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Erika Huggins was a keynote speaker at the Restorative Justice conference.
A professor in Sociology at Laney & Berkeley City College, and Women’s Studies at California State University, East Bay, Ericka Huggins has built a stellar career as an educator, leader, lecturer, mentor, and political and spiritual activist.
Her political activism began in the 1960s, including her leadership, at the age of 18, in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party. A widow at a young age, she moved to New Haven, CT, where she opened a new Black Panther Party chapter.
Through the next decade, she endured arrest, time in prison, and solitary confinement. During that tumultuous period, she taught herself to meditate as a means of survival. She would later incorporate this spiritual practice into her community work, teaching meditation as a tool for change.
A poet and writer, her published works include Insights and Poems, co-authored with Huey P. Newton of the Black Panther Intercommunal News Service, several periodicals, and If They Come in the Morning, with fellow political prisoner Angela Davis.
As an educator, Ericka has served as Director of the Oakland Community School, a groundbreaking community-run child development center and elementary school that is the predecessor to the charter school movement.
Other accomplishments include developing the After School Academy which met the recurring student need for teacher/mentor connectedness, academic enhancement and cultural nurturance. In 1976, she became the first woman and the first black person to be appointed to the Alameda County Board of Education.

Her resume also includes teaching Hatha Yoga and meditation through the Siddha Yoga Prison Project, working with youth in public schools and colleges, and mentoring foster and adopted children, and pregnant teens. She also championed public awareness for HIV/AIDS and developed a volunteer support program for women and children with HIV in the Tenderloin and Mission districts in San Francisco, in addition to several city-wide programs she helped develop to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning youth with HIV/AIDS.
On June 19-21, 2013, nearly 500 leading international academics, practitioners, and activists in the fields of restorative and racial justice traveled to Toledo, Ohio, for an important historic event – the Fourth National Restorative Justice Conference. As co-hosts and sponsors, Lourdes University and The University of Toledo Foundation were proud and excited to be part of this relevant and important event.
The conference was held at the hotel at UTMC.
Support for Knowledge Stream is provided, in part, by a generous gift from The Appold Family Charitable Trust.