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Bakersfield College

Social Justice Institute Past Events

2021 AAPI Heritage Month Conference

A single-day conference on Thursday, May 13 celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. All events were held virtually on Zoom and it wass co-sponsored by the Levan Center for the Humanities, the Office of Student Life, and the Equal Opportunity & Diversity Advisory Committee of Bakersfield College.

Conference Welcome: Sandy Woo-Cater, Anti-Trafficking Expert

AAPI Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Joseph Tipay, Professor of Art

4:00 - 5:00 PM

Join us for a discussion with Joseph Tipay (Filipino/Chicano-no order), an artist born in Fresno, California who currently teaches in the Bakersfield College art department. He received an M.F.A. from Academy of Arts University, San Francisco in Fine Arts-Printmaking. His prints deal with the struggles of his family and the beauty that comes with adversity. They are also a reflection of the economic, cultural, political, and social climate. Joseph currently works on large-scale woodcuts that investigate the effects of incarceration. He is an award-winning artist, and his work as been exhibited internationally.

The Delano Manongs and a Post-Viewing Discussion

5:30 - 6:30 PM

Filmmaker Marissa Aroy, director of the documentary, Delano Manongs: The Forgotten Heroes of the UFW, will join Alex Edillor and Roger Gadiano from the Filipino American National Historical Society and Alex Fabros, retired professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, to discuss the film and the Filipino/a American experience.

To watch the documentary any time before this event, you will need to follow the link below and create a Vimeo account. Select the Rental option and enter the promotional code "21BC" to stream the documentary for free.

Readings and Conversation with Portia Choi

7:00 - 8:00 PM

Portia Choi is a Bakersfield-based poet who immigrated to the United States at the age of 8 from Korea. She lived through the Korean War, and she and her family experienced homelessness and other hardships during and after the conflict. Much of her poetry is autobiographical, and her 2013 book of poems, Sungsook: Korean War Poems, speaks to her early childhood and surviving the war.

All three events were recorded and are available for future viewing on the Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute YouTube channel

Energizing Humanities in California's San Joaquin Valley:
A Culminating Conference

A single-day conference on Thursday, April 22, 2021, commemorating this multi-year grant project. This conference is dedicated to the memory of Gerald Haslam, a Bakersfield College alumnus, author, and educator who made the great effort to come back to Bakersield and serve as the inaugural speaker for this project in the fall of 2017.

Place Based Pedagogy and Our Experiences in the "Energizing Humanities in California's San Joaquin Valley" Grant Project

  • April 22, 2021
  • 3:00-4:30 PM

Project directors Oliver Rosales, Josh Ottum, and Andrew Bond will join members of the current and previous faculty cohorts to talk about their experiences during the run of the programming and how it has influenced their work in the classroom.

Narrating the Southern San Joaquin Valley: Journalism and the Past and Future of Storytelling in the Region

  • April 22, 2021
  • 4:30-6:00 PM

In a region that is often overlooked in widely circulating narrative representation outside of a handful of literary texts and, what some would likely consider niche, historical monographs, local and regional journalists have been writing the Central Valley for decades, covering diverse topics that are relevant to the everyday lives of local residents and defining the region’s place in the larger stories of California and the US.


  • Mark Arax, Journalist and Author of The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California and other regionally important books
  • Olivia Garcia, Professor of History at BC, Reporter and Columnist for The Bakersfield Californian, and former Editor-In-Chief of Bakersfield Life Magazine
  • Jose Gaspar, Reporter and Columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and Anchor at Telemundo Valle Central
  • Lois Henry, Reporter and Columnist at The Bakersfield Californian, and CEO, SJV Water
  • Joe Moore, President and General Manager of KVPR—Valley Public Radio
  • Reyna Olaguez, Executive Director at Kern Sol News
  • Moderated by Erin Auerbach, Professor of Journalism at Bakersfield College, and Haley Duval, Editor-In-Chief of The Renegade Rip

An Evening with Mark Arax: Central Valley Journalist, Author, and Storyteller

  • April 22, 2021
  • 6:30-8:00 PM

Join us for our keynote speaking event featuring Mark Arax with an introduction and Q&A moderation by Dr. Joshua Ottum. Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. He is a former staffer at the Los Angeles Times and The California Sunday Magazine, and his books include a memoir of his father's murder, a collection of essays about the West, and the best-selling The King of California. Much of Arax's work focuses on the Central Valley, and his most recent book, The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California, uses family memoir, history, and extensive reportage on the land to tell the epic story of California's invention and reinventions through the bending of water.

The 3rd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conferece

Honoring the memory of Professor Jesus "Jess" Nieto, ths conference focuses on Latina/o/x and regional cultures and histories, Ethnic Studies, community service and activism, pedagogical practices, and student thought and identity. All events are free and open to the public.

Book Talk with LeRoy Chatfield

LeRoy Chatfield Book Talk event poster

Join us for an evening with LeRoy Chatfield, a former organizer who worked with Cesar Chavez to get union recognition for California farmworkers, created a Saturday school educational enrichment program for farmworker children in Bakersfield, managed the Northern California general election campaign for Jerry Brown, and built the largest volunteer charitable organization in Sacramento. He will talk about his experiences as presented in his book,To Serve the People: My Life Organizing with Cesar Chavez and the Poor (University of New Mexico Press 2019).

The long pilgrimage of LeRoy Chatfield weaves its way through multiple collective projects designed to better the condition of the marginalized and forgotten. From the cloisters of the Christian Brothers and the halls of secondary education to the fields of Central California and the streets of Sacramento, Chatfield’s story reveals a fierce commitment to those who were denied the promises of the American dream. In this collection of what the author calls Easy Essays, Chatfield recounts his childhood, explains the social issues that have played a significant role in his life and work, and uncovers the lack of justice he saw all too frequently. His journey, alongside Cesar and Helen Chavez, Marshall Ganz, Bonnie Chatfield, Philip Vera Cruz, and countless others, displays an unwavering focus on organizing communities and expanding their agency. Follow and explore a life dedicated to equality of opportunity for all. May it inspire and guide you in your own quest for a fairer and more just society.

"We're Still Here": Work, Hope, Dignity and the Education of the Fields

Thumbnail of Bobadilla event poster, click for PDF

Presentation by Dr. Eladio Bobadilla sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Dr. Eladio Bobadilla is an assistant professor of history at the University of Kentucky. Bobadilla was born in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1986 to a poor family headed by Benjamin Bobadilla, a farm worker and musician and Lucina Mariscal, a homemaker. In 1997, Bobadilla, along with the remainder of his family, migrated to the United States to live in Delano, California, where his father had worked for several years in the grape fields. Though Bobadilla dreamed of going to college, his undocumented immigrant status prevented him from doing so immediately after graduating high school. About a year after graduating from Delano High School, however, he received permanent resident status and immediately enlisted in the United States Navy.

Bobadilla was then stationed at the Personnel Support Detachment Afloat West in San Diego, CA, where he was promoted to Petty Officer Third Class. In 2008, he was deployed to Camp Virginia, a forward operating base in the Kuwaiti desert in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). He was honorably discharged in November of 2009 with high evaluations and a number of military distinctions, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Flag Letter of Commendation, the Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal, the Navy Rifle Sharpshooter Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

Bobadilla, together with his wife Timaree, then enrolled at Weber State University in 2010. The couple completed their bachelor’s degrees in three years, graduating in 2012. Bobadilla graduated magna cum laude and with departmental honors. At Weber State, he was a member of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society), the Pinnacle Honor Society, and the Golden Key International Honor Society. In his last year of college, he was recognized as the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Outstanding Graduate and was awarded the university’s highest academic honor for students when he was named Crystal Crest Scholar of the Year.

Bobadilla enrolled at Duke University in 2013, where he was awarded the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship. While at Duke, he also received several other prestigious fellowships and grants, including the Gilder Lehrman Scholarly Fellowship, the Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources, the Ottis Green Fellowship, a Bass Instructional Fellowship, the John Higham Research Fellowship, and the George Pozzetta Dissertation Award.

Outside of his professional life, Bobadilla loves motorcycling and following sports. He is a devoted Blue Devils fan and a supporter of the US Men’s National Team and of Real Salt Lake. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, a preschool teacher.

Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement

  • February 20, 2020
  • Levan Center

Lori A. Flores, an Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University, comes to BC to talk about her book "Grounds for Dreaming", which is a deeply-researched history of how the Mexican community in California's Agriculture Belt fought for equality and respect decades before Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers. Grounds for Dreaming flyer.

Second Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference

  • April 23-25, 2019
  • Levan Center for the Humanities and Forum 101

The second-annual conference in honor of Chicanx Studies pioneer Jess Nieto featured a roundtable discussion on Ray Gonzales; art by Jorge Guillen, Diego Monterrubio, and BC students; a keynote discussion by Sean Arce; a screening of the documentary "Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo", about Chicano activist Oscar Zeta Acosta; graduate student presentations about Chicanx history; and much more. 2019 Jess Nieto Conference flyer.

Photo Gallery

2019 Jess Nieto Conference photo gallery below also available on Smugmug.

Si, Ella Puede! The Rhetorical Legacy of Dolores Huerta and United Farm Workers

  • April 10, 2019
  • Levan Center for the Humanities

In recognition of Dolores Huerta Day, the Levan Center and the National Endowment for the Humanities presented a discussion with Dr. Stacey K. Sowards, professor and chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Texas in El Paso. Sowards discussed her book, "Si, Ella Puede! The Rhetorical Legacy of Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers", which contextualizes Huerta's activism through close, theoretical analysis of the activist's speeches, letters and interviews. Dolores Huerta flyer.

Photo Gallery

Dolores Huerta photo gallery below also available on Smugmug.

Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno

  • March 28, 2019
  • Indoor Theater

Project Conexiones and the Social Justice Institute presented a screening of director Laurie Coyle's documentary "Adios Amor", which tells the story of Maria Moreno's struggle to organize California's migrant farm workers while raising 12 children. The documentary also interweaves Coyle's quest to find photographs and more information about Moreno through the attics and archives of the California Central Valley. After the screening, Coyle and students from Project Conexiones held a roundtable Q and A session.

Photo Gallery

Adios Amor photo gallery below also available on Smugmug.

A Culture of Power: Race, Youth, Labor and Sound in East Bakersfield

  • February 14, 2019
  • Levan Center for the Humanities

Daniel Rios, a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego and a Bakersfield native, presented his research on the political, social, geographic, and cultural production of Bakersfield in the 20th Century, examining how the interplay of race, class, gender, and labor played a central role in shaping the daily lives of working class communities of color.

Culture of Power flyer.

Photo Gallery

Culture of Power photo gallery below also available on Smugmug.

Race, Citizenship, and the American Farmworker

  • October 18th, 2018
  • Norman Levan Center for the Humanities

University of Oregon professor Dr. Sarah Wald hosted a conversation about how American ideals about farming and property ownership influence citizenship. Race, Citizenship and the American Farmworker flyer.

Photo Gallery

The Race, Citizenship and the American Farmworker photo gallery also available on Smugmug.

On Immigration and Journalism: A Conversation with Sonia Nazario

  • October 9th, 2018
  • BC Forum

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario, as well as new media entrepreneur and former Center for Investigative Reporting CEO Joaquin Alvarado, hosted a discussion about the ways that media frames immigration issues as part of the CA 2020: Democracy and the Informed Citizen project. Immigration and Journalism flyer.

Photo Gallery

On Immigration and Journalism photo gallery also available on Smugmug.

Revisiting the Two Cultures: Alendra Y. Chang

  • April 19th, 2018
  • Norman Levan Center for the Humanities

Alenda Y. Chang, an Assistant Professor in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara and editor of the Growing Games blog, presented a discussion about the ways environmental humanitarians and scientists come together to create media that advocates for environmental causes. Her discussion focused primarily on ecocritical theory in PC and console video games. Revisiting the Two Cultures flyer.

Photo Gallery

Revisiting the Two Cultures photo gallery also available on Smugmug.

Jess Nieto Memorial Conference

  • April 17th, 2018
  • Norman Levan Center for the Humanities

The Social Justice Institute hosted a conference recognizing the life and service of Dr. Jesus "Jess" Gilberto Nieto to Bakersfield College. Dr. Nieto was one of BC's first Chicano faculty, a pioneer of BC's Chicano Studies curriculum, and founder of BC's Chicano Cultural Center. 2018 Jess Nieto Memorial Conference flyer.

Photo Gallery

2018 Jess Nieto Memorial Conference photo gallery also available on Smugmug.

An Evening With Gabriel Thompson

  • January 25th, 2018
  • Norman Levan Center for the Humanities

Author Gabriel Thompson talked about his book "America's Social Arsonist: Fred Ross and Grassroots Organizing in the Twentieth Century." Gabriel Thompson flyer.

Photo Gallery

Gabriel Thompson photo gallery also available on Smugmug.

Homecoming: An Evening with Gerald Haslam

  • November 30th, 2017
  • Norman Levan Center for the Humanities

Sonoma State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Gerald Haslam talked about growing up in Oildale and studying at BC in the mid-1950s and early 1960s before becoming an educator and a prolific writer. He has published novels, essay collections, and historical manuscripts about the Central Valley and its cultures, and he has contributed to news media such as the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, KQED’s California Report, and the Sacramento Bee. Gerald Haslam flyer.

Photo Gallery

Gerald Haslam photo gallery also available on Smugmug.

Social Justice Institute Trip to Washington, DC

  • October 31st-November 1st, 2017

The project leads for BC's Social Justice Institute visited Washington, DC in 2017 to attend a Project Directors meeting hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities at the Constitution Center.

Photo Gallery

Social Justice Institute Trip to Washington, DC photo gallery also available on Smugmug.

Out of the Shadows by Gary Soto

  • September 25th, 2015
  • Performed by the San Francisco Youth Theater
  • At BC's Edward Simonsen Performing Arts Center (Indoor Theater)

"Out of Shadows", the musical by famed Chicano writer Gary Soto, is based on interviews with Bay Area DREAMers discussing their dreams and despair as they navigate the shadows of immigration policies. The performance was conducted in conjunction with a series of events commemorating the historical legacy of the Delano Grape Strike.

Remembering the Delano Grape Strike

Eliseo Medina, left, and Latina organizer Dolores Huerta

  • September 23-25, 2015
  • Sponsored by the Social Justice Institute, Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, BC Office of Student Success andEquity, California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities-South Kern initiative, American Library Association, National Endowment for the Humanities, and in partnership with CSU Bakersfield

A week's worth of events centered on the Delano Grape Strike and Latino-American history. For more information, visit the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History website.

California is Different: Environmental Justice Organizing in the 21st Century

  • September 23, 2015
  • Sponsored by the Social Justice Institute, Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, BC Office of Student Success and Equity, and Progressive Education and Action in Kern (PEAK)

For our first "Community Dialogue" event, we hosted environmental justice activists from three local organizations who focus on community organizing and education efforts in rural Kern County, particularly in the Lost Hills area. Their advocacy surrounds issues related to environmental justice, education, community organizing, and the creation of "citizen scientists."

Photo Gallery

California is Different photo gallery also available on Smugmug.