End of the Semester and Beginning of a New Year

December 16, 2021

Dear E&I Community, 

Once again we are at the end of a semester, my first at UC Berkeley.  My calendar filled up much more quickly this fall than I had anticipated so I have not had the opportunity to meet very many of you. For that, I am deeply sorry and committed to doing so. 

It is also the end of a turbulent year - the global pandemic and its disparate impact on marginalized communities, increasing acts of violence by white supremacists, the ongoing killing of Black men and transgender and gender non-conforming folx, hate attacks targeting Asian and Asian Americans, and so much more.

The pandemic continues to impact each of us every day.  We have navigated remote, hybrid, and in-person instruction and services. With each change, you showed up with grace to serve your community.  That took innovation, time, energy, and patience.  It has also been difficult and stressful professionally and personally.  The work you do is not just head work. It is heart work and that can take an even bigger toll. 

I know you are worn out and exhausted. I am too. Still, you continue to give. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your commitment and the support and care you provide to students, staff, and faculty across campus so that they can show up, focus on their academics and their work,  and succeed. They can also break down when they need to. It’s you who provide the space and capacity for all of that. 

We are throwing an E&I virtual fiesta on January 12th to celebrate the new year together. We had hoped to be able to do that in person but with all that is still unknown about the omicron variant, we decided to celebrate virtually and then get together in person later in the semester. I also want to express my appreciation and gratitude with a gift so watch your inbox in the first few weeks of January.  

Starting at the beginning of the year, I will be dropping by our programs so I can meet you in person and hear about your work, chat, and get to know you. 

When we do get to meet, you will find that I am all about centering family, chosen or otherwise. I often lift up that I was raised by a single mother and was fortunate to be raised in a multi-generational household that allowed me to spend time with her, my abuelita, siblings as well as Trixie and Izzy (our beloved pets).  You are part of that family now. I am also all about centering community, and celebrations. You are my community.  I love nothing more than putting on my red lipstick and hoop earrings, comfy clothes and fuzzy socks, turning up the music, dancing, and creating spaces where we can relax, drop our guard, and be ourselves. My hope for 2022 is that we will have many opportunities to come together and do that - sometimes for the purpose of just sharing space. 

I look forward to co-creating the UC Berkeley we want to be and the UC Berkeley we want to see by lifting the unique needs of our community. 

I wish you and all your loved ones, chosen family, friends, and community members, a joy-filled and rejuvenating break and end to 2021. 

With you,

Dania Matos, J.D. 

Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion

Division of Equity & Inclusion