As nation honors Dr. King, #BlackLivesMatter renews the dream

two women holding signs

Black staff stage a December protest at Sproul Hall. (NewsCenter photo)

As the nation pauses to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — marking what would have been his 86th birthday — a new generation is in the midst of renewing the long quest for justice to which King gave voice.

Many members of the campus community have been lending their energy to the #BlackLivesMatter movement — in the streets, on the page, in the classroom, over social media — and working to improve the campus climate for African Americans.

Links to timely editorials, interviews and blog posts offering perspective on the current wave of grassroots activism can be found on a resource page compiled by the campus’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

In Insurgency: The Black Matter(s) Issue — a special online edition of The Diaspora published by UC Berkeley’s African American studies department — graduate students and faculty lend academic expertise to the public conversation. Its short-form works range from a personal memory of the 1955 murder of Emmett Till to international responses to post-Ferguson protests in the United States. (The NewsCenter will publish an article about the issue, based on a conversation with its editors, in the near future.)

Recent Berkeley Blog posts on these topics include “Maybe it’s time to reinvent the police,” written by law professor Jonathan Simon, following the recent shooting death of two New York City police officers.

And as the spring semester launches, educators contemplate how to address the issues being raised by #BlackLivesMatter and incorporate this teaching moment into the classroom. On Jan. 15, more than 50 students, faculty and staff gathered for a discussion titled “A Nation Divided, A Campus Undecided: Teaching To and Beyond Ferguson.” Resources growing out of the workshop will be made available online.

For recent NewsCenter coverage of related issues, see also: