Amplifying the lessons and work of spiritually-resilient leaders in the South, Midwest, and Southwest

We are living in a time of great spiritual and political difficulty. Our country faces sobering political divides: a reality leaders who believe in progress must reckon with to undo the wedges we experience around race, age, geography, class, sexuality, and much more.

The Resilient Leaders Across a Fractured Country fellowship cohort supports leaders grounded in politically-divided states. The 7 leaders in the inaugural cohort are of (and represent) communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, rural, and working class people. They are organizers, educators, and healers. The contexts they work in, and the work itself, have given them powerful knowledge about resilient leadership in our current political climate.

  • Leaders based in the U.S. South, Midwest, and Southwest embedded in local communities and leading movement-building projects that center resilience, collective care, and spirit-rooted sustainable leadership models.
    Who We Are
  • Do our part for movement building in today’s political climate by supporting key leaders doing spiritually-resilient movement building in politically divided and under-resourced places.
    What We Do
  • We envision a US with a robust network of truly diverse, spiritually-resilient local leaders who have opportunities to advance their practice and work, expand their network, gain resources, and share their wisdom with the world.
    Our Vision

The urgency of the times demands a bold new vision, not only of how to make change for today, but about how to equip individuals and communities with the resources they need to engage in social transformation over the long haul…resilience offered in a new register, a new key that has the capacity to invite, inspire and build a deep sense of the preciousness of long dishonored bodies, minds and spirits into the fabric of our movement building; and thereby to inspire a more grounded, shared and sustainable plan of action.” – From Auburn Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle Philosophy

Meet the 2017 Cohort

Sendolo Diaminah is a movement trainer and strategist with over 13 years of political experience, who is committed to building a progressive, multi-racial majority to take back North Carolina from the right-wing. To achieve this, Sendolo’s current movement work focuses on building independent political organization with Durham for All, through apprenticeships with Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD), and with generative somatics’: developing a powerful body-centered methodology for developing exemplary, resilient political leaders and organizers. He is a former member of the Durham, NC school board and is the recipient of the 2012 Indy Citizen Award, the 2012 Louis Burnham Award and the 2013 Black Workers for Justice Self-Determination Award.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, an elder, and a community leader and human rights activist. Miss Major’s personal story and activism for transgender civil rights intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today. At the center of her activism is her fierce advocacy for her girls: trans women of color who have survived police brutality and incarceration in men’s jails and prisons. Miss Major is formerly the long-time executive director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), which advocates for trans women of color in and outside of prison, and is founder of House of GG’s: a retreat and education center for trans women based in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is also the subject of a documentary feature film currently showing around the country: MAJOR!

adrienne maree brown is the author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, Co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements, and Editor of the forthcoming Pleasure Activism Anthology (AK Press 2018). She’s a facilitator (primarily for black liberation work), doula, healer, writer and pleasure activist living in Detroit. She’s also part of the teaching body of generative somatics. twitter: adriennemaree or octaviasbrood

Paulina Helm-Hernandez is a queer femme artist, trainer, political organizer, strategist & trouble-maker-at-large from Veracrúz, Mexico. Paulina grew up in rural North Carolina, and was the Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) for 11 years. She 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.

Raised in Texas, Germany and North Carolina, Allyn Maxfield-Steele’s journey has included solidarity struggles with Thai people’s movements, work as an educator and organizer in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, a range of support for front-line struggles in Nashville, Tennessee, and connector work throughout the South and Appalachia. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Allyn has served congregations in Juneau, Alaska, Nashville, and Springfield, TN. Allyn’s focus and interests sit at the intersection of radical pedagogy and pastoral care, institutional transformation, dismantling toxic white masculinities, and liberation-driven ministry and movement building, especially in rural and small town communities. Allyn earned a B.A. in History from Wofford College (SC) and a Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. He currently serves as a Co-Executive Director of the Highlander Research & Education Center in New Market, TN.

Aesha Fadeelah Rasheed is a healer, ritual worker, organizer and hard femme born in Oklahoma and based in New Orleans. Over the years she has launched and led numerous community support projects including publishing the New Orleans Parents’ Guide to Public Schools for 10 years and other efforts to support families and children in New Orleans; creating spaces to celebrate QTIPOC folks such as Black Brown Queer (BBQ NOLA): a meet up for queer people of color and Queer Cartography, a history-telling poster project that centers untold stories of queer and trans folks of color; and, most recently, co-founding QISM, a collective of Queer Muslims in New Orleans. Throughout her liberation work Aesha has woven healing practices as a body worker and caster of ritual spaces in support of collective healing and liberation especially as a member of the SoulShift community of healers working for global transformation. Aesha also serves on the board of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) – a regional movement organization focused on radical progressive organizing for collective liberation in the South. A writer and recovering journalist, Aesha moved to Louisiana in 2000 to work as an education reporter.

Pancho Argüelles Paz y Puente was born in Mexico City and has lived in the U.S. since 1997. For more than thirty years he has worked on human rights issues in Mexico, Central America, and the United States: as a rural teacher in Chiapas, supporting Guatemalan refugees, co-founding Universidad Campesina in Nicaragua, and with rural cooperatives in Central Mexico. In Houston, he co-founded Fe y Justicia Worker Center, a community organization for low-wage immigrant workers and currently serves in its board. Pancho served on the board of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) where he co-authored the popular education curriculum, BRIDGE: Building a Race and Immigration Dialogue on the Global Economy. He lives in Houston, TX, where he is on his fifth year serving as the pro-bono executive director of Living Hope Wheelchair Association, a community-based organization of migrants with spinal cord injuries. Through PazyPuente LLC he provides training and consulting services to social and racial justice organizations across the country.  He holds a BA on Education from UNAM and a Masters on Multicultural Education from UHCL. He is married to amazing Cristina K. and has two kids Antonio (12) and Maria Graciela (10).