Join us as we center the experiences, stories, lives, knowledge, and work of those most impacted by the prison industrial complex. This month is part of a national campaign to raise awareness of the challenges and stigma that formerly incarcerated folks face, as well, to work towards dismantling the very systems that incarcerate folks to begin with. Also known as Abolitionist April, this month reminds us of the continual need to center the voices of those most impacted by violent systems and incorporate care, compassion, dignity, and community in all our work.
Supporting Systems Impacted Students with Eric Gentry
Monday, April 24, 2023. 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Santa Rosa Intercultural Center, Pioneer 380 (Santa Rosa Campus).
After a childhood of alcohol drug use, gang involvement, and dropping out of conventional high school Eric will go on to spend the first several years of adulthood incarcerated. He would beat two life sentences to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude, and is graduating next month with his Master's degree in Social Work. He cofounded the Rising Scholars program at Solano Community College and now runs a similar program at Chabot College. Come learn what it took for Eric to arrive where he is now and how we can all better support our students.
Our Own Voices: Second Chance Panel
Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Hear from 5 past and present second chance students as they share how their experiences have shaped where they are today, including their time at SRJC. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during this event.
Click on the names below to learn a bit more about each panelist.
While Elizabeth Quiroz’s story starts out with trauma and abuse, she was able to forge her own path to freedom. Elizabeth is an author and Co-Founder of Redemption House of The Bay Area, a non-profit that is working towards establishing a safe house for human trafficking victims here in Sonoma County. She is also a victim’s Advocate/Drug and Alcohol Counselor, graduate student, overcomer of addiction, human trafficking survivor, former foster youth, and a formerly incarcerated person. Elizabeth is currently attending Arizona State University online to obtain her master's degree in Social Justice and Human Rights. Elizabeth graduated SRJC with three AA degrees, Dean's Highest Honors, in 2019, and was the student president of the Second Chance club. If Elizabeth can turn her pain into empowerment to inspire others, then there is hope for those who are still stuck in the grips of human trafficking, addiction and incarceration.
Jasmine works as a care coordinator at a local clinic supporting our homeless population out in the community. For 20 years she was actively using drugs and often homeless. Jail, treatment, and the Second Chance Club helped her change course. Today she's a mom, friend, daughter, and so much more because of the support she received. She states that she is forever in debt to so many.
Jeremiah Kitavi is currently a junior at Sonoma State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. He is a big supporter in giving back to the community in many ways, such as donating blood, donating to food banks, and being a volunteer martial arts instructor. Attending SRJC was a major milestone that allowed him to become the person that he is today. His main focus is on criminal justice reform and rehabilitation.
- Raised in a home of gang violence and substance abuse, Johnny abandoned education by eighth grade. After several years of struggling with opioid addiction and homelessness, Johnny was arrested for burglary and sentenced to prison. Upon release, his day-to-day life was guided by intentionality to reinvent himself, namely, by becoming a college student. After a successful community college career, Johnny transferred with a 4.00 GPA as Transfer Student of the Year and began his journey at the University of California, Berkeley. Today, as a senior, Johnny uses his lived experience to inform his independent undergraduate research efforts which examine the occupation of parole and probation officers, and, more generally, the overall function of community supervision. He still holds a 4.00 GPA.
Michele Velasquez is Mexican American, and 36 years old. She began her Human Resources Certificate in 2008 while working two jobs. Her relationship with alcohol began to get her into trouble with the law, and between that and needing to pay to survive and her troubles, she stopped when she was a few classes from completing the certificate. There were years between her second and third, and third and fourth dui. She went from suspecting she’d inherited the alcoholic gene from her mother, to accepting it. She did a year in custody for her fourth dui. A prison sentence in the county jail. She went to college classes and did as much self work as possible. She realized she didn’t have coping skills that didn’t involve alcohol. She needed to learn another way. Michele was released December 22, 2019. She enrolled in the Second Chance club at SRJC before she found a job. She began working two jobs within a matter of months and going to school part time. In May 2020 she completed her HR certificate, and now this May she will complete an Associates in HR. She plans to transfer to Sonoma State to pursue a bachelor’s in psychology. Since her first semester she has been a member of the National Society of leadership and success, which requires an honors GPA to enter and maintain. She is currently in the process of attempting to expunge her record and interviewing for HR positions. Michele mentions she has grown so much and is not finished. She spent a lot of time around nothing productive, and when she got out all she wanted was peace and productivity. Michele has been sober since September 19, 2018. She was released with no probation, and has dedicated herself to the path she has walked the last 3 years.
Movie Night Friday, April 22 7pm
This event for Second Chance students to create community with each other & prospective students. Hybrid, in person and zoom.
Zoom link: https://santarosa-edu.zoom.us/j/93918459321
For Second Chance students, for in person event , email email@example.com
Dr. Bettina Love
Friday, April 29, 2022. 9 am - 10 pm
Dr. Bettina Love will present the Keynote during the We The Future "Sow Justice, Cultivate Community, Harvest Power!" Conference.
Author of the books We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South, Dr. Love will be discussing the power of abolitionist teaching during the keynote of this years' "We the Future" Conference.
Dr. Love is an advocate for abolitionist teaching and educational justice. Author, and Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia.
To attend the event, register here.
PGI and Flex (for faculty)
Workshops, seminars and conferences are eligible for PGI following Category J2. If you would like us to assist you with proof of attendance, please log in to the session using your SRJC email. Once the session/s are complete, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with attendance documentation.