Shortly after midnight on Saturday, January 5, Berkeley School Board President Judy Appel and her wife Alison Bernstein were hit by a car. The vehicle was driven by an 81-year-old Berkeley resident and hit the couple as they crossed Martin Luther King Jr. Way along Stuart Street, just one block away from their house.
They are in stable condition in the intensive care unit of Highland Hospital. “My heart goes out to Judy, Alison and their family during this difficult time,” Jesse Arreguín said in a tweet on Saturday.
Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Donald Evans expressed a similar sentiment in a statement released on Monday morning. “We will be offering whatever support and assistance we can to the Appel-Bernstein family and we will provide updates when appropriate,” said Evans.
Appel and Bernstein both play an active role in the social and political life of the Berkeley community. Appel has served on the school board since 2012. According to her campaign website for the District 15 State Assembly seat, “On the Berkeley School Board, Judy has championed policies to close the achievement gap and provide each student the tools they need to be successful.” In addition to her work on the school board, Appel serves as Oakland’s Jonathan Logan Family Foundation’s director of special projects. Bernstein served on Berkeley’s Police Review Commission in the past, and she has lived in Berkeley since her childhood. Bernstein currently works with the Habeas Corpus Resource Center as a lawyer, where she defends impoverished people who have been sentenced to death in California.
Appel and Bernstein have been together for over 20 years, and they were married on three occasions. “Judy and Alison were married for the first time in 1996 in a private ceremony, again in 2004, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom performed marriages on the steps of City Hall and finally, in 2013, during the Proposition 8 window,” according to Appel’s campaign website for the District 15 State Assembly seat. Appel and Bernstein have two children, Kobi and Tristan Appel-Bernstein, who attended Berkeley public schools and are now in college.
Both Arreguín and Evans asked that community members wish Appel and her wife a swift recovery. “Please pray for them and their recovery,” said Arreguín. “We ask the community to join with us in our hopes and prayers for their recovery,” Evans said.