Today marks the start of United Against Hate Week. Across the Bay Area, individuals, schools, municipalities, and a broad range of civic organizations are holding events designed to catalyze the awareness and actions necessary to confront hatred in its every form. I am proud that many of our students are participating in this essential effort. A full list of scheduled events on the campus and beyond can be found here: https://unitedagainsthateweek.org/find-events
In September, as the semester began, I sent a message to campus about the priority I place on creating a culture of belonging at Berkeley, without which we cannot sustain our Principles of Community or fulfill our academic mission. Hatred is antithetical to belonging, to respect, to understanding, and to learning itself. We must defend our commitment to diversity and inclusion by remaining united in our condemnation of abhorrent ideologies that promote hatred on the basis of an individual’s origins or identity.
In these angry, polarized times, we must also find ways to engage respectfully with those who do not share our beliefs. We can learn from difference and use that knowledge to improve our ability to make a case for our own perspectives. If we can engage in respectful debate and abide by our Principles of Community, differences of opinion need not lead to divides and our heterogeneous community can thrive without homogeneity of belief and perspective.