March 24-25,2021 

San Diego City College

Dignity to Dream

The dream is the truth…act and do things accordingly” Zora Neale Hurston

San Diego City College acknowledges that our campus is
built on Kumeyaay Indigenous homelands.
We recognize the Kumeyaay people, past and present,
and their land with honor and gratitude.
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This year's conference is highlighting the crucial work of Think Dignity. 

Think Dignity's mission is to inspire, empower, and organize our community to advance basic dignity for those living on the streets.


You can read more HERE on what they are doing to serve our communities. Please consider making a donation to this amazing local organization.

Willie Perdomo
Yusef "Bunchy" Shakur

WILLIE PERDOMO is the author of The Crazy Bunch (Penguin Poets, 2019) The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin Poets, 2014), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the International Latino Book Award; Smoking Lovely (Rattapallax, 2004), winner of the PEN Open Book Award, and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (Norton, 1996), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, Poetry, Bomb Magazine, and African Voices. He is currently a Lucas Arts Program Literary Fellow and teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Yusef Bunchy Shakur, is well versed in the language and syntax of Detroit as an author, educator and neighborhood organizer. Yusef epitomizes redemption from the many lessons he learned from his father whom he met in prison for the first time. As a Black organic intellectual, unorthodox leader and father he has demonstrated his commitment to the revolutionary principles of social justice as activist and organizer to enhance the lives of Black people and other oppressed people through his works of restoring the neighbor back to the hood. He currently serves as Co-Director of Programs with the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion and earned his MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 2019. He has been featured in many newspaper articles, TV interviews and radio shows talking about his transformation, redemption, ideas and organizing efforts. He also has received numerous awards and received the Michigan Chronicle Men of Excellence Award in 2019.

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Leroy F. Moore Jr.

Krip-Hop Nation

Black Disability in Resistance and Creating: Story Telling & Moore


Leroy F. Moore Jr., Founder of the Krip-Hop Nation. Since the 1990s, has been a key member of Poor Magazine that started with a column "Illin-N-Chillin" for POOR Magazine then onto a founding member of Poor Magazine’s Homefulness and Decolonize Academy, their school. Moore is one of the founding members of National Black Disability and activist around police brutality against people with disabilities. Leroy has started and helped start organizations like Disability Advocates of Minorities Organization to Sins Invalid to Krip-Hop Nation. His cultural work includes film documentary, Where Is Hope, Police Brutality Against People with Disabilities, spoken-word CDs, poetry books and children’s book, Black Disabled Art History 101 published by Xochitl Justice Press.


Mitchelle Woodson, Esq

Think Dignity

The Perpetuation of Poverty Through the Criminal Justice System

Mitchelle Woodson is the Executive Director and Managing Attorney of Think Dignity, a San Diego based homeless advocacy agency. Mitchelle joined the Think Dignity staff in 2017 as the Staff Attorney for the Homeless Youth Legal Advocacy Project. As the Staff Attorney, Mitchelle directly represented homeless and at-risk youth in their criminal defense matters.


As the Executive Director, Mitchelle oversees the daily management of Think Dignity’s operations, including the Transitional Storage Center, Mobile Operations of Dignity and legal department. As the Managing Attorney, Mitchelle oversees the Homeless Youth Legal and Advocacy Project, the 8 Legal and Referral Advocacy Clinics and the Know Your Rights campaign that aims to empower individuals with knowledge of their legal rights. Mitchelle’s passion for advocating for San Diego’s homeless community has led to the growth and notoriety of TD as the premier organization for legal representation and advocacy. Her expertise and knowledge is highly sought after as she has presented at Yale Law School's Rebellious Lawyering Conference, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association's Annual Conference and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice on the issues of homelessness and poverty law.


Mitchelle received her Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of California San Diego.

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Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz

UC San Diego

Unwalling Citizenship

Teddy Cruz  (MDes Harvard) is an architectural designer and professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the UCSD Department of Visual Arts. He is known internationally for his urban research of the Tijuana/San Diego border. Fonna Forman (PhD Chicago) is a professor of Political Science and Founding Director of the Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego. A theorist of ethics and public culture, her work focuses on human rights, climate justice, border ethics, and equitable urbanization. Together they are principals in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice in San Diego, investigating issues of informal urbanization, borders and civic infrastructure. Blurring conventional boundaries between theory and practice, and merging the fields of architecture and urbanism, political theory and urban policy, visual arts and public culture, Cruz + Forman lead variety of urban research agendas and civic / public interventions in the San Diego-Tijuana border region and beyond. Together they lead the Mellon-funded UCSD Community Stations, a platform for community-based research and teaching on poverty and social equity in the border region.

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Kelsey Daniels

We All We Got San Diego Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid - Solidarity not charity

Kelsey Daniels is an artist/organizer/scholar baddie who knows that telling her story and curating space for others to do the same is a crucial part of imagining better worlds. She is the Development Associate at We All We Got San Diego and is passionate about creating systems that prioritize empathy and accessibility. She also shows up in the community as an organizer (March For Black Womxn San Diego and Black Lives Matter San Diego) and host (The Sit In: A Black Healing Space and Check Please: An Open Mic Experiment). When she is not operating in her community based roles, Kelsey enjoys creating instagram sagas, listening to her comfort playlists, and laughing loudly on video chats.

IG/Twitter: @AndShesHere_

Christina Griffin

Christina Griffin

We All We Got San Diego Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid - Solidarity not charity

Christina Griffin-Jones has lived on land that was stolen from Kumeyaay people, that colonizers renamed San Diego County, all of her life. Christina is a Howard University Alumna. Christina uses she/her pronouns and has worked internationally, nationally, regionally and locally alongside organizations that center folx who are Black; folx who are Indigenous; folx who are LGBTQNB+; folx who are immigrants; folx who are living in public or who are experiencing insecure housing; folx who are living in prisons, jails, detention centers and have experienced other forms of state-sanctioned violence; and folx who are experiencing injustices at their workplace. Christina’s mother, Yvonne Griffin-Spinks, taught her how to organize. Christina has had the honor of organizing with organizations like We All We Got San Diego, Dede McClure Community Bail Fund, United Domestic Workers, UNITE HERE, PICO, Black Lives Matter, Espacio Migrante, ACLU, and March for Black Womxn San Diego, to name a few. Christina says her favorite Lila Watson quote describes her organizing approach, "If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then stay and let us work together." A few of Christina's hopes for this world are that Black Trans Womxn are supported, respected, believed and protected and police, border patrol, ICE, prisons, jails, and cash bail are abolished. Christina tries to use every platform and conversation to show up against homophobia, transphobia, and anti-Blackness and welcomes being called in and called out about how she can do better.

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Dr. Shamell Bell

Street Dance Activism

Collective Freedom Dreaming

Visionary Instigator" of Street Dance Activism and Global Dance Meditation for Black Liberation, Dr. Shamell Bell is a mother, community organizer, dancer/choreographer, and documentary filmmaker. Bell received her PhD in Culture and Performance at UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance department. She received her M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and B.A. with Honors in American Studies and Ethnicity specializing in African American Studies at the University of Southern California. Dr. Bell is currently a Lecturer of Somatic Practices and Global Performance at Harvard University and Lecturer of African and African American Studies at Dartmouth College. Her work on what she calls, "street dance activism" situates street dance as grassroots political action from her perspectives as a scholar, dancer, and choreographer. Shamell’s research examines street dance movements in South Central Los Angeles through an autoethnographic and performance studies lens. Her street dance experience includes featured roles in music videos, award shows, and tours. An original member of the #blacklivesmatter movement, beginning as a core organizer with Justice 4 Trayvon Martin Los Angeles (J4TMLA)/Black Lives Matter Los Angeles to what she now describes as an Arts & Culture liaison between several social justice organizations. She also consults for social justice impact in the tv, film, theater and music industry.

@streetdanceactivism, @shamellbell

Twitter- @shamellbell @SDanceActivism

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Bernard Brown

Street Dance Activism

Collective Freedom Dreaming

Bernard Brown, Artistic Director of Bernard Brown/bbmoves, is an artist-citizen who situates his work at the intersection of blackness, belonging, and memory. In addition to presenting his choreography across the US and internationally, Brown has presented his scholarship on blackness, queerness, and post-modern dance at conferences across the U.S. and abroad. Recipient of the Westfield Emerging Artist and Lester Horton Awards, Brown has been featured in Dance Magazine, the New York Times and Los Angeles Times for his dance activism. He is Assistant Professor of Dance at Sacramento State University and a Certified Katherine Dunham Instructor Candidate. The LA Times has called him “…the incomparable Bernard Brown…”

IG: @bb.moves @renaissancebrown

FB: @bbmoves

Twitter: @bbmoves1


Dr. Vicki Alexander

President of Healthy Black Families 

Cubans Do It Right! Lowest Infant and Maternal Deaths in the World! (The world thanks Cuba for its support during COVID-19.)

Dr. Vicki Alexander is an influential leader at the local, state, and national level.  As the Co-Chair on the Measure D Campaign for Soda Tax in 2014 she continues to inspire and advocate for health to ensure her children and grandchildren will live in a healthier society.  A retired Physician, Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Public Health. Retired MCAH Director and Health Officer, for the City of Berkeley.  Founder of Healthy Black Families Inc.  Lifetime commitment to health equity and social justice.  Board of Director, for the Praxis Project and previously on the Board of Directors for the California Black Health Network.

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Annie Rios, Esq.

Uprise Theatre

Re-envisioning the Law for Social Justice

Annie is an experienced litigator, activist, artist, and human rights attorney from San Diego, California. Annie has served as the legal director for homeless advocacy programs, sexual assault and domestic violence services, and litigated numerous civil rights cases against criminalization of the poor. She oversaw the Otay Mesa Release Project where freedom from the migrant prison system is the ultimate goal and is currently the executive director of Uprise Theatre where art and activist lawyering is used to disrupt systems of oppression and reclaim power with the people.


Annie completed her undergraduate education at UC Berkeley and attended law school at California Western School of Law. Special recognition includes: Center for Community Solutions’ Freedom Award, 2014 Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award nominee, Adrianne Baker Fellowship post graduate award from California Western School of Law, and receiving The State Bar of California Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services.


Veterans Panel

Deported Veterans: Honor Denied


Robert Vivar - Co-director of Unified U.S. Deported Veterans. Robert is currently serving the welfare and interests of many veterans located south of the border that have been displaced by a country they called home.

J. Allen Ruhman - Representative of Veterans for Peace. VFP is the primary advocate for Deported Veterans. They present a strong lobby for rectifying an injustice to those that have served and sacrificed for their citizenship.

Heather Boxeth - Immigration Attorney and Advocate for the Deported Veteran. Heather was among the first attorneys to fight for the rights of veterans that had been deported.


Fernando Cervantes - Former Deported Veteran. Fernando is probably 1st among the few that have been able to legally return to the United States and call it home.


James L. Smith II - Reporter. James reported the first comprehensive video report on the Deported Veteran in 2012.  It has been a video used to promote awareness.


Kitty Harris

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Carol Lynn Curchoe Burton

ART Compass, a Fertility Guidance Technology

The Thin Pink Line: Regulating Reproduction


Dr. Carol Lynn Curchoe, TS (ABB) is a reproductive physiologist. Her PhD. research focused on animal cloning and her postdoctoral fellowship focused on human embryonic stem cell research. Her previous startup experience includes being the founder and CEO of 32ATPs, where she applied her knowledge of biochemistry and biotechnology to the field of renewable energy, creating a patented biological supercapacitor. She is the founder of ART Compass,, a software platform for IVF lab management and staff related quality assurance. She is the author of numerous publications and The Thin Pink Line (Nova Science publishers, 2021).

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Jenn Frost Moreno

We All We Got San Diego Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid - Solidarity not charity

Jennifer Frost Moreno is an organizer, scholar, professor, and podcaster with an MA in History and Theory of Contemporary Art from the San Francisco Art Institute. Frost Moreno is a queer Chicana with indigenous ancestry who works closely with her community in her hometown of San Diego. She volunteers and organizes with Armadillos Search and Rescue, We All We Got San Diego, and the AFT Immigrant Student Support Committee.

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Rudy Fabynan

We All We Got San Diego Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid - Solidarity not charity

Rudy is a bioinformatics scientist, a graduate of San Diego State University, and an organizer with We All We Got SD. He grew up in a multi-generational working-class immigrant family in Los Angeles and currently lives in San Diego with his partner and dog.

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Sharlia Lebreton-Gulley Paz

Street Dance Activism

Collective Freedom Dreaming

  Sharlia Lebreton-Gulley Paz is a scholar-activist, artist and wellness aficionado. She received her bachelors from California State University in Sociology and Pan African Studies and during her time as a student co-founded J4TMLA (Justice for Trayvon Martin) which later transformed into the global Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). She holds a Master’s in African and African Diaspora Studies with a focus on development and political identities through the lens of race,  art, spirituality. Sharlia is a practicing herbalist and urban farmer and has worked in Haiti, Brazil, New York and Miami on initiatives and affiliations that challenge environmental injustice, food apartheid and the reclamation of ancestral healing for sustainability. She is an alumni of Soul Fire Farm Immersion (formerly BLFI Immersion) and part of the Soul Fire Farm Speaker’s Collective. Currently Sharlia serves as the Vision + Culture Coordinator with The Rising Tide. A think tank and sociopolitical lab that co-creating experiments with femme leaders within organizations of Florida’s Grassroots Feminist efforts to catalyze a radical shift in the culture of social movement grounded in values of; land sovereignty, Black feminism and ecology. 


Laila Aziz

Pillars of the Community

Laila Aziz is a fierce advocate for economic, social, and racial justice. She is the Director of Operations for Pillars of the Community, where her work focuses on civic engagement, criminal justice reform, and community-building. Laila is currently coordinating the Time Done campaign in San Diego with the Alliance for Safety and Justice. Laila is also an active organizer and member of several community groups related to these same advocacy areas: the DeDe McClure Bail Fund, Moms of Black Boys United, Amend the 13th, and F.R.E.E. S.D.


Suzette Chaumette, MPH

Cubans Do It Right! Lowest Infant and Maternal Deaths in the World! (The world thanks Cuba for its support during COVID-19.)

Suzette is a Community Health Scientist with 20+ years international and domestic patient engagement experience for clinical and community settings including for The Permanente Medical Group, Louisiana Office of Public Health, U.C. San Francisco, U.C. Berkeley, and Zamni Lasante (Partners in Health, Haiti). Her expertise lie in patient engagement, developing multilingual patient-facing content, health and wellness communications, and workshop facilitation. 


Suzette holds a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Holy Names University and an MPH in Community Health Sciences from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and is a Cultural Humility facilitator.

The founder of Chaumette Consulting, Suzette believes in strong collaboration & consults with public and private institutions to develop programs that support effective, efficient partnerships between client and provider.


An Oakland, CA native, Suzette enjoys much of what the Bay Area offers - farmers markets, hiking, gardening, music and dance. She and her husband have two young children and are both supporters of the arts.


Zach Dowdy

Reclaiming Our Stories

Book Release Reading

Growing up, Zack was surrounded by skateboarding and punk rock. He was at a Black Flag (famous punk band) show at five months old, and with a complicated upbringing, attended different schools nearly every year or two.  Zack naturally drifted towards the skateboarding culture like his father did, where he would learn from and meet life-long friends.


Mariah Jameson 

Reclaiming Our Stories

Book Release Reading

Mariah Jameson is a community activist, Scholar student and mother of two. She has attributed her love for all things Social Justice to her work in the community and advocating for Former Foster Youth. In 2018, Mariah was awarded The Blue Heart Foundations 2018 Guardian Scholar Award, which is awarded to former foster youth and current student who is an advocate for others and role model to their community. Although 13 years of her childhood were spent in the foster care system, Mariah has never allowed her past to dictate her future. She was born and raised in Southeast San Diego and graduated from Lincoln High School. Mariah Jameson is a first-generation college graduate as of Spring 2019, she received her Associates Degree in Liberal and Behavioral Arts from San Diego City College. She is currently a student at Clark Atlanta University, she will receive her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work May 2022 and plans to continue at CAU for her Masters in School Counseling.

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Briseida Salazar

Reclaiming Our Stories

Book Release Reading

Briseida Salazar came to the United States from Michoacán, México when she was two years old. She is Elijah’s mom, a DACA recipient, and she is currently in immigration proceedings.  Since her experience in Otay Mesa Detention Center, she has decided to dedicate her life to fighting for social justice. At the time of writing her story, she was working three part-time jobs.

Social Justice and the Arts Panel

Can the Arts Create Social Change?

AJ Bermudez

Writer and Filmmaker


Anna Delgado

Assistant Professor, Fine Art,

San Diego City College 


Zaquia Mahler Salinas

Dancer and Choreographer 

San Diego City College alumna


Kate Neff Stone

Assistant Professor, Dramatic Arts,

San Diego City College 


George Varga

Music Critic, San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego City College alumnus

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Conference Committee

Khalid Alexander

Ashley Burch

Anna Delgado

Lillian Garcia

grace shinhae jun

Lorenza Levy

Paul Lopez

Terri Hughes-Oelrich

Stuart Matz

Patricia McGhee

Rob Rubalcaba

Yvonne Schmeltz

Cecilia Thibeault

Ebony Tyree

Zenia Torres

Daniel Velazquez

The San Diego City College Social Justice and Education Conference is an annual event that brings together students, faculty, administrators, staff, and community members from the local region and across the state. The conference is designed to raise awareness about challenges we face as a society, to develop collaborations, and foster actions that bring about meaningful social transformation.

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