The Founding and Purpose of the Social Justice Institute

The Social Justice Institute was founded by Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian and fellow administrators in collaboration with local community leaders, including Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall and civil lawyer and philanthropist Milt Younger. A non-partisan entity at Bakersfield College, the Social Justice Institute explores issues of equity that affect BC students and the diverse local communities that the college serves. The Social Justice Institute hosts public speaking engagements and events featuring scholars, authors, and cultural bearers whose work and experiences speak to both equity and the significance of local cultures, histories, and narratives in the broader state and national contexts.

BC administrators, community leaders, and faculty at the founding of the SJI.

Attendees at the 2015 kick off for the Social Justice Institute included founders KCCD Chancellor Dr. Sonya Christian (5th from left), BC Interim President Zav Dadabhoy (last on the right), BC Professor and philanthropist Dr. Jack Brigham (2nd from left), Milt Younger (7th from left), Mayor Harvey Hall (next to Younger), and special guest Dolores Huerta along with Bakersfield College administrators and faculty who participated in the Institute's inaugural Leadership & Equity Academy. Also pictured is the current faculty lead of the Social Justice Institute, Dr. Oliver Rosales (3rd from right).

Educational Equity Statement

Educational equity—that's the focus of the Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute. Their mission: to create a collaborative space for the BC community to engage in conversation and analyze issues of social justice, equity and pedagogy in the community college. They'll also study the impact of biases—both intentional and unintentional—in instruction, as well as other professional teaching and service contexts.

Mapping Common Ground:
Agriculture, Migration, and Labor in Rural California

Events associated with the Mapping Common Ground project are made possible by a grant from the Whiting Foundation. A description of the project and its expected outcomes is available on the Whiting Foundation's website. (Visit the project's page at the Whiting Foundation)

Upcoming Events

Coming Soon!

Past Events

The Strikers of Coachella: A Book Talk by Dr. Christian Paiz

Friday March 14, 2023, 3:30-5:00 PM via Zoom

Join us on for a talk featuring Dr. Christian Paiz who will talk about his book, The Strikers of Coachella: A Rank-and-File History of the UFW Movement. Dr. Paiz is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a twentieth-century U.S. labor historian with interests in transnational migration, social movements, and history methods. In this book, he studies how farmworkers in Southern California's Coachella Valley envisioned their future through their involvement in the United Farm Worker Movement in the 1960s to 1980s. He draws, from Latinx Studies, Asian American Studies and the historiography on U.S. labor and social movements, pairing archival research with 200 hours of original oral history interviews and 100 oral histories from existing collections. The book narrates a UFW history that transcends its famous leadership and argues that everyday people and their aspirations were of utmost historical significance: they initiated and propelled forward the UFW, and they helped determine our contemporary fortunes. History often sits among forgotten peoples.

Migrations, Social Movements, and the Promise of Digital Local History: An Evening with Historian James Gregory

Monday, March 13, 2023, 6:00-7:30 PM via Zoom
(Watch the recording of Migrations, Social Movements, and the Promise of Digital Local History)

Dr. James N. Gregory is a Professor of History and director of the Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium at the University of Washington. He is the author of numerous articles and prize-winning books, including American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California and The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America. The role of social movements and their impact on politics and communities has been another research interest and led to the creation of The Mapping American Social Movements Project, an online resource for exploring the history and geography of dozens of civil rights movements, labor movements, and women's movements. This is one of the twelve online projects that are part of the Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium that was launched in 2005. Most recently Gregory has  led  the Racial Restrictive Covenant Project which identifies, maps, and publicizes the racist property restrictions that were a primary instrument of racial segregation and subordination in Washington, California, and most other states.

Allensworth, Black History, and Reparations

Monday, February 27, 2023, 6:00-7:30 PM via Zoom
Watch the recording of Allensworth, Black History, and Reparations

Dr. Ashley Adams of Northeastern University provides an overview of original research detailing preservation designation impacts and the value of inclusive and equity-based preservation planning and outcomes at the Allensworth State Historic Park.Current preservation conditions are discussed alongside the larger public memory impacts and consequences of preservation failures in the midst of the state and national Black Reparations Movement. Recommendations for individual and community-based action and connections to future Black history preservation reparations are also shared, followed by audience Q&A.

Dr. Adams serves as Acting Director of Public Policy and Associate Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at Mills College at Northeastern University. She is a descendant of early settlers of the historic Black town and federally designated site, Nicodemus, Kansas. Dr. Adams has primarily dedicated her research platform to improving Black history preservation practices within national and state preservation systems. Dr. Adams was featured in the Cal Ag Roots-California Humanities-National Endowment for the Humanities podcast, We Are Not Strangers Here Ep 5: Back to the Land: Allensworth and the Black Utopian Dream. She also serves as Board Secretary for the Nicodemus Historical Society and as the Nicodemus, Kansas Site Coordinator for the Voices & Votes: Democracy in America 2023 Smithsonian Exhibit, in partnership with Kansas Humanities, the Nicodemus Historical Society, and National Park Service. She also is a founding Co-Chair for the Black Reparations Project (BRP) at Mills College at Northeastern University, a newly formed academic initiative that provides reparations policy analysis services and formal reparations learning opportunities and maintains continuous documentation of reparations movement works.

Comments, views and opinions expressed during these events are those of the speakers or entities and do not necessarily represent Bakersfield College. To learn more about Bakersfield College and our institutional mission, vision, and core values, visit the About Bakersfield College page.