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Past Events

Human Rights and Reproductive Justice: What is happening and what can be done?

Thursday, May 12, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

In the face of state level bans and a leaked Supreme Court decision that gravely threaten reproductive rights in the U.S., an expert panel joined for a discussion of what's happening and what's next for the reproductive justice movement!

Spring Research Colloquium on Human Rights and Social Change

Thursday, April 28, 2022 @ 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

The Human Rights Institute and The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change held San José State's Second Annual Spring Research Colloquium for Human Rights and Social Change. This event was designed to showcase student research and celebrate the work they do to promote social change, influence public policy, and collaborate with professionals in the field. The event included a keynote speaker, pre-recorded student presentations, student Q & A panels, and a presentation of awards and scholarships.

Social Housing in America Event Series

Over the past few years, a movement has grown up trying to rethink the public role in American housing. Activists and legislators pushing for "social housing" are drawing from inspiration from around the world to reimagine how and for whom we build housing, focusing in particular on building a stronger role for public agencies in housing development. Social Housing has different definitions, draws on different traditions in housing, and brings together a diverse set of thinkers and organizers. As part of our effort to build public understanding of complex issues like housing, The Institute for Metropolitan Studies was proud to partner with the Human Rights Institute to present a series of educational conversations about Social Housing. We heard from legislators, activists and academics about what Social Housing is, where it comes from as an idea and a movement, and where it can possibly lead us as we confront our longstanding and ever worsening housing crisis.

Social Housing and California: A Conversation with Assemblymember Alex Lee

Assemblymember Alex LeeMonday, April 25, 2022
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San José), explained his journey to co-authoring AB2053: The Social Housing Act of 2022, in conversation with IMS Visiting Scholar Dr. Alex Schafran.

Social Housing and America: A Conversation with Shanti Singh, Cea Weaver, and Daniel Aldana Cohen

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Some of the leading voices for social housing explored what social housing means to the housing movement, how it can be part of a Green New Deal, and what it means on the ground in San Francisco, New York City and and across the country.

Social Housing & History: A Conversation with Prentiss Dantzler, Karen Chapple & Alejandra Reyes

Tuesday, April 29, 2022 @ 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Leading experts on the history and current contexts of affordable housing, public housing, and social housing strategies joined for a conversation with IMS director Gordon Douglas about what lessons we can bring to considering social housing in the Bay Area and beyond.

SJSU Institute for Metropolitan Studies

Nuclear Weapons: Understanding and Reducing the Growing Danger

Friday, March 18, 2022 @ 3:00 p.m.

Nuclear weapons, while invisible to most, pose a threat to civilization so large that it is difficult to grasp. Currently, nine nations possess over 9,000 nuclear warheads in their military stockpiles. At all times, nearly 2000 warheads are on alert status, with civilization-ending explosive power, ready to launch within minutes of an order. This talk will overview the key physical facts of these weapons, the policies - good and bad - that govern their potential use, the geopolitical setting, and how we can pull back from this precipice.

Guest Speaker: Stewart Prager

Stewart Prager Stewart Prager is a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, and an affiliated faculty member with the Program on Science and Global Security. Until 2018 his research was dedicated to plasma physics, with applications to fusion energy and, to a lesser extent, astrophysics. In 2018, he switched his focus to security issues, and is co-founder of the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction.

Host: Curtis Asplund

Curtis AsplundCurtis Asplund is an assistant professor in the SJSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, and is a Next-Generation Fellow with the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction.

Nuclear Weapons: Understanding and Reducing the Growing Danger Coalition

March for Citizenship & Economic Rights

Flyer for March for Citizenship and Economic Rights

When: Saturday, September 18th, 2021
Meet At: 1st St. & Hedding St. @ 10:00 AM
Rally At: San Jose City Hall @ 12:00 PM

Demand Congress Provide:

- Humane pathway to citizenship
- Free community college & Pre-K education
- Medicare for all
- Equal labor rights

Spring Research Colloquium on Human Rights and Social Change: Equity in the Age of COVID-19

The Human Rights Institute and The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society, and Social Change hosted San Jose State's first annual Research Colloquium for Human Rights and Social Change. The purpose of this conference was to engage scholars, students, and community organizations in conversations on research, reporting, and advocacy relating to human rights and social change. The event included a keynote speaker and concurrent thematic student led presentation of research and an awards presentation for students, faculty, and community partners. The theme for this year's symposium was "Equity in the age of COVID-19".

View the individual presentations here

Dr. Bettina Aptheker

Dr. Bettina Aptheker

Celebrating Woman Suffrage (1920-2020) and the Ongoing Campaign for Voting Rights. Come join Dr. Aptheker as she talks about all the history and ways in which woman suffrage has intertwined with struggles against racism, white supremacy, lynching, settler colonialism, and anti-immigrant insularity. 

Ann Lucas Lecture Series: Law & Justice

Hands Up Don’t Shoot by Dr. Jennifer Cobbina

Dr. Jennifer CobbinaJoin the SJSU Department of Justice Studies as they present a webinar followed by a Q&A session with Hands Up, Don't Shoot author Dr. Jennifer Cobbina and discussion panelists Dr. Delores Jones-Brown and Dr. Andres Rengifo. 


How to Safely and Legally Record Police

A timely and important discussion about the First Amendment and your right to record the police. Presented by Halima Kazem-Stojanovic - SJSU School of Journalism and SJSU HRI. Joining her was speakers Stephen Solomon (editor of First Amendment Watch), Sophia Cope (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Robert Salonga (Mercury News Criminal Justice Reporter), and Cpt. Sean Washington (Fremont Police Department).

NAACP SJ/Silicon Valley: Die in Event

NAACP Die-In Event at SJ City Hall

At the end of May 2020, the SJSU HRI was approached by local organizer Jalyn Mitchell (also of Silicon Valley Law Foundation) to organize a public “die-in” to commemorate what would have been the birthday of police murder victim, Brianna Taylor on June 5, 2020. The HRI immediately partnered with the NAACP, BLM San Jose, Silicon Valley DeBug, and others to inform the public on the Taylor case and mobilize the public to participate in what was one of several powerful days of protest and solidarity building in San José.

Protesters participating in NAACP Die-In The day began with a series of gripping speakers from the public and front lines of local protests.  As the crowd grew to fill the entire City Hall Plaza, clear public support grew with it—evident from the constant honking of cars and airhorns from construction workers several stories above.  Following a silent die-in to honor the life of Brianna Taylor and other victims of racist police violence, organizations and community members seized the opportunity to collaborate—evident in a sustained march that followed to the SJPD and County Main Jail.


Mural of a plane dropping colorful candies as bombs.ArtLords is the leading platform for artists and activists across Afghanistan and the team is inspiring artists to work towards a sustainable peace process through messages of tolerance and empathy. Their art installations have been recognized by Afghan and international leaders and prominent media outlets.

Woman in a red dress and green sweater being carried away by colorful balloons.Afghan artists and cofounders of Artlords, Omaid Sharifi and Kabir Mokamel, will talk about the intersection of art, activism and peace building in Afghanistan. Sharifi, Mokemel and their team of artists pain vibrant and thought provoking murals on blast walls along Kabul streets.

Oscar López Rivera: Two Years Later Resistance and Resilience

Oscar Lopez Rivera

Oscar López Rivera's strong conviction that Puerto Rico should be free from U.S. colonial control led him to fight for Puerto Rican independence. He was arrested in 1981, and convicted of seditious conspiracy and related charges, along with ten others who were arrested the previous year. Sentenced to 55 years in prison, he became the longest held Puerto Rican political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico's struggle for independence, regarded as the "Nelson Mandela of the Americas." In 2017, as the result of broad human rights campaign, and after he served almost 36 years in prison, President Obama commuted his sentence. The Puerto Rican People and their allies celebrated the end of his sentence on May 17, 2017.

oscar lopez rivera, vince montes and chris coxSince then, he has continued to advocate to end U.S. colonialism and resumed his role as an organizer, working to establish a holistic community center in Rio Piedras. His organization will deepen its relationship to the municipalities of Loiza and Comerio, working educational and community-based projects.