California Institute for Rural Studies

Rural Justice Summit

Rural justice summit

The Rural Justice Summit is a forum for community members, students, artists, advocates and researchers to come together to explore common challenges, compare barriers faced and seek solutions.

We are a constellation of artists, organizers, activists, researchers, and accomplices who imagine a radical realignment of rural life that moves us towards equity, access, participation and rights for all rural people.

In 2021, community members from joined together online for a weekend of healing and inspiration for the work ahead. Sessions included: Abolition Movements in Rural Spaces; Naming What We Want: Central Valley Agroecology; Disabled and Chronically Ill Lessons from 2020; Lift Every Voice: Celebrating Black Storytelling; and Mutual Aid 101: We Need Us.

We hope to be back in person next year to come together to explore common challenges, explore barriers faced and seek solutions on Rural livelihood. Follow us on social media to keep up to date on Rural Justice Summit 2022!

Photos courtesy of Dulce Upfront and Photographer: Samuel Contreras

2021 Rural Justice Summit MC’s Michael Yamamura (left) and Miranda Hernandez (right) alongside Keynote Speaker Eugene Vange (middle). Artwork by Diana Morales:

Past Summits

2021 Rural Justice Summit flyer

Cristel Jensen
Community Driven Strategist

Cristel is CIRS’ new organizational backbone, helping us with administrative systems and coordinating the Rural Justice Summit team. Cristel grew up surrounded by the mountains of the Sierra Gorda in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, Mexico. Cristel immigrated to the US seven years ago and while culture shock is still challenging to navigate, she doesn’t forget the indigeneity that was stolen from her ancestors during colonization in Mexico and claims, without shame, her mestizaje. In her work, Cristel centers the stories of rural life in California that is radically transformed as systems of oppression and extraction give way to systems which are life-affirming. As a Community- Driven Strategist with the California Institute for Rural Studies, Cristel is sensitive to many types of knowledge, equitable and reflective of the rich cultural landscapes of rural California.