July 2, 2015
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A Historical Few Weeks


The decision last Friday by the Supreme Court that granted the right to marry for same-sex couples throughout the nation is a historical moment, one that we at the Haas Institute not only applaud, but deeply celebrate. Friday’s decision was the precursor to a weekend that exploded with nationwide expressions of celebration and unbridled joy. This is a moment that is especially important for the gay and lesbian community—but it’s also equally important for America. Extending the right to marry, and the benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples, advances a larger vision of belonging and equal protection for all members of society.

When you bring people together they will love each otherand not only their love, but also the public acceptance of their love and human dignity will change the fabric of society. The Court's decision reiterated what we've long asserted: It’s not just enough to recognize or accept, we must also extend equal access to all members of society. While we recognize there is much more progress needed to achieve full legal equality for LGBTQ persons, we also acknowledge that Friday’s ruling was a major first step for our nation. 

Read our full statement on the historical Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage here. 


Last week we also enthusiastically received the news of the Supreme Court’s critically important decision to uphold a key legal protection in the 1968 Fair Housing Act in the Texas v. Inclusive Communities Project case.

"This is a historic decision not only for housing, but for the future of our nation,” says Stephen Menendian, Assistant Director of the Haas Institute. “Housing is the lynchpin of opportunity and upward mobility. Segregation constrains individual life chances and reduces human potential. The Fair Housing Act is the central mechanism for promoting housing integration.”

Menendian was one of the lead authors in an amicus brief filed in support of The Inclusive Communities Project. Entitled the "Brief of Housing Scholars," it was signed by 62 of the nation’s most widely known and respected historians, social scientists, demographers, and housing scholars, including several faculty from UC Berkeley. The opinion of the Court, delivered by Justice Kennedy, directly cited the Brief of Housing Scholars, which was jointly submitted by the Haas Institute and the Economic Policy Institute, in illustrating the role of public policy in fostering and maintaining segregated residential patterns.

Read our full statement on the historical Supreme Court decision on disparate impact as regards to fair housing here.


During this time, we also continued to mourn as the nine victims of the act of terrorism at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were buried. Just hours after the historic decision on same-sex marriage, the world watched as President Obama traveled to the church in Charleston where the murders took place to deliver a powerful eulogy to the loved ones of the deceased, the survivors dealing with the aftermath of this attack, the black community suffering from a crime that was aimed directly against their humanity, and to the global community left with more questions than answers. 

Know Their Names Illustration by Sarah Green. Used with permission.
These questions have sparked numerous conversations around the enduring legacy of racism in this country. Here are some of those conversations our staff, faculty, and partners have participated in:
Thank you to artist Sarah Green for use of her illustration Know Their Names.

Challenging Borders: Imagining an Inclusive Europe at a Time of "Migration Crisis"

In the past few months, tragic deaths of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea have propelled the European “migration crisis” to the center of international attention. The drowning of over 800 migrants off the coast of Malta on April 23, 2015 is merely the most dramatic of a long string of incidents that have transformed the Mediterranean sea into a mass grave. The fortification of borders, however, does not only make migrant journeys perilous, but it also exacerbates the politics of exclusion within national borders. Haas Institute Summer Fellow Ilaria Giglioli explains what this means for migrants and countries alike.


Emmanuel Saez HeadshotResearch by Emmanuel Saez, a member of the Haas Institute's Economic Disparities research cluster and professor at UC Berkeley, has found that the incomes of the 1% grew even more, further exacerbating US income inequality. In this recent piece on CNN, Prof. Saez notes "Though the 99% saw their incomes rise, the top 1% did even better. They saw their income jump 10.8% last year, and they captured 58% of the income growth for the year." 

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Copyright © 2015 Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society, All rights reserved.

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