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Students of Color Conference

Published: Friday, 20 April 2021

“Still We Rise: Reclaiming Our Power” is the theme of this year’s Students of Color Conference. The conference will be held virtually on Friday, April 23, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM on Zoom. Join us for an assortment of inspiring guests and interactive workshops aimed at fostering a sense of community and societal change.

The conference encourages students from historically marginalized backgrounds to embrace their identities and stand up against social injustices. Special guest speakers include writer, diversity consultant, and occasional feminist, Mikki Kendall; teacher, author and travelling artist, LaShawnae Smith; licensed clinical social worker and educator, Dr. Brenda Ingram; Executive Director of the Foundation for Economic Democracy and Long Beach State Professor, Dr. Alfredo Carlos; and activist, scholar, author and educator, Dr. Angela Davis.

Opening the event are Associated Students, Inc., Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Mya Jones and Chief Diversity Officer, Citlalli Ortiz. Jones is passionate about advocating for the retention and recruitment of Black and Pan-African students and serving underrepresented student communities. While Ortiz is involved with helping DACA recipients and connecting The Beach with non-profit assistance and community outreach organizations.

“In leu of recent events pertaining to the mistreatment of Black individuals at the hands of police,” said Jones, “this conference aims to be a safe and empowering space to learn about the impact of racial trauma and the importance of maintaining mental health as it pertains to communities of color. “

“With this conference we aim to encourage students to become agents of change and to be inspired and uplifted,” said Ortiz. “We hope that everyone can learn something new and leave feeling empowered.”

Mikki Kendall will give the opening keynote address. Kendall focuses on police violence, race, feminism, technology and current events. She has been featured in TIME, Essence, NBC, The New York Times, NPR and Good Morning America among others for her bestselling book “Hood Feminism,” graphic novel and essay collection. In March 2020, Kendall was interviewed on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in a segment on “lifting up all women with hood feminism.”

In addition, spoken word will be performed by LaShawnae Smith. Smith, otherwise known as LaSpeaks Volumes, is a revolutionary poet with messages of love, compassion and empowerment. Her debut book, “Naked: A Woman;’s Unfiltered Truth in Poetry & Testimony” shares the story of her personal liberation journey and encourages others to do the same. For more information on her book visit

There will also be two virtual workshops for attendees to participate in. These portions of the event are focused on building community and strengthening advocacy within people of color. Dr. Alfredo Carlos will host the first breakout session. Leading the second session is Dr. Brenda Ingram, focusing on maintaining mental wellbeing in communities of color.

“She will be informing us about racial trauma and tips to maintain our mental health,” said Ortiz. “We wanted to include mental health in the conference because we know that a lot of our peers were experiencing difficult times due to everything that’s happening that affects communities of color on top of the pandemic.”

Finally, the event will close with a moderated conversation session with Dr. Angela Davis. Dr. Davis is a worldwide name, best known for her civil rights activism. She emphasizes education and economic action and promotes women’s rights and racial justice. A founder of the national grassroots organization, the Critical Resistance, she has built a movement dedicated to dismantling the United States prison-industrial complex and creating more socially engaged communities. She has also authored over ten books supporting feminism, prison reform, racial and social justice.

“The material from the conference is going to be unique but we are also doing really cool giveaways for the participants,” said Ortiz. “And everyone will receive a certificate of completion for participating.”

To register, and see the full lineup of events, visit