Through the stories and connections of our past, present and future, we can create welcoming spaces for our communities to thrive.


Past |

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

- George Santayana

For this theme, we draw inspiration from the Ghanian symbol Sankofa, which represents the importance of learning from the past. We must name, understand, and dismantle the foundations of oppression that have been built throughout the years in order to avoid perpetuating further inequities in the present and build more equitable and sustainable alternatives in the future.

Sankofa is also associated with the proverb "Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," which means "It is not taboo to go back for that which you have forgotten." We must reach back to learn the wisdom of the past: indigenous customs lost to colonialism, effective educational praxis abandoned in favor of trendy reforms, and stories of resilience, strength, and survival that provide guidance to us for the future.

We envision this conference as a chance to reflect on and learn from our ancestors’ struggles and successes. As time marches further on, we must never forget the sacrifices of those who came before us and the lessons we glean from the past.

Present |

“You don't build a bond without being present.”

-James Earl Jones

For this theme, we draw inspiration from the many courageous, passionate, and adaptable individuals and groups working to address current injustices. We must acknowledge that although we have done much to mend past wrongs, there is still more to be done to rectify the iniquities of the past that continue to affect our current society.

Those who have not understood the lessons of the past seek to tear our society apart and drag us back into the mire of persecution and discrimination. We uplift those who resist the tide of degradation - those who instead see to establish our shared connections and understanding.

We envision this conference as a space to build solidarity and community to act upon current problems of practice. The seeds that will grow a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world will be nourished by the work we do in the present.

Future |

“Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.”

-David Bowie

For this theme, we draw inspiration from the upcoming generation of students, educators, and activists. We must listen to these visionaries who hear the future coming, and together dream of the educational system and the world not as they are, but as they can and should be.

Our successors will face greater uncertainty and tackle immense challenges. We aim to teach them the lessons of the past, equip them with tools and knowledge in the present, and inspire them to use their intersectional strengths to push us forward to a better tomorrow.

We envision this conference as a way to ignite the hope and urgency that will carry us through the years to come. Through the spark of our passion and fortitude of our spirits, we will learn to change the world and move toward a brighter future.


Marissa Alberty, Jolleen Filio, Paola Muñoz
2019 AOCC Tri-Chairs