As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Third World Liberation Front (twLF/TWLF) at UC Berkeley, the TWLF Research Initiative is providing an important snapshot of this historic moment. The work of the TWLF has profoundly influenced and changed the course of the university, at UC Berkeley and beyond, founding the first ever programs in Chicano Studies, African American Studies, Native American Studies and Asian American Studies. In 1999, the twLF banner was taken up again (now as twLF) to demand and win more spaces and resources for students of color, first generation students, working class students and other marginalized student populations. This includes the Multicultural Community Center, the twLF mural (in progress), the Center for Race and Gender (the first of its kind), and more faculty hires in the existing departments. Related struggles have brought us projects such as the American Cultures requirement and the various Recruitment and Retention centers that service these student populations. Indeed, this student movement links our campus to some of the most important struggles for social justice over the past 50 years; including the American Indian Movement, the Black Panther Party, the movement to dismantle Apartheid in South Africa, the first Asian American political organization, and the Chicanx Movement to name only a few.
Imagine courtesy of Ethnic Studies Library
This strike and subsequent activism, however, remains largely obscured at UC Berkeley outside of the spaces that have been directly influenced by the TWLF. To address this silencing of the past, the TWLF Research Initiative is working to develop a creative and dynamic online portal - hosted at twlf.berkeley.edu - that will provide open access to these crucial activist histories. As a creative and living archive-linking project, the TWLF Portal is a critical first step in this process to properly honor and acknowledge the work of these historic student leaders.
Your donations will directly fund necessary steps in this process: including the collection of oral histories from veterans of the various strikes, archival research and website development. Your funds will go directly to honoraria, travel costs and technical needs of documentation.
The importance of the twLF cannot be overstated, and is largely a silenced and erased history here at UC Berkeley. With all this important work being done on campus and beyond, there still does not exist any centralized place to learn about and educate our communities about this crucial student movement. Each of these wins over the past 50 years have had tremendous impacts on the whole UC system and have proven to be pivotal moments in the trajectories of social movements and public education at large. The need for this sort of relevant and community-engaged education is more necessary than ever in these times. Help us build this important website to honor and celebrate this historic and ongoing revolutionary work!