The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Vickie Ya-Rong Chang (she/her) was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her work as a psychologist and writer, she is dedicated to personal = collective liberation. She supports API movement spaces through offering awareness and somatic practices, which are fundamental to her individual and group counseling work. She is strengthened by her connection to Chinese ancestral practices and shaped by her relationship with the people, culture, and land of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, first settled by the Puebloans, Ute, Jicarilla Apache, and Navajo/Diné; the holy hill Arunachala in India; and the Divine Buddha Temple in Taiwan.
laura ann coelho
laura (she/they) identifies as queer, kid of immigrants from India and the Philippines, born a settler on stolen Ohlone land with class privilege. laura brings 10 years of experience in the fields of public health and community mental health, working with community-based nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and government agencies on program and evaluation design and implementation, facilitation and coaching, and fundraising. after experiencing a personal health scare in 2013, laura began consciously studying embodiment and healing arts. as an embodiment practitioner today, laura is committed to politicized healing with intergenerational immigrant and BIPOC communities. laura’s greatest joy these days is laughing with their two niblings.
Born in Japan, Kazu (he/him) has been engaged in social change work since participating in the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage at the age of 17. He would go onto spend one-year living in Buddhist monasteries throughout South Asia studying the relationship between nonviolence and Buddhist dharma. He has over 20 years of experience in nonviolence, restorative justice, trainings and organizing and has been trained by elders such as Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Rev. James Lawson.
He spent over 10 years working in social justice philanthropy while being directly involved in many movements. He has been a Kingian Nonviolence trainers since 2009, is a Core Member of the Ahimsa Collective and is the author of Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm.
Luis Miranda - These days, Luis (he/him/el) organizes with networks of community members to show up for the undocumented community living in Utah. Professionally, he is trained in conflict transformation, restorative justice, trauma-informed approaches, and process design. As an organizer, Luis has organized with the Justicia Ya transparency movement in Guatemala and multiple youth peace movements in Colombia. Outside of organizing, he enjoys mindfulness, exploring the Utah wilderness, dancing hip hop, and baking bread.
Chris Moore-Backman Chris is an activist-organizer and author of The Gandhian Iceberg: A Nonviolence Manifesto for the Age of the Great Turning. He is also producer of Bringing Down the New Jim Crow, a radio documentary series examining the movement to end the U.S. system of mass incarceration.
Chris has worked with a variety of human rights, peace, and social justice organizations, including the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Alternatives to Violence Project, and Right Sharing of World Resources, and he has served on international peace teams in Colombia and Palestine.
For more than 30 years Leonie Smith, founder of The Thoughtful Workplace, has been working from an anti-racist, anti-oppressive perspective. Her approach is shaped by her own journey to find and build community that welcomes her perspective as a Black Woman, Canadian-born, of Jamaican heritage. She has a deep commitment to anti-oppressive practices, sharing practical ways of applying Nonviolent Communication. She shares her people-centered approach for creating group, team, and organizational systems in service to creating a world that works for all as a community member and through her consultancy, The Thoughtful Workplace.
Sandra has been engaged in social justice facilitation, training, practice, and scholarship for over 25 years. She currently has the privilege and pleasure of doing this work with students and staff at UC Berkeley. A Bay Area native, she's passionate about nonviolence as a philosophy, practice, and way of being.
Toni is a native San Franciscan, is the founder of The Legacy Project which documents the legacy of lynchings in the United States and brings healing and reconciliation to those whose ancestry is directly impacted by it, and is a leader of Coming to the Table, a national organization working with descendants of slaves and of slave owners around racial recognition issues. She has a passion for supporting incarcerated young women and in healing ancestral trauma.
Conly is an artist and healing practitioner. From performing and teaching in New York City, to moving to the Bay Area for her Masters in Counseling Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy, Conly's life work centers around the power of creative expression in individual and communal healing. She facilitates restorative justice circles in the Bay Area with The Ahimsa Collective, as well as with her husband, daniel j. self at 214 Therapeia. Conly is currently working towards a PhD in Expressive Arts where her personal scholarship explores the intersections of arts based ritual and restorative practices towards intergenerational healing, the acknowledgement of power and privilege, and peacebuilding.
Theresa Pualei Guy
After spending much of her adult life enhancing her left brain capabilities, Theresa Pualei Guy rather illogically leaned right into listening to her intuitive heart. Educated as an attorney she is grateful for the opportunity to continue to teach Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation with the East Point Peace Academy as a founding member. Together with her East Point cohorts, Theresa leads the Sitting in the River meditation group inside San Bruno County jail, which focuses on Dr. King’s work for guidance. Often perceived by others as a “culturally ambiguous” person, Theresa has a lifelong interest in our multicultural reality and the resulting social justice imperative.
Aaron Nakai is a yonsei (4th generation Japanese American) father, educator and cultural worker born in Colorado on unceded Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Ute land and fortified in Oakland, California on unceded Ohlone land. His development as a liberatory educator began with a journey to reclaim cultural and ancestral roots of his own lineage, in Wakayama and Hiroshima, Japan. His pedagogy is rooted in (re)memory work that revitalizes ancestral traditions, cultivates modalities of healing, centers indigeneity, and builds harmony and justice. Most proudly, he is the father and co-parent of a brilliant 6-year old.
Sierra is a long-time Coordinating Committee member of the People Of Color Sangha at the East Bay Meditation Center and currently sits on the Programming Committee for EBMC at large. A recent addition to Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s board of directors, Sierra is a web weaver who sees networking as an intentional act of love connecting us together in reciprocal support. An American Sign Language interpreter, Sierra loves expanding linguistic and cultural accessibility within a social justice framework. Easily spotted in bright colors, she will greet you with an infectious smile.
We have the honor of working with dozens of talented trainers in our community to run and sustain our programs. Our training team ranges from incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to activists and educators and everything in between. We hope you can attend some of our workshops to meet our team!