The Social Justice Academy of San Leandro High School

The Social Justice Academy (SJA) is a small learning community consisting of over one hundred sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  This small learning community engages in self reflection, organizing, self-expression, and critical thinking through a variety of projects.  It utilizes critical pedagogy centered on decolonization, healing, and liberation.

SJA Spotlight...

Fall Semester 2016 Highlights: 
Field Trip to the Oakland Museum ("All Power to the People Exhibit"  Celebrating the Black Panther Party's 50th Anniversary)
 and Oakland Ice Center: Many of the youth left the museum inspired and were able to build with one another while falling together on the ice. 

Davis Street Resource Center Toy and Food Drive: The youth volunteered time to experience service providing at its best in our city. 

"Breaking Bread": SJA's Food Justice Potluck! The youth cooked up some of their family favorites and some even cooked together. Food is one of the best ways to strengthen this family. 

Post Election Restorative Circles and Actions: SJA hosted restorative circles in Ms. Viray's room that were open to the whole school.  There were also actions the youth helped to organize and participated in.  
#notmypresident #lovetrumpshate

Educate to Liberate, Know Your Vote Campaign by the Senior Class of 2017:  The seniors led the academy in educating the campus and wider community about the election.  They focused most of their attention on getting Measure J1 and Proposition 55 passed.  They were a big part of the passage of Measure J1 in San Leandro that would fund much needed repairs in our school district, most especially, the elementary schools, where some of the facilities are over 100 years old with basic structural and electrical problems.  The youth tabled, phone banked, went precinct walking, and held rallies on a near daily basis for this campaign!  Their efforts were not in vain!

SJA Raises $1500 for Hurricane Matthew Relief in Haiti via Doctors Without Borders: SJA coordinated the donation drive on campus, fundraised after school, and gave portion of the proceeds from One Love, One Mic to Doctors Without Borders. 

One Love, One Mic: SJA's 9th annual open mic event that showcased talent on campus, but most importantly, served as a platform for SJA youth to educate and engage the audience of almost 600 in social justice issues such as police brutality, the Dakota Access Pipeline, gender equity, the school to prison pipeline, and so forth.  The packed house also served as public audience for the SJA sophomores' yOurstory Project Launch, the SJA juniors' Power of Dissent Project, and the SJA seniors' Farewell Performance.  What a memorable and productive night!

Black Lives Matter Solidarity Action/ Die In:  Following the death of Terence Crutcher, SJA youth felt compelled once again to bring the issue of police brutality and the shootings of unarmed men of color with impunity back to the forefront of the political discourse on campus. It was a silent demonstration. 

SJA Fall Retreat! SJA youth and educators started off the 10th year of the academy building through a variety of community building activities and restorative practices.

SJA Graduation
Congratulations Class of 2016!  

SJA Class of 2016

SJA Year End Celebration

2016 Senior Quest Projects
In their 3rd year of the program, SJA students engage in a year long independent project called Quest.  Essentially, it is a mini campaign where they seek to answer their proposed essential question by engaging in research, cultural work, outreach, direct experience, networking, and so forth.  Feel free to see their progress by clicking on the following links to their websites that are documenting their project.  

Senior Quest Projects

SJA "Solidarity" Projects for Season of Service, March 2016
"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean."
For Season of Service, the sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Social Justice Academy worked tirelessly on projects focusing on solidarity.  Solidarity is putting the “unity” in community.  Because as SJA’s Season of Service logo states, “Individually, we are one drop.  Together, we are an ocean.”  The sophomores visited Bancroft and John Muir Middle School and ran close to fifty workshops on using restorative circles in a classroom to build community and resolve conflict.  SJA advocates for the use of restorative justice in schools, which focuses on prevention, reconciliation, and rehabilitation.  The sophomores also ran the stencils, temporary tattoo, and “Solidarity Hands” tables at SJA’s three day lunchtime festival in the quad titled “Solidarity Fest”.  The juniors focused on social justice issues that they chose in groups and put together informational material, games, buttons, or stencils for tables at Solidarity Fest.  They chose issues such as: the school to prison pipeline, police brutality, the importance of knowing your rights, access to college, gender equity, food justice, and underfunded communities.  They also facilitated workshops for freshmen on community and restorative justice.  The seniors went public with their Senior Quest Projects and taught students about their various topics at Solidarity Fest and Save Our Society (SOS) night.  The seniors organized that event as well, which was well attended and had over 20 performances. Some of the topics include: Chicanisma, white privilege, domestic violence, food justice, mentoring young men of color, in addition to a number of other topics. 

SLAM Documentary on SJA Season of Service Projects

SJA SOS Photo Slideshow

Save Ethnic Studies!, March 2016
SJA stands in solidarity with the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University! 

#talkaboutrace   #blacklivesmatter, March 2016
SJA pushed for the community to talk about race in response to a hate crime that occurred at a district office located at James Madison Elementary School by holding demonstrations before school and during lunch. 

Featured SJA Sheroes and Heroes

I am Social Justice Poem

I am social justice because it saved my life.

I was a freshmen ignorantly swimming into the school to prison pipeline.

I had a 1.9, but two people saw the potential I had when no one else did.

I am social justice because it saved me from a cycle.

I’ll be first to walk the stage in my household.

I am social justice because I grew tired of running a rat race blind.

It gave me the cheat sheet to a happy life.

And it taught that life isn't a race it’s a marathon.

As long as you finish, you win.

And for that, I owe social justice my life.

I am social justice because social justice taught me how to organize and mobilize.

It taught me how to save someone’s life.

How to invoke my personal rights.

I am social justice because it taught me there’s more than one way one to be a superhero.  

I am social justice because it made me appreciate the struggle.

It gave me a voice when I struggled to find mine.

It made me strong mentally.

And even though I don’t do it, social justice taught that it’s ok for men to cry.

I am social justice because it enlightened a mind lost in the darkness.

So I owe social justice my life.

It saved me from myself.

And Imma dedicate my life to social justice.

I just wanna say thank you, Dolid and Viray.

I am eternally grateful.


Hassani Bell, Class of 2015

Excerpt from Senior Term Paper

“A moral and just society does not deny people the right to live freely under their own pretenses. It does not deny people access to basic fundamental rights. It does not shoot and kill 12 year old children playing with toy guns, or college bound young men with their hands up. It does not deny people who live just $1 above the poverty line access to government assistance, but give multi-billion dollar corporations tax breaks.  It does not allocate trillions of dollars to the inhumane removal of a people from their own land when there are millions of people without homes on American soil. A moral and just society is a society that prioritizes people as a whole, not just one group and certainly not money.”

Nikayla Johnson, Class of 2015

Excerpt from Author's Chair Piece

“Family, a group of people that has helped me get through tough times, laugh through those times, and made me look back at those times.  A group of people that make me remember where I come from. Surely this family ain’t perfect, nope, not one bit, but they are just perfect enough to call family.  I am talking about the students and teachers of the Social Justice Academy.”

Tyler Stevenson, Class of 2015

Highlights from the 2014-15 School Year

Black Lives Matter: Hands Up, Don't Shoot 
Congratulations to the Social Justice Academy's Class of 2015! We will miss you!  Thank you for allowing our program to be part of your lives!

Year End Celebration Video

Year End Celebrations 2015.m4v

Year in Review, 2014-15

Peace in the Streets

Peace in the Streets