UC Berkeley sophomore Mehnaz Grewal, endorsed by the Middle Eastern Muslim Sikh and South Asian Coalition, or MEMSSA, is running independently for ASUC Senate on a platform that includes advocating for the MEMSSA community and providing COVID-19 relief to students.
Grewal, who identifies as a Punjabi, Sikh woman, said her identity is important to her and will allow her to provide a unique perspective in the ASUC Senate. As a freshman, Grewal worked in ASUC Senator Sumrit Grewal’s office as holistic wellness project manager. She then worked as campaign manager and external head of staff under ASUC Senator Aasim Yahya.
“I am bursting with ideas as to how to serve the campus community— my main priorities will be the initiatives discussed in my platforms, including exhaustive COVID-relief, strengthened pathways for Pre-graduate school students, and MEMSSA* initiatives,” Grewal said in an email.
Among several MEMSSA initiatives, Grewal aims to expand the MEMSSA mentorship program from 50 to 100 students by the fall 2021 semester and transition to limited in-person meetings if Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines allow. She also hopes to develop an online resource guide for MEMSSA-identifying students on issues regarding mental health, hate crimes and COVID-19.
In response to hate crime attacks on MEMSSA communities and possible fears of reporting incidents to the police, Grewal said she plans to create a form for MEMSSA members to report such incidents. She also aims to develop a commission of trauma-informed individuals from MEMSSA communities to provide academic, mental and emotional support for those who may have been harmed by such attacks.
“Since coming to Cal, I’ve been inspired by the MEMSSA senators before me, and the amazing resources and work they’ve been able to accomplish for our communities, while creating an environment that allows for coming generations of MEMSSA* identifying students to not only succeed at Cal, but excel,” Grewal said in the email.
Additionally, Grewal hopes to provide continued support for advising on postgraduate educational pathways for undergraduate students and increase accessibility in research opportunities, specifically in recruiting and retaining students of color.
Grewal seeks to support student justice by continuing the “Basic Needs in Berkeley” DeCal course, expanding mental health resources to include information on sexual and reproductive health and promoting COVID-19 vaccine distribution and student health amid the pandemic.
“Currently, campus is suffering from a break in community and togetherness due to the pandemic,” Grewal said in the email. “While I will be focusing on tangible plans like economic relief and student safety, I will also be working hard to ensure that my office and the activities it puts on will be a space for renewed community belonging.”
ASUC elections will be held virtually from April 5 to April 7.