2020 has been a year like no other. The coronavirus has changed our usual ways of connecting, doing business and having fun. Students, from kindergarten through postgrad, had to give up familiar ways of learning. Thousands around the world have been awakened to the injustices that people of color have endured for centuries — and have taken to the streets in record numbers. A single change can have a huge impact.
UCLA Magazine captures the unique stories of how these changes affect Bruins. Stories you’ll read nowhere else.
In One Day at a Time: A UCLA Oral History, we look at how the UCLA community has dealt with the safer-at-home orders and what they learned in the process. In Friendship Now, John Harlow takes a deep dive into how friendship — transformed by the pandemic and technology — remains crucial to our happiness. And in Delan Bruce’s piece about Afrofuturism, we look at the movement’s rich reimagination of art, music, film and even superheroes that envisions alternative futures for Black people.
We also know there is much more work to be done to realize those visions. In Policing, Systemic Racism and Human Rights, UCLA School of Law Professor E. Tendayi Achiume examines how to eliminate racism in policing. Now that’s a change we can all hope for.
Let’s keep flying forward,
The Cost of Zoom
Thank you for addressing the challenges many are facing while adjusting to work-at-home life [in How to Manage Home Work]. While the article correctly identifies key issues with remote work environments, an increase in the frequency of videoconferences isn’t the answer.
Videoconferences can leave participants feeling drained. This is due in part to the mental effort required to process competing visual stimuli in the form of talking heads, the insufficient nonverbal cues that make virtual conversations psychologically taxing and the overall disruption to the workflow. When considered with the emotional strain many are feeling in the midst of a global pandemic, the suggestion to make even more demands on an employee’s time is a recipe for burnout. — Ilona Salmons ’07
Your [July 2020 issue] featured such an amazing variety of personalities and a very human quality in the words — all enhanced by the photography. I am probably old-fashioned, but I prefer the hard copy to online, because you can live with it for a while. Dip in and out, reread a quote or a segment, focus on a face, then have something else catch your eye. Just be with it until the next issue. I found so many articles terrific. Good work! — Stephanie DeLange M.F.A. ’71
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UCLA in Africa
In Hand in Hand Across Africa, John Harlow describes how UCLA’s partnerships in Africa are playing fundamental and essential roles in helping the regions meet their complex health and environmental challenges. COVID-19 cases are only now beginning to ramp up in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. While face masks, hand-washing and [physical] distancing are a matter of choice in the U.S., in many parts of Africa, especially in rural and indigenous communities, these simple remedies are luxuries. International universities, such as UCLA, have a critical role in assisting Africa with meeting the challenges of COVID-19. This also means working so that Africans can better meet the next pandemic that is certain to come. — Thomas B. Smith, distinguished professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA