Sept. 28 – 29, 2019 – Chicago, IL – 5th Annual International Hip Hop Activism Conference

5th Annual International Hip Hop Activism Conference
September 28 and 29, 2019
10:00am to 5:00pm
838 W Marquette Road
FDLA Street Law Team
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Free and Open to the Public



With the rise of socio-political and economic conflicts from the rise of hate organizations to mass reforms of the criminal justice system; Hip Hop is reacting in a powerful meaningful manner such as the publishing of hip hop studies books; organizations and movements having art and music centered within protests, rallies, conferences, teach-ins, panels, and workshops; and educators teaching Hip Hop culture as a significant and legitimate culture that can give expert and important perspectives and analysis on current affairs.

Hip Hop activism in the 11th element of the Hip Hop culture. It is promoting activism with hip hop influence, style, culture, perspective, and theory. Hip Hop activism about addressing some of the fundamental socio-political issues that Hip Hop discusses.

This conference is especially interested in presentations in the manner of a (1) panel, (2) workshop or (3) roundtable on the topics such as:

Environmental Justice
Food Justice
Youth Justice
Gender and Sexuality Studies
School to Prison Pipeline
Prison Industrial Complex
Corporatization of Education
Systemic forms of Oppression
Social Justice and Critical Pedagogy
Hip Hop Pedagogy
Critical Race Theory
Standardization of Education
Gang Injunctions
Saggin Laws
Truancy and Curfew Laws

Please submit presentation proposal with the following information:

1. E-mail subject title – 4th Annual Hip Hop Activism Submission
2. Biography – 80 to 100 words
3. Description of Presentation – 200 words
4. Title of Presentation

Submit all of that as a Word Doc. attachment via e-mail to:

Deadline for submissions is August 11, 2019, but early acceptance is granted for travel grants and international travel permissions. All presentations are peer-reviewed.




10:00am to 11:00am
I broke up with society
Em Garcia

Growing up I saw the way that the so called society.. that wasn’t very systematic portrayed women. I had no choice but to let it sink in. I didn’t know any better as a kid. They have this way of talking to young girls..young men..and telling them the way they need to dress, feel, act, and the list goes on. 

11:00am to 12:00pm
Room One
Life Lessons From The Elements
Wes Wesson aka SouLyricist 

Life Lessons From The Elements takes a look at 5 lessons we can apply to our lives from the practice of the 5 elements of Hip-Hop and the culture itself. The 5 lessons we’re going to look at are: Practice Makes Permanent, Fly Under The Radar, Let The Music Play, Health Matters, and Social Awareness. Practice Makes Permanent dives into the art of how to practice, and how you practice is a direct influence on how the performance turns out. Technical aspects of how a beatboxer, emcee, or a DJ rehearses and what they think about when practicing can teach us a lot about mental dexterity and giving it your all. To Fly Under The Radar is to have a plan and make the essential steps to strategically execute that plan. The result is the motivation here, not whether or not our actions receive acknowledgement or praise. Graffiti Art is the element that teaches us about staying focused on the plan. Let The Music Play is the lesson of knowing that things don’t always go the way we plan it and to go with the flow. Nothing teaches this lesson like bboying or when technical difficulties happen while a performer is live on stage. Health Matters is just that. We can see the dynamic from the lives of Big Pun and Fat Joe that being in control of our health can be the determining factor of life and death. We can only do as much as our bodies and minds will allow us, and our diet and exercise play a direct role in the function of our minds and bodies. Even in the earliest years of Hip-Hop, Social Awareness has played an integral part of the culture. All of the elements collectively share stories from our lives and reveals what’s going on in today’s world. Above all else, Hip-Hop is for the kids. What we teach our kids will become the future of society. For this, the culture of Hip-Hop is important to preserve and important to learn about because it teaches us lessons of life itself. 

12:00pm to 1:00pm
(on your own)

1:00pm to 2:00pm
Letters to Prisoners: A simple and important act of Solidarity versus Charity
Lucas Dietsche 

Rather than allowing the non-incarcerated to look away from a system built on racial, gender, sexual, ableist, and economic injustice, writing letters, sending birthday cards, and books builds solidarity with those incarcerated.  Letter writing is a simple albeit important practice of solidarity rather than charity for both people on either side of the prison wall. This connection creates the social bond that helps the incarcerated person feel part of a non-prison society.  It helps connect the non-incarcerated ally to the reality of the U.S. being the largest keeper of people in prison and jail in the world. Prison pen pals can be beneficial to the inside knowledge of incarcerated life.   Eventhough that ally-incarcerated person letter writing has happened since prisons, there is a shadow of knowledge of theoretical, methodology, and the pedagogy of letter writing groups and letter writing.  

 Depending on groups writing to common-law and/or political prisoners, there are many quantifying and qualifying variables in making sure incarcerated folks receive letters.    Stamp, card, paper, address position on the body of the letter and envelope, incarcerated person status are only a few variables that make a letter writing successful to both the “in and “out” persons.  Large scale discussion is needed to facilitate what works and what does not work. Presentation will be from the incarcerated person’s perception receiving correspondence and then as an outside activist.  Complete discussion of Letter-writing groups and letter-writing methodology on many of these topics helps to organizing and stream-line many misunderstandings and knowledge shadows.  

2:00pm to 3:30pm
Know Your Rights
First Defense Legal Aid

3:30pm to 5:00pm
The Voice of Hip Hop’s Incarcerated Youth: Hip Hop Pedagogy Roundtable
Luke Reynolds

“In 1978, The Clash released the song, “Jail Guitar Doors,” telling the story of the imprisonment of their fellow musician Wayne Kramer. In 2007, to honor the life of Clash founder, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg launched an initiative to provide musical equipment used to rehabilitate inmates serving time in Her Majesty’s Prisons in the UK. His initiative is named for that very same song, “Jail Guitar Doors.” In 2009, Wayne Kramer partnered with Billy Bragg to found Jail Guitar Doors USA (JGD). Together, their combined effort continues the mission for prisoners in America. The circle is unbroken.” (Jail Guitar Doors Website). Within the JGD Beats and Rhymes program we have the opportunity to record incarcerated youth. Our approach is to allow them to record their music and do-so collaboratively with their peers. We loosely guide the youth to open up using different writing techniques and exercises. 

We’ll play examples of youth recorded songs and reflect as a group on lyrics and the emotion expressed within the recordings and the progression of their works. Songs consist of primarily Hip Hop, some with original production composed by youth. The songs come including different approaches to the music as well as different languages.