Skyelar Montgomery, a sophomore studying legal studies with double minors in Race and the Law and political economy, is running for ASUC Senate.
Montgomery is currently the co-Executive of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the Office of the President. She works directly under ASUC President Chaka Tellem and Office of the President co-Chiefs of Staff Sydney Roberts and Mia Shelton.
Montgomery said she recognizes the lack of Black representation within campus communities, including the ASUC, due to UC Berkeley’s low Black population. She noted that she would like to expand and promote deeper connections within the Black community while respecting its diversity.
The African American Theme Floor, a collection of first-year student dorm floors designed to house Black students, is a powerful program, according to Montgomery. As a former participant of the program, she will advocate for the floors to upsize to the entirety of Christian Hall.
Montgomery also sees a lack in pre-law resources and opportunities on campus. She said the intensity of UC Berkeley’s club culture causes career options to often be inaccessible to students, especially students of color.
Student safety and wellness is another focus of Montgomery’s.
“Candidates who have a narrow focus on student safety are using the platform as a dog whistle to those who believe police presence needs to be heightened on campus and that that is the band aid to solve Berkeley’s attitude toward the safety of students,” Montgomery alleged in a text message.
“Dog whistle” is language that appears normal to the majority but communicates specific things to intended audiences, according to Montgomery.
Inspired while working for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s office this past summer, Montgomery said she values political engagement and education. She noted that the campus and administration’s support plays an important role in the student body’s diverse political views.
“For a lot of people, college is a place where they come and grow and learn about themselves and what they do and don’t believe in,” Montgomery said. “And when we are in a school that is known for supposedly supporting people, it can be very negative when they don’t see support on campus.”
Montgomery also criticized that campus communities do not stick to efforts to ensure inclusion and diversity of marginalized groups. She believes that she, alongside others, can help to rebuild the Black community’s trust in the ASUC.
Montgomery emphasized that the internal work, an area that lacks attention, is as important as the external work within the ASUC. She will help to focus on internal work.
“As a woman and as a Black woman, I can do so much in the ASUC,” Montgomery said. “Marilyn Monroe says if you give a girl the right shoes, she can conquer the world.”