Stanislaus State’s 4th annual Social Justice in the Central Valley Conference will take place Nov. 13-15, featuring speakers, cultural events and open-dialogue workshops focused on coalition-based community advocacy and social activism. This special campus event is open to the community and free of charge.
“The dynamics around social justice can be linked to a lot of what we teach. Particularly in my college, courses are highlighting many of the issues our speakers will address from the standpoint of community engagement,” said conference organizer Jim Tuedio, dean of the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “Students are introduced to a conceptual discussion of social justice issues in their classes, which they’ll be able to draw upon when reflecting on the presentations at our conference. The conference offers them a way to engage with real-life applications of what they’re learning in their courses.”
Tuesday’s speakers will focus on home and displacement — how we cope, our neighbors without housing and grassroots advocacy stemming from challenges to ethnic or cultural heritage and a displaced sense of belonging.
On Wednesday, the conference will delve into social justice challenges facing indigenous migrant farmworkers, including environmental/health concerns, sexual identity and diversity, community-based participatory research projects and protest art. A Geographic Information Systems Day event will partner with the conference to discuss geoscience-based community advocacy efforts.
Thursday’s discussions will address social justice inequities through the cultural lens of race, gender and ethnicity, with presentations focused on DACA, immigrant/youth activism and disparities in prosecuting police shootings.
The conference will conclude with a screening of the documentary “Purple Dreams” and presentation by Tony award-winning theatre educator Corey Mitchell, and a talk by Teresa Kaepernick about her personal awakening to social justice. Calvin Terrell will hold open dialogue workshops on race, gender and social inequality throughout the day and conclude the evening program with a closing keynote and hip-hop performance.
The conference builds upon the Stan State Human Rights Conference in early October. That conference commemorated the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Human rights are the foundation on which these social justice issues are engaged and discussed. The longer these issues go unaddressed, the more they begin to look like human rights issues,” Tuedio said.