Aspirations of Material Anti-Racism: What’s Next?

Communities of color organizing for housing; mutual aid; free food program and land repatriation

Original artwork by Dignidad Rebelde artist Melanie Cervantes

“There are four times as many empty homes in Oakland as there are people without homes, some of these people are children.” -Moms4Housing


In Spring 2023, the American Cultures Center and the Multicultural Community Center presented the Staff as Students of Social Justice (SSSJ) public discussion series, ‘Aspirations of Material Anti-Racism: What’s Next?’  The series brought together university faculty with contemporary experts from academia and beyond, focusing on Black freedom movements, decolonial theory and practice, mutual aid, and housing rights, among other topics. On this page, you can find recordings of the discussions along with valuable resources and key takeaways.

The series was sponsored by the Staff as Students of Social Justice Program, a program that creates a unique learning community for campus staff engaging in anti-racist pedagogies and weekly discussion seminars. Please email for any questions.

Book Cover of "Stayed on Freedom" by Dan Berger and Michael Simmons

Long Arc of Freedom Struggles

The Long Arc of Freedom Struggles is a discussion of Dan Berger’s latest publication, “Stayed on Freedom: The Long History of Black Power Through One Family’s Journey,” featuring Professor Dan Berger, Professor Waldo Martin, Professor Ula Taylor, and International Human Rights and Peace Activist Michael Simmons. A new history of Black Liberation is told through the intertwined story of two grassroots organizers. The Black Power movement, often associated with its iconic spokespeople, derived much of its energy from the work of people whose stories have never been told. Resource page.

A poster of a person cooking for mutual aid and event speakers

The University, Abolition, and Decolonial Theory and Praxis

This discussion focuses on the University as a site of contestation and contradiction. Starting from its Settler colonial origins and logics, the speakers engage what it means to participate in decolonial and abolitionist work at the site of the university. What are its repressive logics and histories? How might we find cracks in its structure to organize? Featuring Phenocia Bauerle, Director, Native American Student Development, David Antonio Maldonado, Doctoral Candidate, Berkeley School of Education, Erica Meiners, Professor, Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies, College of Education, Northeastern Illinois University. Resource Page.

A poster of someone participating in mutual aid, event information and names of featured speakers.

Collectivity, Community, and Mutual Aid

In a decade of the Black Lives Matter movement, grassroots organizing, and the COVID pandemic, many people have begun to realize (again) the power of mutual aid, collectivity, and community care in ‘surviving crises and organizing resistance.’ This discussion centers on the long and unfolding traditions of trans/queer action and reflects on how collective liberation organizes against the conditions that constitute structures of violence and provides possibilities for radical social transformation, love, joy, and laughter. The event featured moderator antmen pimentel mendoza, Acting Co-Director, The Multicultural Community Center, and panelists Dean Spade, Patricia Wismer Professorship for Gender and Diversity Studies and Professor of Law, and Eric Stanley, Professor, Gender & Women’s Studies. Resources page.

Photo of "In Pursuit of Revolutionary Love," Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and David Maldonado

Capitalism and Carcerality (recording & resources unavailable)

This discussion focused on how and why an analysis of capital, surplus, labor, and the general categories of racial capitalism are vital to understanding the rise of the carceral state. Further, the speakers looked to take the world-making project of abolition seriously as a key antagonism to the violence of those logics. The event featured Joy James, Ebenezer Fitch Professor of Humanities, Williams College, David Antonio Maldonado, Doctoral Candidate, Berkeley School of Education, Ruth Wilson Gilmore,Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, American Studies, and Africana Studies. Recording and resources are unavailable. Resources may be added later.

A poster of community housing advocates and related event information

Housing Rights, Spatial Justice Making

The ongoing and seemingly unending shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and deepened the inequalities of racial capitalism. This is starkly apparent in the sphere of housing, where the expansion of wildly exorbitant luxury housing takes place alongside a growing crisis of housing insecurity for rent-burdened tenants and the unhoused. These current conditions have a long history, but so do the fights for spatial justice, knowing that changing the racialized nature of opportunities and life chances requires policies, practices, relationships, and institutions that serve public needs, not private greed. In this discussion, Bay Area grounded scholars and organizers discussed the past/future contours of building liveable futures through spatial justice organizing. The event featured Colette Auerswald, Professor, Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Juleon Robinson, Graduate Student, Department of Geography, Brandi Summers, Professor, Department of Geography, and Dominique Walker, Co-Founder, Moms 4 Housing. Resource page.