Nikkita Oliver

Case Manager, Attorney, Teaching Artist and Performance Poet for Creative Justice, Writers in the Schools, and Arts Corps


Class of 2008, Sociology major

With a background in sociology, Oliver works for a number of organizations teaching the arts and community organizing for equity and justice. She is the case manager with Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration, and a teaching artist with Arts Corps and Writers in the Schools. She is also a performance poet and freelance writer.

How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?

I often say, “I radicalized at SPU.” By this I mean, I began to see racism, sexism, classism, capitalism, neoliberalism, homophobia, etc., not just in the world, but also in the little Christian bubble I had been raised to believe was so safe and sacred. It was at SPU that I first began community organizing for justice and equity. It was at SPU that I fully realized that Christians, and white evangelicals in particular, have a long way to go. While I am grateful for the education I received, my time at SPU was very hard.

Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?

Joe Snell believed in me. He saw me not just for who I was, but for who I had been and was growing into becoming. He encouraged me to challenge injustice boldly and to stand up for what is right no matter the consequences from the institution. He encouraged my tenacity and boldness in loving and affirming manner.

What advice would you give to current SPU students?

If you genuinely strive to engage the culture and change the world, engage and change yourself first.