Opinion

Over a month ago I rode a few hours north to the quiet seclusion of Mendocino County to attend XRYSALIS, a retreat for trans and queer people of color (TQPOC). Many of us attending were seeking a place to just “be”; to enjoy one another’s company, to share our stories, to heal through honest discussion, and to exist — or at least discover how we could exist — outside of the white gaze.

The headlines this summer have been marred by one disturbing theme: an attack on diversity in the United States.

After a week of vacation I returned to my lab and an inbox crowded with emails. As I read through the 100 or so messages, I noticed a troubling theme emerging. There were emails condemning the hateful actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville, safety bulletins warning about the heat wave that hit San Francisco, and messages criticizing the president’s decision to rescind Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrival (DACA). Reading about hate, prejudice, and extreme weather (or as I was thinking about it, a gentle reminder of climate change) was a hard way to transition back into my normal routine. The familiar feeling of disheartenment that I had left behind while on vacation began to creep back into me.

I turned on the news and my home was underwater. Drowning.

I was just back in Houston for a visit in May. It was still true: everything in Texas is bigger, even bigger than you remember, especially after you’ve been away a while.

By Ray
After reading Aaron Mattingly’s recently published Synapse article “Leadership or Lip Service?” about his disappointment in Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Daniel Lowenstein, Dr. Dan Lowenstein, during the Annual Chancellor’s Leadership Forum on Diversity and Inclusion, I’m compelled to weigh in. In last March’s article “Living the Dream,” I highlight the issue of perpetual fatigue caused by UCSF’s stressful work environment. I state that in truth, the dream of coming to UCSF can sometimes feel like a nightmare. Unexpectedly, I received a formal response to that article. And lo and behold, who did it come from? The same antagonist from Aaron’s article: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Daniel Lowenstein. This is what he wrote to me:
Image of a thumbs down.

On Thursday April 27 UCSF held the 10th Annual Chancellor’s Leadership Forum on Diversity and Inclusion, but I was not entirely convinced that all of the leadership were there to listen. In fact, one exchange in particular told me that when it comes to diversity at UCSF, lip service sometimes takes precedence over action.

Image of Dr. Robert Reich at a podium.

Professor Robert Reich believes that the greatest current threat to our democracy is not our president, not congressmen, and not the bureaucracy of our political system. It is that Americans have lost faith in the strength of their country’s democratic institutions.

UCSF students rally in Washington DC in front of the White House during the March for Science gathering.

“Is the March for Science political?” my friend asked me a week before the march. “Why are you doing it?” I thought about these two questions leading up to the UCSF Stand Up for Science Rally and March for Science, which I participated in along with hundreds of UCSF students, postdocs, faculty, staff and community.

A circle of hands meet at a center point.
By Ray

In college, I used to have this one thought every finals week after weekends of pushing back studying while going to bars and binging on TV shows, only to finally cram in the library and study like a life depended on it.

HIV rates are declining as a whole among men who have sex with men, but rates aren’t decreasing for Black and Latino populations. The goal is Getting to Zero, but are the institutions dedicated to the cause actually dedicated to these groups?