The purpose of collecting & sharing our testimonials is to generate an archive that shows the human face of our movement for better living conditions. While the university exalts our intellectual labor, the conditions and experiences we face in our domestic and everyday lives are often invisibilized, devalued, or ignored. To give a testimony to the very real and tangible realities that mobilize us to organize and strike is to bring voice and bear witness to our full selves. Since the pandemic has pushed our strike online, the need for our stories and testimonies is all the more pressing! If you would like to submit a testimonial please do so here.

Image of people of all ages, races, religions standing with with the capital building in the background, caring for each other by offering food, comfort, and protesting

Collective Care
Image Credit: The Center for Cartoon Studies

"It’s hard to put a dollar amount on collective well-being. During this ecological crisis of capitalism that is effectively shutting down the economic and social systems we took for granted, I think of those of us who have been accustomed to living day-to-day, paycheck to paycheck. Not just as graduate students, but through life experiences of growing up poor or working-class, or through parenting our children and being caregivers to younger siblings, and aging or ill parents. Before COVID-19, a COLA perhaps would have given us a bit more time to spend with our loved ones, rather than working an extra job to care for people beyond ourselves. Now, a COLA can literally mean the difference between staying home or looking for work outside of the home in order to make ends meet. It means the difference between not only risking our lives, but the lives of the most vulnerable people in our communities and in our homes. Unfortunately, the grief of this moment feels all too familiar, as I have had to make difficult decisions to make ends meet. I've put my family and loved ones second to both my paid work and unpaid labor as graduate student. This is not sustainable. This is not the kind of logic that will get us through this crisis. A COLA during COVID is a step towards maintaining our ability to study, teach, and care for our loved ones while honoring our commitment to solidarity and physical distancing. This is what will build the collective well-being of our communities. "

-UC Berkeley Graduate Student in Ethnic Studies