Third World Liberation Front Research Initiative (twLF)

Third World Liberation Front Research Initiative

Background image: TWLF yellow sign with red star

The pivotal 1969 UC Berkeley student movement, the Third World Liberation Front (twLF), helped established Ethnic Studies as an interdisciplinary field in the U.S.  

About twLF

In 1968, a coalition known as the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) is formed between the Black Student Union and other student groups at San Francisco State University to lead a five month strike on campus to demand a radical shift in admissions practices that mostly excluded nonwhite students and in the curriculum regarded as irrelevant to the lives of students of color.

In 1969, a multiracial coalition of UC Berkeley students comes together and forms the third world Liberation Front (twLF) to demand that the University acknowledge the histories of communities of color as vital scholarship through the creation of a Third World College dedicated to the underemphasized histories of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanos/Chicanas, and Native Americans. The three month long protests that followed resulted not in a Third World College but in the Department of Ethnic Studies.

In 1999, under the banner of the third world Liberation Front, UC Berkeley students protested a series of cuts to the Ethnic Studies Department by holding rallies, sit-ins, building occupations, and a hunger strike resulting in a five point Agreement in Support of Ethnic Studies. Included in this agreement was a commitment to establishing a research center on campus, which evolved to be the Center for Race & Gender.

To learn more to visit UC Berkeley's Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) site.

TWLF yellow sign with red star

"twLF Demand Ethnic Studies Now", 2010, by Jesus Barraza.


The UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library organized a Third World Liberation Front Resource Guide that compiles materials on the twLF and the history of Ethnic Studies and African American Studies focusing on, but not limited to the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Resources include the following:

  • books
  • dissertations
  • articles
  • audiovisual media
  • primary sources
  • newspapers
  • oral histories



Funders & Awards

2018 UC Berkeley Student Tech Fund Grant - Multi-year Award
Third World Liberation Front Digital Portal

Past twLF Scholars

(Bios reflect scholars’ status at the time of their appointment at the Center for Race and Gender.)

Maria with hair to the side

Maria Faini

Maria Faini completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory from UC Berkeley. Her work focuses on U.S. imperial culture; P.T.S.D., moral injury, and suicide; and veteran ​art practice. Her research interests are (broadly): art practice and performance, decolonial ethics, queer of color critique and affect theory, critical race theory, disability studies, and ​violence. Publications include pieces in Locating Life Stories: Beyond East-West Binaries in (Auto)Biographical Studies; Ada: A Journal of Gender, Technology, and New Media; and a/b: Auto/Biography Studies. She has written for Nation of Change and The Feminist Wire, was co-executive editor of nineteen sixty nine: an ethnic studies journal, and co-founder of IABA’s Life Writing SNS Network. S​he has been a 2016 Arts Research Center fellow at UC Berkeley and a 2016-17 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) fellow. She is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar for the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley, a participant in UCHRI’s Exploratory Workshop on Experimentation,​ and working on a book project titled: The Art of Moral Injury: Decolonizing the Military Subject through Artisanal Destruction.

Marcelo with yellow background

Marcelo Garzo Montalvo

Marcelo Garzo Montalvo (Mapuche, Chilenx) is an award-winning scholar-activist, classically-trained experimental musician, Aztec ceremonial dancer and PhD Candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. He is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion and the Institute of Noetic Sciences Consciousness in Action Award. His academic work has been supported by the Tinker Foundation, the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, the Center for American Cultures and Engaged Scholarship and the Center for Latin American Studies. He is an active member of multiple on-campus working groups, including Performance in the Americas, the Color of New Media, and Peripheral Futures. As a scholar and educator, he regularly teaches and guest lectures in university and K-12 classrooms, presents at academic and activist conferences, and facilitates popular education workshops with community-based organizations. He has worked on staff and served on the board of directors for multiple Bay Area-based community food justice organizations including the People’s Grocery, Planting Justice and Pie Ranch. He has also been active as a healing justice organizer, co-founding the BadAss Visionary Healers and serving on the organizing committee for the Men’s Healing Clinic Collective. As an artist and musician, Marcelo is an alumnus of the Emerging Artists Professionals Fellowship and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Labor and Ecology Think Tank. His art, research and activism focuses on decolonization and inter-generational, inter-cultural healing.

twLF Events


The pivotal 1969 UC Berkeley student movement, the Third World Liberation Front (twLF), helped established Ethnic Studies as an interdisciplinary field in the U.S.  Marking the upcoming 50th anniversary of the twLF, the research initiative produced a year-long series of events, discussions, exhibits, and an online digital portal that archives and documents twLF’s critical role in shaping UC Berkeley’s identity, its relationship with Bay Area-based 1960s social movements, and its impact on the inception and development of Ethnic Studies. Initiative members include students, staff, and faculty from the Center for Race & Gender, the Ethnic Studies Library, the Multicultural Community Center, the Ethnic Studies and African American Studies Departments, and American Cultures.

4-27-2019 twlf event

All Power To The People – TWLF50th Anniversary

04.27.2019 | 12:00 – 7:00 PM |  Sylvia Mendez Elementary School, 2241 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA

Please join us for a day of inter-generational dialogues featuring 1969 TWLF Student Strikers and Ethnic Studies students and educators working in K-12 schools, universities and prisons.

Keynote Address with Corrina Gould – Ohlone Activist and co-founder of the Sogorea Te Land Trust


12:00 -12:30 PM:  Lunch

12:30 - 12:45 PM:  Opening Ceremony

1:00 - 2:00 PM:   Opening Address, featuring Corrina Gould

2:00 - 4:00 PM:  Presentation & Conversation: Fulfilling the Dream of the Third World College, featuring 1969 TWLF Student Strikers and current student activists of color

4:15 - 5:30 PM:  Ethnic Studies Beyond the University: K-12 and Prisons, featuring Meesh Cabal, Eddy Zheng, and Ethnic Studies Youth Together from Oakland High School

5:30 - 6:00 PM:   Dinner

6:00 - 7:00 PM:  Closing Presentation, featuring Decolonize this Place

4-26-2019 TWLF

Voices From 50 Years Of Student Of Color Activism – TWLF 50th Anniversary

04.26.2019 | 12:00 – 8:00 PM | 112 Wurster Hall

Presentations & Conversations with 1969 TWLF Student Strikers, the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center, OUSD Ethnic Studies Educators, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions organizers from South Africa to Palestine 

Keynote Address: Dr. LaNada War Jack – Colonization Battlefield: A Native American Historical and Personal Account of Oppression, Survival, and Resistance


12:00 - 12:30 PM:   Lunch

12:30 - 1:00 PM:  Opening Address, featuring Hatem Bazian

1:00 - 3:00 PM:   Presentation & Conversation with 1969 TWLF Student Strikers, featuring Maria Ramirez, Harvey Dong, Jeff Leong, Floyd Huen, Nina Genera, Vicci Wong, Clementina Duron, Jean Quan, Lilian Bando, Bob Wing, LaNada War Jack and more.

3:00 PM:   Performance

3:15 - 4:00 PM:   Winning the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center, featuring Blake Simons and Melissa Charles

4:00 - 4:45 PM:   Ethnic Studies Today in K-12:  Innovation, Implementation, and Challenges in Oakland’s Public Schools, featuring Marisa Villegas, Heath Madom, Young Whan Choi, moderated by Lailan Huen

4:45 - 5:00 PM:  Break

5:00 - 6:00 PM:   Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: From South Africa to Palestine, Rickey Vincent and current members of Students for Justice in Palestine

6:00 - 6:30 PM:  Dinner

6:45 - 7:45 PM:  Keynote Address, Colonization Battlefield: from the Rock to Standing Rock, featuring LaNada War Jack

4-25-2019 TWLF

Celebrating Community Engaged Scholarship Across Generations – TWLF 50th Anniversary

04.25.2019 | 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM |  Anna Head Alumnae Hall 

On April 25, 1989, UC Berkeley adopted the ground-breaking American Cultures (AC) undergraduate education requirement thanks to years of student and faculty protest and campaigning. Thirty years later, we celebrate this curricular innovation in light of the TWLF 50th Anniversary.  This day will feature panel discussions on the current state of political education, activist scholarship, and the arts.


9:00 - 10:00 AM:   Breakfast

10:00 - 10:15 AM:   Opening Ceremony, featuring Two Spirit Drum Wakan Wiya

10:15 - 11:00 AM:   Opening Address, featuring Ramon Grosfoguel

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM:   Scholar/Activism and Art Practice, featuring Jesus Barraza, Aya De Leon, Malaquias Montoya, and AJ Moultrie; moderated by Angela Marino

12:30 -12:45 PM:  Performance AJ, The One

12:45 - 1:15 PM:  Lunch

1:15 - 2:30 PM:   Political Education and Pedagogy, featuring undergraduate scholars: Lulu Matute, Adelene Miranda, Pablo Paredes, Avelina Rivera, and China Ruiz; moderated by Niyatt Mengis

2:30 - 3:45 PM:   Political Education and Pedagogy, featuring graduate scholars: Angela Aguilar, Alex Mabanta, and David Maldonado; moderated by Marcelo Garzo Montalvo

Exhibit Reception: Whose University? 50th Anniversary Of Twlf Flyer

Exhibit Reception: Whose University? 50th Anniversary Of TWLF

04.24.2019 | 5:00  – 8:00 PM | Ethnic Studies Library and Morrison Library

Whose University? The 50th Anniversary of the UC Berkeley Third World Liberation Front Strike will be on display at the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery in Doe Memorial Library from March – September 2019. 

An exhibit reception will take place on April 24, 2019, from 5-8pm. Read a statement from the curator’s and see the full acknowledgements here.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Third World Liberation Front student strike at UC Berkeley that resulted in the creation of the departments of Ethnic Studies and African American Studies. The vision of the TWLF for a Third World College extends far beyond the bounds of campus to a vision of a liberatory education by and for communities of color. The Ethnic Studies Library strives to make this history and legacy more accessible through a public exhibit in the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery at Doe Memorial Library, a reception on April 24, 2019, and the unveiling of a digitized collection of TWLF-related archival materials on Calisphere. Join us!

Planned in conjunction with the Center for Race & Gender TWLF 50th Planning Committee events.

Cosponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies, Ethnic Studies Library, TWLF 50th Planning Committee, Media Resources Center, and the University Library


As part of our digital path forward, the Ethnic Studies Library is embarking on our first digitization project of TWLF archival materials. Since 2016, we have been building our digital lab and capacity to digitize materials in-house. The TWLF 50th anniversary project will be our first online collection digitized in our lab.

In July 2018, TWLF veterans visited the Ethnic Studies Library and helped select the archives they felt were meaningful in telling the story of the TWLF strike. We are excited to share these documents on Calisphere for all to see. Please check back for updates! 


TWLF Library Resource Guide: A library resource guide featuring books, articles, videos, and archives related to the TWLF on the UC Berkeley campus and beyond.

Berkeley Revolution – The Third World Liberation Front: A student project by Anthony Gilmore and Kai Nham which gives an overview of the TWLF strike and features archival documents.

To support our efforts or for any questions, e-mail the Comparative Ethnic Studies Librarian, Sine Hwang Jensen at

1-22-2019 TWLF Event

Rally to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF)

01.22.2019 | 12:00  – 1:00 PM | Mario Savio Steps, UC Berkeley

On January 22, 1969, the Third World Liberation Front initiated their now-historic student strike, demanding a Third World College at UC Berkeley. The TWLF was a multiracial coalition comprised of: the Afro-American Students Union (AASU), Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA), Mexican-American Students Confederation (MASC) and the Native American Students Union (NASU).

On January 22, 2019, there will be an informational rally to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of this important moment in campus history. TWLF veterans will read the original 1969 demands that led to Ethnic Studies programs being created throughout the UC system and nationwide. Additionally, there will be speakers from subsequent generations who have fought to sustain Ethnic Studies on campus and in the community.

Co-sponsors (partial list): TWLF Research Initiative (Center for Race and Gender), TWLF 1969/twLF veterans, APASD (Asian Pacific American Student Development), Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Chicanx Latinx Student Development (CLSD), American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Native American Studies, Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), REACH!, Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC), Ethnic Studies Dept. UC Berkeley.

10-06-2018 TWLF Event

Third World Liberation Front (twLF) 50th Anniversary Gathering

10.06.2018| 2:00  – 5:00 PM | Multicultural Community Center, MLK Jr. Student Union 

Join us to commemorate 50 years of student struggle for self-determination, third world solidarity and an education that is relevant to the needs of our communities. We will gather across generations, with those who began the original twLF strikes in 1969, to those who have continued to hold and sustain these projects over the past 50 years.

Thanks to the twLF, we have the: • Department of Ethnic Studies • Department of African American Studies • Multicultural Community Center • Center for Race and Gender • Ethnic Studies Library • American Cultures requirement • twLF Mural (coming soon!) • and more!

If you have been involved with, or benefited from any of these spaces, we hope you can join this historic gathering.

Event co-sponsored by the TWLF Research Initiative, 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, the 1969 twLF Veteranos committee, and the Multicultural Community Center.

TWLF event on 10-30-2018

What is the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF)?

08.10.2018| 3:30  – 5:00 PM | Center for Latino Policy Research, 2547 Channing Way
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic third world Liberation Front (twLF) which took place at SFSU and UC Berkeley in 1968-1969. This movement led to the founding of the College of Ethnic Studies at SFSU and the departments of Ethnic Studies and African American Studies on our campus. Since then, students have continued to struggle for the original demands for relevant education, solidarity and self-determination for students of color on campus; founding spaces such as the MultiCultural Community Center, the Center for Race and Gender, and the American Cultures requirement. Come learn about this history by connecting with alumni and veterans from 1969, 1999 and other important moments in this ongoing struggle.

TWLF event 4-26-2018

Agents of Change: Film Screening and Panel

04.26.2018| 4:30  – 7:00 PM | 370 Dwinelle Hall

A film by Frank R. Dawson and Abby Ginzberg

In anticipation of next year’s year-long 50th anniversary of the Third World Liberation Front (twLF) at UC Berkeley, the CRG will screen Frank R. Dawson and Abby Ginzberg’s 2016 documentary Agents of Change.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Ziza Delgado, Juanita Tamayo Lott, and Jason Ferreira as well as an info session about next year’s 50th anniversary of the Third World Liberation Front at UC Berkeley.

From the well-publicized events at San Francisco State in 1968 to the image of black students with guns emerging from the takeover of the student union at Cornell University in April, 1969, the struggle for a more relevant and meaningful education, including demands for black and ethnic studies programs, became a clarion call across the country in the late 1960’s. Through the stories of these young men and women who were at the forefront of these efforts, Agents of Change examines the untold story of the racial conditions on college campuses and in the country that led to these protests. The film’s characters were caught at the crossroads of the civil rights, black power, and anti-Vietnam war movements at a pivotal time in America’s history. Today, over 45 years later, many of the same demands are surfacing in campus protests across the country, revealing how much work remains to be done. Agents of Change links the past to the present and the present to the past–making it not just a movie but a movement.

Jason Ferreira is Chair of the Department of Race & Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his PhD in Ethnic Studies from Berkeley and is a proud veteran of the twLF99 hunger strike. Dr. Ferreira’s teaching and scholarship focus on the history of radicalism within and across communities of color. Recent scholarship includes “With the Soul of a Human Rainbow: Los Siete, Black Panthers, and Third Worldism in San Francisco” and he is completing a social history of the Third World Strike. In the community, Dr. Ferreira co-founded the Institute for MultiRacial Justice. He also established the Center for Political Education as a space dedicated to building strong movements and the Left through education, analysis, theory, and activism. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Freedom Archives and the Kendra Alexander Foundation.

Juanita Tamayo Lott is featured in Agents of Change. After helping to set up the College of Ethnic Studies at SF State in 1969 – 1971, Juanita completed graduate work at the University of Chicago. Her career in Washington, D.C as a demographer/statistician in the federal statistical system focused on the impact of demographic shifts on public policy. Her latest book in progress is Golden Children:  The Legacy of Ethnic Studies at SF State. The Juanita Tamayo Lott Collection resides in the Asian Division of the Library of Congress. She serves on the planning committee for the 50th anniversaries of the SF State student strike and founding of the College of Ethnic Studies.

Ziza Delgado earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Delgado is currently the Cultural Diversity Coordinator and a professor of Ethnic Studies, History and Urban Education at Glendale Community College (GCC). In 2017 she developed the first certificate degree in Restorative Justice for a community college in the nation and co-founded the Restorative Justice Center, a campus program serving formerly incarcerated and system impacted students, at GCC. Dr. Delgado’s research and teaching are dedicated to the study of the history of ethnic studies, race, racism, social movements, education theory and praxis, restorative justice, U.S. history and carceral studies.

TWLF yellow sign with red star

On Strike -- Ethnic Studies 1969-1999: Film Screening and Panel

11.21.2015 | 1:30  – 3:00 PM | 370 Dwinelle Hall

ON STRIKE: Ethnic Studies - 1969-1999
Directed by: Irum Shiekh; Runtime: 35 minutes; Release year: 1999. (Click here to view on YouTube.)

ON STRIKE makes an encapsulated, incisive study of the context and events that led up to the Ethnic Studies demonstrations, hunger strikes, and student arrests that surprisingly roiled the UC Berkeley campus in May 1999. Opening with a quick historical study of the struggle that established Ethnic Studies in the late sixties, this record of modern-day activism soon moves into the urgent present-time, detailing the nineties’ twLF (Third World Liberation Front) movement and their pitched battle against the university administration. The Ethnic Studies Student Strike led to a historic agreement between students and the Chancellor that included the founding of the Center for Race Gender.

Screening followed by distinguished panel that includes UC Berkeley alumni student organizers during the 1999 Ethnic Studies Strike.

Ziza Delgado, UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies
Prof. Roberto Hernandez, San Diego State University
Prof. Priya Kandaswamy, Mills College
Prof. Sara Clarke Kaplan, UC San Diego
Prof. Jeff Romm, UC BerkeleyProf. Irum Shiekh, University of Oregon

Moderated by Prof. Paola Bacchetta, UC Berkeley