Event Speakers

Pamela Ayo Yetunde, JD, ThD

Pamela Ayo Yetunde, JD, ThD is the co-editor of Black and Buddhist. She is a chaplain and pastoral counselor, co-founder of Center of the Heart, a spiritual wellness organization that focuses on body, behavior, and beliefs. She is also founder of Audre: Spiritual Care for Women with Cancer. Ayo has written for Lion's Roar magazine and has published other books on Buddhism.

Ayo's articles on Buddhism can be found on Lion's Roar and Ayo's books can be found here.

Ruth King

Ruth King is a celebrated author, educator, and meditation teacher and the founder of Mindful of Race Institute. King leads meditation retreats worldwide and trains leaders and organizations in exploring racism and racial conditioning through a mindfulness-based approach. She is the author of Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism From The Inside Out and Healing Rage. Her most recent work is featured in Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom.

You can learn more about Ruth on her website and at Mindful of Race Institute. The Mindful of Race Institute was established to support individuals, organizations, and communities seeking to engage in the inner work of racial healing and social wellbeing. Founded by Ruth King, the Institute offers a range of training programs and interventions that emphasize racial understanding, connection, and accountability.

Larry Ward, PhD

Larry Ward (pronouns- he/him) is a senior teacher in Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village tradition and the author of the book America's Racial Karma. Dr. Ward brings 25 years of international experience in organizational change and local community renewal to his work as director of the Lotus Institute and as an advisor to the Executive Mind Leadership Institute at the Drucker School of Management. He holds a PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Buddhism and the neuroscience of meditation.

You can learn more about Dr. Ward's work through his non-profit The Lotus Institute and connect with him on Facebook and Instagram.

Rhonda Magee, MA, JD

Rhonda Myozen V. Magee, M.A., J.D., is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, and has spent more than twenty years exploring the intersections of anti-racist education, social justice, and contemplative practices. She is an internationally-recognized innovator, storyteller, thought and practice leader on integrating Mindfulness into Higher Education, Law and Social Justice, and author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness (Penguin RandomHouse TarcherPerigee: 2019).

You can learn more about her work on her website which serves as a resource and online community hub focused on engaged mindfulness.

Jarvis Jay Masters

Jarvis Jay Masters was born in Long Beach, California, in 1962. He is a widely published African American Buddhist writer and the author of That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row. His poem “Recipe for Prison Pruno” won the PEN Award in 1992. He has kept an active correspondence with teachers and students across the country for two decades, and his work continues to be studied in classrooms in both grade schools and colleges. In collaboration with the Truthworkers, a hip-hop theatre company for youth in New York City dedicated to issues of social justice, his work has been adapted and performed in a variety of venues including the National Cathedral and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Since taking formal refuge vows with H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in 1991, Jarvis has also been guided by Ven. Pema Chödrön, with whom he shares an enduring friendship. In 2020, he became the subject of a podcast series Dear Governor as well as a new biography, The Buddhist on Death Row: How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place, by David Sheff. Originally sent to San Quentin State Prison in 1981 for armed robbery, Jarvis was convicted of conspiracy to murder a prison guard in 1985 and sentenced to death in 1990. Because his case involved a correctional officer, he was placed in solitary confinement and endured there for twenty-one years, from 1985 to 2007. Jarvis exhausted his state appeals in 2019, and his case is currently headed to the federal courts. For more information on the growing campaign to exonerate him, go to www.freejarvis.org.

Claudelle Glasgow, PSYD, PLLC

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.

You can learn more Dr. g's work on their website and connect on Instagram and Twitter.

Justin Miles, MA, LCPC-S, LGAD-S

Justin F. Miles MA LCPC-S LGAD-S began practicing Zen meditation in 1991 and has been a practitioner and teacher of the Shambhala Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhist tradition for the last 20 years. Additionally, he has studied and practiced with a community of Lakota practitioners since 1998 and is also a student of Contemplative Christianity and Taoism. His primary interest is the organization, mobilization, education and upliftment of Black people brought about through the direct experience of their nature, culture and the activity of their everyday lives. To help to bring this about, Justin created the world’s first Afrikan Centered and Buddhist inspired practice liturgy titled “The Sadhana of Awakened Melanin”, designed to center Black people around their inner, outer and secret Black Power. Justin facilitates meditation retreats and teaches courses on Buddhism and meditation throughout the Washington DC and Baltimore area at colleges and community organizations, 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 inmates at Maryland’s Harford County Jail. In his spare time he works in private practice as a psychotherapist, is a Baltimore City Master Gardener, writes about the intersections of non duality, Hiphop culture and Contemplative studies and produces dope Hiphop music under the name J-Who? Worldwise.

You can learn more about him on his website and find his work on Hip Hop Alive and BandCamp.

Sebene Selassie

Sebene Selassie is a teacher and author who explores the themes of belonging and identity through meditation, creativity and spirituality. She offers courses, workshops and retreats online and in person and teaches on the Ten Percent Happier app.

You can learn more about her work on her website and order her new book You Belong: A Call for Connection.

Fresh "Lev" White

Fresh “Lev” White is a love and compassion activist. He offers mindfulness, mediation, and diversity training as tools for shifting towards more authentic, conscious, and passionate living, working with individuals, households, and professional teams. As a certified coach, and professional trainer, Lev has offered over 200 diversity trainings in the San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond. His clients include universities, public schools, therapy collectives, tech, science and entertainment companies. In addition to Trans and Gender Expansive workshops, Lev offers a series of workshops that include, Dismantling Microaggressions in the Workplace, Compassion for Enhanced Workplace Agility, and works with partners to deliver White Ally Trainings. Over the past year, Lev has also provided grief circles for Black professionals, and Sustainability workshops for all people of color. A trained mindfulness teacher and practitioner, Lev offers mindfulness, and meditation in corporate, spiritual, and other private and public settings. Lev credits his ability to reach diverse audiences to his years growing up in ethnically mixed communities in New York.

You can learn more about Lev on his website and connect on LinkedIn.

Breeshia Wade

Breeshia Wade has served as a lay ordained Zen Buddhist end-of-life caregiver and birth doula by day, and a writer, sex, and grief coach in the evening. In all aspects of her career, she seeks to uncover the ways that we experience grief–in our relationship with ourselves and others, at the beginning and end of life, in the daily experiences of systemic injustice–and how we can use that grief to inform rather than drive us. She attended Stanford University, where she earned a BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, with a focus in Creative Writing. Her journey led her to earn an MA from the University of Chicago in Religious Studies and then spend two years at a Buddhist chaplaincy training at Upaya Zen Center. She is the author of Grieving While Black: An Anti-racist Take on Oppression and Sorrow.

You can learn more about her work on her website and find her course on Good Grief: An Indepth Roadmap from Ally to Anti-racist here.

Shanté Paradigm Smalls, PhD

Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls (They/Them/Theirs) is a student, practitioner, and teacher in the Tantric (Vajrayana) Buddhist tradition. Shanté began studying and practicing Buddhism at age 17 and has practiced in Zen, Sokka Gakkai International, Shambhala, and Bhumisparsha communities. Shanté trained from 2009 to 2015 in the Shambhala lineage as a Buddhist and meditation teacher 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. Shanté teaches regularly on Weekly Dharma Gathering Online which they co-founded and curate. Shanté is currently a student of both Lama Rod Owens and Lama Justin von Budjoss co-founding teachers of Bhumisparsha.

You can find out more about Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls on their website and find links to their work here.

Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John

Award winning author Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John is the co-founder of eight step recovery, as mentioned in the New York Times, and of Mindfulness Based Addiction Recovery 8 week program. Their most recent book I am Still Your Negro - An Homage to James Baldwin was voted one of the best Canadian poetry books published in 2020. Their latest book an anthology of 33 writers, Afrikan Wisdom: New Voices talk Black Liberation, Buddhism, and Beyond will be published July 2021.

You can learn more about their work and find all of their publications on their website.

Arisika Razak, CNM, MPH

Arisika Razak is Professor Emerita, and former Chair of the Women’s Spirituality Program, at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She is a healer, ritualist, and spiritual teacher, who served as an inner city midwife and health-care advocate for over 20 years. A core teacher at Oakland’s East Bay Meditation Center, she has led healing, and empowerment workshops and performed as a spiritual dancer for over 30 years.

You can watch a few of her videos here, here, and here.

Spring Washam

Spring Washam is a well-known meditation teacher, author and visionary leader based in California and Peru. She is the author of A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage and Wisdom in Any Moment. Spring is considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based healing practices to diverse communities. She is one of the founders and core teachers at the East Bay Meditation Center, located in downtown Oakland, CA. She received extensive training by Jack Kornfield, is a member of the teacher’s council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in northern California, and has practiced and studied Buddhist philosophy in both the Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism for the last 20 years. In addition to being a teacher, she is also a shamanic practitioner and has studied indigenous healing practices for over a decade. She is the founder of Lotus Vine Journeys, an organization that blends indigenous healing practices with Buddhist wisdom. Her writing and teachings have appeared in many online journals and publications such as Lions Roar, Tricycle, and Belief.net. She has been a guest on many popular podcasts and radio shows. She currently travels and teaches meditation retreats, workshops and classes worldwide.

You can learn more about her work and sign up for her mailing list on her website. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also join her on one of her Peru retreats through Lotus Vine Journeys.

Rachel Bagby

Rachel Bagby, award-winning vocalist and author of Daughterhood and Divine Daughters: Liberating the Power and Passion of Women’s Voices, writes music/poems/prose. She loves mentoring women to unleash their voices as instruments of transformation A Stanford Law graduate and practitioner/teacher of contemplative arts for over 30 years, she co-founded Bagby, Davidson & Associates, and Singing Farm Sanctuary in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rachel is deeply grateful to carry on and grow her ancestors’ wisdom.

Angela Dews

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.

You can connect with her and The Harlem Insight teaching team through weekly guided meditation and discussion about what the Buddha taught on Facebook. You can also read her book Still, in the City, a collection of stories about the fierce practice of urban Buddhism — when a Brooklyn subway becomes a moving temple and when a magnificent ficus tree offers a meditator shade in Praca Dom Emanuel in Brazil.

Dawa Tarchin Phillips

Dawa Tarchin Phillips is Founder of Empowerment Holdings, an international mindful leadership development and coaching company. He is co-founder of the Mindful Leadership Online Training Conference, and founder of The Mindful Leadership Tribe, an online community of mindful leaders. He is an experienced mindfulness and meditation teacher, author, entrepreneur, spiritual leader, researcher and educator. He is President of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association, a global professional organization for Mindfulness teachers from 30 countries who teach in 13 languages. Dawa completed two 3-year meditation retreats and is a member of the prestigious Transformational Leadership Council and the Association of Transformational Leaders, and an uncommon voice in the global mindfulness movement. He is a contributing author for Mindful magazine, Tricycle magazine, and Lion’s Roar, and his work has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Men’s Fitness, Forbes and Fast Company. He lives with his family in Santa Barbara, California.

You can learn more about his work on his website and download a free Awakening Presence meditation here.

Valerie Brown, JD, MA, PCC

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). As certified Kundalini yoga teacher, she helps leaders discover the wisdom of the body. She leads an annual transformational pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago, Spain, to celebrate the power of sacred places.

You can learn more about her work on Lead Smart Coaching.

Kamilah Majied, PhD

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. She serves as the Inclusivity Advisor for the Contemplative Coping During COVID 19 Research Project at UC Davis, Center for Mind and Brain and as Anti-Racism Consultant for The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Drawing from her decades of contemplative practice and leadership, Dr. Majied engages people in experiencing wonder, humor and insight through transforming oppressive patterns and deepening relationships.

You can learn more about her work and how she uses contemplative practices in education, mental health, organizational development, and diversity, equity and inclusion work on her website.

Suryagupta Dharmacharini

Suryagupta is Chair of the London Buddhist centre, one of the largest urban Buddhist centres in the UK. She is the first female and woman of colour to lead the centre in its 43 year history. She brings to the role a deep love of meditation and a commitment to reach diverse communities. Suryagupta has worked extensively with educators, artists, social activists and CEO’s as a professional storyteller, mentor and global leadership advisor. She specialises in creating spaces for personal, professional and social transformation bringing together the arts, social justice and Buddhist teachings. She has written and presented for BBC Radio 4 Something Understood and currently presents for BBC Radio 2 Pause for Thought.

You can connect with Suryagupta on Instagram.

Rima Vesely-Flad, PhD

Rima Vesely-Flad, PhD is an Associate Professor of Religion and Social Justice and the Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Warren Wilson College. She is the author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice and is currently writing Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation (NYU Press, 2021).

Find a free talk with Dr. Vesely-Flad on Learning About Black Buddhist Dharma Teachers and Healing Justice here.