Sonoma State's 5th annual Social Justice Week

February 20, 2019
Social Justice Week Sonoma State University 2019

Sonoma State University will host more than 40 hours of lectures, panels and performances to raise awareness of social justice issues as part of “Social Justice Week” from Feb. 25 to March 1.

New York Times columnist and political commentator Charles M. Blow will give the keynote address on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Green Music Center. Additional keynote speakers include author Penny Rosenwasser and citizen journalist Abby Martin. “Social Justice Week” is sponsored by the Sociology Social Justice and Activism Club and is free and open to the public.

Performances include actor Roger Guenveur Smith’s acclaimed monologue about slavery and modern-day racism “Frederick Douglas Now” and pianist Damien Sneed’s musical performance “We Shall Overcome” inspired by the words and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Issues such as police brutality, minimum wage and the #MeToo movement will be touched on by organizations including the Police Brutality Coalition, North Bay Jobs with Justice and SSU professors.

“This annual event highlights the importance of human rights by providing a week of organized sessions for local activists to meet and engage the SSU community,” said Peter Phillips, professor of sociology.

Cosponsored by Associated Students, Project Censored, multiple departments on campus and others, “Social Justice Week” will kick off with a welcome by President Judy K. Sakaki at noon on Monday, Feb. 25. All events will be held in the Student Center Ballroom A, with a $5 per day donation to the Sociology Social Justice Club accepted at the door. Parking at all Sonoma State lots is $5 to $8. For a full list of events, see below.

Full Program Schedule

All events in Student Center Ballroom A, unless otherwise noted

Monday, Feb. 25

12-1 p.m. | SSU Administration Welcome: President Judy Sakaki, Social Science 320, Class Assembly Meeting and Investigative Sociology—Social Justice Report

1-2 p.m. | Michael Nagler: Metta Center for Nonviolence: The Time is Now—"Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of humanity." - Gandhi

2:30-3:30 p.m. |  Police Brutality Coalition: Susan Lamont: Community and Law Enforcement / Community and Law Enforcement Relations: At the Crossroads, Jerry Threet, retiring Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach and Kathleen Finigan, homeless activist

4-5:30 p.m. | Hanson Lee and Pahn Yi: Woman in China: the last 30 years: "The left-over woman­- Family and Female Perspective

5:45-6:30 p.m. | Martin Herrera-Pazmino: MC Pauze—Conscience Rap

7-9 p.m. | Keynote Speaker: Penny Rosenwasser: Author, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears. In these perilous times of rising anti-Semitism and racism, deportation of immigrants, Islamophobia, misogyny, and transphobia, Penny’s words are an activist’s call to heal the world! Her interactive talk about her book,"Hope into Practice, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears," is full of stories linking personal healing with social justice.

Tuesday, Feb. 26

10-11:30 a.m. | Henry Kaku: It could Happen Again: The Incarceration of American Citizens because of fear and ignorance, US Citizens Jailed in Concentration Camps by Presidential Order- 1941 

12-1:30 p.m. | Fred Ptucha, Susan Lamont, Tom Meier, Veterans for Peace: What is the Price We Pay for Perpetual War?

2-3 p.m. | Maria Garcia, North Bay Jobs with Justice: The Fight for $15, Citywide Minimum Wage in the North Bay and Organizing Low Wage Workers.

3-5 p.m. | Corrina Gould: Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone, Indian People Organizing for Change

5-7 p.m. | Ballet Folklorico Netzahualcoyotl , Grace De La Cruz

7:30-9:30 p.m. | Green Music Center Keynote Speaker: Charles M. Blow, New York Times Op-Ed Columnist, Andrea Neves and Barton Evans Social Justice Lecture Series

Wednesday, Feb. 27

10-11 a.m. | Adrienne Lauby, Homeless Action! and Celeste Austin, The Living Room, Santa Rosa Homelessness in Sonoma County

11:30-12:30 p.m. | Linda Sartor- Author: Turning Fear into Power: Stories that Inspire Following your Heart Even When Fear is Present

1-2:15 p.m. | Zach Neeley, Verity: Moving MeToo Forward- Maintaining a movement through both existing structures and innovative approaches.

2:30-3:45 p.m. | Friends of Public Banking Sonoma County, Shelly Browning, Philip Beard, Debora Hammond

4:00-5:30 p.m. | Toby Blomé, CODEPINK: U.S. Killer Drones - Resisting Racist Tools of U.S. Empire

4:00-5:30 p.m. | University Library Art Gallery | Alchemia: A Spectrum of Creativity: Reception featuring artwork from Alchemia, a Sonoma County non-profit that works with adults with developmental disabilities, Panel with Liz Jahren, Alchemia’s Artistic Director

5:30-6:45 p.m. | Francisco Herrera: Political guitarist and singer

7:00-9:00 p.m. | Keynote Speaker: Abby Martin, Media Roots and Empire Report: Critical Media Challenging US Empire

Thursday, Feb. 28

10-11:30 a.m. | John Bertucci: The Art of Politics in Cinema, a guided tour of great scenes

12-1 p.m. | Occupy Sonoma County, Rebel Fagin, Climate Change Requires Direct Action

1:15-2:45 p.m. | North Coast Coalition for Palestine: Social Justice for Palestine

3-5 p.m. | Shekeyna Black and Attila Nagy Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center, Round Table Evaluation of Peace and Justice for all

5:15-6:30 p.m. | Legacy: Napa Youth Project is an Ethnic Studies and social justice leadership program: Presenters: Karla Gomez Pelayo, Yolanda Ayala, Carlos Hagedorn, and LYP Youth

7-9 p.m. | Faculty Panel: Diana Grant, Chingling Wo, Tim Wandling, Ron Lopez, Napoleon Reyes Mickey Huff: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere

Friday, March 1

10-11:30 a.m. | Hanson Lee and Lindsay Roth: Social Justice and Three Hundred Million Peasant Workers in China 

12-1:30 p.m. | Nicole Wolfe, SSU Professor: Drug Prohibition and Social Justice

2-4 p.m. | Alicia Jrapko, U.S. Coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity and co-chair of the National Network on Cuba: What to Expect with U.S./Cuba Relations in the Trump Era, and Antonio Jose Cordero, General Consul of Venezuela in San Francisco: Venezuela-what the US corporate media doesn’t want you to know.

4-6:30 p.m. | Gene Mendoza: The Path of Quetzalcoatl A message from the past, for the present and future; the transcendence of consciousness. 

7-9 p.m. | Yosimar Reyes, nationally-acclaimed poet and public speaker, born in Guerrero, Mexico, and raised in Eastside San Jose, Reyes explores the themes of migration and sexuality in his work. The Advocate named Reyes one of "13 LGBT Latinos Changing the World.” Yosimar is a LAMBDA Literary Fellow as well as the recipient of the Undocupoets Fellowship.

Saturday, March 2

7:30 p.m. | Green Music Center | We Shall Overcome – A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. featuring Damien Sneed: Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., We Shall Overcome showcases repertoire from across African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches. Pianist and Musical Director Damien Sneed ties together a living lineage of music and culture that includes gospel, classical, jazz, Broadway, and spirituals.  (Tickets

Pre-concert talk Weill Hall​ |  One hour prior to curtain, a pre-concert lecture presented by Lynee Morrow, Vocal, Operal/Musical Theatre Director, SSU

Sunday, March 3,

7:30 p.m. | Schroeder HallRoger Guenveur Smith: Frederick Douglass Now: An internationally acclaimed solo performance, and a work the Los Angeles Times calls “a personal benchmark for this remarkable artist.” Smith delivers a monologue that mixes Douglass' 19th-century editorials, speeches, and letters with his own original writing. Standing in front of an American flag and using poetry, music, and rap, Smith riffs on not only slavery but modern-day racism, blurring the lines between history and right now. (Tickets)

In addition to the two screenings and in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s iconic 1989 film, a roundtable discussion featuring Roger Guenveur Smith will take place on Saturday, March 2, from 10 am-3pm in the Student Center, and is free and open to all. Smith, who played Smiley in the film, will also participate in a post screening discussion March 1, and will preform his one-man play Frederick Douglas Now in Schroeder Hall on March 3 at 7:00 PM.