Executive Director’s Message: Using Our Voices in Service of Positive Social Change

June 1, 2020

Using Our Voices in Service of Positive Social Change

Dear I-House Community -

I hope that this message finds you faring well despite the deeply disturbing events going on all around us during this period of unrest and continued worry about COVID-19 spread. I want you to know that all of us at I-House are feeling for you at this time, and that we are especially mindful of the extensive emotional toll this is taking amongst our communities of color.

In 1930, the opening of I-House delivered a powerful message against racial segregation and bigotry. Protests and opposition from certain students and community members were insufficient to stop the groundbreaking coeducational, interracial living center and its promise of building mutual understanding and respect leading to a more peaceful world. Nine decades later, we see how much further we still have to go in working for social justice and fighting systemic racism. I urge you to read the recent message put forth by UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ for further insights, and for resources you might find beneficial.

Despite all of the discord that is present at this time, I truly hope that you and your families are still able to find some personal peace and solace in the thought that something good must come out of this turbulence. More than anything, these events reinforce in my own mind the essential need for places such as International House Berkeley, whose mission is to stand for intercultural harmony, civic responsibility, and bringing justice for those who have been  dehumanized and, in many cases, murdered. We will continue to stand for these values as we move forward, and we will continue to focus on challenging ourselves to find the most effective ways to use our voices in service of positive social change.


Hans C. Giesecke, Ph.D.

Hans Giesecke signature

Executive Director
International House, UC Berkeley

I-House Berkeley