Standing Rock. Black Lives Matter. The Women’s March. Occupy Wall Street. The Arab Spring. LGBTQ rights. The Umbrella Movement: Activism at the start of the 21st century is alive today thanks to the legacy of previous generations. However as we navigate the present day landscape, we witness continued inequality, broken immigration policies, climate chaos, and systemic racism. How can we alchemize our outrage into positive victories and broaden our perspectives? How can we work within collective movements that are infused with our aspirations of a more equitable, peaceful, and just-world while growing as conscious and compassionate beings? These questions lead us, in part, to a framework of social justice that can be called Spiritual Activism. As an approach which acknowledges Spirit but that is also firmly grounded in an analysis of broken systems, Spiritual Activism emphasizes direct involvement with movements to address solutions while remaining heart centered. And with the accelerating rate of the climate crisis, the future of our species depends precisely on our ability at this moment in history to respond boldly. Join us for a dynamic panel discussion, group meditation, and organizing as we unpack the movements making history today and learn ways to get involved.
* About the Speakers: Richard C. Garrabrant is a yoga/meditation teacher and founder of Organize and Meditate (OM), an approach to activism by using the tools of meditation to remain heart-centered while also engaged in social justice work. OM provides frequent meetups, classes, trainings, and education to help prevent burnout and raise awareness. Richard completed research on international migration while studying in Mexico City at Iberoamericana University in 2009. He became well versed in the challenges of climate change while working on World Bank and Asian Development Bank projects for several years in Beijing, China. He has lived abroad in Spain, Mexico, China, and Indonesia. Sah D’Simone is an esteemed meditation teacher, transformational coach, breathwork instructor and mental health advocate. He is passionate about researching and integrating the intersection of ancient wisdom and modern science. Sah has lived in Ashrams, Monasteries, and Retreat Centers around the world and has studied with experts like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Thubten Gyatsu, Joshua Rosenthal, Richard P. Brown MD, Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD. Sah is a Certified Mental Health First Aid, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Breath Body Mind Teacher, Ashtanga Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Raw Vegan Chef, MBSR trainee and is currently studying Contemplative Psychotherapy. The combination of these trainings led him to the creation of a cohesive philosophy for optimal health and well-being. Sara Gozalo is originally from Madrid, Spain. Throughout her life, Sara has been an activist and organizer for social justice. At Umass, she co-founded Students for Peace and Justice, a group created to educate and mobilize around economic issues, issues of social justice, and world peace. She was a member of the Worcester Global Action Network, where she organized teach-ins and train-the-trainer workshops on issues such as globalization and free trade agreements. She coordinated “freeskools,” in which diverse members of the community shared their skills with one-another. She also organized a tutoring program for Central American students. Sara has been a life-long advocate for immigrants’ rights. She is a supervising organizer at The New Sanctuary Coalition in New York, coordinating NSC’s asylum clinic and the accompaniment program among others. Alnoor Ladha is a founding member and the Executive Director of The Rules (TR), a global network of activists, organizers, designers, coders, researchers, writers and others dedicated to changing the rules that create inequality, poverty and climate change. His work focuses on the intersection of political organizing, systems thinking, storytelling, technology and the decentralization of power. Prior to TR, he was a Partner and the Head of Strategy at Purpose, an incubator for new types of social movements. Alnoor is a writer and speaker on new forms of activism, the structural causes of inequality, the link between climate change and capitalism, and the rise of the Global South as a powerful organizing force in the transition to a post-capitalist world. He is also writing a book about the intersection of mysticism and anarchism. Ciara Taylor is a community organizer currently working on the state and national committees for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. She works as a Political Educator for the Popular Education Project which is a collective of hopeful militants, indignant with the injustice in the world and committed to overcoming global oppression and exploitation, wherever it exists. Ciara was a founding member of the Dream Defenders and served as the organization's Director of Political Consciousness where she was responsible for developing and executing statewide political educational and leadership development programming. Her philosophical approach to this work is grounded in the words of Kwame Toure, "Our task is not to teach the unconscious to be conscious but to make them conscious of their unconscious behavior." She has worked with campaigns with CODEPINK and the Southern Poverty Law Center.