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California state $3M funding will support five research initiatives and also provide student mentorship opportunities. Photo: UC Berkeley LRC

California state pledges $3 million to UC Berkeley’s Latinx Research Center

The funding will support five research initiatives and also provide student mentorship opportunities.

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California State Senator Nancy Skinner allocated $3 million from the state budget to UC Berkeley’s research center for the Latinx community. 

The Latinx Research Center (LRC) conducts research on the U.S Latinx population and California’s largest and most rapidly growing minority group by supporting equity, inclusion, and justice through meaningful research. 

“Currently, Hispanic Californians make up nearly 40% of our state but only about 19% of UC Berkeley’s undergraduate enrollment and just 9% of its graduate students,” said California Senator Nancy Skinner in a statement. “The Latinx Research Center is crucial to helping ensure that the UC system’s premier campus fulfills its promise to be a truly diverse institution that provides opportunities for all.”

The $3 million funding will support five research initiatives: Democracy and Media, led by Dr. Angela Marino; Latinxs and the Environment, led by Dr. Federico Castillo; Latinxs and Public Policy, led by Dr. Cristina Mora; the Center for the Critical Study of the Health of Latinx Communities, led by Dr. Clara Mantini-Briggs, MD MPH; and the Decolonial Knowledges and the Pluriversal University Initiative, led by Drs. Laura E. Pérez, Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, and María Cecilia Titizano la Fuente. 

The state budget allocation will also provide student mentorship opportunities to “its most poorly understood and disenfranchised populations,” expressed Dr. Laura E. Pérez, Chair of the Latinx Research Center and Professor of Chicanx Latinx Studies and Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley. 

In addition, she assured that  “at the Latinx Research Center we understand that human and cultural diversity is a core part of intellectual wealth, and that knowledge of our cultural, gender, and sexual plurality is the path to an ever more perfect union.”

Although the work at LRC was deemed important, it faced budget cuts, but students who benefited from this center understand how crucial it is to Latinx population. 

“The Latinx Resources Center at UC Berkeley allowed me to discuss my research on leveraging digital health tools to improve the mental health of Latinxs with a community of scholars doing Latinx-relevant work. Having a community that fosters interdisciplinary work helped me hone in on my research's real-life implications and how findings can be used to improve the lives of immigrant communities and minoritized racial/ethnic groups,” Alien Haro, Doctoral Candidate in UC Berkeley’s Health Policy Program, LRC Summer 2022 Dedicated Dissertation Writing Group Fellow explained. 

UC Berkeley aims to be a Hispanic Serving Institute by 2025 and the efforts being made keep students appreciative of taking part in the LRC.

“If it wasn't for the LRC Dedicated Dissertation Writing Group Fellowship (DDWG) I would have had to teach a summer course which would've taken significant time away from my research,” shares Delia Near Tercero, PhD Candidate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, LRC Summer 2022 Dedicated Dissertation Writing Group Fellow. “This writing group was also one of the few opportunities I've had during my program to collaborate with others working in various ways within the realm of Latinx Studies. The new CA state budget allocation would support many Latinx and first-generation students like myself to stay on track to graduate, to network and to continue learning valuable skills.”

LRC isn’t only for PhD candidates as Julian Duran, an LRC Undergraduate intern states. “The impact the LRC has had on my life is revolutionary; being surrounded by other Latinx students and learning from Latinx mentors has inspired me to push through any hardships that come my way,” continued Durán, who was able to intern at LRC and learn from other researchers. 

The $3 million came at a crucial time when the LRC’s survival depended on it. 
 

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