Event Schedule

NOTE: Recordings of every session will be available for free streaming for 48 hours following the initial airing, so you can watch at your own convenience.


Live Opening Session With Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Spring Washam

Join summit host Ayo Yetunde (coeditor of the book Black and Buddhist), along with meditation teacher and shamanic practitioner Spring Washam (author of A Fierce Heart), for a celebratory opening session to the Black and Buddhist online summit.


Buddhism, Oppression, and Justice With Rhonda Magee, Rima Veseley-Flad, Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Can Buddhism and mindfulness contribute to the pressing conversations and activist movements regarding racial oppression and social justice in our time? In this powerful event, summit host and social justice activist Ayo Yetunde facilitates a conversation between Rhonda Magee, author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness and Rima Veseley-Flad, author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice, on the topics of dharma practice, oppression, and justice. In a conversation filled with tenderness, humor, strength, and love, the panelists discuss topics including how awareness practices can help us understand the causes of oppression and the intersection of spiritual support and racial activism.


Wholeness Is No Trifling Matter: Race, Faith, and Refuge With Ruth King and Host Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Join summit host Ayo Yetunde for an intimate discussion with Buddhist teacher Ruth King about “Wholeness Is No Trifling Matter: Race, Faith, and Refuge”—her contribution to the book Black and Buddhist. King, a respected teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition, is the author of Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out and Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible, and she offers Buddhist teachings and anti-racism trainings around the country. Audience members will be invited to send questions for Ruth and Ayo during the latter part of the event.


Black & Buddhist: Awakening in the African Diaspora With Sebene Selassie, Suryagupta, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips

In the modern world, Buddhism has become a spiritual home for many, while Blackness—a multicultural and multiethnic designation inclusive of many shades—for many Black people remains a daily diasporic experience. In this panel discussion, three Buddhist teachers of African descent with international backgrounds converse about the intersections of Blackness, Buddhism, awakening, culture, and geography in their lives.

Sebene Selassie is a teacher and author of the book You Belong: A Call for Connection. She explores the themes of belonging and identity through meditation, creativity, and spirituality, offering courses, workshops, and retreats online and in person. She also teaches on the Ten Percent Happier app.

Suryagupta is the first female and woman of color to serve as the Chair of the London Buddhist Centre in its 43 year history.  She has worked extensively with educators, artists, social activists, and CEO’s as a professional storyteller, mentor, and  global leadership advisor. 

Dawa Tarchin Phillips is a meditation teacher, author and speaker. He is the Founder of Empowerment Holdings and President of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association.


Blackness, Buddhism, and Masculinity With Fresh Lev White, Justin Miles, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips

Among the growing population of Western Buddhists, it is notable that the majority are women or female-identified, though gender demographics vary from community to community. What does Buddha Dharma have to offer to men, and in particular Black men, and what do Black men bring to contemporary Buddhism and Buddhist communities? In this panel discussion, three Buddhist teachers of African descent discuss the intersections of Blackness, Buddhism, and masculinity in their lives, their teaching activities and practices.

Justin F. Miles, has been a psychotherapist and a Buddhist practitioner since 1991. He facilitates meditation retreats and teaches courses on Buddhism and meditation at colleges and community organizations. Miles is the creator and facilitator of the Black Power Meditation Group and teaches meditation monthly to patients at the University of Maryland’s Department of Psychiatry and to inmates at Maryland’s Harford County Jail.

Fresh “Lev” White is a love and compassion activist, and a trained mindfulness teacher and practitioner. As a certified coach and professional trainer, Lev has offered over 200 diversity trainings in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. In addition to Trans and Gender Expansive workshops, Lev offers a series of workshops that include “Dismantling Microaggressions in the Workplace” and “Compassion for Enhanced Workplace Agility,” as well as grief circles for Black professionals and sustainability workshops for all people of color. 

Dawa Tarchin Phillips is a meditation teacher, author and speaker. He is the Founder of Empowerment Holdings and President of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association.


America's Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal With Larry Ward and Host Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Join summit host Ayo Yetunde for this profound interview with Dr. Larry Ward, a senior dharma teacher in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and cofounder of the Lotus Institute. Centering on Ward’s recently published book, America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal, this discussion touches on how both perpetrators and victims hold trauma in their bodies, as well as the possibility of becoming free from reactivity to one’s racial conditioning. After a powerful reading of a poem from his book, Larry and Ayo go on to talk about lessons he has drawn from his decades of international travel and teaching, the strength that can be accessed from skillful connection to one’s ancestry, and the transformation that is possible and necessary for America to move toward a more positive vision of its future.


Finding Freedom: An Interview with Jarvis Masters and Corny Koehl

We are incredibly honored to be joined by Jarvis Jay Masters, a Black Buddhist practitioner and author. Masters recorded this interview from San Quentin Prison, where he has been incarcerated for nearly 40 years. After being convicted in 1990 for a prison murder for which he has continuously maintained his innocence, Jarvis began practicing Buddhism with the guidance of a Tibetan teacher and has continued for the past 30 years on death row. Interviewed by Corny Koehl, producer of the Dear Governor Podcast about Jarvis’s case, he discusses the beginnings of his Buddhist practice, the doors that opened for him through learning to sit with himself, the ways he adapted Buddhist practice to connect compassionately with inmates and guards around him, the inspiration he takes from Black spiritual leaders, and much more. The recorded interview will be introduced by summit host Ayo Yetunde.


Black Buddhist Writing With Angela Dews, Shanté Paradigm Smalls, Valerie Brown, Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Although Black Americans have been practicing Buddhism for many decades, until recently it was not easy to find published writing by Black Buddhists. In the last few decades, and accelerating over the last few years, however, Black Buddhist writers have been publishing across the spectrum, from national online forums and magazines to trade books and in academia. In this panel, summit host and multi-book author Ayo Yetunde talks with fellow authors Angela Dews, and Shanté  Paradigm Smalls and Valerie Brown about how they write and what writing means to them. Audience members will be invited to submit questions to the panelists for Q&A.

Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls (They/Them/Theirs) is a student, practitioner, and teacher in the Tantric (Vajrayana) Buddhist tradition. They began studying and practicing Buddhism at age 17 and was authorized to teach meditation and buddhadharma in 2015. Shanté is focused on the healing impact of meditation in BIPOC, LGBTQ+,  and incarcerated and recovery communities, and teaches regularly on Weekly Dharma Gathering Online, which they co-founded and curate.

Angela Dews is a Black Buddhist in recovery who found the dharma on retreat from journalism, politics, and government. She took her broken heart to a POC retreat, and her first teacher, Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, said: "Harmony is possible. Your way of life is a message. Don’t think because you are poor you are helpless. Anger is not the only source of energy. Compassion is a verb. Mindful consumption is essential for community building." She is building community in her Harlem Insight sangha and at the Mother Ship, New York Insight Meditation Center.

Valerie Brown is an international retreat leader, writer, speaker, ICF-accredited leadership coach, Principal of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in application and integration of mindfulness and leadership, and faculty member at Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. She transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career as a lawyer-lobbyist to human-scale, equity-centered work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections. She is as an ordained Buddhist Dharma teacher in the Plum Village tradition founded by Thich Nhat Hanh and as a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).


Embodying Our Wholeness with Ritual, Guided Imagery, Movement & Voice With Arisika Razak and Rachel Bagby

I don’t know how my mother walked her trouble down

I don’t know how my father stood his ground

I don’t know how my people survived slavery

I do remember that’s why I believe

Bernice Johnson Reagon, Sweet Honey in the Rock

Transhistorical love -

often felt as resilience -

is what keeps me and many of us alive

Lama Rod Owens

The multilayered challenges and uncertainties of these times are fierce. What equally potent practices can help us honor and re-member the past, fully embrace the present, and radically re-vision our future? How do we create and support resilience in the face of persistent attacks on our persons, our bodies, and our communities? Join vocal artist and author Rachel Bagby and professor, midwife, and spiritual dancer Arisika Razak in this embodied healing session. We’ll engage voice blessings, ritual, guided imagery, and meditative movement as powerful containers for the gifts of our Black and Buddhist lineages. We’ll braid together the wisdom of our ancestors, the healing powers of our hearts, and the liberation we took birth for.


Blackness, Buddhism, and Trauma With Claudelle Glasgow, Kamilah Majied, Breeshia Wade, and Host Pamela Ayo Yetunde

What are the personal and intergenerational traumas that Black people—and, in different ways, all people—suffer from living in a deeply racist society? How can Buddhist practice help us to face and unravel racial trauma? And what does trauma-informed practice look like? In this panel conversation, summit host and pastoral counselor Ayo Yetunde engages three experts on these questions, exploring how Blackness, Buddhism, and trauma have intersected in their lives and how they approach trauma in their professional and clinical work. Audience members will be invited to send questions for the panelists during the latter part of the event.

Breeshia Wade, author of Grieving While Black: An Anti-racist Take on Oppression and Sorrow, has served as a lay ordained Zen Buddhist end-of-life caregiver, a birth doula, a writer, and a sex and grief coach. She earned a B.A in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with a focus in Creative Writing from Stanford University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago in Religious Studies, and completed a Buddhist chaplaincy training at Upaya Zen Center.

Dr. Kamilah Majied is a therapist, educator, author, and internationally engaged consultant on building inclusivity using meditative practices. Kamilah teaches contemplative practice from several perspectives including MBSR, mindfulness and racial justice, and mindfulness practices to preserve the environment. After 15 years of teaching at Howard University, Dr. Majied is now a Professor at CSU, Monterey Bay. 

Dr. Claudelle Glasgow (Dr. g) is a non-binary, queer, first-generation Afro-Caribbean. They serve as licensed clinical psychologist, Buddhist chaplain/death doula, writer, and public speaker. Dr. g’s healing work centers BIPOC at their intersections, utilizing technologies of the arts, somatics, and spirit to support inter-generational healing. In their creative offerings, Doc centers applied Buddhism, psychology, liminal spaces, and inter-generational dialogue and story through hybrid forms. 


LIVE CLOSING SESSION With Vimalasara and Host Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Join summit host Ayo Yetunde (coeditor of the book Black and Buddhist) along with award-winning mindfulness teacher Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason John (author of Detox Your Heart and other books) for a celebratory closing session to the Black and Buddhist online summit.