Keynote Speaker: Dr. Victor Rios, Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Dr. Victor Rios is a leading critic of the U.S. school-to-prison pipeline. His empathetic research on the criminalization of young Black and Latino men resonates with his own life experience, as someone who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico at age two and grew up surrounded by poverty and gang violence in East Oakland. In his writing and inspirational talks, Rios offers not just an individual success story, but a vision for systemic change that will support rather than harm “at promise” youth--a phrase he coined to replace the more stigmatizing "at risk youth." (Click here to view his Ted Talk, which has over 1 million views!)

His books are widely assigned in social-science and ethnic-studies classes in colleges and high schools. They include Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys (2011), Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D (2011), Project GRIT: Generating Resilience to Inspire Transformation (2016), Buscando Vida, Encontrando Éxito: La Fuerza de La Cultura Latina en la Educación (2016), and Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth (2017). His incredible life story is also featured in the 2018 documentary The Pushouts, in which Bay Area filmmakers Katie Galloway and Dawn Valadez explore structural racism in U.S. schools. 


Watch 2018 keynote speaker Nikki Silvestri's address