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Civil Rights Activist to Discuss Intersection of Love, Power

(Posted January 13, 2014)

Ericka Huggins will speak at 4 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20 in Rosenberger Auditorium

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Ericka Huggins, a professor of women's studies at California State University, East Bay and a former leader of the Black Panther Party, will speak at Juniata College on how love can be used as a tool to reclaim and sustain civil and human rights in a lecture at 4 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.
The lecture, which is the keynote address for Juniata's Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, "The Intersection of Love and Power: Women in the Human Rights Movement," is free and open to the public. The talk is sponsored by Juniata's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. There also will be a workshop on yoga and meditation overseen by Huggins called "A Rest Stop for the Mind and Body," at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 20, in Sill Boardroom in the von Liebig Center for Science.

Ericka Huggins will use her experience serving as a leader of the Black Panther Party in New Haven, Conn., and in California, as well as her experience serving time in jail as a political prisoner as she awaited a trial on conspiracy charges, as a mirror to show how love for oppressed women, men and children inspired activism from women in revolutionary movements.

For the past two decades, Huggins has spoken throughout the United States on such topics as the physical and emotional well-being of children and women, education and incarceration. She also weaves into her talks the role spiritual study and practice plays in sustaining activism and promoting change.

Huggins' activism and spiritual response to civil rights abuses, date back to her time in the Black Panther party. She and fellow Party leader Bobby Seale were arrested in May 1969 on conspiracy charges. Before charges were dropped, Huggins awaited trial for two years, including stints in solitary confinement. During this time, she taught herself to meditate as a method to survive the isolation.

Later, as a volunteer coordinator for the San Francisco-based Shanti Project, Huggins created support programs for women and children with HIV who were living in the Mission and Tenderloin districts.

For the past two decades, Huggins has spoken throughout the United States on such topics as the physical and emotional well-being of children and women, education and incarceration.


Huggins became a leader in the Black Panther Party in 1969, when she and her husband, John Huggins, helped found the Los Angeles chapter of the party. After her husband was shot and killed on the UCLA campus, she returned his body to New Haven, Conn., and opened a new chapter of the Black Panther Party. Shortly thereafter she was arrested, with Seale, on conspiracy charges.

After her release from jail, she became a writer and editor for Black Panther Intercommunal News Service and also directed the Oakland Community School, a child development center and elementary school founded by the Panthers, from 1973 to 1981.
Today she works as a professor of sociology at Laney and Berkeley City College and at California State University.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.