Changes make it easier than ever for Bruins to vote

Students, faculty, staff and even members of the public will be able to vote at the Ackerman Union beginning Feb. 22, and at the Hammer Museum beginning Feb. 29. (photo courtesy Los Angeles County Registrar)

There will be two locations – Ackerman Union and the Hammer Museum – and voters have multiple days to cast their ballots

When it comes to voting, there can be a litany of excuses as to why someone doesn’t make it to the polls on Election Day — you forgot, too busy to get there that day, working too far from your polling place, among others.

To erase as many barriers as possible to voting, Los Angeles County is implementing sweeping changes for voters leading up to the March 3 primary, and the UCLA campus community will be a major benefactor as the site of two vote centers — Ackerman Union and the Hammer Museum at UCLA.

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Black legislative leaders meet at UCLA to discuss future of public policy

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. (photo by Leroy Hamilton)

The Bunche Center for African American Studies was key in bringing the annual State of Black California meeting to campus

As legislators gathered at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center to take stock of the state of affairs for African Americans in California, there was a sense of pride from the members of the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. Their years of research were woven into the many conversations that took place during Feb. 8’s State of Black California meeting.

“Today’s meeting is not about discovering the problems, it’s about looking at solutions, because we know what the problems are,” said Assemblymember Shirley Weber, chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, which this year moved the annual meeting to UCLA for the first time. “We know where we are, whether in the schools, social justice or criminal justice reform. We know where we are. And the question is, how do we get to a better place?”

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UC and CSU team up to improve pre-K–12 teaching about climate change

From left: Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Emily Carter, Vincent Del Casino Jr., Janet Napolitano and Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis. (photo by Todd Cheney/UCLA)

UCLA hosted the Environmental and Climate Change Literacy Project and Summit

Four car-clogged freeways surround Darlene Tieu’s students at Horace Mann UCLA Community School in South Los Angeles. Days with clear skies in the area are few and far between. Just this past October, her students dealt with dangerous heatwaves and cancelled sports because of smoke from fires in Southern California.

“Right now, my students are doing their best at being teenagers,” Tieu told attendees of a conference held at UCLA that was focused on how to teach environmental science literacy. More than 200 higher education leaders, pre-K through 12th grade educators, researchers and policymakers gathered at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center for the Environmental and Climate Change Literacy Project and Summit as part of an effort to hash out the big ideas for educating the next generation of climate change-aware students.

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UCLA Veterans Day ceremony salutes those who served

UCLA leaders recognized the contributions and sacrifices of veterans. (photo by Todd Cheney/UCLA)

Ceremonies on Wilson Plaza provide the university community an opportunity to recognize their sacrifices

As Christopher Jones looked out into a crowd of veterans, military peers, family members and the public gathered at UCLA, he reflected on his life’s ethos, one definitively shaped by his service in the U.S. Navy.

“So, what does Veterans Day mean to me?” he asked, before pausing a moment. “It means honoring those who were brave enough to go before me, who were willing to fail, who were willing to learn and who were willing to pass those lessons on to me.

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UCLA Centennial Resonates in Washington, D.C.

Chancellor Gene Block and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu show the Congressional Record Statement for the UCLA Centennial.

Although separated by more than 2,500 miles, the relationship between UCLA and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. is inextricably linked and constant — from the more than 35 percent of Bruins who receive federal Pell grants to the hundreds of research breakthroughs that count on federal dollars.

On Sept. 9, approximately 200 UCLA officials, students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered with their Washington, D.C. peers at the U.S. Botanic Garden to celebrate 100 years and reflect on the many ways the university and the people of the federal government — from agency members to high-ranking legislators — keep pushing the True Bruin goal forward.

“We have a lot of connections here — we have 4,500 alumni in the D.C. region,” Chancellor Gene Block noted as he addressed the gathering. “And it’s great now to finally share this moment with you. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize all that’s been accomplished in 100 years.”

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Athletes and entertainers urged to use their platforms to advocate for social justice

Members of the #cut50 panel on criminal justice reform stressed the power of personal stories to spark change and create allies. (photo by Artists & Athletes Alliance)

UCLA co-presented panel discussion with CNN commentator Van Jones and other advocates

Putting people before politics is necessary to get things done, emphasized members of a panel of criminal justice reform activists who helped shepherd the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act through Congress, with the president’s support, and into law.

The act, which passed with overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress in December, is a small but important initial move toward lowering the number of people incarcerated in the United States — where more people are incarcerated than anywhere in the world. The FIRST STEP Act shortens mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Additionally, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, it eases a federal “three strikes” rule and the act expands the “drug safety-valve,” which would give judges more discretion to deviate from mandatory minimums when sentencing for nonviolent drug offenses.

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