Dear Berkeley Journalism Community:
I would like to take the opportunity during Pride Month—celebrated annually in June to honor the historic Stonewall Uprising in New York City in 1969—to reiterate our commitment to make the School inclusive and welcoming for all.
Three years ago, we put up a Pride flag during Pride Month and decided to leave it up year-round so that every student, every instructor, every staff member and every visitor to the School knows they are welcome, celebrated and belong. I hope every time you see it, those colors remind you of our shared values, loud and clear.
Since the 1980s, the School has been influenced by the magical vision of an icon of Black cinema who was gay. Alum Marlon T. Riggs (’81) (1957-1994) was at first a student and then the leader of our prestigious documentary film program. Each year, we award a $10,000 fellowship to a promising filmmaker in his name. To date, five second-year students in the documentary track have been honored in his name. This year, we honored Skyler Glover (‘21).
We also give out an annual memorial Excellence Award honoring Randy Shilts, one of the country’s first openly gay journalists. Shilts was an award-winning San Francisco Chronicle reporter and best-selling author whose ground-breaking work helped frame the national debate about the gay rights movement and AIDS. This year we honored Katie Bernstein and Ellie Lightfoot (‘21) for their Oakland North story, “Trans and nonbinary parents push birth industry to rethink care.”
I invite you to familiarize yourself with Riggs’s seminal documentary “Tongues Untied,” which featured the first romantic kiss between men on American television. The film is linked here. And watch alum and Advisory Board member Carrie Lozano’s (‘05) master’s thesis film about Shilts, “Reporter Zero,” which won best documentary at the Student Academy Awards.
June 15, 2023
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