[Catalyst 4 - 2017] African American History Month & Standing Rock Updates
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
With all the tumult in American politics, it can be easy to overlook very important developments. For instance, the Trump administration has moved forward on the Dakota Access Pipeline, ignoring the rights of native peoples. Five days ago, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a major legal brief challenging the pipeline approval, and we can only hope that the legal system protects both the law and the water.
In times like these, I think of Ben Kingsley’s words in the epic movie, Gandhi: “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it… always.”
It is so important that we stay alert to political and global developments in these challenging times — and look for opportunities to engage in meaningful ways that are clear, ethical, spirit-fueled stands for the world we want to create. It’s essential that we be mindful against unnecessary demonization and polarization that can easily spiral into violence. By taking a clear, ethical stand, we can win over the hearts of others.
In addition to donating to Standing Rock or getting personally involved in protests, we are also well served to disentangle ourselves from the economic incentives that drive projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline: switching our banks, going solar, minimizing our fossil fuel use. This part is essential — how are we each contributing in direct and indirect ways to the forces that are creating oppression?
You can rely on The Shift Network to keep offering opportunities for all of us to do the deep inner work that will enable us to express our highest soul qualities in tangible, practical and effective actions.
In this edition of The Catalyst, we feature an article focusing on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s filing of a legal brief which asks the federal court to set aside Trump’s pipeline reversal.
Our Shift Philanthropy will stay focused on Standing Rock, a powerful example for all of us and a movement we need to continue to support.
It will take all of us to create an inclusive world in which we celebrate our differences and rejoice in the things that bring us together.
Another way to do this is by marking African American History Month (also known as Black History Month) this month, and honoring the beauty, brilliance and wisdom that African Americans are contributing to the world.
That’s why we’re delighted to share highlights from last year's African American Wisdom Summit, which was created and hosted by Nadirah Adeye, our Faculty Relations Manager. Nadirah is a real champion on our team who’s passionate about creating a world in which we can all thrive.
Nadirah is personally invested in African American History Month because like every mother, she wants her beloved son, Torin, to grow up in a world where he’s valued for who he is and the gifts he brings to the world.
In this edition of The Catalyst,Nadirah has selected several recordings which we are making available for free from last year’s African American Wisdom Summit. Nadirah also chose to highlight a trailer from the award-winning documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, which is based on the book that writer James Baldwin was working on when he passed away in 1987. (See Featured Media)
Our Member Profile features an insightful hour-long interview with Nadirah. And the Featured Articles include a fascinating piece about the Moorish influence in Europe entitled “When Black Men Ruled the World” and a riveting interview with Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin, the first woman of African American and Japanese descent — and the only Western woman — to be ordained as a Buddhist priest within the worldwide Nichiren Order.
We also want to hear your thoughts on what actions you can take to create a world that works for all. To share your reflections with our Facebook Page community, click here
Our Featured Artist is Lizz Wright, a vocalist and composer who synthesizes R&B, jazz, folk, blues, and gospel. Thanks to Nadirah Adeye for bringing our attention to this talented artist.
Finally, I wanted to alert you to an opportunity to join spiritual teacher Thomas Hübl today, Sunday, February 19, at 11:30am Pacific for a free 1-hour online event, Collective and Intergenerational Trauma Integration. There is still much to understand about the symptoms and treatment of collective trauma, and Thomas is an important voice in this work.
As we continue to strive to deepen our inner lives and express our growing awareness in our every action, we inch ever closer to critical mass and lasting cultural change.
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.
Based on writer James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, this documentary tells the story of race in modern America via Baldwin's reminiscences of civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers. The film, which is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, has won numerous awards, including “Best Documentary” from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
The February 6, 2017 issue of The New Yorker reimagines Rosie the Riveter, the iconic representation of American women who worked in factories and shipyards during WWII, as an African American woman in the special pink knit hat (aka pussy hat) worn by many of the more than 2.5 million protestors around the world during the January 21 Women’s March on Washington.
Join The Shift Network, The Gaiafield Project and people around the world for Global Shift Meditations the 1st of each month – click here to register for free. We featured Marguerite Rigoglioso on Deep Feminine Rising on February 1, 2017. (Free recording is available – click here.)
Linda Heuman spoke with Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin, a Nichiren Shu priest and the resident teacher at Myoken-ji, a temple in Houston, Texas.
The daughter of an African American father and a Japanese mother, Myokei Shonin is the first woman of African American and Japanese descent — and the only Western woman — to be ordained as a priest within the worldwide Nichiren Order. (She is also the first female priest in the Nichiren Order of North America.) Speaking candidly of her experience as a woman of color practicing an often-overlooked school of American Buddhism, Myokei guides Tricycle readers into territories that are off the map to many of us.
Tell us about the founder of your tradition, Nichiren Shonin. Nichiren Shonin lived in 13th-century Japan, in what today is known as the Chiba Prefecture. When he was a young man, he made a fervent prayer that he would become the wisest man in Japan — and that’s what he set out to do. He was initially a Tendai monk, and he trained at many temples and monasteries. He felt that the teachings had been corrupted, and he wanted to understand why. He spent years studying the sutras, examining closely the bases for the Tendai claim that the Lotus Sutra was the culmination of all of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Buddha’s highest teaching.
In the chaos of Trump’s first three weeks in office, we can see a frighteningly coherent agenda — and a national and global emergency.
On Aug. 8, 2016, 50 former top-level Republican officials who served under Republican presidents going back to Richard Nixon issued a warning letter. Many had held senior national security posts. They called out the threat to national security posed by President Trump’s lack of self-control and impetuously “erratic behavior” and concluded that he “would be the most reckless president in American history” and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
Their concerns were not limited to national security. They also noted that “He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.” They observed that “a president ... must encourage consideration of conflicting views, … be disciplined, control emotion, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation.”
Sure enough. It’s taken less than three weeks to affirm every one of their concerns — and more.
Washington, D.C. — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe today filed a major legal brief challenging the Trump Administration’s hasty approval of the controversial Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, a project in which the President and his associates have had close financial ties. The Tribe’s summary judgment asks the Court to overturn recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits of the pipeline issued without environmental review or consideration of treaty rights.
The Tribe seeks resolution of these claims on an expedited schedule that would have the issues resolved before the pipeline can go into operation. “President Trump claims he has not received ‘a single phone call’ opposing this widely criticized project.” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Maybe he should turn the White House phones back on, because millions of people have raised their voices against this dangerous project.”
In this compelling 66-minute interview from last July’s Summer of Peace, interviewer Emily Hine and Nadirah discuss what we as a collective human family need to face, feel and heal in the wake of recent killings of black and brown men by police officers, and the biased treatment that still affects so many people of color decades after the Civil Rights Movement. They offer compassionate actions that people of any color can take.
The session covers:
The foundation of the problem and the far-reaching, painful impact
How we are pre-programmed toward bias — and the steps we can take to overcome it
Compassionate actions you can take toward creating solutions and a more united world
Nadirah Adeye is the Faculty Relations Manager with The Shift Network and was the host of the African American Wisdom Summit. She is a mother, lover, magick-making priestess and sensualist. She is also a rabble rouser and a wild (but not feral) woman.
The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), an annual 64-day campaign, commenced on January 30 in cities across the globe. SNV, 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.
Join spiritual teacher Thomas Hübl today, Sunday, February 19, at 11:30am Pacific for a free 1-hour online event, Collective and Intergenerational Trauma Integration: The Pocket Project. Thomas will speak about how we can develop a new understanding of collective trauma and its symptoms, and build the capacity to hold a higher presence — a “pocket” of consciousness — within the traumatized field. If you’d like to attend, 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 Festivalon 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 Festivalis 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. To 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.
As She Is 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 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.
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World by Phil Bolsta of The Shift Network. Through God’s Eyes is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the only book that shows you how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to bring joy and vitality to your daily life. One reviewer called it “the owner’s manual God should give you when you’re born.” To order your copy, click here. To request a sample chapter from the author, email Phil at GodsEyes@me.com.
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. The DVD is available with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch and Japanese. Plus there are new film showings in Australia and the 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.) Click here to watch the trailer and listen to more interviews with the filmmakers; you can also order a one-time digital rental for $4.99.
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 & Raghu 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
• Energy Medicine Summit
• Grandmother Flordemayo 7-week course
• David Crow 7-week course
• Tom Pinkson 7-week course
• Caroline Casey 7-month program
• Robert Moss 7-week course
• Donna Eden 7-week course
• Richard Miller 4-month program
• Mark Matousek 9-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.
Lizz Wright is a Georgia-born vocalist and composer who synthesizes R&B, jazz, folk, blues, and gospel. She was born in 1980 in the Georgia town of Hahira, and her musical tastes blossomed early on. Her father served as the pianist and musical director at the local church, and he encouraged his daughter to absorb the soulful dispositions of classic hymns. Eventually, blues and jazz were added to Wright's musical plate, and by high school she was earning awards in choir competitions.
One of Nadirah’s favorite Lizz Wright songs is Freedom, a track from the album, Freedom and Surrender (click here to listen to the song on YouTube). Click here to listen to an 8-minute interview with Lizz on NPR. To learn more about Lizz, click here.