With decades of advocacy and a longtime commitment to inclusivity under her belt, Director of the Chicanx Latinx Student Development Office and campus lecturer Lupe Gallegos-Diaz received the 2021-22 Kevin McCauley Memorial Outstanding Staff Award.
Presented by the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies, or CUCSA, the award recognizes several individuals who go “above and beyond” to advance equity for staff at their location, according to Jeremy Brooks, senior campus CUCSA delegate. CUCSA is composed of representatives from each UC location who work on initiatives that help university staff, Brooks said.
“A lot of folks do a lot of great work to support the communities around them, but aren’t recognized,” Brooks said. “The importance of this award is essentially to recognize people who are working hard behind the scenes supporting both staff and students.”
According to Brooks, Gallegos-Diaz was nominated by the Governing Council Chair for the Berkeley Staff Assembly, or BSA, and her nomination was supported by testimonials from others about her work.
CUCSA awarded Gallegos-Diaz because of her involvement across the UC system, Brooks said. Among other things, she was co-chair for BSA’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging committee, co-led all 10 UC Latine alumni associations and was a mentor and advocate for her fellow staff, according to Brooks.
“She’s a fierce advocate when she’s in meetings,” Brooks said. “She’s not afraid to really advance and champion staff and talk to the higher-ups about real issues facing staff.”
Gallegos-Diaz said as early as high school, she served on a committee focused on diversity and allyship. She added that she previously worked as a counselor and as a chair of a staff association, and her advocacy work extends to the present.
For 25 years, Gallegos-Diaz has worked to bolster Chicanx and Latinx student retention rates at the Chicanx Latinx Student Development Center. Gallegos-Diaz said that she also co-chairs the campus Chicanx Latinx Standing Committee, which meets with Chancellor Carol Christ regarding Chicanx and Latinx issues, and was selected to be on the campus Hispanic Serving Institution Steering Committee.
She added that she comes from a community that has been “very involved” in issues pertaining to students of color and their greater community.
“That’s what I see (as) my charge, as part of my work and my legacy,” Gallegos-Diaz said. “How do we then raise those issues and change policies and transform our institutions to (become) more welcoming and a place where people feel that they do belong?”