[Catalyst 3 - 2017] African American History Month & Standing Rock
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
So many of us are reeling, as President Trump’s executive orders create major tensions from the banning of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries as well as giving the go ahead on the Dakota Access Pipeline through Standing Rock.
To be clear, The Shift Network does not support these orders because we believe in moving forward towards a world in which the walls come down and we truly embrace our beautiful cultural and religious diversity Only by becoming a respectful global community will we see a long-awaited era of peace arrive.
As Devaa and I prepare to have our first child, I am finding myself doubly committed to having The Shift Network be a beacon of hope in these challenging times.
We all must strive together to be the change we want to see in the world and to take meaningful, practical action. This means we all will need to do the deep inner work of addressing our own shadows, fears and weaknesses and then to engage in actions that seek to bridge divides, prevent harm, and create a better world for all.
It is also vital that we truly learn to celebrate diversity (race, ethnic group, religion, sexual orientation, nationality) as a source of strength.
With that said, we are delighted to celebrate February as African American History Month (also known as Black History Month).
In my book, Sacred America, Sacred World, I write extensively about how important it is for the United States and world at large to heal the historic wounds caused by racism, oppression, and a sense of disconnection. Humanity will only reach its full potential by healing these wounds and creating an inclusive world where we celebrate our differences.
In this edition of The Catalyst, our beloved team member Nadirah Adeye has selected several recordings which we are making available for free from last year’s African American Wisdom Summit that she hosted. Nadirah also selected a recent video of Mahershala Ali, a star in Moonlight, speaking about the need for greater acceptance while receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award. (See Featured Media)
Our Member Profile is from Nadirah Adeye and the Featured Articles include one by Sameer Rao about how actors of color are making Oscar history and another piece by Myriad Works on “moving the ego out of allyship.”
In this edition of The Catalyst we also are bringing attention to the recent developments around Standing Rock, which continues to be a powerful example for all of us and a movement we need to continues to support.
We have two featured articles, one about Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, sending an open letter to President Trump. Also, David Korten of YES! Magazine shares a thoughtful piece about the wisdom from Standing Rock in making the distinction between “protectors of the sacred” and “protesters.”
Our Shift Philanthropy will stay focused on Standing Rock, as they prepare to enter legal actions to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Our Featured Artist is Sweet Honey in the Rock, a beautiful performance ensemble rooted in African American history and culture and focused on educating, entertaining and empowering.
We are also delighted to announce the launch of The Yoga Summit, one of our allies in the yoga community. You can enjoy their 21-days of yoga offerings in the early part of the year and then we will be bringing you more yoga inspiration from the banks of the holy Ganges River with the Yoga Day Summit on June 21. To learn more about The Yoga Summit, click here.
Finally, we want to highlight that The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence (SNV) commenced on January 30, in cities across the globe. The annual 64 day campaign, co-founded in 1998 by Dr. Arun Gandhi and The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the January 30th and April 4th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To learn more, click here.
Let’s rise to meet our collective challenges in a spirit of loving fierceness, in service to all.
In support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous Peoples everywhere, we share this song with the intention to spread a message, educate and inspire people to action due to the urgency of this situation.
Mahershala Ali — I’m a Muslim Mahershala Ali, a star in Moonlight, gives an emotional acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, calling for greater acceptance of differences and upliftment of people who are persecuted.
The African American Wisdom Summit that we held last year showcases our commitment to promoting pathways to collective healing and a thriving world. Here are three free recordings that provide inspirational insights you can apply in your daily life.
Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali and four others round out the most diverse Academy Awards acting nomainee pool ever.
Reversing course from last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures and other people of color-centered works with Oscar nominations today (January 24).
The three films, each of which features a predominantly Black cast, compete in the “Best Picture” and “Writing (Adapted Screenplay)” categories. Actresses Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) also square off for best “Actress in a Supporting Role.”
Edit note: The use of lower-case is intentional and the writer’s preference.
nearly every marginalized person with the platform to do so has already said this, but in case anyone might have missed it: there is no reward for being a good ally, and there is no threshold of welcoming that the marginalized need to maintain for you to care about them.
put another way: if you truly care about equality and justice and so on, then you must also care about those things when the people in most need of things do not like you.
“Imagine if Energy Transfer Partners planned to drill underneath Jerusalem.”
Cannon Ball, N.D. — In a letter published today, Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, urges President Trump to allow for the completion of a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Trump’s Memorandum called on the Department of Army to advance DAPL construction. The Memorandum also calls for the rescinding or modification of the December 4 decision, which halted DAPL’s construction until an EIS could be completed and a reroute considered. The EIS is already underway and the public comment period is open until February 20.
“This change in course is arbitrary and without justification; the law requires that changes in agency positions be backed by new circumstances or new evidence, not simply by the President’s whim,” Chairman Archambault writes. “It makes it even more difficult when one considers the close personal ties you and your associates have had with Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco.
When we call ourselves protectors, we cast our role as fulfilling our responsibility to the community that sustains us — not for our personal benefit, but for the benefit of all.
On Friday, January 20, Donald Trump took the presidential oath of office before a crowd best described as puny compared to the estimated 1.8 million people who attended Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. The following day, the world erupted as millions of people joined demonstrations in major cities across the United States and the world to express their commitment to opposing the agenda of the man who now holds the world’s most powerful office. Some cities drew more people than were in Washington for the inauguration.
Like so many, I have been watching the chaos that has been taking place in the last several weeks and months. Watching and feeling and expressing and seeking the best ways to take action in the midst of all that is going on. The call I have been getting is about the critical importance of coming back to center. Through it all. Meditating and coming to stillness, chanting and shifting the energies of rage and agitation through my being, even using exercise as a practice for coming into focus. And then, from that space of clarity, stillness and focus, I act. I allow myself to be guided by what is most truthful and honest for me and I take action to do my part to continue to co-create a world in which we can all thrive.
The Yoga Summit is a 21-day yoga journey to health, happiness, and peace. It includes interviews, live practices, and Q&A’s with some of the world’s most inspiring yoga leaders including Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Seane Corn, Radhanath Swami, Elena Brower, Dr. Richard Miller, and Danielle Laporte ... just to name a few! Our aim is to share as much of the principles and practices as we can so that the audience can integrate these tools into their daily life. We want everyone to participate so the summit is for all levels, including those who are completely new to yoga! To learn more, click here.
The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence (SNV) commences on January 30, in cities across the globe. The annual 64 day campaign, co-founded in 1998 by Dr. Arun Gandhi and The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the January 30 and April 4 memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To learn about the many ways you, your school and community can participate, click here.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence presents:Nonviolence in the Holy Land — Wednesday, February 22, 2017 — 7:00–9:00pm — Cotati, CA
Join us for an evening with Ali Abu Awwad, a Palestinian activist and pacifist. Ali is the founder of Al Tariq (The Way), which teaches the principles of nonviolent resistance to Palestinian men, women, and children. He is also a member of the Bereaved Families Forum, and tours the world together with Robi Damelin, a Jewish woman whose son was killed by a Palestinian sniper, to encourage dialogue and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis. His life and work have been featured in two award-winning films, Encounter Point and Forbidden Childhood. Address of the event: Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza, Cotati, CA. Open to the public. Donations gratefully accepted.
Join us from March 1–7, 2017 for the world famous annual International Yoga Festival on the banks of the holy Ganges river, in the lap of the sacred Himalayas, the birthplace of yoga at Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Receive the darshan and inspiring, uplifting wisdom of revered saints, the teaching and touch of renowned yoga teachers from across the world, from a wide variety of lineages, plus ecstatic kirtan, divine Ganga Aarti and much more. The International Yoga Festival is a truly globally-unique event bringing together so many masters from so many traditions, cultures and countries in one sacred, beautiful place! Register online, click here.
Nominate a Hero: Help the One Billion Acts of Peace team find contenders for our 2017 Hero Awards! Do you have a favorite business that is helping promote peace? Do you work with or know a local Non-profit doing incredible work in your community? Is there a stand out young person tackling an important issue or giving back to others in your area? We are searching for nominees throughout the world — so if you would like to submit a nominee please send me the following information: Contact Name, Organization, Contact Details, Location, Hero Award Category (Business, NGO, University, Youth, Up and Coming Peacemaker), A Short Blurb on why you think that they should be considered for a 2017 Hero Award.
We have until March 31 to find the best Acts of Peace around the world, and we would love your help. To learn more about this year's Hero Awards, click here. Or, you may contact Morgan Norris-Wamsley, click here.
Are you alarmed about the kind of world our children will grow up in? They are too! If you or your friends have environmentally concerned children who are 12 years old or younger in your life, here is an opportunity for them to express their fears, concerns and hopes for the future. At WeYourChildren.org you'll see 20 inspiring kids speaking in their own words, and learn how the children in your life can create and upload their own videos to add their voice for a Livable Future. Let's spark a global children's movement that gets attention and helps to create major change! Click here to learn more.
About As She Is — This is an authentic film showing one woman’s journey to connect with and live from the feminine aspect of herself. The story interweaves the personal journey with the collective journey to demonstrate the interdependent relationship between the maturing of the individual and the wisdom of the culture. It is a prayer from the heart for the future of our world and it shows that each of us has the power to bring life back into balance. To learn more, click here.
The Convergence Series, co-sponsored by The Interspiritual Network, 1god.com, and Presence.tv, is a 13-week special radio series centering on the convergence of transformative arenas and disciplines worldwide as we enter this globalizing age. The Series host is Dr. Kurt Johnson of the Interspiritual Network, joined regularly by Ben Bowler of 1god.com and Doug King of Presence.tv. An episode guide is at the the 1god.com website. Shift's founder Stephen Dinan has been appeared on several episodes and will co-host the concluding episode on February 3. Philip M. Hellmich, Director of Peace at The Shift Network, hosted a conversation with James O’Dea and Emily Hine on January 5. Deepak Chopra appears on January 12. To learn more and to listen to all the recordings, click here.
The Global Indigenous Wisdom Library is a collection of audio and video interviews featuring Indigenous leaders from around the world sharing prayers, sacred songs, prophecies, spiritual teachings and pathways to healing,as well as concrete examples for birthing a new era — one in which all members of the human family are treated with respect, understanding, compassion and justice. This sacred wisdom is important medicine for us all. The production of The Global Indigenous Wisdom Library is a gift from The Shift Network, designed to inspire, inform and involve you by highlighting the voices and important messages of Indigenous leaders from around the world. We thank all the speakers who have contributed to this body of knowledge! To learn more, click here.
Book by Stephen Dinan: Sacred America, Sacred World is infused with visionary power, it’s a manifesto for our country’s evolution that is both political and deeply spiritual. It offers profound hope that America can grow beyond our current challenges and manifest our noblest destiny, which the book shows is rooted in sacred principles that transcend left or right political views. To order your copy, click here.
More than 18 million people have traveled to the tiny Bosnian village of Medjugorje to witness daily apparitions of the Virgin Mary and experience her healing powers. Author Judith Lambert, a skeptic, was among them. Events that occurred during her four pilgrimages there between 1986 and 1991, however, convinced her that Mary is not only present but “everyone’s goddess,” a culmination of the sacred feminine throughout history who loves and nurtures all of humanity. To learn more, click here.
Gandhi Searches for Truth: A Practical Biography for Children chronicles the path that led Gandhi from childhood to Mahatma-hood in 12 beautifully illustrated stories. Each chapter sheds light on a lesson about the power of nonviolence. For children and adults alike. Author Stephanie N. Van Hook is the Executive Director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and is trained in Montessori Early Childhood Education. To learn more, click here.
Awake: The Life of Yogananda— Now available on Netflix, Amazon and other livestream programs.Plus, DVDs available with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch and Japanese. Plus there are new film showings in Australia and United States! You also can bring Awake to your yoga studio or community. To learn more click here. (The filmmakers were interviewed in the Yoga Day Summit, the recording is available for free.)
The Global Peace Index 2016 was released. The Global Peace Index, which ranks 163 countries on their peacefulness, has helped shift the world’s conversation about peace to a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human well-being and progress. Highlights from the report:
Global inequality in peace has widened in 2016 as least peaceful countries spiral into increased violence
The world became less peaceful in 2016, reinforcing an underlying decade-long deterioration in world peacefulness driven primarily by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability.
The economic impact of violence on the global economy totalled $13.6 trillion or 13.3% of gross world product, equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.
The economic impact of violence was $137 trillion over the last decade — greater than global GDP in 2015.
Refugees and displaced persons have risen dramatically over the last decade, doubling to approximately 60 million people between 2007 and 2016, nearly 1% of the world’s population.
Iceland is the world’s most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria.
Syria is least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
World Peace Library — Free Resource — Be sure to take advantage of the World Peace Library, a wide-ranging resource on peace newly compiled by the Shift Network: It contains more than 300 inspiring talks and mini-workshops from individuals such as Archbishop Tutu, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra, James O'Dea, Karen Armstrong, Chief Phil Lane and many more. With neuroscientists and lamas, faith-based activists and political leaders, this Library offers something for all in their peacebuilding efforts. The Shift Network has made the World Peace Library a free resource for all and encourages its use to promote peace in your families, schools, and wider community.
If you would like to submit something to The Catalyst, please see the submission guidelines: click here.
• Transforming Aging Summit
• Plant Medicine Summit
• Ram Dass 4-week course
• Mark Matousek 7-week course
• Richard Miller 7-week course • Robert Moss 7-week course
• HeatherAsh Amara 7-week course
• Andrew Harvey & Chris Saade 7-week course
• Jessica Dibb 5-month program
• Shift Leadership Training for Women 9-month program
• Energy Medicine Summit
• Grandmother Flordemayo 7-week course
• David Crow 7-week course
• Tom Pinkson 7-week course
• Caroline Casey 7-month program
Stand with Standing Rock — More than ever, it is time to support our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock. We strongly encourage you to make a donation to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: click here.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe — We want to acknowledge the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for their leadership and commitment to a nonviolent approach to DAPL. To learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, click here. To follow them on Facebook, click here.
“Sweet Honey in the Rock® is a performance ensemble rooted in African American history and culture. The ensemble educates, entertains and empowers its audience and community through the dynamic vehicles of a cappella singing and American Sign Language interpretation for the Deaf and hearing impaired. Sweet Honey’s audience and community comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures throughout the United States and around the world, and includes people of all ages, economic/education/social backgrounds, political persuasions, religious affiliations, sexual preferences and differing abilities.” One of Nadirah’s favorite songs is "Ella Song" (click here to see video). To learn more about Sweet Honey in the Rock, click here.