Law, People, Profiles, Research

‘Be the Change’: Khiara M. Bridges on claiming her voice as a prominent Black woman

The Berkeley Law professor talks about the complexities of adornment for members of marginalized communities — especially in academia — and about approaching work with a sense of liberation, creativity and hustle

a person with a serious look on her face poses for a portrait with text
Khiara M. Bridges is a professor of law at UC Berkeley and a powerful public intellectual who speaks and writes about race, class, reproductive justice and the intersection of the three. (Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small; UC Berkeley design by Neil Freese)


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a person with a serious look on her face poses for a portrait with text "Be the Change, Khiara M. Bridges" to her left

Khiara M. Bridges is a professor of law at UC Berkeley and a powerful public intellectual who speaks and writes about race, class, reproductive justice and the intersection of the three. (Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small; UC Berkeley design by Neil Freese)

In this episode of Be the Change, host Savala Nolan, director of Berkeley Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, interviews Khiara M. Bridges. Bridges is a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Law and a powerful public intellectual who speaks and writes about race, class, reproductive justice and the intersection of the three.

During their conversation, they talk about the process of Bridges claiming and using her voice as a prominent Black woman. And they discuss the complexities of presentation and adornment for members of marginalized communities — especially in academia — and about approaching work with a sense of liberation, creativity and hustle.

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“Those things that I do to adorn myself, a lot of folks are going to read them in light of my identity as a Black woman,” says Bridges. “So, my nails become read in a particular way and my tattoos will become read in a particular way. And the way that I wear my hair, you know, and my septum piercing, in a particular way. And I’m comfortable with that. I’m happy with that. And I feel that that affirms my identity as a Black woman.”

Nolan and Bridges also talk about getting comfortable with the Socratic method, and what it feels like to start law school with no idea what’s going on or what you’ve gotten yourself into, but ultimately finding your way.

Season two of Be the Change is a collaboration between Berkeley Law and Berkeley News. In the series, Nolan interviews three changemakers who embody the transformation they want to see in the world. New episodes will come out every week on Wednesday as a special series on the Berkeley Voices podcast.

Learn more about Be the Change in our intro episode: Be the Change: A podcast that aims ‘to remove the mystery of making change.’

See all Be the Change episodes.


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