Poet and Activist Nikkita Oliver to Headline Evergreen Equity Symposium

November 6, 2019
Nikkita Oliver

Seattle-based anti-racism community organizer, attorney and poet Nikkita Oliver will be the keynote speaker at The Evergreen State College’s Equity Symposium on Thursday Nov. 14. 

Oliver will speak to the Symposium’s theme of “Transforming Dialogue into Collective Action” and perform some of her poetry in Evergreen’s Recital Hall in the Communications Building from 6–7 p.m.

The second annual Equity Symposium will take place at Evergreen on Nov. 14 and 15. The symposium is a campus-wide gathering of workshops, speakers and dialogues dedicated to advancing diversity, equity and inclusive excellence. 

Evergreen’s Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Student Success Chassity Holliman-Douglas said Oliver seemed like a natural choice.

“We were looking for someone who could bring a social-justice focus while also providing a performance for our campus and then fusing the two together and we thought Nikkita would be perfect because of her poetry.”

Oliver holds a Master of Education from the University of Washington, where she studied racial disproportionality and disparate impact in school exclusion.  In 2017, Oliver ran for mayor of Seattle, coming in third of 21 candidates. 

“We wanted someone who transforms dialogue into action,” said Hannah Simonetti, Director of Evergreen’s First Peoples Multicultural, Trans & Queer Support Services.

“Nikkita is very engaged in her community—and in various different ways—educating people, performing for folks around topics of social justice and actively being a part of the community by trying to participate in legislation,” said Simonetti.

Oliver is currently a writer-in-residence with Writers in the Schools at Washington Middle School, leads writing workshops with Arts Corp at Garfield High School, and is a teaching artist and case manager with Creative Justice, an art-based youth diversion program that provides alternatives to incarceration. 

She was the 2015 recipient of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights Artist Human Rights Leader Award and the 2014 Seattle Poetry Slam Grand Slam Champion.

Oliver has opened for author Cornel West and Public Enemy’s Chuck D and performed on “The Late Night Show” with Stephen Colbert. She has also been featured on the syndicated New York-based radio program “The Breakfast Club.”

Locally, Oliver has been featured on KUOW’s “The Week.” Her writing has been published in the South Seattle Emerald, Crosscut, the Establishment, Last Real Indians, The Seattle Weekly, and The Stranger. 

“Bringing Nikkita is not just about equity issues, it’s not just about her art, her poetry,” said Evergreen’s Senior Major Gifts Officer Javier Womeldorff. “It’s really that commitment to interdisciplinary learning and commitment to social justice—taking that learning and putting it into action.”

The event is free and open to the public. 

Nikkita Oliver Equity Symposium - Thrusday Nov 14th 6pm to 7pm - Recital Hall