Born in Japan, Kazu has been engaged in social change work since participating in the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage at 17 years old. He has over 15 years of experience in nonviolence, training and organizing work and has been trained by elders such as Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Rev. James Lawson. He has been a Kingian Nonviolence trainers since 2009, is a core member of the Ahimsa Collective, the co-founder/Board Chair of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice and sits on the board of PeaceWorkers.
He is the founder of East Point Peace Academy and is a trainer/facilitator in nonviolence and restorative justice. He is deeply committed to empowering incarcerated communities and building Beloved Community.
Chris is the author of The Gandhian Iceberg: A Nonviolence Manifesto for the Age of the Great Turning and producer of Bringing Down the New Jim Crow, a radio documentary series, has worked with a variety of human rights, peace, and social justice organizations, including the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Christian Peacemaker Teams, and has served on international peace teams in Colombia and Palestine.
Chris is the Operations Coordinator at East Point Peace Academy, a father, a musician, and an avid soccer player.
Aimee is passionate about co-creating a world where everyone is empowered to show up as their fullest selves, where everyone’s needs matter, and where there is space for all voices to be heard. As a way to fulfill these passions, she offers workshops, conflict transformation and mediation services and trainings, group facilitation, organizational development, and private coaching. Aimee has been studying restorative justice, as well as mindfulness and yoga practices, for over 17 years, and is a Certified Nonviolent Communication Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, and a certified mediator, yoga teacher, and coach. Her experience ranges from working with nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, schools, and prisons, to communities, families and individuals. Currently living in Ashland, Oregon, her life is now largely focused co-creating social technologies for thriving, equitable communities, organizations, and movements.
Ali is a Climate Leader with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, a Training Manager and Meditation Facilitator at Apple, Founding Director of 10,000 Hours of Meditation, a TEDx Speaker, and Co-Founder of Intelligent Play, which has led play-based environmental education workshops in 15 countries around the world. Ali has spent several years advising on the Boards of Directors for the North American Association for Environmental Education, the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, and has served as Ambassador for Mission Be.
Ali has practiced yoga and meditation for 23 years, and taught yoga and meditation in maximum-security men’s prisons. She managed the communications department for a federally-funded environmental agency based in an Inuit community of the Canadian Arctic Circle, called Iqaluktutiak, also known as Cambridge Bay. While there, she studied with elders to learn traditional Inuit environmental values, to ice fish, and to sew traditional Inuit clothes. She also learned to kite board on the frozen ocean. She founded the Nunavut branch of the Canadian Water Resources Association, and participated in the creation of the Pan-Arctic Environmental Education Association. During this time, her arctic writing was nominated for a national literary award. Ali has a background in Education, Communications, Biology, Law, and a Masters degree in Environmental Studies. She is now based in the Bay Area of Northern California.
Cristobal is co-founder of the international grassroots animal activist network Direct Action Everywhere. They started organizing in 1995, when he became a leader with a Latinx-focused youth mentoring program. They still work for human rights causes, but after a touching moment with a cow named Bernie, they spends much of their free time fighting for animals. Taking nonviolent direct action has always been important to Cristobal, whether it is protesting, teaching, cooking for other activists, or doing Open Rescue. Cristobal leads nonviolence workshops around the country. They work with the East Point Peace Academy and the Kingian Nonviolence Coordinating Committee to further the dream of institutionalizing and internationalizing nonviolence, including by offering trainings to all with a focus on the animal rights movement. They are inspired by their family, who fought for farm workers with Cesar Chavez, and by every activist who confronts injustice.
“We engage in Fierce Vulnerability when we embody our highest values as we organize and take action for social change – when we merge political struggle with a culture of authenticity and unconditional love, knowing that such an effort is not only right in itself, but also necessary for building the cohesion our movements need to win”
David Dean is a writer, speaker, and anti-racism trainer seeking to support the growth of powerful, multiracial movements by showing white Americans how their ultimate well-being is tied to the freedom of people of color. He has been shaped most by his family’s love and his upbringing in Quaker communities. David loves to facilitate others’ discovery of their own inherent goodness and power to create social change. Hear more from him at davidbfdean.com.
“Fierce Vulnerability takes our humanity – our hurt, joy, brokenness, and authenticity – public. It is about taking a risk, not to feel powerful in the way domination asks us to be, but to be more fully connected to life and to our own ability for deep, transformative love.”
Erin has spent most of her life in the rocky hills surrounding the Red Brook in Pocumtuc, Nipmuc, and Agawam territory. She has spent most of the last two years traveling around this continent, which has been amazing and quite disorienting: She saw the apples blossom five times this spring and her circannual rhythm is quite confused.
Her relentless compulsion to learn and be in service has led her to pursue a strange collection of skills which seem clearly linked only to her. This includes experiential education, emergency medical skills, cooperative economics with a bent towards racial and financial equity, regenerative farming, poetry, massage, bioregional plant breeding, patterns of systemic social change, and how to have it all. She is generally very focused but easily distracted by plants.
She has spent most of the past 10-15 years involved in agriculture and community transformation. She currently directs most of her energy towards two projects: She partners with farmers and organizations who steward land to reverse rather than contribute to climate destabilization, increasing our ability to grow food regionally and regenerating landscapes to increase resiliency during extreme weather events. She is also part of creating a decentralized network to support climate and racial healing through direct action.
Any pronoun used with love is welcome.
Karl Steyaert is passionate about co-creating learning experiences and communities that contribute to peace, justice, and sustainability. With over 20 years of experience teaching and facilitating groups, and as a Certified Trainer in Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Karl facilitates and leads trainings in conflict transformation, restorative justice, and community building across North America, Europe, and Asia. He is also the founder of the Cultural Catalyst Network (www.culturalcatalystnetwork.org), a global network dedicated to co-creating a world that works for all life, through intra-personal, inter-personal, and systemic learning and action. More about Karl at www.karlsteyaert.com.
Marla is a seminary-trained United Methodist committed to supporting people of all faiths and no particular faith to act boldly for justice. An experienced campaigner, trainer, pastor and lay leader, she brings two decades of social justice organizing experience with faith-based, youth, and grassroots groups. She supported the launch of Climate Summer, serving as its Director for five years, and is a Co-Founder of both Better Future Project and 350 Massachusetts. Marla has supported, organized, and participated in many direct action and civil disobedience efforts, including the Lobster Boat Blockade and the campaign of sustained nonviolent resistance to Spectra Energy’s West Roxbury Lateral pipeline project with Resist The Pipeline. Marla is a Co-Founder of the Climate Disobedience Center and serves as its Director. She is passionate about leadership development and building supportive communities of resistance among unlikely allies. After 18 years in the Boston area, Marla moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in November 2018. She will always also call the Missouri Ozarks “home.”
As a facilitator, coach and educator Morgan works at the intersection of community-building and political mobilization, striving to understand how stories shape human relationships, resilience, and revolutions. From her work with SustainUS, a youth-led non-profit working on climate justice internationally, she is passionate about facilitating youth organizing, personal growth, grief work and direct action, with a grounding in relationship, ritual and storytelling. Morgan is a resident of Canticle Farm, an interracial, interfaith, intergenerational community in occupied Ohlone territory (known as Oakland, CA). As a young woman with many intersecting privileges, Morgan is dedicated to working with fellow young people with wealth towards redistribution, as well as to showing up to build and contribute to cross-class and interracial work and community.
Nathan is wandering the west coast visiting various prisons facilitating Alternatives to Violence Project workshops, which are intensive, experiential workshops on conflict transformation. He is most alive in these settings. Previous and possibly future wanderings include various Catholic Worker communities, Zen Buddhist monasteries, and other intentional communities as he seeks out the intersection of semi-monastic living and working towards systemic social change (the whole/holy life). Play, movement, and the deep exploration of experience are important to him.
He believes “Fierce Vulnerability is the conscious and courageous shift towards changing the level of discourse we have within ourselves, in our local communities, and in society at large. Based on a foundation of trust and community, we engage more directly with reality, the joys and the suffering, that through our shared experience, especially our mutual hardships, we might come to a better understanding and engage in more appropriate, healing responses.”
Since 2015, Sandra has served as the Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Public Service Center. The Center connects faculty, students, and communities to promote social justice and transformative social change. For over 20 years, Sandra Bass has been a champion for social justice. With professional and personal experiences cutting across sectors, issue areas, and geographies, her passion is educating and activating our next generation of social change agents. Sandra holds a Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley. She also serves on the regional Board of the Jefferson Awards Foundation, the Board of the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund, and is the immediate past Board Chair of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland.
“To me, Fierce Vulnerability is about opening up our hearts while fiercely holding a line. It’s about loving accountability – integrity in action.”
Despite his conviction of the inherent violence of “the State” Shawn regards himself as a born-n-raised Texan. When he was 6 he became the absolute best pogo-stick-er in the neighborhood and has since tried to apply his habit of focused learning to subjects of more use to the world around him.
Since 2008, he has spent most of his time in the town of Denton, where he co-founded a Catholic Worker community. There, through partnering with people experiencing homelessness, he became devoted to all manner of home and communal economy: gardening, facilitation, sharing platforms, conflict transformation, bicycle repair, clarification of thought, civil disobedience, and any good experiment in Truth.
He is thrilled to support people in taking the risk of self-reflection and feels deep kindredness with anyone striving to do both the “outer” and “inner” work of nonviolence.
He is currently supporting the development of a decentralized national network of people working toward climate and racial healing through direct action.
To learn more about the trainers, visit East Point Peace Academy’s website http://eastpointpeace.org/