Diversity

i’m working to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion (especially in Computer Science) at all levels:
  • Department level: CS Graduate Diversity Officer, member of EECS Anti-Racism Working Group, faculty sponsor of CS Scholars program
  • College of Engineering level: CoE E&I Council
  • UC Berkeley campus level:  Equity Advisor
  • CS academia level: UC Berkeley representative to CMD-IT FLIP Alliance to dramatically improve diversity in the CS professoriate
I’m also involved in improving DEI and social justice in the Bay Area theater community, as a Board member of Theatre Bay Area serving on its DEI committee (among other roles).

Get Out the Vote!

In this election in particular, it’s critical that the voices of voters of color be heard, especially Latinx and Black voters. I recently reached out to colleagues to identify organizations that are helping to mobilize Latinx and Black voters, in case you want to support them with a cash donation or volunteering your time. Here are the highlights of the results. Note that while I have vetted these through my own Googling and on CharityNavigator where appropriate, this page is informational and not an endorsement. 

501(c)(3) organizations focused on “getting out the vote” generally (donations are tax deductible):
  • HeadCount facilitates social/political activism by registering voters, voter education, and get-out-the-vote activities
  • The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan think tank focused on legal and policy issues around social justice, and is currently quite active in combating the “vote by mail is fraudulent” campaign being waged by the incumbent candidate.
  • VoteAmerica is a largely-philanthropy-supported effort to help US voters navigate the processes of registering and voting in their state, whether in person or by mail.
  • conducts rigorous research to identify problems and provide in-depth empirical findings and compelling analyses of pressing legal and policy issues. We also pioneer and champion policy solutions, such as automatic voter registration and small donor public financing
501(c)(3) organizations focusing specifically on communities of color (donations are tax deductible):
  • AccelerateChange.org supports several nonprofit digital media ventures including ProjectPulso, which reaches out via cellphones specifically to mobilize and deliver news relevant to Latinx voters.
  •  Voto Latino Foundation is dedicated to registering Latinx voters and encouraging their civic participation. See below for VotoLatino.org.
  •  PoderLatinX foundation focuses on educating Latinx voters in key states. See below for PoderLatinX.org voter registration.
501(c)(4) or other organizations (donations are not tax deductible), some of which have an affiliated 501(c)(3) in the list above:
  • CommitToFlipBlue.com includes phone-bank volunteers working every day of the week (they're looking for volunteers) to reach Latinx voters in particular in swing/flip states.
  • PoderLatinX.org focuses on Latinx voter reg in key states. (Affiliated 501(c)(3): PoderLatinX foundation above)
  • VotoLatino.org has a similar mission but is national.  (Affiliated 501(c)(3): Voto Latino Foundation above)
  • VoteForward enlists volunteers to send 1-on-1 "get out the vote" letters to individual voters in key states with strategic timing to encourage them to vote.
  • Fair Fight was started by Stacey Abrams to support “voter protection” programs to combat voter suppression in Georgia and elsewhere.

Recent Diversity-Related News and Efforts

  • The FLIP Alliance (the 11 CS PhD programs that produce more than half of all new CS faculty) are all waiving the GRE for PhD admissions this cycle. For some this represents a continuation of existing policies; for others it is a new policy. GRE scores are contaminated by well-studied problems of equity, especially as regards the ability to afford targeted test prep programs and the ability to afford taking the exam multiple times and submitting only the best scores.
  • I’m giving my new talk Fail Your Way To Success at the CRA-WP Underrepresented Minorities & Students with Disabilities (URMD) Grad Cohort in Austin, TX!

“I’m a student wishing to be more directly involved in diversity-enhancing activities…”

That’s great! This campaign will be fought one battle at a time and we eagerly want your help—just make sure you balance it with your student obligations. (The best thing you can do for diversity is secure your academic standing and eventual career, so you will be in the strongest position to help others.)

Here are some suggestions of what you can do on campus right now (thanks to Audrey Sillers, Director of Student Diversity for EECS, with whom I work very closely):
  • Get involved with BiasBusters! They’re always looking to recruit younger members for continuity. BiasBusters was conceived by our students attending the Tapia Conference and learning about the organization and then emulating here it at Berkeley.
  • Reach out to student groups such as LAGSES or BGESS (graduate), or HES or BESSA (undergraduate)—they often do direct outreach and mentoring to pre-college as well as college students.
  • Get involved in CS Scholars.
  • BAIR is starting a mentoring program (inspired by CS Scholars) for PhD students and URM undergrads.  Graduate student Rudy Corona Rodriguez has more info.
  • Mentoring a SUPERB student directly impacts the likelihood of that student later being admitted to a PhD program. 
  • If you attend Tapia, SHPE, SACNAS, NSBE, Grace Hopper, … sign up to work at the Berkeley booth and directly advise prospective applicants! Audrey Sillers can help with this.

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