San Diego City College
We Are Not Here To Be
San Diego City College acknowledges that we gather on unceded Kumeyaay land. We value Indigenous knowledge and cultural worldview. We commit to providing transformative educational experiences for all campus members and guests as we examine practices that perpetuate harm against Indigenous, Black, Brown, and other marginalized communities. We pledge to sustain a meaningful and respectful relationship with the Kumeyaay and other Indigenous communities as we honor this beautiful land together.
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Linda Sarsour is an award-winning racial justice and civil rights activist, seasoned community organizer, direct action strategist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!” She is the co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change and co-founder of Until Freedom, an intersectional racial justice organization focused on direct action and power building in communities of color. Until Freedom is best known for their work on the Breonna Taylor police murder case in Louisville, Kentucky.
Linda was one of the national co-chairs of the largest single day protest in US history, the Women’s March on Washington. She has been named amongst 500 of the most influential Muslims in the world. She was recognized as one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders and featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Linda was a 2020 Roddenberry Fellow and released her highly anticipated book, “We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love & Resistance”. She is most recognized for her transformative intersectional organizing work and movement building.
Alonzo Harvey was born and raised in San Diego, California. He’s a graduate of San Diego City College and in the process of completing his second year at UC Berkeley with a major in Political Science. At the age of 35, he’s a proud father of two boys, with a goal to show and teach his children how to overcome obstacles and be resilient. As a formally incarcerated black male in America, he continues to face challenges with combating narratives, either verbally or through media, that seek to marginalize Black men. Alonzo sees pursuing higher education as not only access but an opportunity to liberate his mind. Even now at UC Berkeley, he continues the fight to represent his community in ways unimaginable. Alonzo Harvey is a Pillars of the Community Community Activist, Berkeley Underground Scholar Transfer Coordinator, and Co-Founder of GangstaNerdz.
Celeste C Smith is a cultural leader with a finger on the pulse of race, culture and social discourse. She works to advance racial justice, center the voices of people and communities most impacted by racism and respond to critical community issues.
She is a national 2018 SXSW Community Service Award honoree bringing to her role deep experience as a celebrated non-profit & community leader, arts administrator, artist, and co-founder of 1Hood Media, whose mission is to build liberated communities through art, education, and social justice.
She is also the senior program manager for arts and culture at The Pittsburgh Foundation and manager of Pittsburgh-based hip hop artist Jasiri X. Celeste is a graduate of Chatham University and has served on the Transformative Arts Process Advisory Board at The Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Symphony Community Advisory Council, and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Equity in Arts Funding Research Committee.
Celeste has quickly emerged as a thought-leader in philanthropy as indicated by her appointment to the national Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) Support for Individual Artists Committee as co-chair, Americans for the Arts Arts Education Network Advisory Council and participation as an invited panelist and presenter at dozens events and conferences.
Lastly, Celeste continues to produce her own artistic works, most recently appearing in the published literary anthology, Tender, edited by Vanessa German, award-winning visual and performance artist and Deesha Philyaw, national book award finalist.
Blake Lucas was born in Inglewood, California and spent his early life between there and Pacoima, California. A family business venture brought his mother, youngest brother, older sister and himself to San Diego, California in the early 2000s. Being separated from his father and the majority of his family led him to begin to act out behaviorally and take a disinterest in school. These circumstances led to Blake being introduced to the juvenile system and progressively adopting a mentality of criminality and victimization.
Blake would spend much of his teenage years and early adulthood bouncing between rehabilitation centers for drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration, supervised probation and courtrooms within San Diego and Los Angeles county.
In the midsts of his most recent incarceration between the summers of 2015-2016, he began to develop a sincere relationship with God and overcame his struggle with alcoholism, cocaine abuse and a toxic habit to a multitude of pharmaceutical drugs. Upon his release, he began attending college and published his first book; The Urban Intellectual: Poetry for Progress Volume 1, which he wrote while in jail. He’s since dedicated his life to advocating for young people, recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism, mental wellness and equitable means of gang intervention.
Today, Blake’s focus is on his family, his community and standing in the multi-generational void present within our culture. At the age of 30, he’s recognized the value within the insight and experience of his elders while also being aware of the disconnect between how that information is presented and interpreted amongst his peers and the majority of our youth. Through writing, poetry and conversation, Blake hopes to engage in constructive dialogue and assist in developing means to bring unity back to our communities.
Photo By: Brittany Bravo
Street Art as Social Justice
3B Collective is a Los Angeles-based group of artists and designers who met while doing their undergraduate studies at UCLA. 3B members are Alfredo Dominguez Diaz, Aaron Douglas Estrada, Michael Khosravifard, Oscar Magallanes, and Gustavo Martinez. All of the members hail from multiple areas of Los Angeles. While producing individual works, collectively they create site-specific installations, large public artworks and murals. 3B’s works reflect their commitment to providing an inclusive platform that encourages pride and recognition of the different facets of communities. Their work seeks to make the arts more accessible by addressing social inequalities, creating public works through shared resources, and providing peer support and mentorship for BIPOC artists.
3B has created several public works and murals for UCLA, El Museo Infantil de Oaxaca, California State University Stanislaus and are currently working on large scale works for the County of Los Angeles and the University of California, San Diego. They have recently exhibited their work at Best Practice, San Diego and Residency Art Gallery in Inglewood, California.
“As children of first-generation immigrant parents, we appreciated the storytelling and educational aspects that murals in our communities provided. In reaction to the erasure and destruction of these murals, we came together to create permanent artworks that can continue to honor a community’s history, the tradition of murals and to help educate those unfamiliar with these histories. These projects work to create a sense of belonging along with promoting the role that public works play in placemaking for those in the communities in which they are installed.” – 3B Collective
Making Space and Giving Love Through Vogue Archives
Cuauhtémoc Peranda (Mescalero Apache, Mexika-Chichimeca/Cano; & cihuaiolo butch queen) is a fifth-year Critical Dance Studies Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside. Their academic studies have been supported by the U.S. Department of Education Native American Studies Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (G.A.A.N.N.) Fellowship, the Dean’s Distinguished Doctoral Student Fellowship, and the Max H. Gluck Arts Fellowship. Their research focuses on the history of the United States’ House Ballroom Scene, in particular the West Coast ball scene, and its involvement in how queer, trans- and two-spirit Black and blackened indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere have deployed the dance form of vogue (voguing/performance) as a praxis of decolonization, anti-colonialism, transformational resilience, and queering indigenous knowledge reclamation. They walk and raise children in the West Coast ball scenes as Overall Prince Don’Té Lauren of The Legendary House of Lauren, International. They hold an M.F.A. in Dance from Mills College, and a B.A. in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University.
Pillars of the Community
Gang Documentation and Enhancements
Black Deported Veterans Panel
Blackout: The Story of the Black Deported Veteran
Lila Sharif, Ph.D.
What’s In a Tree? Palestine, Ethnic Studies and the Global Struggle for Freedom
Dr. Lila Sharif (she/her/hers) is a creative writer, researcher, and educator. She is an assistant professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. Her work conceptualizes land, food, and culture through a global indigenous perspective that focuses on Palestinian experiences in the homeland and disaspora. Her first book is about how the olive—which has been cultivated in Palestine for 7,000 years—mobilizes decolonial aspirations for Palestinians worldwide. She has published essays as well as poetry in academic and public journals. Most recently, Sharif co-edited a special issue of Amerasia on the topic of Critical Refugee Studies alongside Yen Le Espiritu. She is a co-founding member of the Critical Refugee Studies Collective and a member of the Palestinian Feminist Collective. Sharif is the first Palestinian to earn a Ph.D. in ethnic studies which she holds alongside a Ph.D. in sociology from UC San Diego.
Sara Johnson, Ph.D.
The Enduring Promise of the Haitian Revolution and Revolutionary Solidarity
Sara E. Johnson is an Associate Professor of Literature and the Co-Director of the Black Studies Project at UCSD. She is finishing a book on the work of the late eighteenth-century intellectual Moreau de Saint-Méry. The book combines traditional academic chapters and experimental work that plays with archival fragments and visual culture to tell the stories of free people of color and enslaved women and men who enabled Moreau’s work. Her last book, The Fear of French Negroes traced expressions of black politics and performance in the aftermath of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1845). Professor Johnson’s research and teaching areas include literature, history and performance cultures of the French, Spanish and English Caribbean and its diasporas. She is the co-editor of Kaiso! Writings By and About Katherine Dunham and Una ventana a Cuba y los Estudios cubanos.
Dr. LaWanna Richmond
Dr. LaWana Richmond could be referred to as a Black female Di Vinci or modern-day Hatshepsut (hat-SHEP-suit). At UC San Diego she serves as the Organizational Development Manager for Transportation Services where she creates frameworks, systems, and tools to support engagement, learning, and innovation.
Cofounder and Organizer of Afrofuturism Lounge and Afrofuturism Dream Tank President of Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego Treasurer for DETOUR Empowers – nonprofit supporting teen girls' academic and economic success while focused on developing focused and naturally confident youth.
Stan Rodriguez, Ed.D.
Stanley Rodriguez, member of the Kumeyaay Santa Ysabel Band of the Iipay Nation is an educator, language teacher, and tribal singer. He is an advocate for his community’s culture and traditions and serves in a number of advising and teaching roles in the San Diego and Native Kumeyaay communities. He has held the elected position of legislator for the Santa Ysabel Tribe of the Iipay Nation. Stanley is a US Navy veteran, has an MA in Human Behavior worked as a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselor and Doctorate of Education from UCSD.
Dr. Rodriguez learned from his Grandmother and other Kumeyaay Elders the methods and culture. He sits on the board of a group whose vision is to strengthen language and cultural revitalization, known as the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. He has been teaching Kumeyaay language classes at Kumeyaay Community College on the Sycuan Reservation since 2000, and does this work in an effort to bring Native American culture to any willing to learn. He has taught workshops at the Northwest Indian Language Institute, and he has been supported by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts in his efforts to learn traditional song cycles, such as Wild Cat, from master artists. Rodriguez regularly performs and provides demonstrations of tribal songs, games, traditional tool making, and structure building.
Nyisha Green Washington
Nyisha is an active member in the San Diego community advocating for Social Justice and Human Rights. Her journey began getting her degree in Public Health with a focus on reducing barriers in access to healthcare. She became passionate in advocating for mental health awareness/access and upon her arrival to San Diego, worked for an organization that housed the AB-109 Senate Bill program. In addition to mental health advocacy, she has always been passionate in Social Justice work, especially in Reproductive Justice. She became a Full Spectrum Doula, a Certified Lactation Educator and Counselor (CLEC), a child birth educator and started her own doula and advocacy small business called Give Light Doula & Advocacy Services with the hopes of combating the dire Black birthing crisis in the U.S. She envisions a world beyond just fighting for the right to not birth or have an abortion, but also the right TO birth with dignity, respect, care, and safety, especially for Black and Indigenous birthing people. Some of her other work in the community include being the Co-founder of March for Black Womxn San Diego, former Chair of the Food Justice Momentum Team at Mid-City CAN, is Board member at Borderlands for Equity, and Board member of the Slow Birth Collective.
Defining Your Narrative Through Lyricism
Kendrick Dial is the front man for the award winning hip hop/soul band The Lyrical Groove and an integral member of the award winning performance ensemble bkSOUL. For over 15 years, he has used art as entertainment, education and activism through pairing his professional knowledge as a mental health therapist, trainer and educator with his artistic skills as a poet, songwriter, actor, lyricist and producer.
Social Justice Careers in the Arts and Humanities -PATH
Celeste Clerk was a San Diego City College Honor’s Program graduate in English in 2016. She matriculated with a full scholarship to Smith College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree and Highest Honors in American Studies in 2019. Currently she is the Director of the advocacy program of the Wildflower Alliance, a Recovery Learning Community (RLC) funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. Some of her current (and favorite) projects include a disability justice oral history partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and ongoing legislative advocacy efforts towards the inclusion of lived experience perspectives in progressive policy with the Disability Law Center.
Ethan van Thillo
Social Justice Careers in the Arts and Humanities -PATH
Ethan van Thillo is Founder and Executive Director of the Media Arts Center San Diego (MACSD). Since 1989, Ethan’s worked in media arts, programming Latino film festivals for the University of California, Santa Cruz; Cine Acción in San Francisco; Cine Estudiantil at the University of California San Diego; and the National Latino Communications Center in Los Angeles. Ethan has curated hundreds of programs at festivals and/or special events in 45 libraries across California, Mexico City, Morelia, Las Cruces, Nuevo Laredo, San Antonio, Tijuana, Sacramento, and San Diego.
In 1995, Ethan transformed Cine Estudiantil into the San Diego Latino Film Festival. In 1999, to broaden the scope of the festival following four successful years, Ethan established the nonprofit Media Arts Center San Diego in 1999. Under the umbrella of MACSD, Ethan has developed and continues to create innovative community media programs such as the California Digital Story Station initiative, Teen Producers Project, Youth Media & Tech Camps; Mobile Stories, Speak City Heights, The People’s Post, Video Production Services Department, and the Digital Gym community technology center and CINEMA.
Ethan has served on various funding panels including San Diego’s Commission for Arts & Culture, Latino Public Broadcasting, Rockefeller Foundation’s 2004 Film and Video Fellowships; California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts’ funding panel for Media Arts. He’s spoken at the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, National Association of Latino Arts & Culture, and National Alliance of Media Arts & Culture.
Ajani Brown is a double alumni of San Diego State University where he earned his MFA in Creative Writing and BA in English. Upon joining SDSU's Africana Studies department in 2013 he proposed and developed the cutting edge course, AfroFuturism, which is the interdisciplinary study of African and African American contributions to science fiction, comic book art, pop culture, and its origins and influences. In addition to his teaching duties he has lectured nationally, presenting at such conferences as The World Science Fiction Convention and Comic Con International. Brown's research focus includes literacy through sequential art, the exploration of ethno-gothic images in comics and the depiction of Black characters as it applies to the visual rhetoric of social justice themes.
Antoinette Van Sluytman
Antoinette Van Sluytman is a speculative writer, graphic designer, dark poet, literary assistant,
part-time museum and writing convention volunteer, and freelance illustrator with a background
in traditional fine art having attended many local art shows in San Diego, California. While
studying for her bachelors in graphic design at The Newschool of Architecture and Design as an
honors student, Antoinette works as a part-time literary assistant at the Irene Goodman Literary
Agency, helping illustrators and writers with highlight campaigns and editorial development.
Antoinette also volunteers at the African Diaspora Museum & Research Center and at writing
nonprofit organization, WriteHive, as a diversity ally, artist professional in residence, and
moderator. Antoinette considers herself an entrepreneurial scholartist who advocates for
countering literary hegemony through speculative radicalism and diverse narratives within the
mediums of art and writing.
Tekara Gainey is a reproductive justice advocate, birth worker, and childbirth educator, and lactation consultant. As a full-spectrum doula, she fuses her background in anthropology and reproductive work to acknowledge and address the systems of oppression that impact availability and access to compassionate, non-judgmental, reproductive care to birthing persons and their families across the spectrum of their reproductive needs. Tekara is a founding member of Maternal Wellness Village, an interdisciplinary collective of reproductive providers and advocates serving BIPOC birthing and parenting folks in Philadelphia. She also advises on the Designing Motherhood Project which looks at the arc of human reproduction through the lens of design and centers experiences and voices reproductive bodies in discourse around gynecology and childbirth.
Laura Jiménez has proudly served as the Executive Director at California Latinas for Reproductive Justice since 2011. For more than 25 years, Laura has worked with women of color organizations across the country on issues of reproductive justice, including the National Latina Health Organization, the Dominican Women’s Development Center and was part of the birth of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Since joining CLRJ, Laura has been engaged in Reproductive Justice policy advocacy, community engagement and community informed research efforts. She also serves as a mentor to the Reproductive Justice team of the Beatríz María Solís Policy Institute in California. Laura is passionate about issues of immigration, environmental justice, and birthing and parenting, as they intersect with reproductive justice. Laura is a proud mamá to four awesome people and is the compañera of a gifted musician.
Defining Your Narrative Through Lyricism
Born and raised in San Diego, Brisa L. Johnson completed an Associate’s Degree in Black Studies from San Diego Community College District, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Point Loma Nazarene University.
Previously working as the Civic Engagement Manager Statewide for United Domestic Workers, the Homecare Providers Union, she ran large-scale voter engagement field programs, engaged and trained union members throughout California on Civic Engagement strategies, while educating Member voters on local and State campaigns. She has now spearheaded the creation of the San Diego Black Worker Center in partnership with United Domestic Workers and the Center on Policy Initiatives, with the mission to build a more equitable economy for Black workers across the diaspora and advance the Black Worker Justice Movement!
In addition to her role as the Director of the San Diego Black Worker Center, she is a singer songwriter with her first solo project "In Her Stillness..." available on all music platforms. For more information on Brisa L. Johnson visit www.brisalauren.com
Social Justice Careers in the Arts and Humanities -PATH
Cheryl Coney is a San Diego native and works for the California Teachers Association (CTA). Cheryl has experience in community and worker organizing and has worked in the labor movement for over a decade. Before joining CTA Cheryl worked for the National Education Association. She also served as the project director for the Union Women’s Leadership Education Project and as a labor educator at The Washington State Labor Education and Research Center (WA LERC). Cheryl holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science and History from Rutgers University and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Washington. She also serves on the national board of the United Association for Labor Education (UALE). She resides in Chula Vista with her partner Greg, their two daughters and boxer Floyd.
Social Justice Careers in the Arts and Humanities -PATH
Matthew Vasilakis is dedicated to ensuring all communities are uplifted by inclusive and meaningful policies that address the climate crisis. As the Co-Director of Policy at Climate Action Campaign, Mat works with an exceptional team of advocates fighting for an equitable and sustainable future that can advance environmental, racial and social justice.
Matthew currently sits on the boards of the San Diego Urban Sustainability Coalition and Lambda Archives San Diego–an LGBTQ+ historical society. Mat also sits on the local Sierra Club chapter political committee, and is a co-founder of the YIMBY Democrats of San Diego County. He is also an alumnus of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute, 2018 cohort, and the San Diego and Imperial County Community College Association, 2014 cohort.
Matthew earned both his B.A. and M.A. in history at San Diego State University, after earning his associates degree at MiraCosta Community College.
grace shinhae jun
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.