Reflecting on Latinx dreams, accomplishments, and the future of space exploration
On Monday, October 23, 2023, we were thrilled to host the “A Million Miles Away” Film Screening, featuring the esteemed UC Regent and retired astronaut José Hernández. Regent Hernández is the first migrant farmworker to make it to space and one of NASA’s few Latinx astronauts. The movie storyline develops from Hernández’s dad, who had a recipe of ingredients for success: 1) Find your goal; 2) Know how far you are; 3) Draw a roadmap; 4) If you don't know how, learn; and 5) When you think you've made it you probably have to work harder. In the Q&A at the end of the event, Regent Hernández shared the sixth ingredient: Persistence.
The evening served as a vibrant celebration of achievements, community, and leadership of the Latinx community. The event not only celebrated the remarkable journey of Jose Hernández but also highlighted the profound impact of representation and shared experiences within the Latinx community. For many student attendees, this was a full circle moment as Regent Hernández had visited many of their schools from their K-12 years.
There were over 400 people in attendance, thanks to the support of Chicanx/Latinx Student Development (CLSD), Cal NERDs, SEED Scholars Honors Program, Graduate Association of Latinx Students (GALS), EOP STEM, UndocuGrads & Undocumented Student Program, Pacific Islander Initiative, Latinxs & the Environment and the Hispanic Engineers & Scientists (HES).
This event was especially exciting given the recent announcement of the Berkeley Space Center, a monumental $2 billion project resulting from the long-term collaboration between UC Berkeley and NASA's Ames Research Center. This collaborative hub is envisioned as a training ground for the next generation of space professionals, fostering an environment where visionaries and innovators can come together to shape the future of space exploration.
For those who couldn't join us, we invite you to stream "A Million Miles Away" on Amazon Prime and experience the remarkable story of José Hernández. Learn more about the Latinx Thriving Initiatives at lti.berkeley.edu.