Social Justice Summit Highlights Importance of Connection and Community

photos of keynote speakers Maurice Hamington (left) and Shelly Trumbo (right).
Keynote speakers Maurice Hamington (left), Philosophy professor at Portland State University, and Shelly Trumbo (right) of the Blue Zones Project.
This year, the University is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the student-led Social Justice Summit with five days of engaging workshops, speakers, and interactive sessions.

This year's event takes place March 4-8 and embraces the theme “Cultivating Connections and Community.”

Keynote speakers include Maurice Hamington, professor of Philosophy at Portland State University, and Shelly Trumbo, executive vice president of the Blue Zones Project, a community well-being improvement initiative focused on the science of living longer.

In a special event led by Trumbo, “Creating a Vision for Health and Longevity in Arcata,” she shares her insights on blue zones, regions of the world where people live longer than average, and invites all of Arcata to create a community that stands as a beacon of health, inclusivity, and longevity. The event will be held in the Native American Forum, Behavioral & Social Sciences Building Room 162, from 1-3 p.m. on Thurs. March 7.

Hamington’s keynote address, “Ethics of Care,” draws from feminist theory and focuses on the integration of core aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the overall campus culture. The address is located in the Great Hall, College Creek Community Center Room 260, on Wed. March 6, from 5:30-7 p.m.

Student staff members at Humboldt’s Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion Center (SJEIC), including Boniface Ogembo, Ashlyn Broeland, and Xitlaly De La Torre, spearheaded this year’s theme with a clear focus on nurturing genuine connections and building inclusive communities.

This vision aligns seamlessly with the center’s principles, highlighting the event's foundational ethos, says Frank Herrera, SJEIC coordinator.

“In integrating the theme into all aspects of the summit, we aim to create an environment that encourages open, meaningful conversations, bridging gaps in understanding and empathy across diverse societies,” Herrera says

“This year's Social Justice Summit goes beyond being a mere event; it is a stepping stone toward a more connected and empathetic world,” he adds. “Moreover, it stands as a vibrant showcase of student empowerment, demonstrating to participants that they possess the capabilities to lead impactful initiatives while building confidence and developing skills around their own stories and identities.”

The University organized its first Social Justice Summit in 1994 to underscore the growing awareness and commitment to social justice issues within the campus community. Its goal is to provide a platform for dialogue, learning, and activism around these critical topics, a mission that continues today.

This year’s event is made possible with support from the campus and community, such as the City of Arcata, Equity Arcata, Cal Poly Humboldt Facilities Management, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Associated Students, the Indian Tribal & Educational Personnel Program, and more.

For a full schedule of events, visit