Guest Post Written by Alankrita Dayal
Alankrita Dayal is pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Business Administration, minors in Public Policy and South Asian Studies, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California-Berkeley. She is a Fellow for Net Impact as well as College of Engineering’s Fung Fellowship for Technology and Wellness Innovations. Alankrita is extremely passionate towards finding data-driven solutions to better the lives of everyone in her community, and from an early age, she has been actively developing projects that allow her to utilize her technical talent, diversity, and strategic thinking in best doing so; she has been nationally recognized on multiple platforms for her extensive technical and leadership work. She also serves as the Board Director for the 96-unit Berkeley Student Cooperative and newly-elect President of Rochdale Village, working hard to voice policies and programs to benefit the diverse student body.
Racial Equity Journey
Issues of race, class, and culture often hinder the learning process, even in progressive learning environments, when left unattended by community leaders and members. It has truly been the most reflective journey, working on this blog series and opening up racial equity conversations. Through the Racial Equity@Haas blog series, I have been fortunate enough to form a palpable community discussion about the racial atmosphere in Berkeley, specifically within the Haas School of Business.
For as long as I can remember, I have advocated for equity in all dimensions of life. In hopes to catalyze critical thinking, self-inquiry, transformative learning, healing, and change when it comes to racial equity, I have actively designed projects that bring together a diverse range of populations in order to best tap into the deep human connection that we all share. I strongly believe in leveraging the power of dialogue to educate minds and open hearts.
Since the beginning of 2017, I have worked diligently alongside with my co-authors, Charlie James and Naayl Kazmi, to maximize our impact on racial equity in Haas and the wider community! Week after week, by presenting the diverse range of voices among the students, faculty, and administrators of the School, our Racial Equity@Haas blog series has been effectively serving as a means of publicly addressing barriers that have made this topic one that is too often overlooked and misunderstood. As a Net Impact Fellow since Fall 2016, I have had the splendid opportunity to participate in multiple such projects. More specifically, earlier this semester, I organized a Diversity in Academia Panel to initiate discussions regarding the importance of diversity and the need to raise awareness and take action regarding student equity concerns within the College of Engineering. I leveraged partnerships with multiple clubs and engineering professors to form a deep and personal equity-focused discussion. As Executive Director for Program yoUr Future (PUF) and Vice President for Robotics@Berkeley, I have focused my energy over the last 6+ months towards mentoring our undergrad/grad developers in creating educational technology to empower minority students underrepresented in the tech fields. In addition, my passion has fueled my contributions within the Racial Equity@Haas project to best provide a platform for racial equity learning and open dialogue. Through work in such projects, I have aimed to amplify the creativity that already exists within the Berkeley community in order to build stronger community networks, solve racial equity problems, and enhance the sense of comfort and acceptance in places that individuals live, study, work, and grow.
I am extremely excited to provide our community and student leaders with the language, frames, and tools necessary in creating inclusive environments as well as having constructive and productive conversations. In the City of Berkeley and the greater Bay Area, the Racial Equity@Haas project has widely enabled both young people and educators to take part in conversations and actions around how we can better empower students and staff from racially underrepresented backgrounds and create inclusive learning environments.
Invitation to Engage with the Authors
My co-authors and I would like to cordially invite the Berkeley community and the greater Bay Area to come have a discussion with us this Thursday, May 4th. We will be having a drop-in event from 1:30 to 3:00 PM at the Rochdale Village common room. The common room can be tricky to find, so I have attached a screenshot of a google map of Rochdale Village that has the pin on the common room:
We are very eager to have you with us this Thursday, and thank you for being a part of this journey!