- September 8, 2016
- 7:00 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Ericka Huggins has spent her life working on the struggle for racial equality. At age 18, she joined the nascent Black Panther Party. She was a founding member of the Los Angeles chapter with her husband, John Huggins. Just three weeks after their daughter was born, a member of a rival organization murdered John on the UCLA campus. After her husband's death, Huggins moved to Connecticut where she opened another chapter of the Black Panther Party but was arrested on conspiracy charges. The resulting infamous trial, known as the 'New Haven Trial' sparked outcry across the country about the impossibility of a fair trial for the Panthers. Huggins was incarcerated and spent two years in jail, including time in solitary confinement. Ultimately in 1971, the charges were dropped and the case was thrown out.
During her time in prison, Huggins practiced meditation and has leaned on her spirituality throughout her life. After her release she continued as a leader in the Black Panther Party for 14 years. She was the Director of the Oakland Community School, a groundbreaking community-run school founded by the Black Panther Party and later became both the first woman and the first person of color to be appointed to the Alameda County Board of Education. She has taught at Merritt College and has worked to bring meditation, mindfulness, and restorative justice into prisons and underserved communities. Her life and work is a living link between the Civil Rights movement, the Black Panther Party, and modern day movements like Black Lives Matter.
Join Ericka Huggins and restorative justice educator Sonya Shah for a conversation about Ericka's life, the 50-year anniversary of the Black Panther Party, and the ongoing struggle for racial justice. Huggins will be presenting at the 2016 National Bioneers Conference.
Sonya Shah has 20 years experience in social justice education. She has been an associate professor at The California Institute of Integral Studies for 10 years, and facilitated restorative justice processes in community, her family and prison settings for 8 years. She has trained hundreds of facilitators in trauma healing and restorative justice group processes, and designed community based healing processes with communities nationally. She's currently facilitating a first of its kind process for survivors of sexual harm and people who have committed sexual harm in an inaugural cohort of grantees and fellows with Justice Beginnings Collaborative called Project Ahimsa. She has appeared on various radio programs including NPR, BBC, KPFA, and KQED, and has a blog on Huffington Post.