Gratitude situates one well to know what can be and must be done to challenge inequity.
It situates one to see opportunity where others see despair. ~ Lucas Johnson
Each of the individuals or organizations which appear on this list are those to whom we, at a Network for Grateful Living, find ourselves orienting for wisdom, guidance, or information. We believe these perspectives and offerings align with our understanding of grateful living and we understand that this is, by no means, an exhaustive list.
We intend this to be a “living” document and plan to continue updating the collection. It was most recently updated on June 8, 2021.
adrienne maree brown – “We need movements rooted in love right now, movements powered not by difference and exclusion and punishment, but by common ground, compassion, humility, healthy boundaries, patience and healing.”
Dr. Amanda Kemp – “Let’s face it. Racial justice work can be emotionally taxing. That’s why I created Racial Justice from the H.E.A.R.T. Our programs ease the wear and tear on your heart as you create change.”
Rev. angel Kyodo williams – “No one who has ever touched liberation could possibly want anything other than liberation for everyone.”
Justin Michael Williams – “For those of us in marginalized groups, our ancestors didn’t have the opportunity to look at things like mental health, manifestation, and life purpose…So when we step into our purpose and our passion, we’re laying the foundation for what the next generation can have.”
Resmaa Menakem – “Years as a healer and trauma therapist have taught me that trauma isn’t destiny. The body, not the thinking brain, is where we experience most of our pain, pleasure, and joy, and where we process most of what happens to us. It is also where we do most of our healing, including our emotional and psychological healing. And it is where we experience resilience and a sense of flow.”
Rhonda Magee – “What if this difficult time, this moment in which we seem more racially and culturally divided than ever, signifies not the beginning of the end but a profound opportunity for a new beginning? What if, through the pain of seeing the way things are, we now have a new chance to get it right?”
Lama Rod Owens – “There’s something about our identity as activists that is so closely related to the anger that we experience. What would it look like if we formed our activist communities around joy, not the suffering or the anger, as a basis for our change work?”
Sebene Selassie – “Through intimacy and imagination we can consciously create the world we live in together. Through belonging, we connect to ourselves, each other and everything and, ultimately, remember what we are. We are freedom. We are joy. We are love. We belong.”
Simran Jeet Singh – “When your community is targeted, it leaves a scar in your collective psyche. And the Sikh community is a visible, politically engaged and spiritually aware community….And, today, we see ourselves as an active force in building a more just, a more equitable America.”
Valarie Kaur – “It’s time to birth the beloved community. Each of us has a role. Are you ready for a revolution of the heart?”
EmbraceRace was founded in early 2016 by two parents who set out to create the community and gather the resources they needed (need!) to meet the challenges faced by those raising children in a world where race matters.
Fearless Dialogues is a grassroots organization committed to creating unique spaces for unlikely partners to engage in hard heartfelt conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for change and positive transformation in self and other. We are grateful to Rev. Dr. Gregory Ellison II, founder of Fearless Dialogues, for joining us as a panelist at our Spirituality and Social Change Symposium in 2019.
TaikoPeace is a movement started to spread the kinetic energy, spiritual vibration, and pure joy of Japanese taiko drumming for positive social change and a peaceful world. TaikoPeace has been featured as a Grateful Changemaker.
Readings, Videos, Talks
Talks to Help you Understand Racism in America
From passionate pleas for reform to poetic turns of phrase, these TED talks take an honest look at everyday realities of Black Americans and illuminate the way forward.
Resources from Sounds True
Sounds True’s Walking Together: Growing in Awareness and Accountability, Putting Our Love into Action,” offers free resources for healing racism and creating a more compassionate world. Resources include a free three-part webinar on Healing Racism with Dr. Tiffany Jana. This 3-hour series looks at how to embrace diversity in our personal lives, in our communities and workplaces, and in the world.
Resources from Greater Good
The Greater Good, a magazine that turns scientific research into stories, tips, and tools for a happier life and a more compassionate society, have gathered here pieces that explore our potential to reduce prejudice in society and in ourselves. Also see their Bridging Differences resources: An initiative exploring evidence-based strategies to improve dialogue, understanding, and relationships across social and political divides.
Resources from The OnBeing Project
Appreciating the richness, nuance, and insights of Krista Tippett’s conversations over the years, we offer the following from OnBeing:
The Freedom of Real Apologies – Layli Long Soldier is a writer, a mother, a citizen of the United States, and a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. She has a way of opening up this part of her life, and of American life, to inspire self-searching and tenderness. Her award-winning first book of poetry, WHEREAS, is a response to the U.S. government’s official apology to Native peoples in 2009, which was done so quietly, with no ceremony, that it was practically a secret. Layli Long Soldier offers entry points for us all — to events that are not merely about the past, and to the freedom real apologies might bring.
A Civil Rights Elder on Exhaustion and Rest, Spiritual Practice, and the Necessity of Loving Community – Lucas Johnson catches up with one of his mentors, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons. Now a member of the National Council of Elders, she was a teenager when she joined the Mississippi Freedom Summer. She shares what she has learned about exhaustion and self-care, spiritual practice and community, while engaging in civil rights organizing and deep social healing. Dr. Simmons was raised Christian and later converted to the Sufi tradition of Islam.
More Beautiful – James Baldwin said, “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” Imani Perry embodies that prism. For the past few years, Perry has been pondering the notions of slow work and resistant joy as she writes about what it means to raise her two black sons — as a thinker and writer at the intersection of law, race, culture, and literature. This live conversation was recorded at the Chautauqua Institution.
The Spiritual Work of Black Lives Matter – Black Lives Matter co-founder and artist Patrisse Cullors presents a luminous vision of the spiritual core of Black Lives Matter and a resilient world in the making. She joins Dr. Robert Ross, a physician and philanthropist on the cutting edge of learning how trauma can be healed in bodies and communities. A cross-generational reflection on evolving social change.
Let’s Talk About Whiteness – This conversation was inspired by Eula Biss’s stunning New York Times essay “White Debt,” which had this metaphor at its core: ”The state of white life is that we’re living in a house we believe we own but that we’ve never paid off.” She spoke with us in 2016 and we aired this last year, but we might just put this conversation out every year, as we’re all novices on this territory. Eula Biss had been thinking and writing about being white and raising white children in a multi-racial world for a long time. She helpfully opens up words and ideas like “complacence,” “guilt,” and something related to privilege called “opportunity hoarding.” To be in this uncomfortable conversation is to realize how these words alone, taken seriously, can shake us up in necessary ways — and how the limits of words make these conversations at once more messy and more urgent.
Civil Conversations & Social Healing – The Civil Conversations and Social Healing team represents The On Being Project’s presence in the world as they nourish, embolden and accompany the work of social healing. Their organizational capacities to produce audio and digital resources are strengthened by programs and convenings that stitch relationships across rupture and equip for resilience and repair.
Related Resources on Gratefulness.org
Video Recordings: Spirituality and Social Change Symposium
The UMass Amherst Libraries and A Network for Grateful Living presented a dynamic afternoon of conversation, poetry, music, and meditation that explored the landscape of engaged spiritual practice and action for social change on September 27, 2019 at the UMass Fine Arts Center, Amherst, MA.
The Heart of Peace and Justice
This “Area of Interest” on gratefulness.org explores how grateful living can help us become present to the injustices of the world and take action that expresses our deepest commitments to a world with peace and justice for all.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~ Arthur Ashe