Connection, thriving, history: Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month 2022

The following message was sent to UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty on Thursday:

Today marks the start of Latinx Heritage Month at UC Berkeley and across the country. This month we honor the many intersectional Latinx comunidades that have defined our nation, our state and our campus.

At UC Berkeley, our Latinx community has many moments of connection, thriving and history for us to collectively celebrate.

A new space for Latinx thriving

We are pleased to celebrate the opening of our campus’ first Latinx Community Center on Wednesday, September 28 from 4-6 p.m. This physical space in the Hearst Gym will be a place where Latinx undergraduates, graduate students, staff and faculty can find a community that shares similar experiences, identities and languages.

The center is hosted by the Chicanx/Latinx Student Development Office, which this year welcomed Gladys Perez as its first assistant director. Students will co-create programming that increases a sense of belonging and the ability to thrive on campus.

This center has its roots across many generations of engaged Latinx students. We know multitudes of students, including those in recent graduating classes, worked closely with staff and the administration to envision and create this space. Campus leadership is grateful for the collective effort and partnership. We also recognize the long campaign for access and visibility for the Latinx community at UC Berkeley, which began in the 1960s. We will support that continuing work for many years to come.

Later this month, the development office and the Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association will host an opening bash honoring that legacy. It will feature five days of events; more than 1,000 alumni are expected to attend.

Progress in the Latinx Thriving Institution Initiative

As you read yesterday, we have progress to report in our work to make UC Berkeley a Latinx-Thriving Institution by 2027, a top priority of the campus since Chancellor Christ charged us all with the goal in May 2019.

To meet the federally-recognized Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation, which on our campus is described as becoming a Latinx Thriving Institution (LTI), at least 25% of the enrolled undergraduate students will be Chicanx/Latinx. As of Spring 2022, Chicanx/Latinx undergraduate students represented 19% of the student body, a record high for the campus. You can learn more about the initiative by watching the spring 2022 town hall. The next town hall event is planned for Wednesday, October 19; you can RSVP today.

Making UC Berkeley a place where every Latinx student — indeed, every student — thrives is more than town halls, numbers, or data. It is about building community and belonging across the campus — in conference rooms, around dining hall tables, during office hours or at lab benches.

We want to celebrate the leadership and commitment of the staff, students and faculty who are creating this community of belonging. A new “Latinx and Democracy” cluster of faculty is joining Berkeley. Staff groups like Alianza continue to help employees thrive. Many student organizations, like the Raíces Recruitment and Retention Center and the Graduate Association of Latinx Students, welcome and support Latinx students on campus. And this year, Berkeley will also sponsor five students to attend the annual Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities conference (HACU) in October, where Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos and Associate Vice Chancellor and Interim Chief of Staff Fabrizio Mejia will be presenting to the HACU leadership academy fellows.

And while we are proud of the progress UC Berkeley has made in the last year, we recognize that we still have a long way to go before our campus, in the words of Chancellor Christ, is a place where “all students have equal access to Berkeley’s extraordinary opportunities.” Our work — your work, our collective work — continues.

We invite you to read, listen, learn and reflect this month by visiting the Equity & Inclusion Latinx Heritage Month page, which features, events, news, profiles and other resources to celebrate the month.

En comunidad,

Dania Matos (she/her/ella)
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion

Stephen C. Sutton (he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Lisa García Bedolla (she/her/ella)
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division

Victoria Plaut (she/her/ella)
Vice Provost for the Faculty

Oliver O’Reilly (he/him/his)
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Latinx Thriving Initiative Steering Committee Member

Eugene Whitlock (he/him/his)
Chief People and Culture Officer

Lupe Gallegos-Diaz (she/her/ella)
Director, Chicanx Latinx Academic Student Development Center
Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement