Black2Cal: commitment, community, connections

When Black2Cal kicks off today, it will do so with an urgent agenda to address timely, relevant issues affecting the campus and the broader African American community — but there will be time, too, to celebrate progress and achievement.

The second annual event is meant to welcome black alumni and students to the campus, serve as a clearinghouse for campus events and activities particularly relevant to the African American community, and share in opportunities that foster outreach, recruitment and retention of black students, staff and faculty.

“Black2Cal provides an important platform for our alumni to reconnect with each other and also engage with the broader campus community, including staff, faculty and students,” says Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Na’ilah Nasir. “This gathering is also an excellent moment for the campus to reaffirm its commitment to the black community and to recognize the role that students and staff have played in demanding that their voices be heard.”

The series of activities starts today with Black Wednesday, when black students, faculty and staff gather at Sproul Plaza to socialize as part of a community-building event. Look for the annual UC Berkeley step show featuring black Greek fraternal organizations Friday during Student Group Day.

On Saturday, the broader campus community is invited to attend a Berkeley Talks session with journalist, professor and CNN political contributor Marc Lamont Hill, who will explore systematic injustices plaguing America’s vulnerable communities in a lecture, “Do Black Lives Really Matter?” Hill will share his thoughts on police violence, contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and the issue of mass incarceration (Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium).

Hill’s talk will be followed by a moderated panel discussion with Berkeley faculty members Prudence Carter, dean of the Graduate School of Education, and Malo Hutson, an associate professor of city and regional planning in the College of Environmental Design; and Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation.

The Black2Cal events are being sponsored by multiple groups: African American Student Development, the African American Studies Department, the UC Office of the President, the Black Alumni Club, the Black Faculty and Staff Organization, the Black Student Union, the Cal Alumni Association, the Office of the Chancellor, the Division of Equity and Inclusion and the LEAD Center.