The 2024 Practical Activism Conference

Our 21st annual conference will be Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 from 10am-5pm at the College Nine and John R. Lewis College Multipurpose Room. 

Register here for this year's conference!

Featured Speaker

PAC '24 Keynote & Closing Speaker: MARIAH PARKER


Mariah Parker, PhD, is a linguistics scholar, a former Georgia County Commissioner, a rapper (under the stage name Linqua Franqa), and organizer with Raise Up the South, the Southern arm of the Fight for $15 and a Union workers movement.

Mariah first made headlines after being sworn in as an Athens-Clarke County Commissioner, at age 26, with their hand on a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X held by their mother. Photos of Mariah taking the oath went viral, highlighting the growing numbers of millennial Black people making their voices heard in local politics nationwide. As County Commissioner, Mariah focused on creating economic stability and racial justice as well as criminal justice reform and raising the minimum wage.

They recently resigned from that position to work as a labor organizer with Raise Up the South, a pivot that gives Mariah the opportunity to fight for social justice outside the constraints of political office. The move also coincided with the release of the music video for their single, “Wurk,” a powerful pro-worker, pro-union piece that once again thrust Mariah into the headlines when the song went viral.

They have performed the hit at union conventions and rallies as well as New York’s Lincoln Center, a performance RollingStone magazine called "explosive" and pointed to how the "queer, Black, nonbinary Southerner...dominated the stage, all sinewy limbs and kinetic energy and rapid-fire couplets. Those same tongue-twisting revolutionary rhymes and hyperliterate lyricism shine on their new album, "Bellringer," with lyrics on capitalism, police brutality, mental health, emotional turmoil, and workers’ rights smoothly cutting through the alternating slices of Southern hip-hop, neo-soul, indie-pop, and avant-garde electronic vibes that populate Parker’s extended musical universe."

Mariah's outspoken commitment to racial and economic justice has garnered the attention of other media as well including CNN, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, The Nation, Afropunk, The Root, and The Bitter Southerner, among others.

They are a popular speaker on campuses nationwide. Audiences describe Mariah as "charismatic,” “engaging,” “authentic,” and “inspiring.” Their electrifying live and virtual presentations call audiences to self-reflection and action in their lives and in their communities.

Workshop Schedule

Block 1 Workshops (12:00pm - 1:20pm)

  • The Workers United! - Join us for a panel with student and community organizers discussing the skills to identify labor exploitation, find resources to join a union, and understand your rights!
  • U.S. Imperialism
  • Deconstructing the War on Drugs - In a discussion with Professor Carlos Martinez, Professor Kent Eaton, and Denise Elerick from Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County, learn about how America’s longest war continues to devastate communities and what we can do to stop it.
  • Life After Care: Former Foster Students Navigating the UC System - Come learn about the impact of the Foster Care System on young adults and what can be improved within it as we discuss what happens after former Foster Kids leave the system to go to university.

Block 2 Workshops (1:35pm - 2:55pm)

  • Share Your Dreams: Exploring the Immigrant and Undocumented Experience through Art - Gain perspective on the immigrant and undocumented experience as we learn about creative modes of expression, before creating a collective artistic project!
  • Racism in Health, Disability, and Size - Join our speakers as they share personal experiences with racism in health, disability, and size before breaking out into groups to practice a thought exercise on how we have seen these forms of discrimination play out in our own lives or the lives of those around us.
  • Generational Trauma: Empowering the First-Gen Experience - Be empowered by a panel of first-generation individuals, a presentation about caring for your mental health in university and combatting generational trauma, and a segment dedicated to connecting with your identity and culture!

Introducing Our New Conference Schedule!

We're excited to introduce a redesigned conference schedule that allows for longer workshops and the ability to immediately dig deeper into conference topics after our workshops to explore tabling orgs and participate in activist activities!

10:00am - 10:30am Doors Open, Registration, & Refreshments
10:30am - 12:00pm Opening Session & Keynote Address
12:00pm - 1:20pm Round 1 of Workshops
1:35pm - 2:55pm Round 2 of Workshops
3:00pm - 5:00pm Tabling, Closing Address (at 4:15pm), Activist Activities, & Refreshments