AUBURN CONVERSATIONS

Enjoy our latest public events and learn about our ongoing programs below.

Auburn public events offer an intimate experience to hear and challenge insights from visionary voices, artists, and uplifting leaders of faith and moral courage from across the cultural spectrum. Join our conversations and hear things you will not elsewhere. Participants can attend in-person, online, or watch later at their convenience.

Want to go attend? Contact us to reserve a space at our next event.

UPCOMING

Paulina Helm-Hernandez

FALL 2018 – Paulina Helm-Hernandez . . .   is a queer femme artist, trainer, political organizer, strategist & trouble-maker-at-large from Veracrúz, Mexico, grew up in rural North Carolina, and was the Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) for 12 years.

More about our speaker: Helm-Hernandez has a background in farm worker and immigrant / refugee rights organizing, cultural work, youth organizing, anti-violence work, and liberation work that centers people most affected by violence, poverty, war and racism.

Auburn Conversations offer an intimate experience to hear and challenge insights from visionary voices, artists, and uplifting leaders of faith and moral courage from across the cultural spectrum.

PREVIOUS TALKS

MAY

Wajahat Ali

Wednesday, May 16th –  Wajahat Ali returns to Auburn for an in-depth conversation on Muslim life in America. Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV host, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department, who is at the forefront of working to overcome Islamophobia and harmful stereotypes aimed at the Muslim community.

FEBRUARY

The Difference Women Make

Moderated by The Rev. Dr. Katharine R. Henderson

On Tuesday, February 27th we hosted a conversation with Vivian Silver, from the grassroots movement Women Wage Peace, a group of tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs across the political spectrum in Israel, with our President, The Rev. Dr. Katharine R. Henderson. The discussion was followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Evaluating our Spiritual Relationship to the Land: An Evening with Dallas Goldtooth

Moderated by LJ Amsterdam

On Thursday, February 15th we hosted a conversation at the intersections of environmental justice, feminism, indigenous rights, activism, and ritual. The discussion was followed by a Q&A with the audience.

OCTOBER

The Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle Presents: An Evening with Melissa Harris-Perry & Andrea Jenkins

Moderated by Lisa Anderson, Vice President, Embodied Justice Leadership

On Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 we hosted a conversation between celebrated author, professor, and television personality Melissa Harris-Perry and transgender, poet, activist, and politician Andrea Jenkins, sharing reflections on racial justice, women’s leadership, and gender identity.

Melissa Harris-Perry, Andrea Jenkins, and Lisa Anderson in conversation about leadership and care for transgender women of color as a revolutionary act.

2016-2017 SEASON

Carla Gaskins-Nathan: June 28, 2017

Carla is Healer-in- Residence for the second cohort of Auburn’s Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist, consultant and owner of Zelah LLC, which includes the private massage practice, Rooted Bodywork. Carla believes that “through caring for ourselves we are able to fully engage with our life, work and communities.” Using her years of experience working with non-profits and paring it with her skills as a practitioner Carla facilitates workshops and speaks to the mandate of self-care to a variety of audiences.  Her work is focused on LGBTQ communities of color, yet it is open to all that see the importance of holistic wellness.

Dr. Willie Parker: May 22, 2017

A committed Christian, Dr. Willie Parker didn’t perform abortions during the first 12 years of his ob-gyn medical practice. But after seeing the suffering of low-income women and meeting victims of incest and rape who were still forced to bear children, he became a full-time abortion provider. Not in spite of his faith, but because of it.

Dr. Parker spoke about his book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice.

You can read more about how Dr. Parker’s faith compels his work with abortion care via NewsweekRolling Stone, and the New York Times.

Caitlin Breedlove: April 5, 2017

Meet one of the most sought-after organizing minds in the U.S. today — and the newest addition to the Auburn team as the vice president of movement leadership — as she shares what’s next in immigration reform, LGBTQ equality, and racial justice.

Caitlin Breedlove joins Auburn this Spring as the Vice-President of Movement Leadership. Since 2003, Caitlin has been organizing and building movements in red states, working across race, class, culture, gender, sexuality and faith. Caitlin is known across social justice movements as a leader, strategist, and writer. 

She is the former Campaign Director of Standing on the Side of Love at the Unitarian Universalist Association where she served as a bridge between grassroots social movements and the denomination. She is also the former Co-Director of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), where for almost a decade she co-led innovative intersectional movement building work in the LGBTQ sector. Under Caitlin’s co-leadership, SONG led campaigns, trained hundreds of new LGBTQ organizers in the South, built a membership of over 3,000, and became the largest grassroots LGBTQ organization in the South.  Caitlin began her work in the South doing popular education and organizer training at the historic Highlander Center in Tennessee.

 

Wajahat Ali: February 25, 2017

Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV host, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department, who is at the forefront of working to overcome Islamophobia and harmful stereotypes aimed at the Muslim community.

Wajahat also serves as Creative Director of Affinis Labs, where he works to create social entrepreneurship initiatives that have a positive impact for marginalized communities, and to empower social entrepreneurs, young leaders, creatives, and communities to come up with innovative solutions to tackle world problems.

He is also the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim Americans, post-9/11 and was also the lead author and researcher of “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” the seminal report from the Center for American Progress.

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie: January 23, 2017

2017 kicked off with a powerful spoken word performance by Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie. Rabbi Amichai is an Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, performance artist, and founding spiritual leader of Lab/Shul NY. Rabbi Amichai’s Storahtelling extolled to parables of the torah and applied principles to life in the 21st century. Through music and dance, Rabbi Amichai curated a community spirit, outlining the road to progress through solidarity.

Watch our Facebook livestream of Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie here.

“If we get to change the stories we tell and how we tell them, we might change the values that we believe in and the actions we take… Acknowledge that we inherited this [Torah] teaching, but make it our own in a new way, that speaks to peace, and tolerance, and compassion. And says no to hatred in the name of God.”
– Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie

Lyla June: December 11, 2016

Lyla June, Standing Rock activist, anthropologist, musician, and poet, lead a powerful session, engaging with conversation, music, and movement to feed our souls. June related her own powerful story of personal healing through faith to inspire others to find a sanctuary within themselves. A descendant of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages, she is dedicated to healing intergenerational trauma and ethnic division though love and prayer.

Watch our Facebook livestream of Lyla June here.

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei: October, 2016

Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, is a Zen priest author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically-acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Her book was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker and “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. Rev. angel discussed her new book, Radical Dharma, which explores racial injustice as a barrier to collective awakening.

[1] “The Pastors, Preachers And Prophets We Need Now”, Huffington Post, Sept. 22, 2016