Activist, Educator and Former Leading Member of the Black Panther Party
Ericka Huggins is a human rights activist, poet, professor, and former Black Panther leader and political prisoner. For the past 25 years, she has lectured throughout the United States, where her extraordinary life experiences have enabled her to speak personally and eloquently on issues relating to the physical and emotional well-being of women and children,…
Ericka Huggins is a human rights activist, poet, professor, and former Black Panther leader and political prisoner. For the past 25 years, she has lectured throughout the United States, where her extraordinary life experiences have enabled her to speak personally and eloquently on issues relating to the physical and emotional well-being of women and children, youth, education, incarceration, and the role of the spiritual practice in sustaining activism and promoting change.
As a result of her 14-year tenure as a leader of the Black Panther Party (the longest of any woman in leadership), she brings a unique, complete and honest perspective to the much debated challenges and successes of the Black Panther Party and its significance today.
Currently Huggins is a Women’s Studies professor and brings her legacy of social justice and spiritual activism to her lectures and teachings.
Huggins’ political activism began in 1963, when she attended the March on Washington and committed to moving from the sidelines to the frontlines in the global human rights movement. In 1969, at age 18, she became a leader in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party with her husband John Huggins. Three weeks after the birth of their daughter, John Huggins was killed and Huggins was widowed. After returning her husband’s body to New Haven, Connecticut, Ericka opened a Panther chapter there.
In May 1969, Huggins and fellow Party leader Bobby Seale were targeted and arrested on conspiracy charges sparking “Free Bobby, Free Ericka” rallies across the country. The resulting trial, one of the longest and most celebrated of the era, spawned several books. While awaiting trial for 2 years before charges were dropped, including time in solitary confinement, Huggins taught herself to meditate as a means of survival. From this time on, she would incorporate spiritual practice into her community work and teaching as a tool for change – not only for herself, but for all people.
A lifelong writer and poet, upon release from prison in 1972, Huggins became writer and editor for the Black Panther Intercommunal News Service. Her book of poetry chronicling her experience of imprisonment and liberation, Insights and Poems, co-authored with Huey P. Newton, was published in 1974. Her poetry and writings have appeared in numerous magazines and books.
From 1973-1981, Huggins was Director of the Oakland Community School, a groundbreaking community-run child development center and elementary school founded by the Black Panther Party. She created the vision for the innovative curriculum for the school, which became a model for and predecessor to the charter school movement. In 1976, Huggins became both the first woman and the first Black person to be appointed to the Alameda County Board of Education.
In 1979, ten years after her release from prison, Huggins returned to California state and county prisons and jails to teach Hatha Yoga and meditation through the Siddha Yoga Prison Project. A focus of her volunteer effort was her work with incarcerated youth. She has continued this work with adults and, in addition, has continued to teach in homes for foster and adopted children and pregnant teens. For the past 15 years, she has also taught relaxation and mindfulness in California youth correctional facilities in addition to many Northern California public school districts and community colleges.
In 1990, at the height of public awareness of HIV/AIDS, Huggins was the first woman practical support volunteer coordinator at the world-renowned Shanti Project. She also developed a unique volunteer support program for women and children with HIV in the Tenderloin and Mission districts of San Francisco. During her time at Shanti Project, Huggins helped develop city-wide programs for the support of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and questioning youth with HIV/AIDS.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
The Black Panther Party & Its Community Survival Programs
Spiritual Activism and Social Justice
History, Identity and Culture
Resiliency Skills for Educators
Health and Well-Being for Women of Color
Ericka Huggins: The Role of Spiritual Practice in Social Justice Work - Bioneers 2016
1 HOUR OR LESS