9:30am Rally

Please come to CA Hall today (Tuesday) at 9:30am to support the hunger strikers as they enter negotiations with the campus administration. The hunger strikers Please come to CA hall today (Tuesday) at 9:30am to support the hunger strikers as they enter negotiations with the campus administration. The hunger strikers have been without food for almost 7 days now.have been without food for almost 7 days now.

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Rally at Noon 5/2

Hello All, 

Just wanted to update you on Monday’s rally in support of the hunger strikers, who are going into day 6 of their strike! They NEED your love and support. They NEED your bodies present (if only for one hour) to remind ADMIN that they are not alone! Tell all your people to come check it out.

When: May 2, 2011 at 12pm
Where: CA HALL
SPECIAL PERFORMANCE BY DYNAMIC TRUTH!!!
PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFO TO ALL YOUR PEOPLE. 
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CA Assembly Member Ricardo Lara writes letter of support for hunger strikers

Dear Students:

It is with utmost respect and pride that I voice my support for your efforts to preserve Ethnic Studies at the University of California Berkeley. As you know, these departments were created as a response to a student-led movement of the 1960s which included demonstrations, student protests and hunger strikes. Today, you continue this effort and inspire all others to fight for an equitable educational system.

Thousands of beneficiaries of Ethnic Studies programs have contributed greatly to our great state of California. I am one such beneficiary. Other Leaders with Ethnic Studies backgrounds are now top lawyers, professors, teachers, doctors and community activists. These are the extraordinary people who personify Ethnic Studies.

Last year, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed HB 2281, a bill which targeted the teaching of Ethnic Studies curricula within the Arizona K-12 school system. The attacks in Arizona grossly misrepresent the intentions and rigorous intellectual and scholarly commitments of Ethnic Studies. 
On my part, I promise to continue to gather support for my Assembly Resolution, ACR 34, which recognizes and celebrates the invaluable contributions of California’s Ethnic Studies departments and programs, including their faculty, staff and students. ACR 34 puts the Legislature on record in support of Ethnic Studies. Please join me on Monday, May 16th when I present the resolution on the Assembly Floor.

Your fight is part of a larger struggle to preserve these valuable programs and departments and I thank you for your courage and resolve.

In solidarity,
RICARDO LARA
Assembly Member, 50TH District
Chair, Assembly Joint Legislative Audit Committee

STATE CAPITOL
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0020
Phone: (916) 319-2050
Fax: (916) 319-2150
DISTRICT OFFICE
8724 Garfield Avenue, Suite 104
South Gate, CA 90280
Phone: (562) 927-1200
Fax: (562) 927-6670

E-MAIL


STANDING COMMITTEES
Appropriations
Banking and Finance
Higher Education
Water, Parks and Wildlife

SELECT COMMITTEES
Financial Empowerment, Chair
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Come to CA Hall at 11pm

Police are trying to intimidate the hunger strikers. Come at 11pm for a screening of “On Strike,” and open mic, poetry, etc. Tell your friends.

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Hunger Strike 2011 Is Ongoing

In a recent letter, responding to the hunger strike, Dr. Gibor Bazri and Dr.Carla Hesse referred to fact that “The Berkeley campus has one of the earliest and strongest Ethnic Studies departments, and we value that history and intend to maintain and increase its intellectual stature.” Despite such supportive rhetoric, the administration has neglected to mention the fact that the attainment of our Ethnic Studies department was the result of the Third World Liberation Front (1969), a student led movement that held a strike on campus to demand a Third World College. Thus, valuing that history means that they value the non-violent civil disobedience being practiced by the hunger strikers today, in their effort to sustain and grow Ethnic Studies. Additionally, we see a fundamental contradiction in the administration’s language when they speak of increasing our intellectual stature, as they cut the staff that support faculty and students in their intellectual endeavors. Over the past few months as students have met with Dean Carla Hesse and top level OE administrators, the students have been told these cuts will not affect the “excellence” of their departments, but history tells us otherwise. We know that the support these staff provide to their respective departments is VITAL to the recruitment and retainment of students of color on the UC Berkeley campus. Thus, a cut to these staff represents an attack on diversity, whether the administration acknowledges this fact or not.This is why we risk our health, to stop these cuts and protect the crucial members of our campus community in their efforts to support underrepresented students.

The recent cuts affecting the department of Ethnic Studies, resulting from Organizational Simplification (a sub-committee of Operational Excellence), is yet another example of the administration subjecting Ethnic Studies to a process of attrition. But what must be understood is that cuts to departments and programs that serve underrepresented students on this campus is detrimental to the value of education in the state of California.

This attack on education is another example of how history repeats itself. Over the last two years we have seen the mass mobilization of students to protect education. With the wheeler 43 occupation of November 20, 2009, the May 2010 Hunger Strike to oppose SB1070 legislation, to this year March 3rd Wheeler ledge protest, the momentum to save education continues on. Thus, we repeat a sentiment popular in our community “Respect our Existence or Expect our Resistance”. The University continues to believe that students will sit in silence as education is attacked, yet again, under department budget consolidation happening under the auspices of Operational Excellence. In 1969 we saw the way in which the Third World Liberation Front challenged the university and demanded a Third world College. In 1999 we saw those demands emerge yet again as students fought against what they perceived as the “near extinction” of the Ethnic Studies Department, which at the time had no full time Native American Studies professors and only one full-time Chicano Studies professor. We would like, for once, to feel that Ethnic Studies is appreciated for all of the diversity work we do on this campus, including recruitment of, and support to, students of color that are NOT even Ethnic Studies majors. We demand more than lip service, we want to see material support! So why are we pushed to a hunger strike yet again? The university has set April 30th as the day when the effects of Organizational Simplification will be seen. On the 30th key staff in various departments will be fired. This is only the beginning of the downsizing and homogenizing of services and value of education UC Berkeley students can expect in the years to come. Conscious of the history of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and the Lack of respect with which the department has been historically treated, regardless of its material and intellectual accomplishments, we demand the following: Demand 1. Reinstatement of the FTE staff positions in Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and African American Studies cut by organizational simplification under Operational Excellence. 2. End the current process of Operational Excellence 3. Publicly support for the Legislative Resolution –ACR 34, co-authored by Assembly members Ricardo Lara and Luis A. Alejon in support of Ethnic Studies in California. 4. We demand that the administration publicly acknowledge the unfulfilled promise of the creation of a third World College at UC Berkeley Again, if the administration does not respect our existence then they can expect our resistance. We need people to come out and support and fight not only for Ethnic Studies and Gender Women Studies but also for your education. This is a movement that will continue untill our demands are met. The cuts being made to education will not be tolerated. This affects all of us and we will not stop. It’s a collective fight. As your fee’s go up and the value of your education spirals downward, it becomes clear that it is time to change the status quo and begin to demand our rights as students to the University. This is our university so lets show administration what were capable of. WE WILL BE HERE ALL DAY AND NIGHT AND WE HOPE THAT ALL OF YOU COME SUPPORT THE STRIKE AND STAND IN SOLIDARITY TO SAVE EDUCATION. ALL WATER, BLANKETS, HONEY, VITAMINS, AND ANYTHING THAT YOU SEE FIT TO BRING TO THE HUNGER STRIKE, PLEASE BRING IT. WE NEED PEOPLE IN THE MASSES SO COME OUT!

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Hunger Strike Will be Suspended

On March 3rd, 2010, over 20 students, the majority being Latin@s, decided to go on a hunger strike to call attention issues that affect our community both here on campus and across the nation.  This inspired many students, workers, and community members, evident in the solidarity, love, and support we witnessed since then.  We say thank you to everyone for this.

After much pressure from students, workers, and faculty and lengthy discussions with California Hall, the administration has agreed to enter negotiations over our concerns.  These are first steps in working towards making CAL a better, safer, more inclusive, place for the Raza community in particular, and the CAL community at large.

Our vision for social justice, through the hunger strike, has inspired many beyond UC Berkeley.  We showed the world that we have a vision for a University that makes student’s concerns central, and that it’s imperative that administration condemns racism and racist logic, such as reflected in Arizona’s passage of SB 1070 and HB 2281.  We showed the world that we had passion, dedication, and determination to make a better university and society possible.

This movement is far from over, and we will continue to organize and struggle to transform our society. Please come back here for more updates.

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Senator Leland Yee urges Berkeley Chancellor to meet with hunger strikers

State Senator Leland Yee urges Berkeley Chancellor to meet with hunger strikers, end the 9-day fast

After 190 hours without food, strikers have yet to have face-to-face meeting with UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau

BERKELEY, CA, May 11th— California State Senator Leland Yee (D – San Francisco/San Mateo) is joining faculty, student groups, employee unions and political organizations in calling for UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to meet with hunger strikers to end the 9-day fast. “I urge the Chancellor to stop his refusal to meet with the negotiators. He has not yet held a face-to-face meeting and the actions yesterday by the Berkeley Administration did not show a good faith effort to resolve the situation. The Chancellor should meet immediately and begin a dialogue before anyone is hurt”.

The return of Chancellor Birgeneau on Monday, after his travels in Europe during the first week of the strike, coincided with a much more forceful approach to the non-violent demonstration. Early Monday morning, UC Police arrived at the encampment of the hunger strike with an order to disperse or face arrest. Hunger strikers, visibly weak after fasting for over 170 hours, were captured on TV struggling to take down the camp. In the afternoon a group of students responded by blockading the entrance to the main Administrative building and in the evening a gathering of over 200 supporters appeared at the Chancellor’s Mansion requesting that he meet with negotiators.

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