As a student, Alex Mohajer ‘07 made a place for himself on campus that intersected at seemingly disparate points. If he wasn’t in class, you could find him either at his fraternity, performing in a musical on Bear Stage, writing for the Daily Cal, cheering in the crowds at every home football game, or organizing with Cal Berkeley Democrats. With all of his interests, Alex has never been easily categorized. This “identity dichotomy,” as he describes, is a consistent theme in his life–especially now. Ten years out from Cal, he currently juggles an emerging career as a political writer and commentator, his responsibilities as co-founder and editor-in-chief of Bros4America–a progressive advocacy organization (with a tongue-in-cheek name), and his established career as a civil service legal advocate. Within the last year, Alex has become one of the most shared post-election contributors on Huffington Post, named one of OUT Magazine’s 100 Most Eligible Bachelors of 2017, and even held his own during an on-air kerfuffle with Fox News host, Tucker Carlson.
Born in Irvine, CA to Iranian immigrant parents, Alex developed a love of politics from a young age. He recalls feeling a strong reaction watching President Bill Clinton’s inauguration speech as a child, and was inspired by his idea of calling youth to service. This spurred him to become politically involved as a young person, choosing to spend his free time volunteering with local campaigns. When applying to college, he was drawn to UC Berkeley’s political history and prestige, and knew it would be an ideal place to continue learning about politics. When he arrived on campus for CalSo, he met fellow classmate, Drew Lewis, whose passion and knowledge for politics inspired him. They became best friends, and when Bill Clinton came to speak on campus, they both “freaked out” when they got to shake his hand. Revisiting this memory, Alex notes, “There were so many opportunities afforded to me.” When Alex describes his time at Cal, it’s clear how much it still means to him. “To this day, I still get emotional when I talk about Berkeley and what it means to me. It’s truly the best university in the world. Even little places and moments, like the Golden Bear café or sleeping on Memorial Glade between class, are so poignant to me.”
After graduating, Alex pursued a law degree at Chapman University and became a civil advocate for Los Angeles County. After studying law and politics, Alex knew his career pursuits would be motivated by his desire to seek justice and advocate for others. 2016 was a big year for Alex, as he saw his passion for the law and politics merge by co-founding the volunteer political advocacy organization, Bros4America. “Bros4America” was a tongue-in-cheek name that was created in response to the rhetoric of the 2016 election, and worked to elect Hillary Clinton. The organization has over 40,000 members and followers from a diverse spectrum of backgrounds, and a proud legacy of LGBTQ and female membership. Alex wrote frequent opinion pieces on the Bros4America website and caught the attention of the Huffington Post. They offered him a contributorship and things took off quickly. Alex’s first piece became the top story on Google News, and one of the most viral post-election stories on the Huffington Post. He was shocked at the response and knew he needed to keep the conversation going. Since then, Alex has been a regular contributor on Huffington Post and has been featured on several news sources including Fox News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Politifact.
For Alex, writing is a form of advocating and fighting for justice, themes that have always motivated him. “It’s about balancing political narratives. This is what we study at Berkeley in any arts and science theory course, about differences in binaries and how we give meaning to the world around us through oppositional binaries.” Alex feels the full force of the partisan binary as a political commentator, especially on social media. But despite feeling strongly about his beliefs, more than anything else, he advocates the importance of listening and having a conversation with people who think differently than you. He demonstrated this mentality when he was a guest on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Despite anticipating a disagreement, he decided to appear on the show because for him, it was more important to discuss what he felt with people who disagreed with him, than with those who he knew already shared the same views. Another example of reaching over the aisle was in response to a hateful social media message he received from a man who held different political opinions. Alex replied seeking to understand why someone felt such vitriol for a total stranger. What ensued was an engaging and fruitful discussion, with Alex concluding that we [Americans] all want the same thing, but just have different ideas of what that means and how to achieve it. Their exchange ended amicably, with the man sending Alex pictures of his grandchildren.
Alex’s advice for current students echoes the advice he received when he was at Cal: let your passions lead you. “When you’re at Cal, speakers talk to you at various events about pursuing what you love and letting your passions lead you. And I would roll my eyes at that, because I was always of the mind that you’re not meant to love what you do. This last year opened my eyes to what they meant when they said ‘do what you love.’ And I’m only just now figuring that out at 31 years old. It takes time. Writing a piece late at night after a long day –it doesn’t feel like work. It’s weirdly therapeutic; it doesn’t feel like a task.”
He adds, “People along your journey will always try to convince you that you are not worthy, valid, or that your voice is not welcome. But if you believe in what you’re pursuing, and you love it, it’s not up to you to decide how good you are, where you rank compared to others, where you fit, etc. It is only your job to keep your channel open, to speak and follow your truth, and not listen to people who try to discredit you. None of those people are talking about you. It’s not about you. If you believe what you believe, be confident, own it, and go for it.”
Reflecting on his 10th Reunion this year, Alex ends on why he supports Cal:
“It’s important to support Cal because we are a part of a family. That we are a public institution that is one of the most esteemed in the world is something to be proud of. Our roots as a great public university, the culture and spirit of political activism, and that we compete with the top private schools are all remarkable. We have to work harder because we don’t have the same endowments private schools have. Money should never be a reason why an esteemed and prolific public university does not get to compete on an international level with other big-name schools. A lot of Cal grads pursue public service and non-profit work that is full of integrity and informed by their time. It’s incumbent on us to keep the tradition.”
You can follow Alex on Twitter @alexmohajer and read his work on Huffington Post.