BFFE - special event: Your Liberation is bound up with mine + film Resilience, Vision for a new America
Social visionary, outspoken activist, and non-conformist spiritual teacher angel Kyodo williams is not afraid to express uncomfortable truths.
She once said: "It is inadequate to lock yourself in spiritual centres and make money from mindfulness, while the world is on fire." During this, angel talks about transformative change and the potential and necessity to revive progressive ideals and social movements with a spiritual and ethical basis.
angel is a leading voice for Transformative Change, practising at the intersection of personal change and social transformation for twenty years. An esteemed Zen priest she is the second black woman ever recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage. Her unique combination of “fearlessness and grace” is both deeply political and deeply compassionate. She is unafraid to voice uncomfortable truths (she once said “It's insufficient to hide in spiritual centres and make money off of mindfulness while the world is burning down”) and is committed to a radical practice of conversation as a practice towards human wholeness to seek common ground and foster inclusion.
During the 13th BFFE angel will speak about transformative change and about the potential and need to reinvigorate progressive ideals and social movements with a spiritual and ethical ground. She will share her vision of conversation as an essential practice of being in the world which can enable us to move beyond simplistic us vs. them dichotomy, and help envision and bring into being a world in which there is space for the humanity and human rights of all to flourish.
The event starts off with the film Resilience: Vision for a new America (70 min) that stars angel as a leading protagonist. The last years have seen both in the US and the Netherlands a resurgence of a strong anti-racist and pro-feminist activism. And both here and in the US, coalition is thwarted by often bitterly polarized discussions around identity. In this context, the vision and practice angel articulates offers a way to move forward.
Looking at human rights under threat in the current political climate in the US, this film portrays diverse individuals in a country undergoing a major identity crisis: angel Kyodo williams, founder of the Center for Transformative Change in Berkeley, California, African-American Zen teacher and advocate for activism on a spiritual basis and anti-racism; Robert Thurman, writer and professor at Columbia University NY, campaigns for a 'sensitivity revolution'; Charlene Carruthers, Black Youth Project, for the LGTB movement and liberation of women; Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 17-year-old 'native American' environmental activist and hip-hop artist, fights for the rights of indigenous peoples and the right of mankind to clean water; multiple world champion Lucia Rijker talks about addiction to watching TV; and Patrick Ferris, singer/songwriter of The Americans, about the mourning process after the last election. The film depicts the rise of an engaged spirituality, which stands against white supremacy, for the end of theological colonialism and against sexual abuse and poverty. Now is the time to no longer just address the violation of human rights elsewhere in the world, but to stand up for the right of each of us to be fully Human, here and now.
keynote and discussion
Following a short guided meditation and her keynote address, angel will ‘practice conversation’ with a.o. Mercedes Zandwijken and Nina Polak, about love, liberation and finding common ground in the US and the Netherlands:
- Mercedes Zandwijken is the director of Keti Koti Dialogues Tables. She is a specialist in organising think tanks and innovative projects and in initiating and directing dialogue on polarizing topics. As a community therapist, Zandwijken works on citizen participation, network development and social cohesion. Her general objective is to raise the awareness of the inner and social conflicts and blind spots that arise from the complex historical and social backgrounds of Dutch slavery and colonial past and to obtain new insights that lead to a society free from discrimination and racism.
- Nina Polak is a writer, and contributing editor to De Correspondent.
- Yvonne Zonderop is author and journalist a.o. for Dutch weekly De Groene Amsterdammer. In April 2018 her book appeared Unbelievable: About the surprising comeback of religion. Yvonne engages in a dialogue about the social importance and the role of religion in our contemporary secular society. Is it time to throw the fear of religion overboard?
With their specific and outspoken views on the role of news in modern society, De Correspondent publishes columns, articles and books that attract a large and dedicated following.