Students and educators participate in previous 2022 Social Justice Conference. Credit: Courtesy of Briana Ronan

The Cal Poly School of Education (SOE) is partnering with the Central Coast Commission for Undocumented Student Success (CCCUSS) to host the sixth annual Social Justice Conference in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The conference is a hybrid event and will be hosted partially virtually and partially in-person at Santa Maria High School, according to the CCCUSS website.

The focus of this year’s conference is “building community, connection, and solidarity through education,” Cal Poly education associate professor and CCCUSS member Briana Ronan said.

Cal Poly’s SOE works with CCCUSS every year to plan, organize and host the Social Justice Conference. Cal Poly faculty, staff and students participate in the event, where education students are able to present their own lesson plans and curriculum.

The conference aims to, “bring educators and community activists together who want to disrupt oppressive practices in education and work towards social justice,” according to Ronan. 

Cal Poly’s Spanish Authorization for Bilingual Educators (SABE) program highlighted the event on the group’s Instagram. SABE provides candidates from the SOE with Spanish bilingual certification on their California teaching credentials. The program’s goals include, “bilingualism, biliteracy, cross-cultural understanding, and high academic achievement for emergent bilinguals,” according to SABE’s website

The conference will begin with its keynote speaker Lorena Germán. Germán is a Dominican-American educator and author who focuses on incorporating anti-racism and anti-bias practices in education. Based in Tampa, Florida, Germán is the Chair of NCTE’s Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English

From 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., K-12 educators and local community activists will host a virtual panel discussion. Panelists include elementary educator who works in dual-immersion bilingual learning Maria Parker, community coordinator of Latino-based education programs Izelt Santos and Santa Maria High School social science teacher Oscar Velasco. 

The rest of the conference runs from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in-person at Santa Maria High School’s multipurpose room on 901 S. Broadway in Santa Maria and includes a curriculum fair where students will present inclusive learning plans.

According to CCCUSS’s website, the organization is is “a collective of advocates and educators that challenges anti-immigrant and oppressive ideologies, institutional practices, and everyday actions that threaten undocumented and vulnerable communities.” 

In addition to the annual Social Justice Conference, the CCCUSS supports students who are undocumented or from families of mixed immigration status with an emergency fund for legal aid, according to their website.

Those interested in attending the 2023 Social Justice Conference can fill out this online form to register for the event and receive the virtual conference viewing link over email.