Santa Monica College Presents Fall 2023 Social Justice Series


The following is a lightly edited press release from Santa Monica Community College:

 Santa Monica College (SMC) continues its Social Justice Lecture Series in fall 2023 with presentations and discussions that explore the concept of social justice and a variety of aspects, issues, and developments affecting and shaping it in today’s world.

All presentations in the series are free. Seating is strictly on a first-arrival basis.

The fall 2023 series lineup is:

• Thursday, September 14 at 11:15 a.m. in HSS 105 on the main SMC Campus (1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica) — “Manzanar, Diverted: Documentary Screening and Q&A with Director Ann Kaneko.” Director Ann Kaneko will screen and discuss her Emmy-winning feature documentary Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, a fascinating retelling of the Los Angeles water story, covering more than 150 years of history. The documentary follows intergenerational women from three communities who defend their land, history, and culture from the insatiable thirst of Los Angeles, and reveals the unexpected alliance of Native Americans, Japanese-American WWII incarcerees, and environmentaliststo preserve “the land of flowing water,” Payahuunadü (Owens Valley). 

A professor in the Media Studies department at Pitzer College, Kanekohas been a Fulbright Fellow, Japan Foundation Artist, Film Independent Doc Lab Fellow, and Jackson Wild Multicultural Fellow, and is a member of BGDM, A-Doc, and the distribution coop New Day Films. Her films include A Flicker in Eternity, based on Stanley Hayami’s diary; Against The Grain: An Artist’s Survival Guide to Peru, highlighting Peruvian political artists; Overstay, about Japanese undocumented workers; and 100% Human Hair, a musical for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women. An audience Q&A with director Kaneko follows the screening.

UCLA professor Leisy J. Abrego will talk about “Communists, Criminals, and Caravans: Central Americans Seeking Refuge in the United States” — presenting the political and social context of U.S.-Central American relations and refugees — as part of the SMC Social Justice Series on September 26 at 11:15 a.m.

 Tuesday, September 26 at 11:15 a.m. in in HSS 105 on the main SMC Campus (1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica) — Leisy J. Abrego: “Communists, Criminals, and Caravans: Central Americans Seeking Refuge in the United States.” Over the past decade, thousands have left home in Central America to seek refuge in the United States. What is propelling their mass exodus and why should people in the U.S. care? 

Leisy J. Abrego presents the political and social context of U.S.-Central American relations to help explain how U.S. foreign policies produce refugees from this region while, at the same time, U.S. immigration policies criminalize them. Abrego is Professor of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her books include Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders (Stanford University Press, 2014) and, co-edited with Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, We Are Not Dreamers: Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States (Duke University Press, 2020).

All programs are subject to change without notice, and new speakers may be added to the series. Up-to-date details are posted at and available by calling 310-434-4100.

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