The Spring 2018 issue of the CRG biannual newsletter, FaultLines, is now available to read and to download. This issue features interviews with Prof. Lisa García Bedolla and Alan Pelaez Lopez, exploring issues of race, gender, citizenship, and culture; Fall 2017 major events and grant recipients; an update about research on gender violence and carceral violence; coming events; and more!
Words from the Director
The last few months, we have witnessed tumultuous political shifts. Institutions from Hollywood to Capitol Hill spent the winter in an uproar in response to charges of sexual violence and sexual harassment. This is an issue that hits close to home: Chancellor Christ has called for a renewed commitment to making our campus a safe place to study and work. In considering how we move towards that goal, a key issue to foreground is the role of race in how sexual harassment and sexual violence are practiced, experienced, and addressed.
Long before #MeToo was popularized by actor Alyssa Milano, an activist named Tamara Burke pioneered a “Me Too” campaign over a decade ago, to en-courage women of color who survived sexual assault to share their experiences. The pivotal role of black women in developing responses to sexual harassment in the legal field has also been overlooked. Over thirty years ago, the Supreme Court first considered sexual harassment in the case of Mechelle Vinson, a bank teller who was sexually assaulted by her supervisor. In finding that sexual harassment violates civil rights laws, the Court relied upon Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines issued by Eleanor Holmes Norton. Several black women (Diane Williams, Paulette Barnes, and Sandra Bundy, in addition to Mechelle Vinson) filed claims that became landmark sexual harass-ment lawsuits.
CRG is organizing programs that highlight this intersection of race with sexual violence and sexual harassment. With the generous support of the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, we are bringing Professor Kimberle Crenshaw to speak at Berkeley. Professor Crenshaw, who served as a member of the legal team for Anita Hill’s case against Justice Clarence Thomas, developed the highly influential theory of “intersectionality,” which examines the ways interconnecting social identities, particularly those of marginalized groups such as women of color, are inadequately addressed by institutional structures. Additionally, CRG research initiatives are modeling engaged research strategies with community organizations to learn more about surviving the intersections of sexual/domestic violence and multiple forms of state violence. The work led by CRG’s Feminist Anti-Carceral Policy & Research Initiative is profiled in this issue.
A second area of dramatic political and legal shifts has been immigration. In September, President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides a reprieve of deportation and allows for work authorization, for those who qualify. In January, 2018, litigation brought by the University of California yielded an injunction which directed the administration to allow DACA recipients whose protections had ex-pired or were to soon to expire, to be allowed to apply to renew. The Trump administration has now appealed this injunction to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile prospects for reform in Congress do not look promising, with DACA recipients serving as a bargaining chip traded for more draconian enforcement. The Trump administration has ended Temporary Protected Status for immigrants fleeing conditions in Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador, and Trump’s attempt to ban Muslims via immigration law has now entered its second year.
Immigration is also an issue that hits close to home. There are an estimated 500 undocumented students at UC Berkeley; their vulnerability was made plain by the immigration detention of a Berkeley undergraduate in January, 2018. This is also an important area of work for CRG. In 2013, we issued a climate survey of undocumented students at Berkeley, with findings that were key to the formation of Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program. With the help of Professor Lisa García Bedolla (profiled in this issue) CRG is launching a new climate study that will be primarily conducted by undocumented students. Through interviews and focus groups, these students will examine how undocumented undergraduate and graduate students at UC Berkeley are experiencing this political moment and will assess how they can be better supported by the university. In addition, Alan Pelaez Lopez, director of our Arts & Humanities Initiative (also profiled in this issue), continues to curate important work on intersections of migration, indigeneity, blackness, and queer of color critique.
Stay tuned for key events this spring. Along with our Thursday Forum Series, we will sponsor a distin-guished lecture and a spring symposium. In March, we are organizing a spring symposium focused on Andrea Ritchie’s Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, which will feature an incredible array of activists and academics speaking to women’s experiences of racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement. In April, we are excited to host Professor María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo as our Spring Distinguished Guest Lecturer, with support from UC Berkeley’s Climate Change Speaker Series. Her book, Indian Given: Racial Geographies Across Mexico and the United States, just won the John Hope Franklin Book prize from the American Studies Association.
More than ever, we need research that can and will continue to address the political and theoretical challenges of these times. We hope you join us in this effort.
– Leti Vopp, Director
Cover art: JARRING III, by Mirabelle Jones