On Wednesday, the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research held a reception in honor of Mayor Jesse Arreguín as one of its monthlong events celebrating the center’s expansion to include arts, humanities, policy and interdisciplinary research.
The center’s mission is to produce research and policy that bring light to the complexity of the Latino experience in the United States, according to the CLPR website. CLPR has previously published scholarly articles on education, immigration and labor, civic engagement, technology and health.
Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Berkeley’s first Latino mayor, said he is extremely humbled by the reception held in his honor.
“It’s important … to appreciate the CLPR and to meet the community now more than ever,” Arreguín said. “We have a president who … (has) disrespected Mexicans, Latinx, undocumented folk, and we need to stand up for our community.”
As part of the monthlong celebration, CLPR is also holding an exhibition of art by muralist Juana Alicia Araiza, who is known for her works in the San Francisco’s Mission District. Her exhibition for the center is titled “Poetic Justice/Justicia Poética.”
Members of CLPR were able to make the expansion possible through the help of the university administration and Chicano Latino alumni, among others.
“Our Chicano Latino alumni, some of our UC regents and elected officials from the Latino Caucus supported our programming expansion,” said CLPR chair Patricia Baquedano-López in an email. “Everyone saw the need to expand the scope of the Center’s work.”
The month long open house is called “Arts in the Community: Latinx Visions for Social Justice.” Baquedano-López added that CLPR has been inviting Latinx leaders from the community to come in and talk along with the exhibition.
Baquedano-López said all of the artists collaborating with the Center work for social justice.
Araiza said she feels it is important to have somebody like Arreguín come through to the space. She said he can relate to students generationally and that his vision for affordable housing, dealing with issues of discrimination and providing for the homeless makes her hopeful.
“After hearing Jesse, I see (CLPR) expanding more in a good way and there’s so many more different things happening,” said Tobias Vasquez, a campus undergraduate research apprentice who introduced Arreguín at the event. “Let’s hope it will be more in collaboration with the city, and I think it’s going to be cool and curious to see what it will be like in a year or two.”