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Keynote Speaker and Sessions

Keynote Address

Ashley Walker
Former Executive Director, San Diego Human Relations Commission

AShley Walker

Leading human rights activist and pioneer Ashley Walker will deliver the keynote address at the 4th Annual Social Justice & Equity Symposium.  Ms. Walker has received widespread recognition for her vital work and numerous awards including the ACLU Helen Marston Award (2009) and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the National Organization for Women.  Ms. Walker is the former Executive Director of the San Diego Human Relations Commission whose mission is to conduct and promote activities that foster mutual respect and understanding; protect basic human and civil rights; and create an atmosphere that promotes amicable relations among all members of the San Diego community.  As Executive Director for the Commission, Ms. Walker fought for immigration rights, LGBT rights, voting rights, equal opportunity for people of color, and against hate crimes.  Her lecture will focus on working together to promote social justice in our communities.


Concurrent Session   (As of 3/11/2011...more to come!)

ALL TRIBES Preventing Violence for REEL CHANGE
Merryl Goldberg, Center ARTES, Michelle Parada, All Tribes Charter School (Rincon) teacher, high school students from All Tribes school, and Kathy and Becky Sangha from Sun and Moon Vision Productions (non-profit film company dedicated to issues of social justice)

This presentation focuses on the making of an anti-violence film created and filmed by high school students from the All Tribes Charter School on the Rincon Reservation.  Students, teachers, and partners will discuss the powerful tool of film and how it is used to promote discussions concerning anti-violence.  The film will be shown as a part of the workshop.

Justice Corps:  Social Justice and Equity in Action
Various student members of Justice Corps

The presentation will include discussion of the obstacles self- represented litigants experience as they make their way through the court system and how the student volunteers of Justice Corps provide much-needed assistance to facilitate justice for those in need.

Participants who attend our session will learn about how difficult it is for self-represented litigants to manage the bureaucracy and legalese often found in the court system - and how opportunities for support/resources provided by Justice Corps students members offer tangible and effective ways to facilitate folks though the court system.  Without this assistance, self-represented litigants may experience lack of public trust and confidence in the courts.  Ultimately, participants will walk away from this session with knowledge about the impact of community service in higher education and have information on how to become active themselves in Justice Corps.

Picture This:  Images of Social Justice at CSUSM
College of Education Graduate Students: Claudia Diaz, Teri Gerent, Cynthia Meza, Juana Molina, Helen Montag, April Paustian, Vienna Peterson, Ashley  Vaughan, Eric Williams & College of Education Associate Professor: Anne René Elsbree

College of Education Graduate Students use photography to conceptualize how they see social justice at CSUSM. Session participants will have the opportunity to view the social justice photos in a gallery walk activity and hear the artist's intentions. Time will be provided for participants to ask questions, express their interpretations of the art and share their conceptualizations of social justice at our university and beyond.

Session participants will have the opportunity to view the social justice photos in a gallery walk activity and hear the artist's intentions. Time will be provided for participants to ask questions, express their interpretations of the art and share their conceptualizations of social justice at our university and beyond.

When Hate, Bigotry and Inequality Invade a Community
Linda Pershing, CSUSM faculty; Kit-Bacon Gressitt, CSUSM student; Raeven Chandler, CSUSM student; Cecili Chadwick, CSUSM faculty

The panel will provide an overview of The Koala business organization and its practices on the three university campuses where it is currently active. We will analyze the tabloid's content from the perspective of social justice and equity. And, we will offer tools for speaking about the organization and taking action to modify its content, without challenging constitutional rights.

This informative presentation will offer a critical analysis of The Koala and give participants appropriate tools (language and actions) for engaging in constructive criticism of the publishing business' content and for challenging the content while honoring free speech rights.

Video in the Community
Getting Out...Getting In: Gang Related Youth Transitioning to College
Kristine Diekman, Convener; Liliana Rossman, Panel Moderator; John Juarez, Hector Meza, and Rita Naranjo

Video in the Community is a program at CSUSM that works with the community to identify social problems within the community and collaboratively develop strategies to help solve those problems through the production and use of media projects. In 2008 and 2009, Kristine Diekman, Director and Producer, interviewed current and former gang members about their lives. In the process of these dialogues, former gang members shared their life experiences about transitioning from the gang life to college, entering educational systems and institutions. This panel of three former gang members will speak about the barriers former or transitioning gang members encounter as they depart from their social peers (Gangs).  Many of them include: language barriers, social-cultural barriers the system doesn't observe, and many others.  In addition to the panel presentation, VIC will screen some selections from videos it has produced about gangs that feature two of the panelists.

Kristine Diekman, Convener
Kristine Diekman is a media artist whose work is shown internationally. She is committed to making socially integrated work while exploring issues on a personal level. Her work addresses institutionalization, language, mental illness, somatic experience and feminist identity through documentary, narrative and poetic strategies. She is the Director of Video in the Community. She received her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design, and B.S.S. from Cornell College with an emphasis in Literature and Chinese Studies.

Liliana Rossmann, Panel Moderator
Dr. Liliana Castañeda Rossmann holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an M.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. She is a mediator and works facilitating public dialogue with community groups. A native of Mexico, her research interests include issues of ethnic identity, migration, public dialogue, and conflict and mediation. Recently she has conducted research with gang-involved Latinas.

John Juarez, Panelist
"Before college, my lifestyle can only be described as that of a TAKER. Born in '74, raised in Oceanside, California. Started banging at age 16. I began college at age 23 at Mira Costa and finished graduate school at CSUSM in 2003 at age 30. College was such a foreign place and I couldn't have stood out more due to my dress, speech etc....However I recognized an almost unquenchable thirst to learn and debate.  That didn't mean I cut my ties to my neighborhood. I went to school during the day and hung out at night. I rarely spoke of where I was during the day but my friends knew.  The last 5 years I have been employed by Child Protective Services for the County where I have the opportunity to GIVE back to a community I grew up in."

Hector Meza, Panelist
Hector has a Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts; Specialization in Child Psychology and a  Master's Degree in Education Emphasis in Psychology from San Diego State University. He is currently employed at the San Diego County Office of Education. He is a national and international speaker on youth violence prevention and intervention combined with development of non-violence method projects for elementary to high school students. He has provided in service trainings throughout the years to teachers, therapists, police departments, k-12 students, university students, social worker interns, community agencies, educational institution interns, mental health agencies, general public, parents and other staff working with at-risk youth on Gang Awareness and Preventative Strategies and Cultural Competence.  "Before starting my educational vocation, I was still hanging out in my neighborhood. I stopped being around the homeboys until the age of 21, to then start Community College at the age of 23.  College was difficult to adapt a "New Way of Being": to form and develop a new identity through learning and school. Socially, educationally, and socioeconomically marginalized, I was a student of Mexican-descent struggling to find a door to a better way of life - education!"

Rita Naranjo, panelist
Rita grew up in foster care as a victim of circumstances that consumed her childhood with sadness, anger and hopelessness. In and out of juvenile hall, running away from group homes, Rita was headed down the unfortunate yet common path for children caught in the system; a path of destruction, loneliness, and poverty. With a vision and the inspiration of creating a better life for herself, Rita became emancipated at the age of 16 and began the arduous process of getting her education. First she received her high school diploma from continuation school, moved on to community college and earned her A.A. degree, transferred to San Diego State University and graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in Social Work and a minor in Anthropology. Rita is pursuing her Master's in Applied Sociological Practice at California State University, San Marcos, to further her goal to evoke change in foster care through policy and community action.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Critical Role Played by American Indian Women of North County San Diego
Juana Majel Dixon, Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, Tribal Legislative Councilwoman, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) First Vice President, NCAI Co/Chair Task Force Stop Violence against Native Women, CA/HI Tribal Council Rep SAMSHA Tribal Advisory Group, Pacific Rep. Tribal Nations Leadership Council

The epidemic of violence perpetuated against American Indian and Alaska Native women in the United States is nothing short of a human rights crisis. The Department of Justice estimates that one of three Indian women will be raped in her lifetime, that six of 10 will be physically assaulted, and that Indian women are stalked at more than double the rate of any other population of women in the United States. This violence threatens the lives of Indian women and the future of American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages. Ending this pattern of violence requires the elimination of institutional barriers that deny Indian women equal access to justice.  The inclusion of a tribal title, the Safety for Indian Women title, within the Violence Against Women Act was an historic achievement.

We will bring nationally recognized Native women to discuss these critical issues. A screening of the documentary filmed last year on the La Jolla Indian Reservation of the VAWA March.  Following the screening will be a roundtable talk led by Juana Majel along with other prominent active Native women working in the area of VAWA.  Following the discussion, we will have a meeting with these women on what they would like to see in a Native Studies women's course.

April is Sexual Assault month and a good time to highlight these two pivotal legislative policies and how others can get involved to make sure that these policies are continually funded and supported.  The audience will hear first hand from local tribal women how they were the driving force behind the passage of the Violence Against Women Act.  These women were instrumental in passing the Act not just for Native women but for all people.  Through critical discussion, watching the documentary and hearing first hand from these women, the audience will be empowered to take on these issues within their own communities.

"The Children's March:  how music became the soundtrack for a movement, which led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  To what extent has this legislation lived up to its promise of promoting Social Justice?"
Teri Gerent, CSUSM Graduate Student, Social Studies Teacher at Rancho Buena Vista High School, Author of the elective course, "A Socio-Political History of Rock and Roll"

As a participant in a learning study over the past 7 months, our collaborative team designed a lesson around the Children's March that took place in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, which led to President Kennedy calling for sweeping civil rights legislation.  While the children were jailed, music played an integral role in creating a cohesiveness within the community, and the well from which strength and courage was drawn.  Legislation was passed in 1964, but how far have we come in securing social justice and equal access for all?

This presentation will include a lesson plan focusing on the Children's March, including primary source documents (photographs, telegrams, and letters), as well as student work showcasing examples of social justice/injustice through photography and group photograph analysis. 

ACCESS to College Education:  Helping Low Income First Generation Students at CSUSM
Helen Montag, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships; Nathan Evans, Office of Admissions and Recruitment

Come learn how CSUSM Student Affairs professionals are reaching out to low-income and first-generation high school students and families in the region, providing assistance and guidance with the CSU application for admission, as well as the FAFSA, so these students can access higher education and financial aid assistance.  One outstanding model of collaboration is the annual Cash to College event in which CSUSM, in collaboration with the California Student Opportunity and Access Program, provides information and assistance on financing one's education.  To assist in bridging the digital divide, the campus opens computer labs to the community to allow students and their families access to submit the FAFSA. 

Thousands of high school students don't go to college because they believe the requirements of University admission and the cost of a college degree are both beyond their (and their family's) reach.  CSU San Marcos' Admissions and Financial Aid offices host numerous outreach events throughout the year to advise, motivate, and inform students regarding college admissions requirements, and financial aid information.  Student Affairs professionals in Admissions and Financial aid work collaboratively to provide and support educational access, and to increase the number of local-area students who would like to take advantage of postsecondary opportunities. 

A Critical and Theoretical Look at the Criminalization of Marijuana in the US
Megan Lessert, CSUSM graduate student; Leilani Mcgaskey, CSUSM graduate student; and Adriana Serrano, CSUSM graduate student

In light of the recent political attention given to the attempt at legalizing the drug marijuana in California, we decided to take a critical and theoretical eye to this public issue and explore the context of its original criminalization. Contrary to mainstream thought, the criminalization of marijuana has a long history that is deeply rooted in racism, classism, and systems of oppression.  

Food for Thought - Obesity in America:  Designing Socially Just Curriculum
Caitlin Bennett, Jeremy Krefft, Phillip Lovas, Jordanne Moore and Trent Suzuki, CSUSM Single Subject Credential Students

The presenters will share an interdisciplinary thematic unit they designed titled, Food for Thought - Obesity in America.  The unit integrates the theme into the following high school content classes; Social Sciences, Science, English Language Arts, Spanish and Physical Education.  The curriculum examines the topic across these content areas with a particular emphasis on addressing social justice and equity for all students.