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Home > Academics > Undergraduate >
Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies Events Fall 2014

Building Gender Justice: From the Prison to the Classroom
A conversation with CeCe McDonald, Miss Major, Julia Chinyere Oparah, Joyelle Baker and Sonj Basha

Monday September 22, 2014
7:00–9:00 pm
Mills College Student Union
Free and Open to the Public

How does gender violence and injustice show up in the classroom, the street and the criminal justice system? How can we work together to combat multiple levels of violence and exclusion? How can we become advocates and allies in the struggle for racial and gender justice for all?

CeCe McDonald was imprisoned for defending herself against a racist, transphobic assault in July, 2010.Cece McDonald Due to her willingness to fight, supporters and activists in Minneapolis and across the US built up a solidarity campaign to demand her freedom, and were able to win her a reduced sentence. After serving a 17-month term, she was released in January 2014. After being released CeCe quickly became a leading and outspoken fighter in the movements for LGBTQ liberation, prison abolition, and racial justice. She is currently working on a forthcoming documentary with actress Laverne Cox on her case, “Free CeCe.” She was the Grand Marshall of Seattle Pride this year, she received the Bayard Rustin Civil Rights award, and has spoken on Democracy Now!, MSNBC, and various other media outlets.

Miss Major is a black, formerly incarcerated, transgender elder. She has been an activist and advocate in her community for over forty years. She was at the Stonewall uprising in 1969, became politicized at Attica, was an original member of the first all-transgender gospel choir, and is a father, mother, grandmother, and grandfather to her own children, and to many in the transgender community. Currently, Miss Major is the Executive Director of TGI Justice where she instills hope and a belief in a better future to the girls that are currently incarcerated and those coming home.

Julia Chinyere Oparah is Chair of Ethnic Studies at Mills College. She was a founding collective member of Critical Resistance, and has worked with Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, Toronto Prisoner Justice Action Committee, Black Women Birthing Justice and many other social justice organizations. She is author of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender and the Prison-Industrial Complex, and recently authored a series of articles that seek to dismantle the gender binary within feminist prison studies.

Sonj Basha is a senior at Mills College majoring in Womens, Gender, and Sexuality studies with an emphasis on Queer studies. She is also on the fastrack program to complete an MBA in 2016. Sonj is also a co-founder and community facilitator for an organization called BRAVESPACE focusing on empowerment workshops and community building for marginalized identities to call forth our highest selves in transforming our planet. You can catch Sonj speaking on a Gender, Culture, and Sexual Health panel at this years National Bioneers Conference.

Joyelle Baker is a Harlem-raised poet and anti-black racism activist, President of Mills College Black Women’s Collective, and co-founder and Vice President of Mills College In Living Queer--a campus collective that seeks to support and give voice to all LGBTQ* students of color, joining in solidarity with allies. She is currently a Junior at Mills College with a double Major in English Creative Writing and Economics. She works to uplift people, especially those experiencing life on the margins, through writing and spoken word performance. She hopes to use the economics knowledge that she gains to educate and help girls and women of color navigate gender and racial inequity in our world and enable them to achieve economic advancement and financial stability. This past summer, Joyelle held an internship with the Bay Area Urban Project, working with Oakland Freedom Schools and helping to instill in black and brown youth a love for literacy and cultural pride.

Sponsored by Mills College Ethnic Studies Department, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, Black Women’s Collective, In Living Queer, Mouthing Off, and LGBTQ Alumnae.

Ethnic Studies Graduate School Workshop
12:15-1:00 pm, Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Faculty Staff Lounge

Thinking about applying to graduate school or law school? Not sure which programs you can apply to with an Ethnic Studies major or minor? Want to find out how to make your application stand out?

Professor Vivian Chin of the Ethnic Studies Department will moderate.

Ethnic Studies Town Hall Meeting
12:15 pm, Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Faculty Staff Lounge

We invite you to share your ideas with faculty and staff. This is your opportunity to participate in decision-making, planning and advocacy for the Department. We will share about the Department's 5-year review, and the upcoming National Association of Ethnic Studies conference. We value your input! Topics for discussion may include the curriculum, classroom experiences, advising, heritage months and Pow Wow, transfer students’ experiences, ES promo, community building and other Ethnic Studies activities.

Open to all Ethnic Studies (and prospective) majors and minors. All are welcome!

Pizza will be provided! We look forward to seeing you!

Program Information

Faculty and Staff


Full Course List

Ethnic Studies Course List

Schedule of Courses for
the Current Semester

Activities & Resources

Message from the Chair

National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference

What Can I do with an Ethnic Studies Degree?

Meet Ethnic Studies Alumnae

Latina Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Black History Month

Pow Wow

SAMEAPI Awareness Now!

Ethnic Studies


Ethnic Studies Fund

Womanist Journal

Women of Color Resource Center

Diversity at Mills


Contact Information

P: 510.430.2080
F: 510.430.2067

Last Updated: 9/22/14