Cal State San Bernardino alumnus Curtis Briggs ’08, will join Black Lives Matter activist Tianna Arata at the next Conversations on Race and Policing on Zoom as they discuss her high-profile free speech case in San Luis Obispo related to a July 21 protest that included blocking traffic on Highway 101.

“Guerilla Warfare from the Street to the Courtroom” will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, on Zoom. The panel discussion will take place virtually and can be accessed from a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at

The program will be an opportunity to hear from Briggs, a CSUSB sociology graduate who was president of Students for Social Justice club and now a defense attorney, and Arata, who was arrested after the July 21 protest, and how they are using the case to advance the Black Lives Matter movement. The discussion will focus on institutional and systemic racism and current events.

Arata’s defense lawyers have argued that the San Luis Obispo County district attorney “allegedly turns a blind eye to the First Amendment and is charging Arata with 13 misdemeanors for her participation in a march that attracted a large number of supporters, impeded the flow of traffic, and created loud noise,” one news report said.

Briggs is a criminal defense trial lawyer who has successfully represented dozens of Black Lives Matter activists who have been retaliated against by police in an attempt to thwart protests.

Arata unintentionally became a national figure in the Black Lives Matter movement when she was arrested by San Luis Obispo police after the July 21 protest. Police initially booked her on suspicion of  multiple felonies – later reduced to 13 misdemeanors by the district attorney – that resulted in a national movement and the website.  

Conversations on Race and Policing began in the aftermath of the May 25 death of George Floyd while in the custody of four Minneapolis, Minn., police officers. A video of the incident posted on social media has led to widespread protests, the firing of four police officers, the arrest of one officer on a second-degree murder charge, the other three on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder – and a spotlight worldwide on race and policing.

Previous forums also are posted online (more recordings will soon be available for viewing) on the CSUSB History Club Lecture Series YouTube channel.

The ongoing Conversations on Race and Policing series is hosted by CSUSB students Marlo Brooks and Yvette Relles-Powell.

The series is organized by Brooks and Relles-Powell, CSUSB faculty members Mary Texeira (sociology) and Jeremy Murray (history), Robie Madrigal, public affairs/communication specialist for the CSUSB John M. Pfau Library, and community member Stan Futch, president of the Westside Action Group.  

Upcoming Conversations on Race and Policing include “Suing the Police and Qualified Immunity,” at 4 p.m. on Dec. 2. Both programs will be on Zoom.

For more information, contact Robie Madrigal at or Jeremy Murray at

Conversations on Race and Policing flier, Nov. 24 program