Conference Workshops

Take a moment to read about our wide variety of exciting, intriguing, and eye opening workshops! 

Social Justice Burnout Prevention

Travis Becker, Assistant Director of the Intercultural Center

While doing social justice work to challenge racism, sexism, heterosexism and all forms of oppression, can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be exhausting. This workshop will creatively address ways to care for, nurture, and sustain yourself while working to make the world a better place.


Crime Victim Advocacy Program

Audrey Keegan, Crime Advocacy Volunteer

Sex trafficking is happening right here in our community. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to break the cycle of trafficking in our community. Audrey Keegan is a volunteer with the Crime Victim Advocacy program and will talk about what the Contra Costa Country District Attorney's Office is doing to curb this issue and will share practical things that you can do to make a difference.


Building Respect Across Inclusion and Diversity

Corliss Watkins and Undergraduate Student Peer Facilitators

Through interactive activities, student Peer Facilitators will expose participants to issues of oppression and privilege. Through guided dialogues and experiential exercises designed to explore these issues in the context of sexism and racism. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their own identities in the world and how others interact based on pre-conceived notions and social identities.


Freedom House

A 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to bring hope, restoration, and a new life to survivors of human trafficking by providing safe housing and long-term aftercare services. Through its pioneering aftercare model, Freedom House is breaking the cycle of human exploitation and creating new futures for survivors of all ages.


Health Care is a Human Right

Alireza Rezapour, MD and Director of Health & Wellness Center

What has happened with healthcare in the United States? If health care is a basic human right, how and why did it become so expensive and inaccessible? How will the affordable healthcare act impact the accessibility of healthcare in the United States? What can we do to make our communities and families healthier? This presentation will address he broken elements of the healthcare system and explore what we can do to be stake holders in our own health.


Healing the Wounds of Sexual Assault & Racism with Poetry

Amber Butts, English major and co-chair of the Lounge

The everyday pressures of racism and sexism can be overwhelming. Through writing exercises, this workshop aspires to give you the power to take on the 'isms' affecting your life in a way that is both constructive and healing. By reflecting on our lived experiences, writing and sharing pieces of our own narrative, authentically interacting with each other and genuinely listening, we will experience the kind of community that can be built through poetry and story sharing.


Moving through Change

Maura Wolf, Leadership Program at Saint Mary's College of California

In this workshop, we will move through a series of somatic techniques and exercises that are yoga and dance based. We use this movement as a way to look at how we respond and relate to social change issues we care about. We will begin to incorporate the themes of getting grounded in the body, engaging with issues, engaging with others and finding a place of deep rest.


Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth: A Social Injustice Issue

Meredith Webb, Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth Project Coordinator

The epidemic of commercial exploitation of children targets all young people, especially girls of color, LGBTQ youth, and youth living in poverty. This workshop will offer a basic introduction to the issue of commercially sexually exploited youth in Contra Costa County, and an in-depth analysis on the role of sexism, racism and homophobia in the crime of sexual exploitation. 


Human Trafficking & Modern Day Slavery: What is it and how can we stop it?

Patrice Young, Graduate Student in Leadership-Social Justice at Saint Mary’s College of California

Through victim stories, hands-on activities and background research, this workshop will provide a well-rounded look at the issues of human trafficking and modern day slavery. The anti-slavery movement focuses on basic human rights, as well as the specific areas of women’s rights, immigrant rights, and children’s rights. This workshop will help people make the connections between various forms of oppression and also identify ways that they can challenge the issues.


From Jail to School and Beyond--Exploring the Transformative Power of Education

Maura Wolf, Leadership Program at Saint Mary's College of California

Come reflect on how education has changed your life.  Hear stories about how it has had an impact on women transitioning out of jail.  And take some time to envision how education might play into your future.  In this workshop women who participated in the MOMS Leadership Course in Oakland will share their stories alongside Saint Mary's Leadership Center faculty.  Highly interactive and inspirational.


Challenging Violence Against Women

Until the Violence Stops: The VDAY Movement at Saint Mary’s College of California

2014 VDAY Cast

Participants in this workshop will learn about the joys, challenges and process of bringing a production of The Vagina Monologues to life on campus. The 2014 Cast will reveal how to put on a VDAY production in a way that promotes inclusivity, respect for all persons, and social justice, while actively challenging racism and sexism through intentional reflections, in-depth dialogue and team building. Participants will leave this workshop with ideas about what they can do to contribute to or participant in the movement to end violence against women.


Pro-Feminist Men in the Blogosphere: What's next in the conversation?

Michael Urbina, Student, Activist, & Blogger

Online feminist writers and activists have proven that the Internet is a revolutionary tool for voicing one's opinions, promoting community and solidarity, and advocating for social justice. In recent years, pro-feminist men have slowly begun to join the conversation, working with feminists to address several issues such as sexism, racism, unhealthy masculinity, violence against women, and rape culture. Join us for this virtual panel discussion (via Google Hangouts and Twitter), where we will be speaking with several pro-feminist writers and activists about their experiences and discussing men's involvement in the blogosphere. 


Improv. Communication : Inspired by V-Men

Using Improv. Techniques to overcome bystander attitude in the real world

Alfred Day, Care Manager, Dean of Students Office, UC Berkeley 

Description: Participants will learn to use theatrical improv techniques to strategize and "pre-game" language to use in bystander intervention situations. By utilizing these techniques, participants will learn how to avoid “parroting” institutional language around areas of intervention, and instead learn how to use their own language to intervene on behalf of others. This session relates to the theme “We Can Do It” in that it addresses the realities of addressing social change amongst a peer group, being mindful of the need to maintain relationships.


Pursuit of Truth: Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Seeking Justice

Karinah Guzman, Survivor and Business Major at St. Mary's College of California

Megan Lebre, Cal State Hayward

Rebecca Viard, Dancer

Amber Butts, Activist & Student at St. Mary's College of California

1 in 4 girls, 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Karinah Guzman is a survivor who was sexually abused as a child. After 12 years of keeping silent and with strong suspicion that the abuse was continuing onto a younger cousin, Karinah broke her silence and took her abuser to court. At 23, she was interviewed in the documentary, "Pursuit of Truth". The 24-minute film exposes the pitfalls for survivors in entering the legal system and the inherent problems facing them in confronting their abusers. The survivors describe their individual journeys to obtain justice and the obstacles that obstructed their paths. The film will be followed by a Q&A discussion with survivor and St. Mary's student, Karinah Guzman.


Everyday Activism: The Power on Your Plate

Katie Cantrall, Executive Director of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition

One of the most basic ways to challenge racism, sexism and social injustice all at the same time is by making conscious choices about what we eat. Every meal we consume has the potential to be a powerful form of activism. Participants will learn the surprising ways that our food choices are linked to sexism, women’s health issues and environmental racism. The workshop will conclude by discussing ways that we can make positive, empowering change on a daily basis.


Si Se Puede - Educar a Todos!  "Yes We Can - Educate All!"

Lluvia de Milagros Carrasco, SMC Teachers For Tomorrow Student & Activist

The United States - filled with rich opportunity and the so-called American Dream creates the illusion that driven individual can mobilize and succeed if he/she works heard enough. However, in order for people to have a fair chance at finding opportunities to get ahead in this society, education is an entity that needs to be equally accessible to all. Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers that leave many Latino children behind. This session will address the issue and talk about pro-active measures communities can take to empower youth from that community.