Past SJCs

The Cabrillo College Social Justice Conference began in 2007 in order to reflect the drive toward social justice that rests in the hearts of Cabrillo College students, administrators, faculty, staff and the greater Santa Cruz community. For the first five years, the conference centered on a theme: Imagining Change/Shaping the Future. It is with gratitude that year’s organizers are continuing the conference into a sixth year and perhaps onto the future!

For each conference year, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, approximately 350 people were in attendance. For each conference, over 30 panels, papers, and creative works were presented by Cabrillo College students, faculty, staff and administrators. The Honorable John Laird gave the keynote address for the 2007 conference, while Ms. Banafsheh Akhlaghi, Attorney at Law and founder of the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement, gave the keynote address for the 2008 conference. Brian Copeland presented the keynote address for 2009.

For the 2010 conference, we expanded our range of guest speakers. On Friday evening at the Watsonville opening reception Luis Alejo, former Watsonville mayor, spoke to the audience, while on Saturday at our opening ceremony Russ Jones spokesperson of LEAP: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, started the conference. The Honorable Cruz Reynoso presented the keynote address on Saturday afternoon.

For the 2011 conference, the Friday opening reception included Dr. Ekua Omosupe, Cabrillo College English department faculty, and Adam Spickler, Senior Field Representative, Assemblymember Bill Monning. The evening concluded with the film, The Freedom Writers. On Saturday, Sharaud Moore, one of the original Freedom Writers, opened the conference, while Ted Cox, journalist, presented in the afternoon. The Santa Cruz Diversity Center Triangle Speakers presented the keynote address toward the end of the conference on Saturday.

Four of the previous conferences hosted a Children's Fair. The fair centered on social justice themes and encouraged children to explore the equal treatment of all beings by reading books, playing with multi-cultural dolls, and completing arts and crafts projects. 

Social justice is a movement working toward a more just, humane society in which all individuals and groups experience fair treatment and have equitable access to the benefits of society. Hopefully, the conference has contributed to this mission these past five years. May we find the resources to continue working toward social justice in all aspects of our individual lives, in society, and worldwide.