About Practical Activism Conference

About Us

Beginning in 2003, Practical Activism is a day-long conference featuring speakers, performances, interactive workshops, and a variety of hands-on creative activities and opportunities on a wide range of social justice issues. The conference serves to provide information, tools, and opportunities to generate local and global change. Practical Activism is coordinated, planned, and implemented by a group of passionate students from College Nine and John R. Lewis College.

The goal of the Practical Activism Conference is to open spaces for dialogue and inclusion, for active discussion of serious issues, for questioning our privileges and assumptions, and for constructive and critical engagement. As such, it is a space in which we welcome discussions of gender, sexuality, power, oppression, and the problems of heteronormativity. The student-designed and facilitated workshops at Practical Activism commonly address these and many other difficult issues that concern our community.

The previous Practical Activism Conferences have been highly successful venues for education, activism, and networking. Several keynote speakers have been featured including Angela Davis, Zahra Billoo, the Molotov Mouths, Daniel “Nane” Alejandrez, Boots Riley, Bettina Aptheker, Aaronette White, Darrick Smith, and Eden Silva Jequinto.

Through the 20+ years of Practical Activism, over 150 workshops have been implemented, covering such diverse topics as art and activism, the criminal justice system, global gender issues, voting injustices, diversity in education, immigration, military, UC involvement with nuclear bombs, UC tuition hikes, sexual assault, homelessness, and student movements. Additionally, Practical Activism serves as a venue for local art displays and tabling by campus and community organizations. Evaluations of the conference are consistently extremely positive. This conference also offers an excellent leadership opportunity for student planners who work together for over six months to develop and plan all components of the project. Planners are able to improve communication, teamwork, leadership, organizational, research, and follow-up skills. This conference is an important component of increasing student, faculty, and community interaction. Practical Activism aims to provide resources for students, faculty, and community members to become more active with social justice issues in Santa Cruz and beyond. 

Learn More 

Thanks to former Practical Activism Conference Planner, Jenn Figueroa, for this video on what Practical Activism means to the planners, participants, and performers.

Contact Us

To join the Official College Nine and John R. Lewis College Community Newsletter and get updates about other events, sign up here, or follow along on Instagram and YouTube.

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To get involved in the Practical Activism Conference Planning Team, for accessibility and accommodation concerns for the conference, or if you are a past planner or alumnus and want to share your story, please contact: coco@ucsc.edu