Ignorance is bliss — except for when it comes to my name

October 17, 2019 — by Kavita Sundaram

After living in the U.S. for over eight years, I’ve noticed that some things will never change, especially the way many people pronounce my name. During that time, I’ve attended the same public schools with virtually the same peers, and somehow people still don’t understand how to say my name. 

Whether its teachers or students, I'm always greeted with the same butchered pronunciations: Caw-vee-taw, Cuh-vee-tuh, Kaaa-vi-tuh or even Kavya — which is a completely different name. At this point, I’ve given up telling people how its pronounced, and honestly, it's scary to think that my best friends or perhaps even my future family will NEVER know how to pronounce my name. 



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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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