Our conference theme for 2024 is belonging without othering. That theme has touched every aspect of our conference program, from commissioned performances to custom exhibits, to mainstage conversations and breakout sessions. From that overarching theme we have developed three “tracks” that weave through the conference program and help draw threads down from the overall theme.

Learn more about the tracks here and watch all the mainstage conversations and performances here.

Be sure to head to the Calvin Simmons Theatre well before 2:00 pm to get a seat for the conference opening program! 
  • 1:45pm  

    Opening music, with Mbira dzaSoko 

    Mbira dzasoko strives to uphold and celebrate Zimbabwean culture through exceptional instruments and artistic wear. Our founder Salani Wamakangsnise naGaadza has a deep passion for music and an unwavering commitment to sharing the beauty of Zimbabwe's rich musical heritage with the world.

  • 2:00pm  

    Conference Opening Session:
    Welcome to O&B 2024

    with emcee Sarah Crowell and the Belonging Resident Company

  • 2:30pm  

    Conference Welcome

    Hear from Ashlin Malouf-Gashaw, Deputy Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, on vision and goals for the conference and the larger movement of building belonging. 

  • 2:40pm  

    Indigenous Opening, with Yuria Celidwen

    Indigenous leader Yuria Celidwen will share indigenous worldviews and invite us into building an ethics of belonging that allows us to come into more purposeful connection with each other and all living beings.

  • 2:55pm  

    Places of Belonging

    An introduction to the vision and intention of the Places of Belonging Track, with Ashley Gallegos.

  • 3:05pm  

    Belonging and the Civic We, with Roberto Bedoya

    Kicking off this year’s series of Belonging-Builder Talks, the City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Manager Roberto Bedoya will illuminate how place is not just a space but an idea that needs to be animated through agency and co-creation in order to build sustainable, healthy communities built on belonging. 

  • 3:25pm  

    Who Belongs?, with Imani Barbarin

    A talk on the interdependence of disability justice and belonging, featuring Imani Barbarin.

  • 3:45pm  

    Belonging is a Place We Build Together

    A talk from iconic geographer, author, and scholar, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, one of America’s most visionary imaginations working at the forefront of building a future where care and restorative justice are the norm, and where we aim to build a world “where life is precious, life is precious."

  • 4:45pm  


    Grab some refreshments in the Concourse area right outside the Theatre and take a quick break before our opening headliner starts at 5:30 pm. 

  • 5:30pm  

    Orchestra Gold: Headliner Performance

    Oakland-based ensemble Orchestra Gold, will perform a dynamic hour of music.

  • 7:00pm  

    Conference Doors Close

  • 7:30am     

    Registration Opens
    The Commons Opens

    If you have not yet registered, pick up your badge at the Registration Station inside the HJK Arts Center, Explore The Commons or enjoy a session of meditation before the conference starts at 9:00 am. 

  • 8:00am     

    Sufi Meditation and Movement

    Begin your day with a relaxing and energizing guided Sufi meditation (Tamarkoz) practice with Michelle Ayazi.

Morning Mainstage Session Begins:
Calvin Simmons Theatre

Afternoon Mainstage Session:
Calvin Simmons Theatre

  • 2:00pm  

    Harmonizing Belonging,
    with Melanie DeMore

  • 2:15pm   

    Belonging Economies:
    An Introduction, with Hossein Ayazi

    The second planning track of O&B 24, "Belonging Economies" will be introduced by Hossein Ayazi, Global Justice Program Senior Policy Analyst at the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley. Hossein will highlight how the track brings into conversation local and global efforts to create economies organized around meeting collective needs rather than accumulation, extraction, and exclusion.

  • 2:20pm  

    Mainstage Talk:
    Solidarity, Democracy, and Debt

    Acclaimed author and organizer Astra Taylor will share the intersections of the diverse areas of her work in examining, writing, and organizing around democracy, solidarity, and co-founding America’s first union of debtors. 

  • 2:40pm  

    Spoken Word, with Michelle "Mush" Lee

    Powerful spoken word poet, activist and Executive Director of Youth Speaks, Michelle "Mush" Lee will share an original poem that directly connects with the Othering and Belonging bridging framework. 

  • 2:45pm  

    Mainstage Panel:
    Building Belonging Economies

    What would an economy built on belonging look like? Speakers Nwamaka Agbo of the Kataly Foundation and Restorative Economies Fund, Jovan Scott Lewis of UC Berkeley, and Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota) of NDN Collective will discuss what must be cultivated or negotiated if we are to co-create new forms of economic systems. Moderated by Wendy Ake of the Othering & Belonging Institute. 

  • 3:50pm  

    Hoop Dancing,
    with Patrick Willie (Navajo)

    Award-winning Navajo hoop dancer, Patrick Willie, will share traditional hoop dancing and dynamic storytelling.

  • 4:00 pm  

    Closing Keynote:
    A Greater Story of We, with Maurice Mitchell

    Renowned social movement strategist Maurice Mitchell,  a visionary leader in the Movement for Black Lives, and now National Director of the Working Families Party, will give our day's closing keynote on new formations and ways of being and working with each other that are needed to confront the current era of rising authoritarianism, climate emergency, toxic inequality, and widespread precarity and fragmentation. Maurice will share what he has learned through organizing and his own evolution as a leader about what is needed to build a bigger “we”—that it is only by working together, across identity and issue area, that we can truly build and realize the promise of multi-racial, pluralistic democracies.

  • 4:30 pm  

    Mainstage Close, with Sarah Crowell

  • 5:00 pm  

    Salsa Rueda, Commons Community Stage

    José Richard Aviles will be leading a session of Salsa Rueda in the Commons. Salsa rueda is a traditional Cuban form of salsa danced in a circle and in community. In addition to having fun this session invites us to be reflective and conscious of the ways we show up in circles and for each other both in movement and in our movements.

  • 6:00pm  

    Conference Doors Close 


    After Hours: Friday Evening
    Offerings from OBI partners 

    • The Oakland Museum of California—Off the Grid. Head next door to the Oakland Museum for their celebrated Friday night Off the Grid series featuring live music, food trucks, and late night access to galleries. Find more information here
    • Cal Performances - Five-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo is playing for one night only in Berkeley as part of the Cal Performances 23/24 Season. Tickets and more info here.
    • Annual Be a Kid! fundraiser hosted by RYSE, in Richmond, CA, with the theme RYSE to the Future: Creating the World Young People Deserve. Check this site for tickets and information.

Morning Mainstage Session:
Calvin Simmons Theatre

  • 8:50 am  

    Dance Brigade

    Taiko drumming by Dance Brigade will open up the day.

  • 9:05 am  

    Conference Opening

    Emcee Sarah Crowell will open us up with connection, conversation, and a look at what we have in store for our closing day together. 

  • 9:15 am  

    Destiny Arts Center, Martial Arts performance

    Destiny Arts Center's mission is to inspire and ignite social change through the arts. Destiny's dynamic martial arts demo team will share the virtuoso of their martial arts practice while incorporating strategies for peace and wellbeing. 

  • 9:25 am  

    A Greater Story of We: 
    An Introduction, with Basima Sisemore

    The third planning track of O&B 24, "A Greater Story of We" will be introduced by Basima Sisemore, Global Justice Program Senior Researcher at the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley. Basima will share a grounding for the final day of the conference which brings into conversation themes of power of narratives, the illusion of the other, bridging, and pathways toward creating a collective we.

  • 9:30 am  

    Mainstage Panel:
    Collective Memory, Identity, Trauma, and Belonging

    What is the role of collective memory in creating identity and belonging? Is it even possible to imagine a belonging that does not require flattened identities that pit one group against another? And most urgently, what are the narratives that can support bridging and solidarity, and repair and rehumanization, even during this time of unimaginable destruction, division, and dehumanization.

    Cecilie Surasky of the Othering & Belonging Institute will discuss these questions with three of our sharpest chroniclers, observers, and witnesses: Palestinian historian Sherene Seikaly, acclaimed author and activist Naomi Klein, and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Viet Nguyen. This rich conversation will connect the people, places, struggles, and history of Europe, Israel/Palestine, Vietnam, Asia, and the United States. It will bring into sharp focus how structures of othering such as colonialism, US militarism, ethnonationalism, racism, and patriarchy strip us of our humanity and mobilize fear and trauma to create an other. And most importantly, it will explore the liberatory possibilities of reconceptualizing identity and aspiring toward belonging without othering.

  • 10:45 am

    Coffee Break 

    Pick up coffee and tea as you head to breakout sessions.

  • 11:00 am

  • 12:30 pm


    Lunch provided for all O&B 2024 participants. Pick up lunch and find a variety of places to eat including the outdoor spaces at the Oakland Museum of California; the outdoor deck of the Kaiser Building; the banks of Lake Merritt; and throughout the HJK building.

  • 12:30 pm

    Healing Garden: Reflecting on our Collective Grief

    The OMCA is pleased to offer a reflective gathering on collective grief. All are welcome to join us for this peaceful experience in OMCA's beautiful gardens. Wellness practitioners Josie Santiago and Veronica Ramirez will lead us in the sacred ritual of mandala creation to cultivate a space of healing. With an open heart, we will come together to reflect on our loss, global grief, or simply soak in the connectedness of community. Grief is a universal experience and when we connect with others, it can be healing. We hope you will join us.

    Location: OMCA Garden

  • 12:45 pm 

    Michelle "Mush" Lee and Youth Speaks:   
    Commons Community Stage

    Michelle "Mush" Lee, Executive Director of Youth Speaks, will host a group of three talented Youth Speaks poets who will share exciting, thought-provoking poems about belonging without othering. 

    Location: Commons Community Stage

  • 12:45pm

    Play Marimba & Neblinas del Pacifico: HJK Deck

    These two groups of award-winning musicians will come together to add extra flavor to your lunchtime on the deck overlooking Lake Merritt, with joyful Afro-Colombian marimba and percussion music that weaves a rich tapestry of polyrhythms and multi-part harmonies. 

    Location: HJK Deck / Lakeview Terrace 

  • 1:00pm  

    Film Screening of "Black Girls Play" and Talk Back

    Come watch the documentary short "Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games", recently shortlisted for the Oscars and nominated for a NAACP Image award. Michèle Delgado Stephenson, who directed the short, will be introducing the film and answering questions following the screening. 

    Location: North Ballroom

  • 1:00pm   

    Book Signings
    Viet Thanh Nguyen

    During the lunch hour, Viet Thanh Nguyen will sign copies of his award-winning book The Sympathizer and other recent books.

    john a. powell and Stephen Menendian

    Additionally, john a. powell and Stephen Menendian will join to sign copies of their new book, Belonging without Othering.

    Location: Pegasus Bookseller Table in the Commons

  • 1:30pm  

    BANDALOOP Performance: HJK Arts Building

    Aerial artistic group BANDALOOP celebrates the human spirit, nature, and communities through dance that uses climbing technology to expand and challenge what is possible. Come see BANDALOOP on the wall of the HJK Building.

    Location: Wall of the HJK Center facing OMCA.

Afternoon Closing Session Begins: Calvin Simmons Theatre