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Pupil Lucy Andrews: ‘Maintain deeply to the assumption {that a} completely different world is feasible’


UC Berkeley’s Graduate Meeting President Lucy Andrews mentioned she needs to “assist push Berkeley towards a decolonial, abolitionist future the place all individuals, non-human beings and our broader surroundings can flourish.” (Picture courtesy of Lucy Andrews)

This I’m A Berkeleyan function was written as a first-person narrative from an interview with Lucy Andrews. Have somebody you assume we should always write about? Contact

I’d wish to consider that all of us wish to stay in a world the place there’s no violence. No violence to one another, and no violence to our ecosystems and surroundings. Lots of people would name {that a} pipe dream, however even whether it is, I’d reasonably work towards that very best than do the rest.

This comes from how I’ve chosen to answer my very own private experiences with violence and therapeutic. I consider that individuals trigger hurt after they themselves have skilled hurt, whether or not that’s interpersonal violence, state violence or home violence. And to finish cycles of violence, we have to actually dig on the roots of the techniques that perpetuate them.

As UC Berkeley’s Graduate Meeting president, and as a scholar co-chair of the Chancellor’s Impartial Advisory Board (IAB) on Police Accountability and Group Security, I hope to have the ability to humbly collaborate and contribute from my web site throughout the college to many initiatives of liberation, initiatives that restore histories of violence, dispossession, domination and extraction.

Whereas that have to be completed collectively, I additionally assume you will need to look inward as people to grasp our personal private journeys and the way we relate to others. I believe that enables us to develop empathy for others that we could not have had.

Empathy that turns into love and understanding.

Lucy as a child staring at a turtle

At a younger age, Andrews had a deep appreciation for nature and different residing issues, influenced by her time residing in New Zealand. (Picture courtesy of Lucy Andrews)

I used to be born in Baltimore, Maryland. My dad is a pediatrician, and my mother is a pediatric nurse. Whereas I used to be a child, we moved just a few instances. Once I was 8, we really moved to Auckland, New Zealand, the place my dad received a place at a neighborhood hospital.

I used to be actually privileged to stay in and find out about Kiwi tradition, which was completely different from numerous what I observe in the USA. I gained a deep and nearly non secular love of untamed landscapes. There’s a powerful relationship in New Zealand between individuals and land. And naturally, that’s sophisticated, uneven and has a historical past of colonialism. However I discovered by means of my faculty neighborhood and my very own childhood explorations that our job on this world is to deal with and keep in the best relationship with our pure locations.

That’s one thing I proceed to take with me in every thing I do.

I lived in New Zealand for many of elementary faculty earlier than we ended up shifting again to the USA, touchdown in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I went to most of center faculty and highschool within the Twin Cities.

I used to be lively in sports activities, scholar authorities and neighborhood service. A few of that was inherited from my mom, who has a reasonably Catholic concept of service, the place you present up in an embodied sense. You stay out your values not solely by donating cash, although that’s a high quality factor to do, however by making an attempt to be bodily and emotionally current in attending to no matter challenges are dealing with your neighborhood. So, that was a part of my household tradition.

A group of coaches standing at a race track

Andrews finds function in serving her neighborhood. As an Oakland resident and avid runner, Andrews volunteers as a coach on the cross nation and observe staff at Oakland Technical Excessive Faculty. Left to proper: Marisa Rudolph, Kalinda Reynolds, Andrews and Jess Smith. (Picture courtesy of Lucy Andrews)

After highschool, I attended Macalester Faculty in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the place I discovered lots about racial justice work as a result of the scholar physique had a major neighborhood of activists. Pushing for radical change was a traditional prevalence. It was within the air that lots of my friends and I breathed.

I majored in geology as a result of I believed the science was fascinating, and that manifested in my research of hydrology and geomorphology — the research of water and panorama floor processes, respectively. I used to be fascinated by how rivers, snow, ice and erosion form what we see on the floor of the earth.

I used to be intrigued by the connections between science and politics that present up in hydrology, as a result of water in dry locations is contentious. And I believed that questions of shortage had been attention-grabbing in how science will be delivered to bear on social questions and in how we construct techniques of administration and sharing.

We see this in California. The hydrological engineering that individuals have completed within the American West is mind-blowing and the supply of numerous vitality, but additionally battle. Once we don’t have sufficient water, how can we determine who will get it?

So, that every one me. Once I graduated from Macalester, California was deep in drought. I moved to San Francisco to work a job in consuming water administration, to attempt to remediate among the impacts of the drought. I used to be working lots with metropolis consuming water techniques, pipes, remedy vegetation and the monetary budgeting round consuming water provide. And it was attention-grabbing, however it wasn’t fairly what I wished to do.

I used to be extra excited in regards to the interface between pure techniques and human techniques, which motivated me to affix Berkeley’s Environmental Science, Coverage, and Administration Ph.D. program in fall 2018. I additionally wished to remain within the Bay and was in a position to transfer to Oakland. Being queer, I had discovered such a house and neighborhood right here that allowed me to be myself on the floor, and I didn’t wish to depart that.

Andrews’ analysis focuses on the research of water and panorama floor processes. “I used to be fascinated by how rivers, snow, ice and erosion form what we see on the floor of the earth… Once we don’t have sufficient water, how can we determine who will get it?” (Video by Alexii Sigona and Robin D. Lopez)

Coming to Berkeley, I used to be blown away by the diploma of experience of my scholar colleagues. My scientific background earlier than grad faculty was fairly gentle. However numerous my friends had been already famous person researchers and knew the literature.

I felt completely out to sea, however I used to be excited to be round this sort of scholarly neighborhood. And the scholar organizing and activism on campus was and is spectacular, however it’s additionally irritating in that numerous it’s born out of necessity.

I’ve at all times had a powerful dedication to social justice and anti-racism work. Constructing a beloved neighborhood, notably by means of nonviolent observe, has been core to my ethical alignment and dedication to the world. However two years into my graduate research, I skilled an incident that basically put me on the spot to stay out these values that till that time had typically been a bit summary.

Strolling residence from campus, I used to be randomly assaulted by a stranger who had a gun. He ended up beating me with that gun, and I suffered a mind damage and non permanent listening to loss. 

Within the aftermath of that incident, as I used to be being handled by a medical employee — and visibly injured in a state of trauma — a police officer requested me whether or not, in the event that they caught the individual, I want to press fees. On reflection, I believe it was inappropriate to ask that of somebody experiencing such obvious misery. 

In the event that they discover this individual, do I would like them to go to jail?… and the reply for me is, no.”

In that second, what I wanted was trauma care. I wanted medical care and psychological first assist. And as an alternative, the officer was fascinated by quotas and making an attempt to provide the outcomes that our policing and jail system incentivizes.

It took me a really very long time to really feel OK shifting on the earth once more and to not concern being in a public house; for some time, commuting to campus was onerous. And despite the fact that I wouldn’t want this sort of expertise on anybody, that second has been transformative for me. It has actually formed my worldview.

I’ve a gorgeous community of mates on and off campus who supported me by means of that course of to show it right into a productive introspection of myself and my values. I posed inquiries to myself like: How does this modification the way in which that I transfer on the earth? What do I consider would actually heal me? How can we stop hurt and transfer by means of restorative processes?

In the event that they discover this individual, do I would like them to go to jail? I chewed on that query lots, and the reply for me is, no.

I’d not discover any decision or therapeutic in that. Human caging doesn’t heal individuals who trigger hurt. Since that incident, I’ve additionally noticed that our criminal-legal system doesn’t middle victims or survivors and doesn’t do a great job of taking good care of individuals who have skilled hurt. 

The policing is the main target, and the neighborhood and its people have turn out to be secondary. If we deal with incarcerating individuals, we lose out on victim-centered care and on the likelihood for actual restoration of neighborhood security and relationships. And I want to discover methods for incarceration to not be “the reply.”

beds lined up in a big room in an overcrowded california prison

“If we deal with incarcerating individuals, we lose out on victim-centered care and on the likelihood for actual restoration of neighborhood security and relationships,” mentioned Andrews. (Picture by California Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation/through Wikimedia Commons)

As a member of the IAB on campus, I come at this work from a want to make our communities deeply secure in ways in which don’t contain punishment, surveillance and policing. As an alternative, we have to actually spend money on individuals, as a result of I believe the one that harmed me was a misplaced teenager who wanted greater than he was being given. 

I’m excited that the IAB is working in partnership with some campus workplaces to vary psychological well being care and disaster response, fundamental wants safety sources, narratives about what security is, and campus assist for individuals who have been harmed by violence, whether or not that’s by the hands of police or others.

Proper now, the police examine themselves, and I believe that’s ridiculous. We can be shifting that course of out of the police’s jurisdiction into a distinct workplace so that individuals get a level of accountability and follow-up for the complaints that they might file for police conduct.

I additionally hope that we are able to deal with college students who’ve discovered that campus is an unsafe place for them. So, I’m excited that we’re doing that work.

Students holding protest signs at Sather gate against climate change

Berkeley’s campus neighborhood participated within the local weather change protests in 2019, one of many many activist campaigns Andrews mentioned are “born out of necessity.” (UC Berkeley photograph)

I additionally take these views and experiences with me serving as Berkeley’s Graduate Meeting president. I recognize that Berkeley, being the state’s flagship public college, has this mission of cultivating college students who take part in democracy and contribute to constructing a extra equitable society. But it surely has been my statement that the college falls wanting that, at instances.

There are college students at Cal which might be residing in such financial insecurity that it interferes with their schooling. There was numerous impactful scholar organizing work tackling these scholar points. And I’d say the Graduate Meeting is a superb venue for this — it facilitates graduate scholar cooperation, advocacy and neighborhood throughout departments, schools and even universities. The Graduate Meeting is a collective, and any successes we have now are as a result of involvement of many college students. As of late, we’re working to create extra disabled scholar entry all through the complete graduate program, bettering graduate scholar fundamental wants safety and responding to campus crises as they come up.

I’ve caught round within the Graduate Meeting as a result of I benefit from the colleagues I work with, the conversations I’m invited into, and the political schooling that graduate college students supply one another. I’ve seen the Graduate Meeting be a helpful complement to our graduate employee unions, which I additionally recognize as nice venues for pushing for higher working situations.

Whereas graduate college students cycle out and in of the college, having a coalitional, interdepartmental house just like the Graduate Meeting, we are able to share knowledge, long-term visions, histories and initiatives with one another to construct solidarity and keep away from having to reinvent the wheel.

Lucy conducting a meeting in the Graduate Assembly office.

Andrews main a gathering together with her colleagues in Berkeley’s Graduate Meeting workplace. (Picture courtesy of Lucy Andrews)

Whereas we’re nonetheless engaged on our 2022-2023 advocacy agenda, I’m notably involved about advancing an abolitionist imaginative and prescient of public security, pushing for situations of higher entry and fairness throughout graduate packages, and supporting unionized graduate college students by means of the contract negotiation course of (as a rank and file member). I additionally hope we are able to create buildings that assist neurodivergent graduate college students and reinvigorate interdepartmental organizing and relationships which have suffered so much in the course of the pandemic.

Parallel to what the IAB additionally advocates for, within the aftermath of the police homicide of George Floyd, the Graduate Meeting additionally pushed to scale back campus funding in policing. That is vital to me as a result of I personally have seen Black and brown college students on campus profiled and harassed by police in ways in which have interfered with their well-being and their schooling.

I say all this as somebody who advantages from whiteness. In skilled contexts, individuals learn me as white (which I’m), and that implies that I’m typically taken critically and seen as non-threatening. I acknowledge that strolling round within the metropolis of Oakland, I’m not the individual being policed.

So, I do profit from these techniques, however I believe I profit from them on the expense of my very own humanity and different individuals’s humanity. And I’d reasonably see a world the place everybody enjoys the privileges that I take pleasure in, reasonably than simply me.

I don’t function from a place of guilt, as a result of guilt will not be a productive emotion. However I’m very conscious of what I’ve inherited, and I’m prepared to assist change these techniques. I believe I’m not distinctive, in that numerous my empathy for individuals comes from private relationships I’ve had with people who find themselves completely different from me. Having mates who’re undocumented or who come from communities which might be closely policed and surveilled, for instance, has made me wish to make life higher for them — as a result of I like them, and I care about them.

And that’s actually mutual; we’re all interdependent.

So, figuring out that there are very particular individuals in my life who don’t have the situations that I’ve to flourish — and I want that they might — motivates me in my work. And that entry level has opened my eyes and my coronary heart to those greater techniques which might be all interconnected.

Mountain landscape

Andrews hopes to battle local weather change by means of environmental justice work and analysis that’s interconnected to techniques of violence and anti-Blackness. Here’s a image she took in Kings Canyon that she typically makes use of as motivation and a reminder throughout instances of stress that “the mountains are on the market.” (Picture courtesy of Lucy Andrews)

We have now constructed a tradition of extraction and domination about how we relate to one another and the pure world. The best way we strip mine, clear forests, dam rivers and faucet into new oil reserves, typically on the expense of Indigenous and poor communities, is extraordinarily violent. These techniques of wealth accumulation have mortal penalties for lots of people and are an enormous drawback for local weather change, too.

These concepts of domination additionally trickle into the prison-industrial complicated, the place the type of violence that we inflict on our pure world we additionally inflict on one another as a way to preserve a social hierarchy that I believe must go.

So, by means of my place on campus, I wish to assist push Berkeley towards a decolonial, abolitionist future the place all individuals, non-human beings and our broader surroundings can flourish. I actually assume that is potential, although the street can be lengthy, winding, unsure and imperfect. The Graduate Meeting is a spot the place I’ve discovered different individuals working towards that imaginative and prescient — so I present up there!

I maintain deeply to the assumption {that a} completely different world is feasible, and dealing that method will not be straightforward. However how else is an individual imagined to be?



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