2017 Keynote Speakers

Erika Huggins

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Conversation with Youth - Social Justice Issues and Engaging Marginalized Voices: Youth, LGBTQ, Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter, Formerly Incarcerated

Dialogue with youth evening plenary session June 17, 2017

As professor of Sociology and African-American Studies in the Peralta Community College District in Oakland, California, Ericka Huggins brings her legacy of social justice activism and spiritual practice to the classroom.

In 1968, at age 18, Ericka became a leader in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party with her husband John Huggins. Three weeks after the birth of their daughter, John was killed.

After returning to New Haven, Connecticut to be with John’s family, Ericka opened a BPP chapter there. In May 1969, Huggins and fellow Party leader Bobby Seale were arrested on politically-motivated conspiracy charges, sparking “Free Bobby, Free Ericka” rallies across the country. While awaiting trial for two years, including time in solitary confinement, charges were dropped and Ericka was released in 1971. While incarcerated, Ericka taught herself to meditate as a survival tool. From this time on, she would incorporate spiritual practice into her daily life, as well as into her educational and community work.

Ericka became writer and editor for the Black Panther News Service shortly after her release. In 1974, her book of poetry chronicling her experience of imprisonment and liberation, Insights and Poems, co-authored with Huey P. Newton, was published. From 1973-1981, Huggins was Director of the Oakland Community School, a groundbreaking community-run child development center and elementary school founded by the Black Panther Party. She created the vision for the innovative curriculum for the school, which became a model for the charter school movement.

As a leader of the world-renowned Shanti Project during the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Ericka helped develop support programs for adults and children with HIV in the Tenderloin and Mission districts of San Francisco, including programs to sustain gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning youth with HIV/AIDS.

For the past 20 years, she has also taught relaxation and mindfulness in California youth adult correctional facilities in addition to many Northern California public school districts and community colleges. Today, as a facilitator with World-Trust.org, Ericka also leads dialogue about race, gender other, as a pathway to personal and global transformation.

Dr. Angela Davis and Erika Huggins at 2017 Conference

Healing And Activism: An Intergenerational Conversation with Dr. Angela Davis and Erika Huggins

Dr. Angela Davis

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Conversation with Youth - Social Justice Issues and Engaging Marginalized Voices: Youth, LGBTQ, Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter, Formerly Incarcerated

Dialogue with youth evening plenary session June 17, 2017

Angela Y. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. Over the years she has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer. She is a living witness to the historical struggles of the contemporary era.

Professor Davis's political activism began during her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama. But it was not until 1969 that she came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA.

National Conferences

Our 6th NACRJ Conference was held in Oakland, CA on June 16-18, 2017 with three pre-conference training sessions on June 15, 2017.  We had 1,319 attendees, terrific keynote/plenary sessions and cultural performances, nearly 300 presentations, an awards ceremony, and a concert by "dead prez".  

Audio recordings of keynotes, interviews, photos and more can be found on the 2017 Conference page.

Check out past NACRJ Conferences in 2013, 2015, 2017 on the Conferences tab.

Planning for our 7th NACRJ Conference is progressing nicely.  It will be in Denver, CO (June 14-16, 2019) with Pre-Conference Training Sessions on June 13, 2019.  Put it on your calendar.  We want to see you there.

In 2021, the 8th NACRJ Conference will be held in Chicago, IL.  We look forward to being in Chi-Town. 

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