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Protesting Pays Off for UC Berkeley Students

After more than 15 months of protesting and negotiations, UC Berkeley’s Black Student Union (BSU), with the assistance of the Afrikan Black Coalition, has reached an agreement with Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to secure funding for the Fannie Lou Hamer Resource Center.

According to a press release from the coalition, a physical building will also be designated as part of the agreement.

“WE DEMAND the creation of an African-American Student Development Resource Center, to be named the Fannie Lou Hamer Resource Center, with a designated office space as well as space for hosting events, at a central campus location,” the first of a series of demands issued by the union last year states. “The center is to be under the purview of the African-American Student Development Office.”

Current BSU Chair Elias Hinit and Chancellor Dirks signed the agreement on July 19. According to the agreement, “the Fannie Lou Hamer Resource Center will be located in the Hearst Annex Building, rooms D3, D4, and D5 for the next five years.”

The Chancellor has also agreed to “allocate $82,885 to refurbish the building and purchase necessary equipment.”

If the campus does not identify a permanent space for the center by 2021, the agreement stipulates that the Center will remain in the Hearst Annex for the next five years.

In addition to the demands, the BSU submitted a detailed budget plan “that will enable the Fannie Lou Hamer Resource Center to serve as a fully resourced and staffed Center” to the chancellor, the release states.

The Center needs a permanent annual allocation of $547,500 to be used for five full-time staff members, fifteen part-time student staff members, and programming and equipment needs, according to the release.

“I feel so honored and privileged to not only have a Black space and learn from it, but to help grow it into something that we can use to liberate our people,” Hinit said.

The Fannie Lou Hamer Center is scheduled to open to the public next month.

Photo: Afrikan Black Coalition