Sister of iconic 60s activist part of Touro speaker series

Times Herald
by Rachael Raskin-Zrihen

Fania Davis — sister of 1960’s political activist Angela Davis — will be speaking at Vallejo’s Touro University on Sept. 11 as part of this year’s Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series, organizers said.

Touro University California’s Public Health Program’s third annual Social Justice Lecture Series, features “an innovative collection of lectures and panel discussions from experts in the field of public health and social justice,” they said. “Providing an introduction of specialized topics with relevant readings and discussions on the social determinants of health, the new series will focus on the impacts of incarceration on individuals, families, and communities which is an often-overlooked public health epidemic.”

The Touro University California Public Health Program is dedicated to shedding greater light on these current issues, organizers said.

“As part of this commitment, Touro is developing a new concentration in Health Equity and Criminal Justice for the Master of Public Health degree that begins in 2018,” they said.

Davis, who will be speaking at Touro on 9/11, is the co-founder and director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth. Her topic at Touro is “Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Investing in our Youth.” A reception follows immediately in the Farragut Inn on campus.

“Coming of age in Birmingham, Ala. during the social ferment of the civil rights era, the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing crystallized within Dr. Davis a passionate commitment to social transformation,” according to Touro’s material on her. “For the next decades, she, along with her sister, Angela, was active in the civil rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners,’peace, socialist, anti-imperialist, anti-racial violence and anti-apartheid movements.”

Davis earned a law degree from University of California at Berkeley in 1979 and was a civil rights lawyer for nearly 27 years. Earning a Ph.D. in indigenous studies and apprenticing with traditional healers around the globe, Davis has earned numerous service awards, the material says. The Los Angeles Times called the mother, grandmother, dancer and yoga and qigong practitioner, a “new civil rights leader of the 21st century.”

All series lectures will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Touro University California Campus — Lander Hall Auditorium, 1310 Club Drive, Vallejo.

The first lecture of the series, held Aug. 28, featured Reuben Miller of the University of Michigan, on “Population Studies on The State of our Justice System & Health.”

After Davis’ Sept. 11 event, future lectures include:

• Monday, Sept. 25 — “ The life course perspective of the incarcerated,” featuring Janet Mohle-Boetani, California Correctional Health Care Services, and Elena Tootel, San Quentin.

• Monday, Oct. 9 — “Incarceration, Re-Entry & Recidivism preventions/solutions,” with Obi Anthony, Founder and President of Exonerated Nation and Ann Finkelstein, La Clínica de la Raza

• Monday, Oct. 23 — Re-entry & Health Panel (Mental Health/PTSD), with Ruben Vang, Center for Positive Change Supervisor, Susan Champion, attorney for the Three Strikes Program and Saki Cabrera, Solano Community College.

• Monday, Nov. 13 — “Addressing the prison epidemic: Where do we go from here??” With Matthew Pillischer, director of the film, “Broken on all Sides.”

All the lectures will be held in Lander Hall B.

The lecture series is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at:

For continuing education attendees, each session is worth two continuing education credits through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.

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