6th annual Donald Blake Center Academic Conference

April 12-14, 2022

Race and Belonging: Latinx Experiences in the PNW
We plan to thematically focus on race and belonging in the Walla Walla valley for our 2022, 2023, and 2024 conferences, highlighting different topics and populations each year. The consideration of race in Walla Walla and/or Eastern Washington is an underdeveloped site of study, so we plan to highlight existing scholarship that includes a regional focus. For the 2022 conference, we are specifically focusing on the experiences of Latinx people.


Raza y Pertenencia: Experiencias Latinx en el PNW
Planeamos enfocarnos temáticamente en la raza y la pertenencia en el valle de Walla Walla para nuestras conferencias de 2022, 2023 y 2024, destacando diferentes temas y poblaciones cada año. La consideración de la raza en Walla Walla y/o el este de Washington es un sitio de estudio subdesarrollado, por lo que planeamos resaltar la beca existente que incluye un enfoque regional. Para la conferencia de 2022, nos estamos enfocando específicamente en las experiencias de las personas Latinx.

Keynote Speakers

On Tuesday, April 12, at 11:00 a.m., Guadalupe Gamboa and Michael Fox presented “Fight in Fields: The Farmworkers Struggle for Economic and Social Justice in Washington State.”
YouTube Link / Enlace de YouTube

Guadalupe Gamboa
In June 19, 1971 Lupe Gamboa changed WA history by refusing to leave  Rogers Walla Walla labor camp where he had previously been invited by migrant workers who sought help with payment of their wages.  When he and his lawyer, Michael Fox, were asked to leave the premises by a supervisory employee, they refused to leave and were arrested and convicted of criminal trespass in Walla Walla District court. This conviction was overturned by a unanimous WA Supreme Court in State v. Fox signaling the start of organizational and legal challenges to a feudal like era where farmworkers were openly denied equal protection of the law.  Lupe and Mike will talk about their role in this continuing fight against structural racism and for farmworker justice.

Michael Fox
Michael Fox is a retired civil rights and labor lawyer. He began representing farm workers in the Yakima Valley in 1970, and kept at it, in one way or another, until 1988, when he was appointed as a Judge on the King County Superior Court. He served on the bench until 2011, when he retired. He came out of retirement in 2016, when Franklin County hired him as a Special Deputy Coroner to assist in the conduct of an Inquest into the “officer involved shooting” death of Antonio Zambrano Montes, a Mexican farm worker, in Pasco in early 2015. He served as a Judge on the Tulalip Tribal Court during 2017. He’s now fully retired.

Mike describes his sudden immersion in representing farm workers as a “life changing experience”. In 1970, there were very few Hispanic lawyers in Washington. He was 26 years old, a year out of law school, and, in his own words, “very inexperienced”. He had studied Spanish in high school and college at Cornell University and had worked in the Civil Rights Movement while at the University of Virginia School of Law. In June, 1971, Lupe and Mike were arrested at the Rogers Walla Walla Labor Camp on Lateral B outside Walla Walla. They were convicted of criminal trespassing. The Washington State Supreme Court ultimately reversed and vacated their sentences. This opinion has been the legal basis for organizers, lawyers, migrant assistance workers, and religious workers to enter Washington farm labor housing areas for the last 49 years.


Oradores principales

El martes 12 de abril a las 11:00 a.m., Guadalupe Gamboa y Michael Fox presentarán “Fight in Fields: The Farmworkers Struggle for Economic and Social Justice in Washington State.”
YouTube Link / Enlace de YouTube

Guadalupe Gamboa 
El 19 de junio de 1971, Lupe Gamboa cambió la historia de WA al negarse a irse del campo de trabajo de Rogers Walla Walla, donde había sido invitado previamente por trabajadores migrantes que buscaban ayuda para el pago de sus salarios. Cuando un empleado supervisor les pidió a él y a su abogado, Michael Fox, que abandonaran las instalaciones, se negaron a hacerlo y fueron arrestados y condenados por allanamiento criminal en el tribunal del distrito de Walla Walla. Esta condena fue anulada por unanimidad de la Corte Suprema de WA en Estado v. Fox, lo que marca el comienzo de desafíos organizativos y legales a una era feudal en la que a los trabajadores agrícolas se les negaba abiertamente la igualdad de protección de la ley. Lupe y Mike hablarán sobre su papel en esta lucha continua contra el racismo estructural y por la justicia de los trabajadores agrícolas.

Michael Fox
Michael Fox es un retirado abogado de derechos civiles y laboral. Comenzó representando a los trabajadores agrícolas en el Valle de Yakima en 1970, y se mantuvo en eso, de una forma u otra, hasta 1988, cuando fue nombrado Juez del Tribunal Superior del Condado de King. Estuvo en el banco hasta 2011, cuando se retiró. Salió de su retiro en 2016, cuando el condado de Franklin lo contrató como forense adjunto especial para ayudar en la investigación judicial sobre la muerte del "oficial involucrado tiroteo" de Antonio Zambrano Montes, un trabajador agrícola mexicano, en Pasco a principios de 2015. Se desempeñó como juez en el Tribunal Tribal de Tulalip durante 2017. Él ahora está completamente retirado.

Mike describe su repentina inmersión en la representación de los trabajadores agrícolas como una "experiencia que cambia la vida". En 1970 había muy pocos abogados hispanos en Washington. Tenía 26 años, un año fuera de la facultad de derecho y, en sus propias palabras,“muy inexperto”. Había estudiado español en la escuela secundaria y el colegio en la Universidad de Cornell y había trabajado en el Movimiento de Derechos Civiles mientras estaba en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Virginia. En junio de 1971, Lupe y Mike fueron arrestados en el campo de trabajos forzados Rogers Walla Walla en el lateral B en las afueras de Walla Walla. Fueron condenados por allanamiento criminal. La Corte Suprema del Estado de Washington finalmente revocó y anuló sus sentencias. Esta opinión ha sido la base legal para que organizadores, abogados, trabajadores de asistencia a inmigrantes y trabajadores religiosos ingresen a las áreas de viviendas para trabajadores agrícolas de Washington durante los últimos 49 años.

Poner los Pies en la Tierra: Two Steps Beyond  An interactive walking tour featuring the stories of Estela Muro, Erika Silva, and Gustavo Reyna on Wednesday, April 13 4:00-5:30pm. Event began at the Peterson Memorial Library located at Walla Walla University.* 

Join The Listeners Project: Queremos Escucharte for a self-directed and interactive walking tour that navigates the stories of Latinx immigrants living in the Walla Walla Valley. Participants will listen to the recorded stories of Estela Muro, Erika Silva and Gustavo Reyna, walking with them through the struggles and demands that members of our community face day by day. Moments for reflection, dialog and exchange will be provided along the way.  

The Two Steps Beyond series is intended to challenge each of the walking-listeners to dig in depth about the issues that condition the experiences of members of the Latinx community inside and outside the United States.  


Poner los Pies en la Tierra: Two Steps Beyond  Una caminata interactiva presentando las historias de Estela Muro, Erika Silva y Gustavo Reyna. Comienza Miércoles 13 de abril, 4:00-5:30pm, en la Biblioteca Peterson Memorial localizada en la Universidad de Walla Walla.* 

Únete a The Listeners Project: Queremos Escucharte para una caminata autodirigida e interactiva que navega las historias de migrantes Latinxs viviendo en el Valle de Walla Walla. Los participantes escucharán grabaciones de las historias de Estela Muro, Erika Silva y Gustavo Reyna, caminando con ellos a través de luchas y las demandas que los miembros de de nuestra comunidad enfrentan día a día. Momentos de reflección, diálogo e intercambio serán provistos a través del camino.  

La serie Two Steps Beyond pretende retar a cada uno de los participantes a indagar a profundidad acerca de los problemas que condicionan las experiencias de los miembros de la comunidad Latinx dentro y fuera de los Estados Unidos.  


5th annual Donald Blake Center Academic Conference

April 13-16, 2021 - "What Does Equity Look Like?"

On Tuesday, April 13, at 11 a.m., Rebecca Parshall will present “Reckoning with Racial Equity: It’s Time.” Parshall is a doctor of philosophy candidate in educational administration and policy at the University of Georgia, is program officer at Learn4Life, and is a leader with the Change Action Networks. Watch Parshall’s recorded presentation.

A world-renowned specialist on social impacts on public health, Dr. David R. Williams, will present the conference keynote address, “Social Inequities in Health and What We Can Do About Them,” on Wednesday, April 14, at 5 p.m. Williams is the Norman Professor of Public Health and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University. His prior faculty appointments were at Yale University and the University of Michigan. The author of more than 500 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the ways in which social factors, including, stress, race, economic status, racism, health behavior, and religious involvement can affect health. Watch Williams’ recorded presentation.

On Thursday, April 15, at 3:30 p.m., Dr. Donald Blake will present “Equity and Respect for All People.” The Donald Blake Center at WWU is named in honor of Blake who was a member of the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences from 1962 to 1969. When Blake accepted the position at WWU, he was one of the first Black tenure track faculty to be hired at a predominately white Seventh-day Adventist college or university. His teaching positions include serving on the faculty of Oakwood University, University of Rhode Island, Ohio State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Kentucky State University, and University of Hartford. He has also held administrative positions in higher education, including vice president for academic affairs at Kentucky State University and dean of instruction at Mississippi Valley State University. Watch Blake's recorded presentation.

 


4th annual Donald Blake Center Academic Conference

May 14-15, 2020 [CANCELED]

Claudia Castro Luna, the 2018–2021 Washington state poet laureate, was scheduled to present as the keynote speaker in-person on May 14, 2020 at 7:00pm in the Walla Walla University Church before the COVID-19 Quarantine forced the event to be canceled. When she was 14, Claudia Castro Luna fled with her family from civil war in El Salvador. After earning a master of fine arts degree in poetry and a master’s degree in urban planning, Castro Luna worked as a K–12 teacher before being appointed by the mayor of Seattle as the city’s first Civic Poet. She is the author of the poetry chapbook “This City” and the collection “Killing Marías.” Castro Luna has also received national acclaim for her Seattle Poetic Grid, an online interactive map showcasing poems about different locations around the city. Castro Luna was appointed in 2018 as Washington state poet laureate. She will speak for the Donald Blake Center Academic Conference on the subject of immigration.


3rd annual Donald Blake Center Academic Conference

April 11-12, 2019

On April 11, 2019 at 7:00pm in the Walla Walla University Church, Terrence J. Roberts gave his keynote presentation for the Donald Blake Center Spring Conference. Terrence J. Roberts, Ph.D. is one of the “Little Rock Nine” who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. As a 15 year old eleventh grader, he joined eight other students and became one of the first nine black students to go to a formerly segregated public high school in Little Rock.

Read Dr. Roberts' bio >


2nd annual Donald Blake Center Academic Conference

April 19-20, 2018

Keynote: Benjamin Madley

On April 19, 2018, Benjamin Madley gave his keynote presentation at the Walla Walla University Church for the Donald Blake Center Spring Conference. Professor Madley is the Associate Professor of History, University of California at Los Angeles, and the author of An American Genocide: the United States and the Californian Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873

University of California at Los Angeles Faculty Profile >


Inaugural Donald Blake Center Academic Conference

April 20-21, 2017

On April 20, 2017, George Yancy gave his keynote presentation at the Walla Walla University Church for the first ever Donald Blake Center Spring Conference. George Yancy is a Professor at Emory University, and the Philosophy of Race Book Series Editor, Lexington Books.

Emory University Faculty Profile

George Yancy's Personal Webpage