Published 7 October, 2021, The Berkeley Times.
marked a 50-year anniversary (2019) of the largest student strike in Berkeley’s history. “Without courage, it is impossible to live up to your values,” Maya Angelou said, and all of these individuals have shown up, stepped up and spoken up so that their values of social justice and education grounded in reality and truth could and can be lived here at Cal and in the community, the world at large.
EastwindBooks of Berkeley on University just west of Shattuck produced a timely assemblage edited by Harvey Dong and Janie Chen, with historical photos by Douglas Wachter. It brings together representatives of the “hyphenated” student groups of 1969 -- African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American and Native American – who led the white students, diverse faculty and community members who supported them; just as these unnecessarily divided, oppressed and marginalized peoples have voiced another shout for unity and support as white supremacy, police brutality and violent misogyny have been re-exposed to public view.
One of my favorite parts is “Lessons Learned from the Third World Strike,” by Filipino social worker/ community organizer and attorney Lillian Fabros, from Salinas, CA:
“1 – Build Coalitions Before You Need Them…
2 – Race Matters – …No race has “made it” until all races have made it.
3 – Class Matters – Never Forget Class Background…
4 – Women Hold Up Half the Sky… (active involvement, leadership, service, direction, persistence…)
5 – Organize, Organize, Organize. It is difficult for individuals on their own to bring about change. And you can never stop organizing…(As Rickey Vincent says, “the opponents of Ethnic Studies have been diligently studying what happened and working on how to devise means to contain & eliminate the progress made back then.” p. 118)
6 – The Journey is as Important as the Goal. It is arguable that because the strike ultimately ended in a moratorium, there was no victory for Third World students…the victory was the jumpstarting of (Asian American) activism over the past decades…The strike coalesced a longing for justice that expressed itself in multiple personal and professional endeavors.
– Find the Goal YOU are Passionate About… We need a broad range of
skills for people…because they will remain committed to helping the communities
when they remember their roots. There are different paths to furthering
My other “favorite” is the “Ethnic Studies Historical Legacy” by Maria E. Ramirez and Nina Genera, which encapsulates the painful, bitter truths of world histories of genocide, kidnapping, slavery, disenfranchisement and other forms of oppression and suffering inflicted upon BIPOC-(W), which continue to this day. (Photo, Ethnic Studies at Sather Gate, Third World Strike by Fotor)
We can’t let defensiveness and denial “stop” us. Chew on and swallow the WHOLE bitter pill of historical truth. THEN -- It will take a whole lot of individual and collective Showing Up, Stepping Up, Stepping Back, Speaking Up, Listening Up and Acting Up to actually accomplish the global tasks before us.
We have it in us to heal…
(Photo - Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration, Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 2021)
Mission Statement, University of California, Berkeley Ethnic Studies Department: "The Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley is committed to the comparative study of racialization and indigeneity within the Americas, as well as between the U.S. and other nations. We seek to understand race and racism as “moving targets” that undergo mutations or evolve, and to recognize the complexities of the intersections of race with gender, class, sexuality, religion, and other systems of difference and axes of power. Our approaches to these issues interrogate the relationship of social structure to those of literary and cultural practices, and in so doing question and challenge traditional disciplinary boundaries and assumptions. In addition to grounding our scholarly work in the concrete situations of people of color, we also use a methodological framing that emphasizes both the structural dimensions of race and racism (social, political, and economic inequalities and struggles against them) and the associated cultural dimensions (literary, artistic, musical and other forms of humanistic expression). Our scholarly concerns are explicitly linked to the development of critical knowledges and are informed by a commitment to social change and decolonization."
The Berkeley Times, "Knox Book Beat."(c) Wyndy J. Knox Carr, 2021.