Robin Williams and mental health

Within minutes after its announcement, the general reaction to Robin Williams’ death on Facebook was surprise. How could a comedian commit suicide? How could a man who smiled all the time be mentally ill? How can anyone rich and famous want to end his life? Our culture seemed to have Read More…

Seeking UC student input on sexual assault prevention and response

Sexual violence on college campuses is a silent, stigmatized epidemic, and no campus is exempt. Even universities absent from the U.S. Department of Education’s list of colleges currently under investigation for violating federal laws meant to protect survivors of sexual assault — Title IX and the Clery Act — are Read More…

Berkeley Tenants’ Union weighs on affordable housing

As James Chang said at the Tenants’ Convention on July 13, “Student issues are community issues, and community issues are student issues.” It is imperative that we have a vibrant Berkeley Tenants’ Union to address issues at City Council, the Zoning Adjustment Board and the Planning Commission. Together, our voices will be heard. We also need to work in November and beyond to support rent board candidates and city council candidates and make sure that other elected officials know of our concerns and will respond to them. Our collective presence can be very powerful, and we are now only tapping into its potential. You and I, and she and he, can make a difference. Let’s begin that work. Read More…

A Question of Transparency, Legality, and Accountability

Given his donor’s potential violation of Federal Tax Law in funding his student government campaign and his complete lack of transparency on the issue it is clear that Avi Oved does not uphold the values one would expect from a student leader. Therefore to preserve these values of student government in the UC system, we respectively call upon Avi Oved to immediately withdraw himself from the student regent nomination process. Read More…

Avi Oved is not our student regent

Throughout the history of the University of California, the UC Board of Regents have consistently turned a blind eye to issues facing Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian, or AMEMSA, communities. From UC Santa Cruz lecturer Tammi Benjamin, who last year publicly claimed that Muslim Student Associations were allied Read More…

Indigenous Leaders Mobilize Public Against Fossil Fuel Industry

A group of indigenous activists are organizing against the expansion of oil refineries in the San Francisco Bay Area. Known as Idle No More SF Bay, the organization is spearheading a series of “Healing Walks” to protest the corridor of fossil fuel refineries in five cities along the Carquinez Strait, Read More…

Minimum wage, maximum challenge

The record shows that the better route for working people and their allies is the initiative. Minimum wage activists won an annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in 11 states. Significantly, only in Vermont was a COLA achieved by a legislative body. The other 10 were won via the initiative. The reason is that legislators tend to be more conservative than the voters who elected them. It is not surprising because the business community generally finances electoral campaigns, and furthermore, once in office, the pressure to cater to business interests is enormous. That is the case even at the local level, including the City of Berkeley. Read More…

police1

Police policies affect people of color disproportionately

The NAACP has always operated using the principles of emotional intelligence and civility; accordingly, I will continue to encourage all people, police and citizen alike, to think about what’s in their and the communities’ best interest before they act. Citizens must always question unjust acts and challenge bigotry; however, I will encourage people of color to respond in a measured and tactical manner that reduces the possibility of them being harmed which will further erode the already fractious relationship that far too many citizens of color have with the Berkeley Police Department (BPD). Read More…

An Omelas for animals in Berkeley

“The door is always locked; and nobody ever comes, except that sometimes — the child has no understanding of time or interval — sometimes the door rattles terribly and opens, and a person, or several people, is there. One of them may come in and kick the child to make Read More…