UCSB will host the 22nd annual Student of Color Conference this weekend.
In addition to its traditional goals of education, empowerment and promotion of activism, this year’s meeting, commencing today and concluding Nov. 21, will focus on the theme of transformation through art. The symposium will feature workshops, caucuses and various student and professional performances.
In total, with a projected 250 UCSB students showing for the event, over 1,000 students from across the state are expected at the conference. Almost 80 percent of the event is funded by UCSB Associated Students.
SOCC co-chair Sandy Baños, a fourth-year feminist studies and studio art major, said the conference will create solidarity across cultural lines.
“This year the goal of the conference is to allow people to get a better understanding of themselves and allow themselves to heal,” Baños said. “Also, [the goal is] bringing students of color together to know each other and understand each others’ struggle and feel more at home on a UC campus, and know there are other students just like them in California.”
Considering a recent slew of hate crimes reported across the state, SOCC co-chair David Preciado, a fourth-year Chican@ studies and sociology major, said the conference is a timely and significant event.
“This will be the first time that all the UC campuses will come together, especially after the hate incidents at UC San Diego, Davis and our own campus,” Preciado said. “One thing that we plan on doing is to provide a space for students of color to come together and talk about the way issues are affecting us. It’s a place where students can come together and heal and process these tragic events that have been happening in the UC, from hate crimes to our fees going up again.”
Preciado said the convention will offer a variety of workshops and caucuses for students to attend and allow participants to organize their own seminars.
“We’re having everything from how to do public speaking to having the Black Student Union here to do a workshop on breaking down black beauty in the media,” Preciado said. “We’re also having the sort of generic ones like ‘How to Recruit People 101,’ ‘How to Plan a Rally.’ Stuff like that.”
Performers — including Peggy Lee, a UCSB alumna and author at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and La Maricolectiva, a spoken word, stand-up and cabaret group focusing on queer, Latino and immigrant issues — will reflect the theme of healing through art.
“Instead of going out and starting a riot or something like that, you can express yourself through art and not feel all that anger and all that tension,” Baños said.
Additionally, Preciado said UCSB was chosen last June to host the event in an effort to make the campus a safer community for people of all backgrounds.
“We decided to bring it here because these past hate crimes at UC Santa Barbara have been affecting communities of color and the queer community and we haven’t seen a response from the administration to try to alleviate that,” Preciado said.
The conference is free of charge for UCSB students and $20-$25 for outside visitors.
Preciado said students from all backgrounds are encouraged to attend.
“Everyone’s welcome to come here and learn what multiculturalism looks like and what we can do to ease the barriers in certain communities,” Preciado said.