Shalita grew in East Oakland and is a single of mother of two boys. She is a formerly incarcerated woman of color who is dedicated to fighting against the criminal injustice system. Shalita comes from a marginalized community that suffered from structural oppression and a lack of resources. She fell into the cycle of mass incarceration, so she knows first hand how the criminal justice system oppresses people of color. Shalita is studying sociology at UC Berkeley and is currently writing an Honors Thesis. She will graduate in May 2018 and then she will start a Masters of Social Work at UCLA.
Berkeley City College/BUS Liason
Robert is a first-generation UC Berkeley undergraduate majoring in sociology. When Robert was in ninth grade his father died of cancer, resulting in him dropping out of high school and leaving home. Shortly after his father’s death, Robert moved to Watsonville California where he struggled to find long term employment and as a result, began getting in trouble with the law. In jail he witnessed racial segregation and racism first hand, and from this experience learned about the lack of justice in California jails and the need for change.
Once Robert was released from jail he enrolled at Cabrillo College and started working with formerly incarcerated students in the Learning Communities Center, where he performed extensive work volunteering as a Student Support Facilitator for the Academy for College Excellence. Robert is currently the Liaison for BUS’s Ambassador program at Berkeley City College. Some of his other projects with BUS involve classroom presentations and outreach at other Community Colleges in California.
Abdullah Puckett transferred to UC Berkeley from San Diego City College where he was involved in community organizing with Pillars of the Community. At Pillars of the Community, Abdullah focused on helping those affected by the mass incarceration system. Prior to this he had been expelled from high school for a gang fight. He later served fifteen years in prison where he got his GED and an AA. Now he is dedicated to reversing the school-to-prison pipeline.
Clarence Ford transferred to UC Berkeley in 2014 from Contra Costa Community College. As an undergrad at Cal he majored in American Studies with a concentration in Ethnicity, Law, and Public Policy. He joined the Underground Scholars shortly after arriving and was appointed as one of the two leads for policy/advocacy. In 2017 they successfully advocated that the University of California system's Human Resource Department implement a fairness-in-hiring policy across all UC's, which postpones conviction inquiry until later on in the hiring process. This mitigates employment discrimination against those who may have made mistakes in the past that resulted in conviction. Clarence is now a first year Master’s Candidate at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, where he focuses in criminal justice policy.
Transfer coordinators aid prospective UC students through the transfer admissions process by doing transcript analysis, counseling, and developing a personal statement.
Michael is a formerly incarcerated transfer student from Citrus College pursuing a major in Sociology with a minor in Public Policy. He will soon be working towards earning a joint degree in Public Policy and Law. He is striving towards being able to be part of the movement in securing major policy changes that will remove institutional barriers for the currently and formerly incarcerated population to attain a higher quality of life.