the Center for Asian American Media. Her story editing credits include Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics & Men for Showtime. She is now directing a feature-length documentary No Straight Lines on the history of queer comic books. Recently, she was awarded a Eureka Fellowship by the Fleishhacker Foundation for visual artists. Class Secretary: Dan Ahern, 21 Sea Wolf Passage, Corte Madera 94925

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The class of 1980 is weathering the pandemic. Bill Pavao checked in to say “hello.” He fondly remembered his days working with your class secretary in Unit 2 food services while living in the iconic Ehrman Hall. Steve Roscow—newly retired from his position as an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission—is now a scratch golfer. Or, at least, his golf game has people scratching their heads. Steve recently golfed at the challenging Tilden Park Course on a smoky day with Leo O’Farrell, who is now working as a Census 2020 worker based in Lake County. Whitney Skala is in the same boat and has an email group talking Bear sports. Hotshot attorney Mike Quigley has been seen riding his Harley in Seoul and the surrounding area. He recently celebrated a birthday by playing golf in Berkeley with a group of classmates. Jeff Shaffer reminds us that the class of 1980 is celebrating its 40th anniversary. He reports that his Cal roommate, Suresh Bhatia ’81, just moved to Stockton to take a job managing a medical practice. Their roommate Richard Young’s ’81 mom and sister are in Sacramento, and their fourth roommate, Don Ino ’81 is in San Francisco. They all met in the dorms when Jeff was an R.A. at SpensBlack. A journalist based in Paris, “Big Bill” Hinchberger listens to punk rock (Ramones, Dead Kennedys, etc.) and continues to fight the power by advocating for independent contractors in the California legislature. Another former Ehrmanite, Sue Wilcox continues


to live the life near the Pacific on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Class Secretary: Kevin Johnson, 232 Tern Place, Davis 95616, krjohnson@ucdavis.edu

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Andrea Kott announced the publication of her new book, Salt On a Robin’s Tail: An Unlikely Jewish Journey Through Childhood, Forgiveness and Hope. Chronicling Kott’s childhood with a single mother whose depression and drinking pitched them into poverty, the memoir explores a lifelong confusion and conflict about being Jewish and a desire to reconnect with the community.

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Susan Hough announced the publication of her new book The Great Quake Debate: The Crusader, the Skeptic, and the Rise of Modern Seismology. The book focuses on the debate that played out in the early 20th century about the severity of earthquake hazard in Los Angeles through the intertwined biographies of geologists Robert T. Hill and Bailey Willis.

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Daniel J. D. Sullivan announced the publication of his new book, Don’t Date Crazy: The Phil-Am Dream Runs Into The American System. The novel follows a hardworking, young immigrant from the Philippines who finds himself battling the American justice system. Through his book, the author hopes to embarrass those complicit in the system’s injustices to self-reflection and move them to change the rules that hide bad behavior.

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Jeffrey I. Abrams, an experienced leader in the legal and philanthropic fields, was named director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Los Angeles Regional Office. An attorney and mediator for more than 25 years, Abrams has extensive experience and long-term relationships throughout the Jewish, civic, and philanthropic communities.

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Michele Wong McSween has released Gordon & Li Li Celebrate Chinese New Year, the newest title in her Mandarin board-book series. Readers learn about the traditions and festivities of the Chinese New Year. Each page spotlights a single word in English and the Chinese character along with the pinyin and phonetic pronunciation. Michele’s original board-book series was acquired by Cartwheel/Scholastic in 2018 and was released as a compilation book titled, My First Mandarin Words with Gordon & Li Li. Class Secretary: Michelle Segal, PO Box 225, Unit 3470, DPO, AA 34041, michelle_segal@ yahoo.com

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Natalie A. Pierce was recently named a partner and chair of the labor and employment practice at Gunderson Dettmer. Natalie has rich experience

guiding technology, life sciences, and other high growth companies from startup through their lifecycle.

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David Tom Cooke, M.D., head of general thoracic surgery at UC Davis Health, was inducted into the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeons on Sept. 25. David uses cutting-edge technology to combat severe cases of lung, esophagus, and diaphragm diseases. As an associate professor of surgery at UC Davis Health, David shares his experience with using robotics, video-assisted thoracic surgery, and bronchoscopy to improve his patients’s lives. David draws on this experience, his education at Cal, and the training he received in Dr. Marian Koshland’s lab and Harvard Medical School to research strategies for combating lung and esophageal cancer and improving patient care. He was a past recipient of the Cal Alumni Association’s Academic Excellence Award. Julian A. Gross, an expert on community benefits in land use development and public infrastructure, has joined Renne Public Law Group as a partner. He brings experience negotiating dozens of agreements in cities across California and the nation. Class Secretary: Elizabeth Zamora Villegas, 40 De Soto St., San Francisco 94127, francophile@alum.calberkeley.org

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Paul Ferro has been promoted from Chief Financial and Operating Officer to Chief Executive Officer of Form4 Architecture. As one of the firm’s Principals and original Co-Founders, Ferro designs and leads many of the firm’s high-profile Silicon Valley projects.

Marketing at FalconStor Software, a software-defined enterprise storage leader. David brings 25 years of experience to lead new product development and marketing.

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Bradley Rogers published his first book, The Song is You: Musical Theatre and the Politics of Bursting into Song and Dance, in October. The Song Is You explores the radical relationships between performers, spectators, and creators of musical theater and confronts the gendered and racial dynamics of the genre. Rogers grapples with an ethical dilemma: Are the musical’s progressive politics thus rooted in its embrace of regressive entertainments?

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Corey Schnobrich was promoted to associate at the Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects firm. His projects include Berkeley Way, a development project to build affordable supportive housing for families, veterans, and unhoused individuals.

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Isra Ahmad was recently appointed to serve as an Ambassador for the United State of Women, a program launched in 2018 as an opportunity to work one-on-one with women across the country with the goal of building a community of women to lead in the fight for women’s equality. We currently have no class secretary listed for the following classes: ’29–’31, ’35, ’39, ’41, ’49, ’06 –’08, ’10, ’12–’14, and ’16–’20. If you are the class secretary, please contact the magazine office at classnotes@alumni.berkeley.edu or 510/642-5981.

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Ana Jackson, an accomplished leader with more than 20 years in healthcare program and evaluation management, has been named Chief Evaluation and Data Strategy Director at Blue Shield of California Foundation.

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Sandra Zalman’s edited volume, Modern in the Making: MoMA and the Modern Experiment 1929-1949, was published by Bloomsbury in October. The collected essays explore the experimental early years of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Zalman is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Art History at the University of Houston.

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Lauren Bell was recently appointed to a prestigious strategic advisory board to aid in COVID-19 tracking efforts at Decode Health, a predictive analytics company focused on early identification of healthcare risk.

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J. David Morris was named vice president of Product and Global

Class Secretaries: email your notes (classnotes@alumni.berkeley.edu) with “Class year” in the subject line. You can also mail a hard copy to Class Notes, California magazine, CAA, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720-7520. Please bold class members’ names; each class is limited to 250 words. Read our submission guidelines at alumni.berkeley. edu/classnotes. Class notes may be posted on CAA’s website. Can’t Find Your Secretary? Email classnotes@alumni.berkeley.edu or call 510/642-5781 for names and contact info. Submissions deadlines: Spring 2021 issue: January 7, 2021 Summer 2021 issue: April 10, 2021

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Snapp Chats Alumni Notes from Martin Snapp, J.D. ’72

According to a 2018 Pew Research analysis, two-thirds of political links shared on Twitter are actually written by bots. But in 2017, two Cal sophomores, Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte, launched a counterattack: NewsBot,

Recently, they unveiled their biggest project to date: a mobile browser named Command. What sets it apart is what it doesn’t do: It doesn’t have ads, and it doesn’t share your data with anyone. In fact, it doesn’t even store your data. But you’ll have to pay for it. “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product,” Ash explains. “We want to work for the user, not the advertisers. We set the price at $4.99 because it’s enough to support our work but still affordable enough for anyone who wants it.” Footnote: Though they have left Cal, Cal hasn’t left them. RoBhat Labs is now a case study in a course at the Haas Business School, taught by former NBC Bay Area anchor Diane Dwyer ’87.

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“He’s a lot more than just an announcer,” she said. “His name is Charles Shere, and he’s a true Renaissance man. He’s a composer, music critic, teacher, and a carpenter, among other things. I hope you get a chance to meet him some day.” I finally did, 15 years later, when I joined the Oakland Tribune, where Charles was the music critic. He was everything my friend said: music director at KPFA; producer at KQED; professor of music history and composition at Mills; author of numerous books, including How I Read Stein and How I Saw Duchamp; and recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts—one as an art critic and the other as an opera composer. Shere was also one of the founders of Chez Panisse. He and his wife, Lindsey Remolif Shere ’57, the restaurant’s original pastry chef, still own a piece of the place. “We lived at one end of the 1900 block of Francisco Street between Grove and Milvia, and Alice [Waters (’67)] was living with David Goines at the other end,” he says. “We’d troop to their house and

LEFT TO RIGHT: COURTESY OF ASH BHAT AND ROHAN PHADTE; LINDSEY SHERE

an app that identifies the political bias of a news story. Next came Botcheck.me, a browser extension that uses artificial intelligence to unmask bots posing as real people. In its first year, Botcheck.me flagged nearly 1 million Twitter accounts as probable bots, and its associated website shows what those bot networks are tweeting about in real time. Duly impressed, the Democratic National Committee commissioned them to write a report on the spread of disinformation on social media. The pair also developed an app called Presidential Actions, which they created less than 24 hours after Donald Trump threatened to yank funding from Cal in the wake of disturbances on campus surrounding a planned appearance by Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos. “We were, like, ‘WTF?’ First, people come and destroy our school, and now the president of the United States is going to pull funding?” says Ash. So they built an app that scrapes the White House website and sends out push notifications every time he makes a proclamation. Emboldened by their success, they decided to do what other tech innovators before them had done: drop out of college and form their own company, RoBhat Labs. RoBhat Labs’ first product was SurfSafe, a free browser extension that judges the likelihood that an article is trustworthy, determines if an image was pirated from another site, and flags visuals that have been photoshopped. Ash and Rohan go back to their childhoods in San Jose. Each was the science hotshot at their respective elementary school— Ash as a coder, Rohan as a roboticist—and they kept hearing about this amazing science wiz at the other school. They finally met in middle school and have been friends ever since. When they arrived at Cal, they moved into a house on Fulton Street that they still share—and now also serves as headquarters of RoBhat Labs.

ONE DAY 50 YEARS AGO, I was watching KQED, the PBS station in San Francisco, when I was struck by a rich baritone announcing the next program. I immediately called a friend of mine at the station and asked, “Who is that announcer?”


have crepes that Alice made, then back to our house for dessert that Lindsey made.” He wrote for the Tribune from 1972 until his retirement in 1988, after which he and Lindsey moved to Healdsburg in Sonoma County. Naturally, Charles built the house they are living in. “I used some power tools, but as little as possible.” Nowadays, he spends his time rereading his favorites: Ovid, Horace, and Epicurus, writing his memoirs—he’s already published two volumes and is finishing the third, with the final volume still to come—and battling what he calls “an indolent case” of prostate cancer. Charles was born in Berkeley in 1935 but grew up in Sebastopol, where he and his family lived for ten years in ten different houses. “That’s the way it was in those days: Depression and war and all that.” He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Cal in 1961, but it took him nine years to get it. “I started out at a religious college in Los Angeles called Chapman, then Santa Rosa Junior College, then San Francisco State, and finally Cal. Suddenly, I was in a situation where people trusted me to do my own reading and my own thinking. “I was an English major because I love music. I wanted to write music, but I didn’t want to make a living in music because the work might compromise my music—the work being teaching music history. It didn’t work out that way, and I ended up teaching music history at Mills.” His many compositions include operas such as The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (after the objet d’art by Marcel Duchamp), and “Composition as Explanation,” a setting of a Gertrude Stein lecture for solo piano and speaking voice, which was premiered at the Osaka Music Festival. “It’s the only piece of mine that I’ve never heard because no recording was made,” he says. “Any memory of the event was eclipsed by the events of that day—November 22, 1963.” Looking back, he says one of his happiest times was when he was writing for the Tribune. “It shows you what the paper was willing to print in those days—longish articles about things I liked writing about. It was amazing, and, of course, I was complaining about how restrictive it was compared to the good old days.”

BILL MORRISH

Oct. 16 marked the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the Class of 1954 Gate at the campus entrance where Hearst meets Euclid, but there was no public celebration due to the coronavirus pandemic. The story of the gate begins with Chancellor Ira Michael Heyman, who wanted to create 100 new endowed chairs on his watch. He asked every class observing its 35th anniversary to fund one of those chairs. The ’54s were perfectly willing, and they endowed a chair to reward excellence in undergraduate teaching. But they also

wanted to do something else: create a permanent architectural monument, a gate on the Northside to complement Sather Gate on Southside. Easier said than done. It would require a whopping quarter of a million dollars, no small sum in those days. So the class formed a committee chaired by Bill Morrish, Midge Oliver Zischke, and Don Denton, collectively known as The Troika, to raise the money. Cal architecture alums were invited to submit proposals, and 113 entries were accepted. The winner was a design featuring 12 metal standards resembling flagpoles, but the committee members wanted a gate that looked like a gate. The winning architecture firm got to keep the prize money, but the actual job was given to the second-place finisher, resulting in the twin pillars we see today. The groundbreaking was held at the class’s 35th reunion on Nov. 17, 1989. All three members of The Troika were decked out in blue blazers and gold hardhats and armed with ceremonial picks and shovels. Three honorary members of the class were there, too: Garff Wilson ’31, the man who wrote the Andy Smith eulogy that is read aloud the night before each Big Game; restaurateur Larry Blake, whose rathskeller was home away from home for decades of Cal students; and Agnes Robb ’18, Robert Gordon Sproul’s secretary for almost 50 years, who donated $10,000 to underwrite a book to serve as a historical record for the campus archives. But Chancellor Heyman wasn’t there. “He’d much rather be here than where he is,” Vice Chancellor Mac Laetsch told the crowd. “He’s meeting with the regents.” One year later, the gate was ready for its dedication. As a final touch, Lesley Walsh and Jack Ken designed a stainless-steel time capsule filled with Cal memorabilia from the ’50s to be set in the pavement between the towers.” At the dedication, Walsh noted that, “In St Paul’s Cathedral in London is a simple tablet of its great builder, Christopher Wren, that says ‘If you seek his memorial, look about you.’ Well, this isn’t St Paul’s, but it will do very nicely for the class of 1954.” Reach Martin Snapp at catman442@comcast.net.

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In Memoriam

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Perry Close, April 19, in Belmont. Born in Chicago, young Perry was an avid stamp-collector, scout, and roller skater. In 1942, Perry left San Francisco State College to join the Navy, serving in Morocco and England, where he flew anti-submarine patrols. After the war, he returned to the Bay Area and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from Berkeley. After earning his doctorate from the University of Texas, he joined the Medical Service Corps to conduct research on aviation physiology. In 1961, he married Onvie Faye Kelley and completed stints in aerospace physiology research at Northrop Space Labs and Chrysler’s Space Division. He returned to California and taught physiology, human genetics, and evolution at the City College of San Francisco. He also rekindled his love of the outdoors and volunteered for the Peninsula Open Space Trust. Always learning, Perry read voraciously after retirement, his nightstand piled high with books. He traveled widely and played tour guide for visiting relatives, writing the occasional silly poem, and regaling his grandchildren with stories. Perry is survived by his wife, Onvie; daughter, Carole; son, Carl; stepson, Robin; and many grandchildren.

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George Eugene Kostritsky, July 30, in Baltimore, MD. He was born on July 13, 1922, in Shanghai, where his Russian immigrant parents found safe harbor after a harrowing trek fleeing the Bolsheviks. When George was four, his family moved to San Francisco, where he later attended Polytechnic High School. Fluent in Russian, George served as an interpreter for the Navy during WWII. He married Margaret in 1943. George earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Cal and a master’s in planning and urban design from MIT. George began his career in architecture and planning with Mayer & Whittlesey in New York and later moved with his family to Baltimore. He retired in 1995 after teaching architecture at Harvard University, University of Oregon, and Howard University. George died of coronavirus complications. He is preceded in death by his wife and is survived by his companion, Sheila; daughter, Juliet; son, Gyorgy; son-in-law, Bradford; and grandson, Christopher. George “Dode” G. Hall, MBA ’50, Sept. 6, in Walnut Creek. Born in 1924, Dode grew up in Piedmont and briefly attended UC Berkeley before entering the Army Air Corps as a map maker in the aerial photography unit. After the war, he returned to Cal where he earned his MBA and caught the eye of another

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student, Betty Rohde, whom he soon married. He found work at the rope manufacturer, Tubbs Cordage Company, and settled in Orinda with his family. Winters were spent at Sugar Bowl Ski resort and summers in Tahoe. Being a handy person, Dode purchased a Chris Craft kit boat and built his own in the garage: the “Wendy Sue.” In the early ’70s, Dode began work as a stockbroker with the Shuman Agnew firm and later became part-owner of the Sierra Boat Company, turning a hobby into a profitable business. Dode enjoyed spending time at the Bohemian Club and the Claremont Country Club, where he played dominoes every week. Dode was a great conversationalist, known for his sound business advice and sense of humor. His wife of 71 years, Betty, preceded him in passing in 2019. He is survived by his three children, Wendy, Suzette, and Herb; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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James A. Gualco, Aug. 12, in Elk Grove. Jim received his B.A. from Cal in international relations and later earned a law degree from UC Hastings. He was the judge of the Walnut Grove-Isleton Justice Court for 24 years and was in private practice for 44 years. Jim was a life member of the Cal Alumni Association and was active in the Cal Alumni Club of Sacramento. He is survived by his wife, Marily; four children; three step-children; ten grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. Robin (Wilde) DeGraf, March 11, in Fort Belvoir, VA. Robin was born in Seattle, WA and grew up in Petaluma. She majored in English at Cal and was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. In her junior year, Robin took courses in riflemanship. She married Col. William B. DeGraf and lived the life of a career Army officer’s wife, moving frequently before settling in Alexandria, VA. Her avid love of music and harmony found her singing in many church choirs as well as the awardwinning Sweet Adelines chorus. She led an a cappella group called “Robin and the Hoods.” She had a keen interest in genealogy, compiling both the Wilde and DeGraf family trees. She is survived by her husband, Bill; her two sons, Scot and Brad; two daughters, Gwyneth and Leslie; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

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Mary Lou (Willis) Berg, July 15, in Oakland. Mary Lou was a vital member of the class committee from her student years. Her involvement in campus activities included being president of the Women’s

Athletic Association and a copy editor for the Blue and Gold. She was also a member of Mortar Board, Prytanean, Torch and Shield, Pi Alpha Sigma (a professional advertising society), and the Chi Omega sorority. Mary Lou also worked for many years in the optometry office of Lionel Sorenson, where she greeted many of her Berkeley friends and endeared herself to staff. She is survived by her husband of many decades, David; her daughter, Ann; and three grandchildren. Nancy (Balch) Fischer, July 4, in Millbrae. She served on the class committee and was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. Her many interests included travel, photography, and environmental preservation. She was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother and delighted in raising her four children in San Mateo. Her travels included trips to Denmark and England, where she had relatives with whom she maintained a lifelong correspondence. She was never at a loss for words and always ready to lend a helping hand with a warm, endearing smile.

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Antoinette “Boo Boo” (Lynch) Simmons, April 14, in Monterey. Antoinette, known to her many friends as “Boo Boo,” was an active member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Boo Boo graduated from Cal with a B.A. in history and taught school until her marriage to Raymond H. Simmons, with whom she moved to Salinas, raised four children, and maintained an infectious passion for all things Cal. Boo Boo was a member of the Junior League of Monterey County, a past president of the Salinas Area Republican Women group, and served on the board of the Valley Guild, the Monterey County Symphony, the Community Foundation for Monterey County, and the Girl Scouts of America. She is survived by Ray, her husband of 62 years; her four children, Raymond, John, Molly, and Peter ’86; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Shirley Subke (Bitterman) Smith, April 9, in Los Angeles. Shirley graduated from Berkeley with a degree in philosophy and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As a lawyer, she worked with Richard Nixon and various law firms. She is survived by two daughters and her grandchildren.

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Ysabel Ana (Urquiza) Costanza, July 6, in Belmont. The daughter of Basque immigrants, Ysabel grew up with two sisters on their family’s small farm, learning the values of hard work and building community among the orange groves and bean fields. At Cal, Ysabel met the love of her life, Robert Rocco Costanza, with whom she settled in Torrance and had three daughters. Ysabel was a “room mother” and Girl Scout Troop


leader, known in the community for her wine cake and pumpkin bread. She taught for many years in the Torrance School district, including at West High School where she was named “Teacher of the Year” when she retired. She was an active alumna, chairing the Cal Alumni Association Scholarship Committee in Los Angeles with her husband for many years, and supporter of the Class of ’54 North Gate campaign. Known to classmates as “Izzy,” she was a member of Gavel and Quill, Women’s Activities Council, Senior Class Council and Women’s Dormitory Association. Ysabel will be remembered for her sharp wit, love of libraries, and gracious hosting. She is preceded in death by her husband, Robert ’56, and daughter, Catherine ’82, she is survived by her daughters, Carol ’88 and Ann, and five grandchildren.

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Joyce (Meyer) Schmitz, Aug. 8, in Richfield, OH. She was a resident of Potomac, MD, and she taught elementary school in California, West Germany, Connecticut, and Maryland. Joyce is predeceased by her youngest daughter and survived by her loving husband of 59 years, Herbert K. Schmitz ’55; her daughter and son, five grandchildren, and her sister.

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Jessie Siu Yee, M.A. ’72, July 30, in Oakland. Jessie grew up and attended schools in the Bay Area, including Oakland High. She graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in history and moved to New York City to teach elementary school. Upon returning to the Bay, Jessie obtained a master’s from Cal and, later, a teaching credential. She taught English as a Second Language in several different Oakland schools. After retiring, she volunteered at the East Bay Music Foundation and cared for two great-nephews and two grandsons. Jessie loved to travel and visited all seven continents. She climbed to the top of the Great Wall of China and the fire lookout station atop Sierra Buttes. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Thomas; two sons, Gordon ’83 and Brandon ’86; daughter-in-law, Candy ’87; and two grandsons. Les Carpenter. Les was a Korean War veteran, edited the Daily Californian, and was inducted into the Order of the Golden Bear. He enjoyed a long career as a writer, editor, and news bureau manager. Les is survived by his wife, three children, and six grandchildren.

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Craig Lawrance Wiley, Aug. 28, in Greenfield. Craig was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. He received a bachelor’s in entomology before returning to the family farm in the Salinas Valley. He met the love of his life, Sally Vaughn ’57, on a blind date in Tilden during their sophomore year. They were

together until her death in 2014. Craig was an avid Golden Bears fan who rarely missed a Cal football game. Known as “Poppy” to his grandchildren and their friends, he loved his annual trips to the Lair of the Bear and hosted the Lair staff at his ranch every summer that his kids and grandkids were on staff. Preceded in death by his brother, Allan ’54, Craig is survived by his children, Cathy ’81, Mike, Rich ’86, and John ’88 and his sister, Moira.

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Jean (Kirkendall) Cannon, Aug. 16, in El Cerrito. A Bay Area native, Jean was born in San Francisco. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Berkeley in 1958. She volunteered much of her time to groups like Meals on Wheels, a soup kitchen in Richmond, and the Read-Aloud Volunteer Program at a local elementary school. She loved knitting, stories, and the Cal band. Jean is survived by her husband, Bob, MBA ’59; children, Constance ’84 and Rob ’87; and two grandchildren. Joan Mae Spaulding, June 27, in San Francisco. Joan grew up in Van Nuys. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Mortar Board, and Gavel & Quill. After Cal, she served on many 1958 class reunion committees and worked as a legal secretary. Joan is remembered as an avid student of history. Taoting Hsu, April 13. Taoting is survived by her sister, Taoning; nephew, Alaska; greatnephew, Eustace ’03; and great-niece, June.

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Patricia Jean Schwarz, Sept. 15, in Richmond. Pat, born to Phyllis and Herman Luken, was raised in San Lorenzo and earned a degree in psychology at Berkeley. She worked for 38 years at the California Department of Health Services in Berkeley. Her fluency in Spanish medical terms was important for many studies. Pat married Charles Schwarz in 1971. They spent almost 50 years together and raised their children in Albany and El Cerrito. They enjoyed scuba diving in Monterey Bay, over 70 overseas vacations, and cruises around the northern Pacific. Pat was preceded in death by her brother, Norman, and by her beloved dogs. She is survived by her much-loved husband, Charles; her children, Chris and Karen; and her granddaughters, Natalia, Sydney, and Anna-Clara.

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Samuel E. Wilson, M.S. ’66, Sept. 1, in Camarillo. Sam is survived by his daughters, Suzanne ’85 and Catherine ’87, and four granddaughters, Elizabeth ’18, Laura, Julia, and Robin. Donations in Sam’s honor can be made to the UC Berkeley Foundation with “Samuel E. Wilson Scholarship for Transfer Students in the College of Engineering” in the memo line. Mail donations to University of California, Berkeley, Donor and Gift

Services, 1995 University Avenue, Ste. 400, Berkeley, CA 94704.

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Camilla Frances (Girard) Corbin, April 4, in Hagerstown, MD. Cam majored in anthropology and minored in art, which remained her passion. She became an accomplished oil, acrylic, watercolor, and pastel artist and used her knowledge of color and style to achieve respect and recognition in the fiber arts. Cam and her husband raised their daughter in Santa Cruz. Returning to work, she became an office manager in a physical therapy practice. Over time, she leveraged her skills to start a thriving management consultancy. Upon retirement, she contributed skills and expertise to organizations she was passionate about. Cam is survived by her husband, Steve ’66, and daughter, Susan. Robert E. Wherritt, Nov. 8, in Lafayette. Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Berkeley and an M.S. at Santa Clara. At Cal, Bob lived in Smyth Hall and later married Gail Van Winkle ’65. He was an engineer for Babcock & Wilcox Co., PG&E, and Diablo Canyon. Bob promoted energy efficiency as a senior program manager. Bob and Gail enjoyed traveling in the U.S. and traversed three continents. He was an active swimmer, member of the Embarcadero YMCA Board of Managers, and race director of the Golden Gate Marathon in 1985. Bob is survived by his wife, Gail; three children, David ’98, Megan ’02, and Kevin; and four grandchildren.

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Paul Wallace, M.A. ’57, Ph.D. ’66, Feb. 22, in Columbia, MO. Paul was born in Los Angeles in 1931. He studied political science at Cal, earning his bachelor’s, M.A., and a Ph.D., which focused on factional politics in the Indian state of Punjab. Paul joined the political science faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), where he taught for the next four decades. Paul was an internationally renowned expert on Indian politics, especially the Sikhs and Punjabis. While at MU, he met his future wife, and fellow faculty member, Robin Remington. Throughout his life, both he and Robin (who passed away in September) maintained a deep commitment to democracy, social justice, and peace. Their home was appropriately named “Peace Haven,” where they regularly hosted visiting students and scholars. He is survived by his son, Steven, and daughter, Lisa.

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Elizabeth Ann Leite, Sept. 15, in Walnut Creek. Elizabeth graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She taught English as a Second Language for years in the Mt. Diablo School District. She spent most of every day working in her beloved garden. Musical and creative, she was a poet, memoirist, and fabric artist, CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 CAL7


and the author of Simply Beautiful: Living with the Earth in Mind (1980). She loved the earth and its creatures, with a special place in her heart for hummingbirds, seals, and the ocean. She was kind, open-hearted, and generous with all she met. She is survived by her husband, Daliel ’66; son, Adam ’92; daughter, Naomi ’94, M.A. ’96, Ph.D. ’11; and two beloved grandsons.

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Helen Tirsell, Sept. 5, in Oakland. She studied music at the University of Iowa and received a master’s degree in music from Drake University. However, as she raised her two children, Helen’s focus turned more toward public policy. She won a seat on the Livermore City Council and in 1975 became the first female mayor of Livermore and the first woman to hold a mayoral position in Alameda County. She fought for environmental protections and worked hard in support of the Equal Rights Amendment and Title IX. When her daughter went to UC Berkeley for her undergraduate degree, Helen enrolled in the Goldman School of Public Policy. After graduation she became assistant to the graduate school dean and ran the Sloan Summer Institute. She is survived by her two children, Don and Elaine ’88, and four grandchildren.

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Susan Elizabeth Sather, Aug. 30, in Missoula, MT. Susan, the first of six children, was raised in Helena before moving to Kansas to attend St. Mary’s College and later Missoula where she earned her degree in theater arts. After graduation, she married Auturo Leon with whom she had a daughter. She began her career as a special education teacher in New Jersey and earned her Ph.D. in education at Berkeley. She later served as an educational consultant to school districts throughout the Northwest. Susan was preceded in death by her sister, Terry. She is survived by her husband, David; her daughter, Lisa; her sisters, Sara, Lissa, and Mary; and her brother, Orlie.

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Alexander Denny, Nov. 1, in Novato. Alexander was an undergraduate transfer student majoring in English. Growing up in the Larkspur–Corte Madera community, he developed a love of baseball and soccer. He was a talented guitarist with a love of learning, a passion for words, and a dream to become a teacher.

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Keana Werlen, Sept. 29, in Berkeley. Keana studied nutritional science in the College of Natural Resources and was expected to graduate in spring 2023. While receiving treatment for leukemia as a child, she dreamed of becoming a pediatric oncologist. A lifelong gymnast and dancer, Keana won a state title and later performed with a contemporary dance group at Berkeley. She

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will be remembered for her sharp wit and her caring and adventurous spirit. Zoë Rogers, Oct. 29, in Pennsylvania. Zoë was an undergraduate student in the College of Letters & Science and was expected to graduate in spring 2023. A dedicated athlete, she was a goalkeeper on the Cal field hockey team. Zoë was also a passionate advocate for racial justice who served on the executive board of the Black Student-Athlete Committee.

FACULTY AND STAFF Arthur “Art” Shimamura, Oct. 6. A professor emeritus of psychology, Art was an expert in human learning and memory and received a Distinguished Teaching Award at Cal. He helped found the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and, as a Guggenheim Fellow, he explored the relationship between aesthetics and the brain, merging his scholarly interests with his passion for art and photography. Art’s books include Experiencing Art: In the Brain of the Beholder and A Walk Around O’ahu: My Personal Pilgrimage. Eliahu Jury, Sept. 20, in Miami, FL. Eliahu was a professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, he earned his master’s at Harvard and doctorate from Columbia. Eliahu became a professor at Berkeley in 1964 where he worked for nearly two decades before moving to the University of Miami. Eliahu received the American Society of Engineers Rufus Oldenburger Medal for lifetime achievements in automatic control in 1986. The EECS Eliahu Jury Award, given to graduate students and recent alumni, is named in his honor. John McNulty, Sept. 29, in Berkeley. John was a professor emeritus at Berkeley Law. He joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 1964, later becoming the Roger J. Traynor Professor of Law. As a Guggenheim Fellow, John researched structural reforms of the U.S. federal tax system. He served as a visiting professor at several schools, including Yale Law, the University of Cambridge, and the London School of Economics. John Ohala, Aug. 22, in Berkeley. John was a professor emeritus of linguistics. After completing a postdoc in Tokyo, he came to Berkeley where he became a full professor in 1977. He was inducted as a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America in 2010. Richard Calendar, Oct. 10. A professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology, Richard began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1968 and continued to share his wisdom with students for 52 years. A renowned leader in the study of bacterial viruses, he created the first-ever

course in molecular biology at Cal and helped to establish the major. Richard was dedicated to undergraduate education, often writing songs to help his students remember dense material. Richard White, Aug. 14, in Berkeley. A professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences, Richard was a pioneer in the study of ultrasonics and micro-electromechanical systems. In 2003, he received the Rayleigh Award from the IEEE’s Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society. Richard is survived by two sons, Brendan and Rolland, and four grandchildren. Robert Macey, on June 2. Robert was a professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology. He helped develop the Berkeley Madonna, a mathematical modeling software package. Vaughan Jones, Sept. 6. Vaughan was a professor emeritus of mathematics. Born in New Zealand, he earned his doctorate in Switzerland before moving to the U.S. and teaching at UC Berkeley and elsewhere. In 1990, he received the Fields Medal, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics.” Vaughan is survived by his wife, Martha, and three children. Cyril Bud “Dog” Turner, Sept. 3, in Lafayette. A beloved member of the Cal Athletics staff, Bud attended every Cal football practice, meeting, and game for 50 years. He served in the U.S. Army with the 101st Airborne and worked as a soil engineer. Bud is survived by his wife, Joan; his daughters, Kim and Kristi; his son, Kurt; and seven grandchildren.

For In Memoriam guidelines, please visit Californiamag.org/obits. We prefer that you email submissions to obits@alumni.berkeley.edu with “Obituary: first name, last name, class year” in the subject line, but you can also fax them to 510/642-6252 or mail a hard copy to In Memoriam, California magazine, CAA, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720-7520. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity. Submissions deadlines: Spring 2021 issue: January 7, 2021 Summer 2021 issue: April 9, 2021


PO BUNYA

Berkeley is blessed with a unique set of aspirations and responsibilities. We are the product of Abraham Lincoln’s vision for “people’s colleges”—an accessible system of public higher education for all, without regard to inherited privilege. We are an engine of socioeconomic mobility, a center of resistance to the status quo, an institution animated by a determination to make the world a better place. We strive for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yet we cannot fully inhabit that institutional identity, we cannot be who we collectively aspire to be, if there is not justice for each of us individually. Achieving that goal requires us to define and embody what it means to be a truly anti-racist institution. After the horrific incidents of anti-Black violence last summer, I sent a message to our Black alumni expressing my solidarity and sharing my conviction that “We are overdue for profound self-examination of our institutions and structures—including our university—and a commitment to national and campus cultures that support and embrace justice, equity, inclusiveness, and a true sense of belonging.” That is a promise we are keeping by doing all that we can to address racism Representwherever it may be found on our cam- ing: Chancellor Christ pus and in our community. Anchored by with the 2019 our core values and historic mission to CAA African transform lives and the world around us, American Initiative Berkeley has an important role to play in Scholars. terms of what we teach, learn, embody, and model in our words and deeds. We will and should be judged by how we recruit, welcome, include, protect, and support the most marginalized members of our campus community. I agree with what Ibram X. Kendi wrote in his book How to Be an Anti-Racist: We must actively choose to be anti-racist and act accordingly every day to expose and eradicate racist ideas and attitudes, policies, and practices. And, so we shall, with the knowledge that for too many Black members of our community the campus has, for too long, been an unwelcoming and difficult environment. I place enormous importance on a set of values that are, at once, both inherently anti-racist and essential to our educational mission: diversity, inclusion, and equity of experience. To this list I have added another aspiration—a true sense of belonging for all—because of what I have learned from Professor john a. powell, who says that belonging is “a vision of a large ‘we’ or many ‘we’s’ to come together to make it this large ‘we’.

It extends to people who may not look like you, to people who may not talk like you … it claims and it demands that we recognize, despite our differences, our shared humanity.” These ideals and aspirations are at the heart of a wide range of initiatives we have launched. We are organizing events to help us reflect on the way in which racism has shaped the world and our campus. These programs add intellectual heft to our ongoing work that aims to foster and sustain a sense of belonging and equity of experience for every member of Cal’s community. While I regret that Proposition 16 was not approved by California voters, we will continue to do everything in our power, and within the law, to increase the diversity of our campus community. The most recent cohort of faculty hired is one of our most diverse ever. Our Undergraduate Student Diversity Project is beginning to bear fruit. This fall we admitted our most diverse undergraduate class in 30 years. Similar initiatives aimed at other parts of the campus community, including steps to better support Black graduate students, are underway. We also owe a special debt of gratitude to the many alumni who are generously donating to scholarship programs targeting underrepresented students, and to the Cal Alumni Association for supporting the African American Initiative Scholarship. In terms of policing and community safety, we are implementing a range of new initiatives that will help ensure every aspect of campus operations is consistent with our commitment to racial justice. I am also pleased to share that as I write this column in early November, we have received permission to remove the names from three campus buildings—Boalt, Barrows, and LeConte—that were named for men with indisputably racist views. The details of the aforementioned initiatives can be found on the relevant campus websites. While our democracy and our university were founded on the principles of equal rights, justice, and opportunity, those ideals have not been realized for all. We have clearly failed to destroy the plagues of racism and anti-Blackness in the present day. The combination of Berkeley’s academic resources and our community’s long-standing dedication to social justice means we are uniquely positioned—and motivated—to propel change on our campus, in our community, and across our country. It is an opportunity that must not be squandered. —Chancellor Carol T. Christ CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 57


IN HOUSE

CAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

NCAA hammer-throw champion Camryn Rogers ’22.

DIRECTOR’S CHAIR

As we commemorate the past 150 years of women at Cal, we are offered a chance to reflect on the legacies of resilient women who laid a strong foundation for UC Berkeley. Throughout our university’s history we find women leading us forward: teaching respect for human life, fighting for progress, and creating avenues for change. This fall, we celebrated activist Freada Kapor Klein ’74, Berkeley’s 2020 Alumna of the Year, for her contributions to advocacy for victims of sexual harassment. Berkeley biochemist Dr. Jennifer Doudna received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her gene-editing breakthroughs. The Japanese American Women AIumnae of UC Berkeley (JAWAUCB) chapter held its 30th annual Scholarship Awards. JAWAUCB’s roots include responding to housing discrimination in the 1930s. Alumnae advisors of the Japanese Women’s Student Club helped raise enough money for its students to purchase a two-story building that would provide reasonably priced housing for Japanese American women at Berkeley. Today, JAWAUCB honors their legacy by teaching our history and advocating for all who face discrimination. As we, as a society, wrestle with social issues including systemic racism, we are listening to Black women’s voices—past and present—as they light the way to a better world. In the 1920s, Ida Jackson ’22, M.A. ’24 could not find a place for Black women 58 ALUMNI.BERKELEY.EDU

at Cal, so she founded the first Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter west of the Mississippi. During its annual recognition dinner, The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) honored our incredible community of Alumni Scholars, including TAAP Scholar and squash player Felicia Yamaguchi ’21, who found her calling through the Teach in Prison DeCal course at Berkeley. Track and field student-athletes Sara East ’22, Sydney Reid ’22, and Camryn Rogers ’22 discuss navigating Cal in the midst of the pandemic in our Who Are We Now? conversation series. In the words of Oakland leader and activist Regina Jackson ’84: “We are building the leadership I expect to see in the world.” These are challenging times that cause us to feel overwhelmed. Hope seems fleeting—but I am optimistic about our future. The spirit of commitment and care exhibited by our trailblazing alumni, across generations, remains at the core of the Cal community. On behalf of all of us at the Cal Alumni Association, I wish you a safe and happy 2021.

Fiat Lux.

Executive Director Clothilde Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79 CAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION CONTENT

Images: Mogli Maureal; Felicia Yamaguchi; Ashneel Pratap

Women have long been at the forefront of civil rights.


Your Yourconnection connectionto toBerkeley. Berkeley.For ForLife. life.

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS

IN CONVERSATION WITH ALUMNI SCHOLARS FELICIA YAMAGUCHI AND ASHNEEL PRATAP by Sasha Kolesnikov

Felicia Yamaguchi ’21 celebrates her high school graduation with her family.

On October 13,

two Alumni Scholars spoke to an audience of Cal alumni, students, and community partners at The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) 21st Recognition Celebration. On individual journeys at Cal, Ashneel Pratap ’21 and Felicia Yamaguchi ’21 both represent the diverse student body that CAA’s Alumni Scholars Program supports. After an isolating experience growing up Black in Yokosuka, Japan, Felicia struggled to learn English when her family immigrated to the US. However, this challenge sparked her love for teaching: “When I first came to America, my teacher was the one who taught me English; she would literally just let me take books out of her classroom and take them home so I could learn English. It was that moment where I was like, ‘I could be that type of person for others.’” Now a senior at Cal, Felicia’s major in ethnic studies further opened her eyes to the power of education. “As an ethnic studies major and as a person from so many different marginalized communities within America, I just know that there are so many systems of oppression that are bringing down people from my groups and other groups; and I want to uplift them, and one of the biggest forms of liberation is through education.” Last semester, Felicia was part of Cal’s Teach in Prison DeCal and helped incarcerated men study for the GED exam. “That was extremely impactful for me, not only because I was obviously able to help incarcerated men with their studies, but actually one of the men I was helping out is a cousin of one of my friends from my African American-themed program [at Cal]. So it was just in that moment, that I was like, ‘whoa, I can actually see the impact of my work.’” Also an avid squash player and member of Cal’s Club Squash Team, Felicia joined SquashDrive, a nonprofit enrichment program that coaches Oakland youth in squash. Felicia has felt supported by the TAAP community throughout the remote semester: “I’m just so grateful for this program, honestly, because without [it], I don’t know if I would have even made it through Berkeley, or probably even came to Berkeley in the first place … I have nothing but love and respect for staff in the program.” When asked where Felicia saw herself in five years, she answered, “I see myself teaching, of course. I’ll definitely be in a classroom.”

CAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION CONTENT

Impacted by his upbringing and immigrant family from a Fijian background, Ashneel makes sure to prioritize his education: “When I came to Cal, I saw a really big disparity in terms of my education versus the education of my peers.” After hearing the experiences of his parents and his grandmother, who had been enslaved in India during her lifetime, Ashneel became interested in international development. “I would always hear stories from my parents and they would say stuff like, ‘oh, we lived in a house made out of four pieces of sheet metal and after each storm, we’d have to rebuild.’ So I was really inspired by development work, and also interested in tech. But not tech for the sake of tech—instead, tech for the sake of helping people.” Through economics research and internships, Ashneel hopes to help underrepresented communities and first-generation students. “Before I got admitted to Cal, I was selected to present my research from community college in an Honors Consortium at Berkeley. Presenting this research was a big deal to me, and I had not visited the Cal campus in a while, so when I stepped on campus again, I realized I want to and could go here.” Ashneel has witnessed the gap between first-generation students, many of whom are transfers, and students from privileged backgrounds. “There’s a disparity among first-generation students, and these firstgeneration students can have the support that they need in order to get to where they should be, and that’s where CAA steps in and serves as an equalizer. TAAP and CAA are a really caring community that does not let transfers sink [during their time at Cal], because I’ve seen so many transfers have a terrible first year without support.” These two stories reflect the lived experiences of those in the Alumni Scholars community who aim to create a better future. Hear more from Ashneel and Felicia at bit.ly/TAAPstories Sasha Kolesnikov is a sophomore at Cal double majoring in political science and society and environment. She is interested in the intersection of socially responsible business, politics, and law. She is a current Alumni Scholar in The Achievement Award Program and a student assistant at the Cal Alumni Association.

Ashneel Pratap ’21 celebrates his 10th birthday with his grandmother. ALUMNI.BERKELEY.EDU 59


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100 Bay Place, Oakland, CA 94610 / covia.org/st-pauls-towers a not-for-profi t community owned and operated by covia. license 011400627 / coa #327


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CAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION CURRENT EVENTS We may be sheltered in place, but our hearts will always be in Berkeley. Join your Cal community for live and on-demand virtual events like the ones listed below. Visit alumni.berkeley.edu/events for details. In Conversation: UC’s 2020 Nobel Prize Winners on Changing the World Through Scientific Discovery In partnership with the UC Office of the President Hear California’s newest Nobel laureates reflect on the value of scientific discovery and its momentous impact on society at large.

Entering and Exiting Small Business Ownership Hosted by the Cal Alumni Club of Austin Dream of starting a small business? Join Brook Schaaf ’00 for the scoop on beginning, buying, and selling. CACNE Virtual Happy Hour/Social Hour Hosted by the Cal Alumni Club of New England Celebrate the holiday season with fellow alumni from New England, New York, Austin, and Houston.

Lair of the Golden Bear Virtual Activities Cozy up near the computer campfire and feel like you’re back in Pinecrest. Become a Berkeley Changemaker™ Rich Lyons ’82, Berkeley’s Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer, introduces this exciting new program poised to change the landscape for students.

NOTICE TO OUR MEMBERS AFFINITY PROGRAMS ARE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN CAA and a business partner to offer services to our members. In addition to offering discounts to our members, affinity partners may also give a portion of their business to CAA, which uses these funds to support alumni programs that support Cal. In the process of providing you with these benefits, your information is shared with select partners, all of which sign a privacy contract and are not allowed to share your data. Please read the following privacy information so that we may follow your directions on how we handle your data. If you have contacted us in the past and your privacy preference has not changed, there is no need to contact us again. IMPORTANT PRIVACY CHOICE You have the right to control whether we share your name and address with our affinity partners (companies that we partner with to offer products or services to our alumni). Please read the following information carefully before you make your choice below: YOUR RIGHTS You have the following rights to restrict the sharing of your name and address with our affinity partners. This form does not prohibit us from sharing your information when we are required to do so by law. This includes sending you information about the alumni association, the university, or other products or services. YOUR CHOICE Restrict Information Sharing With Affinity Partners: Unless you say NO, we may share your name and address with our affinity partners.

Our affinity partners may send you offers to purchase various products or services that we have agreed they can offer in partnership with us. n NO, please do not share my name and address with your affinity partners. TIME SENSITIVE REPLY You may decide at any time that you do not want us to share your information with our affinity partners. Your choice marked here will remain unless you state otherwise. However, if we do not hear from you, we may share your name and address with our affinity partners. If you decide that you do not want to receive information from our partners, you may do one of the following: (1) Fill out, sign, and send this form to us at the following address (you may want to make a copy for your records). NAME ADDRESS CITY, STATE, ZIP SIGNATURE

(2) Send an email to: nopartnermailings@alumni.berkeley.edu (3) Reply electronically by contacting us through the following Internet option: alumni.berkeley.edu/nopartnermailings To assure proper processing of your request, please provide the “ID Code” on your magazine mailing label. Cal Alumni Association, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720-7520.

USPS: STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION Publication Title: California Publication Number: 0008-1302 Filing Date: 12/01/20 Issue Frequency: Quarterly Number of Issues Published Annually: 4 Annual Subscription Price: $6.50 Complete Mailing Address of Publication: Cal Alumni Association 1 Alumni House Berkeley, CA 94720-7520 Contact Person: Pat Joseph Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters: Cal Alumni Association 1 Alumni House Berkeley, CA 94720-7520 Publisher: Clothilde Hewlett 1 Alumni House Berkeley, CA 94720-7520 Editor: Pat Joseph 1 Alumni House Berkeley, CA 94720-7520 Managing Editor: Laura Smith 1 Alumni House Berkeley, CA 94720-7520 Owner: Cal Alumni Association 1 Alumni House Berkeley, CA 94720-7520 Known bondholders, Mortgagees, Security Holders Owning: None Tax Status: Has not changed during the preceding 12 months Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: Fall 2020 Extent and Nature of Circulation: Association members, primarily U.S. Total Number of Copies: Average per issue / 2020 Fall Printed: 87,823 / 84,623 Mailed outside-county paid subscriptions: 85,165 / 83,634 Mailed in-county paid subscriptions: 0 / 0 Paid distribution outside the mails: 0 / 0 Paid distribution by other classes of mail: 0 / 0 Total Paid Distribution: 85,165 / 83,634 Free or nominal rate outside-county: 0 / 0 Free or nominal rate in-county: 0 / 0 Free or nominal rate at other classes: 20 / 18 Free or nominal rate outside mail: 3,250 / 2,700 Total Free: 3,270 / 2,718 Total Distribution: 88,435 / 86,064 Copies Not Distributed: 2,655 / 1,557 Total: Average: 91,100 / Fall: 87,621 Percent Paid: Average: 96.30% / Fall: 96.86% This Statement of Ownership will be printed in the Winter 2020 issue of this publication I certify that the statements by me above are correct and complete: s/Pat Joseph, Editor in Chief, 12/1/20

CALIFORNIA WINTER 2020 61


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CAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

Cal Connections: Regina Jackson ’84 QUICK FACTS Degrees: BA, political science; honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, University of San Francisco Currently: President and CEO, East Oakland Youth Development Center; member, Black Alumni Association

Tell us a little about yourself. In addition to my day job as president and CEO of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), I serve as chair of the Oakland Police Commission. Our purpose is to oversee Oakland Police Department policies, practices, and customs to meet national standards. I serve on six advisory boards, including the UC President’s Advisory Committee on the African American Presence. I am also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Fellow; our research

Regina Jackson ’84: “We are building the leadership I expect to see in the world.”

Opening Safely in 2021 Get away to the Lair this summer and enjoy an allinclusive family camp vacation. We open for reservations in late January. Learn more and get on our mailing list at lairofthebear.org.

Looking forward to a safe summer together. We’ll be following all local and state protocols.

The Lair of the Golden Bear is a program of the Cal Alumni Association.


Your connection to Berkeley. For life.

study is to identify the upstream factors for youth violence in Oakland. One of my teammates is Dr. Kris Madsen at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Image: Courtesy of Regina Jackson

What was your life like at Cal? I was a transfer student from the College of Alameda. I found an incredibly supportive academic home with the support of Dean of Student Services Michelle Woods, and many African American professors, including Harry Edwards, Barbara Cristian, and Percy Hintzen. I sang in the gospel choir and was a featured soloist during the 1984 Black Graduation, singing Irene Cara’s “Out Here On My Own” from the film Fame. Back then, [African Americans] were 3% of the student body. There was a plethora of activism that awakened the protester in me. These included marches to change Grove Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and to place a stoplight on Bancroft Way. Perhaps the most important was the call for divestment in South Africa during its apartheid regime.

What are you working on currently? My focus is on transformational policing in Oakland and social justice activism. I participate, I lead, and

I teach the next generation of young leaders. The Oakland Police Commission’s policies on parole, probation, and use of force are some of California’s most progressive. Measure S1 (which approves stronger powers) was overwhelmingly approved by 81% of the Oakland citizens. More than 70% of my professional staff are EOYDC alumni, and we continue to have a small number of Cal graduates. Recently, I was delighted to be a guest speaker for a Graduate School of Social Work seminar. Providing insights and application to real, workworld challenges and opportunities is exciting for me—and I think also for the students! We are building the leadership I expect to see in the world.

How do you tap into your Cal alumni network? Today, I call on many incredible alumni friends to support the causes I am interested in. They include a host of donors who provide support and resources at a moment’s notice. A Cal alumni friend was responsible for bringing the Magic Johnson Empowerment Center to EOYDC in 2004. In addition, Cheryl Wright ’83 and Terry Blanchard ’85 serve in leadership roles on our Board of Directors. Find Regina on Twitter @reginaoak.

CONNECT NOW WITH THE BLACK ALUMNI COMMUNITY Please join UC Berkeley’s Black Alumni Association (BAA) in its strategic initiative to “Look Back, Give Back.” BAA’s mission is to advance the needs of the Black Cal community (alumni, students, university, and Black community) by providing opportunities for meaningful and lifelong engagement, and partner with the University to promote our core values.

What are BAA’s core values? • Champion Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Education • Promote Healthy Living for Black Cal Community • Stimulate Economic and Political Empowerment • Leverage our Collective Knowledge, Experience, Strengths, and Connections • Realize Social Justice

For more information, follow BAA on Facebook: bit.ly/calblackalumni

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COA #088


Spotlight

Over his long journalistic career, Kurt Streeter ’89 has spent time at ESPN, the Los Angeles Times, and the Baltimore Sun. But since 2017, he has been writing features and essays for the New York Times, his stories focusing on the intersection of sports, culture, politics, race, and gender. With athletic activism on the rise in the U.S., it’s been a rich beat to cover. At Cal, Streeter was a star tennis player, worldranked in both singles and doubles, one of a relatively small number of African American standouts in a white-dominated sport. In a lengthy 1987 Daily Cal interview with reporter Michael Silver ’88, Streeter said, “Most Black players pull for you. ... It’s kind of like a fraternity. There aren’t too many of us, but we’re coming up.” — D.S.

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In the late 1970s, Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall ’81 became the first Black female cheerleader at Cal. She has been a pioneer ever since. In 2018, Marshall was named CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, making her the first Black female CEO in the NBA’s 71-year history. At the time, the Mavericks had no other women or minorities in permanent leadership roles. Now, the team’s leadership is nearly 50 percent women and 47 percent people of color. “Diversity is about numbers and representation,” said Marshall. “Inclusion is how to create a culture that’s welcoming.” In pursuit of such a culture, Marshall makes everyone on her executive team read The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness. When faced with a global pandemic and a league-wide shutdown earlier this year, the Cal alum handled the crisis with compassion, “crunching numbers” in order to continue paying her staff. — M.W.

In August, Judge Thelton Henderson ’55, J.D. ’62, received the George H.W. Bush Distinguished Alumnus Award from the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. The award—whose namesake played for the Yale baseball team that was bested by Cal in the first-ever NCAA College World Series in 1947—honors former college baseball players who have achieved greatness beyond the diamond. One of just two Black students in his class at Berkeley Law, Henderson went on to become the first Black lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and later a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of California. Since retiring in 2017, he has served as a distinguished visiting professor at Berkeley Law. Henderson is also a board member at Stiles Hall (see p. 9), the nonprofit that assists underrepresented students. He describes his involvement with Stiles as his “single most valuable and meaningful experience” at Cal. — M.W.

Mika Hilaire ’96, who ran track and played basketball at Cal, went on to get her J.D. at UC Hastings in 2000. Her career since then has largely focused on employment law. Dubbed a “legal gladiator in high heels,” amid the burgeoning #MeToo movement, Hilaire represented more than a dozen women who accused Oakland-based chef Charlie Hallowell of sexual harassment and verbal abuse in his restaurants. More recently, she founded the Equal Rights Law Group, which she told the San Fernando Valley Business Journal is the “culmination of all of my 20 years of experience and really trying to establish myself as a civil rights lawyer.” The former college athlete (and professional poker player) is now representing the family of deceased University of New Mexico football player Nahje Flowers in a wrongful death suit against both the school and the NCAA. — B.K.

After a monthslong hiatus because of COVID-19, the NBA resumed gameplay in July 2020 with “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned on its courts. Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown garnered attention, not only for his impressive performance in the playoffs but also his social activism. During post-game press conferences, the former California Golden Bear commented on systemic racism, police brutality, and voter suppression. In August, Brown reflected on the case of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “People post my jersey all the time—No. 7. And every time I look at my jersey now, what I see is a Black man being shot seven times,” he said. “All America sees is his background … It’s easier to see that than it is to see the truth.” Above the No. 7, Brown’s jersey now reads, “Liberation.” — M.W.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY PATRICK WELSH


Please do what you can. You can make the difference, today.

Since 1897, California magazine has kept us connected to the world’s top public university and the issues we care about most. Like many organizations, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA), an independent 501(c)(3) organization, now faces a financial crisis that can only be resolved through the unprecedented generosity of our alumni, members, readers, and supporters. The future of CAA depends on you.

Show your support for the future of CAA. alumni.berkeley.edu/rise Scan this with your phone to learn more