2023 ACLU NorCal Conference Program


Saturday, April 22 

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Registration and Lunch 

Boxed lunch will be available during registration. Let us know you’ve arrived, pick up your welcome information and t-shirt, grab a boxed lunch, and mingle with other participants.  

12:30 - 1:15 p.m. ACLU NorCal 2023 Conference Kick-Off 

Welcome! We are so excited to see you. Join ACLU NorCal Executive Director Abdi Soltani (he/him), Organizing Director Ashley Morris (she/her), and the rest of the Organizing Team to kick off two days of inspiring workshops and opportunities to connect with others. Let’s unite together to transform and rebuild California for a better future for all of us!  

Saturday Workshops Begin

  • 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Workshop Rotation A  
  • 2:40 – 3:40 p.m. Workshop Rotation B  

Get the Scoop and the Scope 
Graciela Uriarte (she/her) ACLU NorCal Youth Organizer
Tammy Kreznar (she/her) ACLU NorCal Senior Organizer 
Are you an introvert who needs question prompts to get outside your comfort zone and talk to new people? Are you an organizer or activist who wants to hear more about the inspiring work others are doing in the Nor Cal region and beyond? Do you like a workshop that allows you to get up and move around? If you answered yes to any of the above, this session is for you! Participants will be provided with a semi-structured space to make connections from their communities and beyond. 

Offered during both Workshop Rotations

Let’s Talk Local Budgets: ACLU NorCal Local Budget Justice Campaign Launch 
Luis Ojeda (He/Him) ACLU NorCal Regional Organizing Program Manager
Ashley Morris (She/Her) ACLU NorCal Organizing Director 
Every year cities and counties make important decisions about how local dollars are spent, often with little input from the community. These decisions include the size of police budgets and investments in housing and mental health services. In this workshop you will learn how you can be part of a larger effort to advocate for local budgets that reflect our values and lead to better investments in our communities. 

Offered during both Workshop Rotations

Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in California Policing  
Cephus “Uncle Bobby X” Johnson, CA Families United 4 Justice (he/him) 
Cephus Johnson, the Uncle of Oscar Grant, will review the history of policing reform in California and how directly impacted family members have been able to advance changes through legislation. 

Offered during both Workshop Rotations 

Roles in the Movement 
Katie Dixon (she/her) ACLU NorCal Organizer
Carlos Montes-Ponce (he/him) ACLU NorCal Organizer 
The work to maintain and defend our civil rights, and to advocate for social justice in our communities is ongoing work. Our journeys can take on many different forms, and we all can wear many different hats. During this time together, we will look at the different roles played in movements, recognizing our own strengths and the strengths of others, and how we can come together to best advance justice. This is especially important in a wide-ranging movement, where people are working on everything from stopping police overreach to eliminating housing discrimination to gender justice. Join us in this workshop, for self-reflection, as we learn various ways to contribute to advocating for social change, in a movement that requires all hands on deck.  

Offered during both Workshop Rotations

3:40 - 4:00 p.m. Hotel Check-In and Afternoon Snack Break 

4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Film Screening and Q&A with the Filmmaker: What These Walls Won’t Hold
Set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic at San Quentin State Prison, WHAT THESE WALLS WON’T HOLD is a meditation on the love it takes to bridge the separations caused by incarceration. Join filmmaker Adamu Chan (he/him), who was incarcerated at San Quentin during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, as he documents his path through incarceration and beyond and for discussion afterwards.

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Dinner Celebration at La Cosecha 
Join your fellow conference attendees and ACLU staff for a dinner to celebrate this long-awaited opportunity to come together again! The buffet style dinner will include tacos and other specialties in a lively outdoor setting in historic Cesar Chavez Plaza! Meal will include gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.  


Sunday, April 23 

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Breakfast available. We encourage you to eat outside to enjoy the fresh air or to remain socially distanced while eating inside.

9:00 - 9:45 a.m. Opening Session: Stories of Activism 
Whether you are new to activism and community organizing or have been in the game for decades, you know that it’s the stories we share that help us unite and learn how to work together for justice. During this story hour, hear from volunteer leaders like you on how and why they chose to lead and how they are striving for justice, equity, and joy in their communities.

10:00 – 11:15 a.m. Sunday Workshop Session A

Enslavement through Hyper Criminalization and Mass Incarceration  
Henry Ortiz (he/him), All of Us or None 
Christiana Robinson (she/her), Community Healers  
Librado Clemente (he/him), Community Healers Vice President 

Join us to learn from the perspective of formerly incarcerated people who are now gang experts, community healers, and organizers. We will touch on the underlying causes of systemic issues such as mass incarceration, modern slave practices through incarceration systems, ICE separating children from their families, law enforcement agencies, and local gang units that target and hyper-criminalize generations of poor people of color in disenfranchised communities. We will also get an inside look at the internal working dynamics of historical trauma in our households and the psychological, emotional, and mental impact of community violence. Our presenters have spent decades in prison, fighting and advocating for equality within the prison walls. 

Genocide by Bureaucracy: Moving from Democracy to Sovereignty  
Roman C. Rain Tree, Dunlap Band of Mono, Choinumni, Wukchumni 

170 years ago, the United States Congress, at the demand of early California legislators, broke 18 treaties made with 119 California Indigenous tribes. Today, California represents 25% of all pending petitions for Federal Acknowledgment: a lawful acknowledgment of the continued existence of tribal peoples. The failure of the Federal government to federally recognize tribes is an ongoing form of cultural erasure and genocide and excludes these tribes from the benefits and protections that come from tribal sovereignty and self-government. Today, the top three counties in the United States that are petitioning for Federal Acknowledgment are Fresno County (9), Monterey County (7), and Los Angeles (5). Together the three counties account for 1/3 of all California tribal petitions for Federal Acknowledgement. You can make a difference in this movement.  

Transformative Justice 101: Terms and Pod Mapping 
Raquel Ortega (they/them), ACLU NorCal Senior Organizer 

Whether it’s in personal, working, or movement relationships, conflict is going to arise. How do we move toward rupture and repair with one another that doesn’t replicate harm? Transformative Justice (TJ) is a framework and practice for responding to harm and violence without creating more harm and violence. During this workshop, we will go over the foundational terms to understand TJ and whom to look to when creating these systems within our own communities. 

Rising and Resisting: Youth on the Frontlines  
Cinthya Barron-Broussard (she/her), Bay Peace Organizing Associate  

Graciela Uriate (she/her), ACLU NorCal Youth Organizer 
Since the 2016 election, and arguably long before that, young people have borne the brunt of the constant seismic shifts to the world as we knew it. From unstable educational, political and economic systems to a collective erosion of mental and emotional health due to a global pandemic, youth have continued to find ways to show up for themselves and each other while navigating a society in which they often feel neglected, silenced or disregarded. Join us in exploring how young folks have resisted the last several years and how they can model for all ages what it will take to rise up out of an era of despair into an era of hope. 

Tessa D’Arcangelew Ampersand (she/her), ACLU NorCal Organizing Programs Manager  
Tanisha Humphrey (she/her), ACLU NorCal Grassroots Advocacy Manager 

New technology should be helping our communities, not holding us back. In an increasingly digital world, movements for racial and economic justice, immigrants’ rights, gender and reproductive justice are increasingly subject to surveillance, biased algorithms, and online censorship. Join former Technology and Civil Liberties Organizer to learn how technology and privacy issues intersect with justice movements, surveillance self-defense tools, and how you can help pass local and statewide policies to make technology work for the people.  

Reimagine Child Safety
Ari Vazquez (they/them), ACLU NorCal Gender, Sexuality,and Reproductive Justice Fellow
Minouche Kandel (she/her), ACLU SoCal Senior Staff Attorney 

A critical aspect of reproductive justice is the ability to have and raise children in a safe and sustainable community. ACLU NorCal and SoCal recognizes that the family policing system (AKA child welfare, family regulation, division of family services) impedes on reproductive justice through racist policy and practices. Learn about how we work to shrink the pipeline that leads to families interacting with this system and how we follow the lead of our partners in coalition to maximize our impact.

11:15 a.m. – noon Boxed lunches available. 

Noon – 1:15 p.m. Afternoon Spotlight Panel 
Voices from the Front: An Overdue Reckoning with Structural Racism in Policing in California 
This plenary will feature leaders from across the state who will share their stories of resilience, community care, and creating lasting change. This panel plenary will be moderated by Uncle Bobby X and feature Sequette “Mama Clark” Clark (mother of Stephon Clark), Robert Collins (stepfather of Angelo Quintos), Taun Hall (mother of Miles Hall), and Fouzia Almarou (mother of Kenneth Ross Jr.). 

1:15 – 1:45 p.m. Break: Reflection and Connection 
Join us in the meditation and art room or outside to reflect and connect. Coffee, tea, and refreshments will be available.  

1:45 – 3:00 p.m. Sunday Workshop Session B

Housing Justice is Reproductive Justice 
Ena Valladares, MPH (She/Her/Ella), Director of Programs at California Latinas for Reproductive Justice 
Martha Pineda (She/They), Lead Community Organizer at California Latinas for Reproductive Justice 
How does housing affect our ability to practice bodily autonomy? How can we approach reproductive justice from an intersectional lens? Join us as we embark on a journey to see how a group of working class, immigrant women from Southeast Los Angeles passed one of the strongest rent stabilization ordinances in the state during a pandemic. Let us explore the intersections between the right to housing and self-determination, while highlighting the power of grassroots organizing. 

Art as a Strategy for Change-Making  
Edgar Arturo Camacho (he/him, they/them), ACLU NorCal Inaugural Artist in Residence 2021 – 2022
Tessa D’Arcangelew Ampersand (she/her), ACLU NorCal Organizing Programs Manager 
When you think of movements for justice and freedom, what images come to mind? Is it the bold protest signs held high as people march and rally for Black lives and reproductive justice? The murals on shuttered store fronts bringing color and solidarity to communities during COVID-19 shelter in place? Or maybe you remember the street theater during the civil rights movement of the sixties? Art is a proven tactic to powerfully propel change forward. It reflects the stories, emotions, and dreams that bind us together in a common pursuit. More than ever, we need to bring artists and creative strategists into our advocacy as we fight for civil liberties. Join ACLU NorCal Artist in Residence Edgar-Arturo Camacho for a discussion of the power of art and the practical ways you can engage artists and art practices in movement-building and organizing strategies. 

Our Truth, Our Power Circle* 
Crisantema “Crissy” Gallardo (she/her/ella), Circle Keeper 
Join this session to be introduced to the elements of a healing circle and reflect on the importance of documenting and sharing one’s own story. Each participant will use art and culture to share the formative moments in their lives that brought them into social justice movement work. When we lead with art, culture, and healing, our movement for justice thrives!  
*Maximum capacity for this workshop is 25 people 

Striving for Meaningful Independent Sheriff Oversight  
Marshal Arnwine (he/him), ACLU NorCal Police Practices and Criminal Justice Associate 
Sheriffs are powerful figures with often unchecked and unbalanced authority who have the power to change the living conditions for incarcerated people, decide how immigrant families are and are not targeted through collaboration with ICE, and make decisions about surveillance and military equipment. Civilian oversight is an important first step toward Sheriff accountability and transparency in our communities. This workshop will provide: 1) An overview of the law (AB 1185) that provided a path for counties to create sheriff oversight boards; 2) Discuss why Sheriff Oversight is important; and 3) Provide practical options to consider for implementation in your respective county. 

Dismantling the Extractive Housing System
Christina Livingston (she/her/ella), Executive Director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)s
Californians are living a tale of two economic realities. One of extreme wealth and prosperity, and one of financial instability at best, and abject poverty, to the extreme of death, at worst. The lack of affordable housing in California is one example of the impacts of the state’s deep economic inequality. Profit motivation was the driving force behind the rise of wall street landlords, skyrocketing rent, and the push to build luxury and market rate units instead of tenant protections and developing or preserving affordable housing. So how do we fight against this? ACCE's solution is to build our power. If we seek to shift the realities people face in this state, we must build power on 3 key fronts--collective visioning, collective action, and building progressive institutions.

Click here to check out the bios of our amazing workshop facilitators and staff.

Lobbying with us on Monday? Click here to view the program and additional resources.

Schedule subject to change. Thank you for understanding.