The events of recent years have inspired a deep collective reckoning that extends to the very heart of what it means to be an engaged citizen. The current struggles around race, culture, gender, and ecology reflect a deep division that calls into question our preconceived notions of who we think we are and what we’re capable of becoming. Across religious and cultural divisions, prophetic voices - inspired and grounded in spiritual traditions - have historically roused and sustained profound movements for social justice. And, as much as spirituality can be a balm and a pacifier, it can also be the fuel and the language that bridges the divisive ground between us. As we seek greater depth in practice and as we form new kinds of community, we are individually and collectively called to reimagine spirituality and citizenship.
Activists like Gandhi, Gaura Devi, Martin Luther King, Simone Weil, Thich Nhat Han, Elie Wiesel, Gustavo Gutierrez, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa, and the Dalai Lama each spoke from within their religious traditions and across religious boundaries. They worked in response to the needs of their times and they constructively used the languages of their religious and spiritual traditions to ground, inspire, and ultimately transform their communities. As we face the colossal challenges of systemic racism and environmental degradation, we need practices that restore hope, acceptance, and strength. At the same time, we also need critical interventions that can help us reshape our practices so that they are inclusive and sensitive in ways previously unimagined.
All Times are in EST (East Coast USA) and are subject to change. Click on the "About" link next to each talk title for a full description.
Orientation with Co-Hosts Oneika Mays & Jacob Kyle
Spiritual Citizenship Keynote Discussion
(Interviewer: Oneika Mays)
Cornel West - Live Interview with Q&A
Live Workshops designed to integrate the work explored throughout the conference. Click on the button below each Workshop title for a full description. All workshops are scheduled to begin at 6pm ET / 3pm PT each day.
BONUS WORKSHOPS | SATURDAY, JULY 24th
With growing global support, YGB is now empowering over 1400 women and children in India with a minimum five-year commitment to each person. Today, YGB’s “Sister Aid” program provides microloans to 500 mothers and primary education to 600 young girls and abandoned children. Our “SHE (Scholarship for Higher Education)” program offers 300 disadvantaged youths in Karnataka and West Bengal an opportunity to obtain college degrees. YGB work closely with our respectful NGO partners (Non Governmental Organizations) in India to carry out and grow YGB programs together.
*more information on how to give back will follow conference registration
Oneika Mays, LMT, E-RYT (she,her) transitioned to yoga and meditation from a 20 year career in corporate retail leadership over 10 years ago. Oneika used that experience to support social justice non-profits and teach meditation and yoga inside jails. Today, she is the first Mindfulness Coach at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. At Rikers she works one-on-one with community members in a therapeutic/medical setting. Sessions are a combination of modalities and are infused with compassion. These sessions are meant to help people foster resilience and agency. She believes that our justice system needs to focus on transformation and restoration rather than punishment. This idea of liberation and compassion is woven into her work whether it’s in a jail or teaching meditation. In addition to teaching meditation and yoga Oneika facilitates workshops and trainings around the country centered around resilience, liberation and compassion. She believes that meditation, movement and mindfulness practices can forge a path to freedom. Power for the people.
Jacob Kyle, MA, MSc, (he/him) is a meditation teacher, writer, philosophy educator and the Founding Director of Embodied Philosophy, an online educational platform for wisdom studies and contemplative practices. Jacob holds an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2007) and an MA in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research (2013). In 2020, Jacob was initiated as an Acharya (authorized teacher) of Neelakhanta Meditation in the tradition of Blue Throat Yoga by scholar-practitioner Paul Muller-Ortega. Jacob is a devoted student and practitioner of the Śaiva-Śakta Darśana.
LeTonia A. Jones, MSW/Empowerment Practitioner is the Managing Editor for MindBody Studies at Embodied Philosophy. She is a social justice advocate, death penalty abolitionist, educator, newspaper columnist and poet. LeTonia earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky. She was certified as an Empowerment Practitioner by the Empowerment Institutein Rhinebeck, NY. As a death penalty abolitionist she provides mitigation services to capital defense teams in order to preserve the lives of her clients. Jones’ work is rooted in advocacy on behalf of marginalized voices and healing from traumas induced by systemic racism and oppression.
Digital Community Manager
Mika is a community leadership and yoga facilitator at the intersections of racial, economic, and healing justice in order to empower everyday civic alignment. Her passion is to support interactive experiences in a pragmatic way with a sense of dry humor. She has a BA in Fine Arts and Marketing from Rollins College, a 500hr yoga teacher training from Ignite Yoga & Wellness Institute and Yoga Blue Fitness, and certificates in somatic coaching, public speaking and herbalism. She is an aspiring writer currently tucked away in sunny Florida exploring vishoka meditation and just keeps swimming through her love/hate relationship with social media.
Stephanie Corigliano, PhD, is an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies department at Humboldt State University and Gwynedd Mercy University, editor of Tarka, and Co-director of the Yoga Philosophy Certificate program at Embodied Philosophy. As a yoga practitioner and mother of two active boys, she also maintains a 28 acre homestead in Northern California where she tends to bees and grows a variety of fruits and vegetables.