Presenters

Chris Crass is a longtime organizer, educator, and writer working to build powerful working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation.  He gives talks and leads workshops on campuses and with communities and congregations around the U.S. and Canada, to help support grassroots activists efforts. He balances family with his public political work and believes they are deeply interconnected, as both are about working to bring our vision and values into the world.
Chris Crass
Throughout the 1990s he was an organizer with Food Not Bombs, an economic justice anti-poverty group and network; with them he helped build up the direct action-based anti-capitalist Left internationally.  Building on the successes and challenges of the mass direct action convergences of the global justice movement, most notably in Seattle against the WTO in 1999, he helped launch the Catalyst Project with the support of movement elders and mentors Sharon Martinas, Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martinez, and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.  Catalyst Project combines political education and organizing to develop and support anti-racist politics, leadership, and organizing in white communities and builds dynamic multiracial alliances locally and nationally.Through Catalyst Project, where he was the co-coordinator for more then a decade, he worked with tens of thousands of activists working on a wide range of issues in their communities and on their campuses.  Through workshops on anti-racism, feminism for men, developing collective leadership and lessons from past movements, Crass has supported hundreds of organizations and leaders around the country.
Towards Collective Liberation
In 2000 he was a co-founder of the Colours of Resistance network, which served as a think tank and clearinghouse of anti-racist feminist analysis and tools for activists in the U.S. and Canada.  After Sept. 11th, 2001, he helped to found the Heads Up Collective which brought together a cadre of white anti-racist organizers to build up the multiracial Left in the San Francisco, BayTowards the Other America Area through alliances between the majority white anti-war movement and locally-based economic and racial justice struggles in communities of color.  He was also a member of the Against Patriarchy Men’s Group that supported men in developing their feminist analysis and their feminist leadership.He has written widely about anti-racist and social justice organizing, lessons from women of color feminism, and strategies to build visionary movements.  His essays have been translated into half a dozen languages, taught in hundreds of classrooms, and included in over a dozen anthologies including Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World, On the Road to Healing: An Anthology for Men Ending Sexism, and We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America.Chris graduated from San Francisco State University in Race, Class, Gender and Power Studies.  Originally from California, he currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his partner Jardana Peacock and their son, River.  He is a Unitarian Universalist and works with faith-based communities to help build up the spiritual Left.

 

Veta Goler, PhD, is Associate Professor of Dance and Co-Director of the Teaching Resource and Research Center at Spelman College. Her research interests include the intersection of dance and spirituality in popular culture and explorations of spirituality and contemplative practices in education and the workplace. She has published her research in dance and culture journals and anthologies and has presented at national and international conferences.

As a longtime meditator, Goler is committed to helping others discover the ways contemplative practices can enrich their lives. She has facilitated retreats and workshops for personal and professional renewal at colleges, universities, K-12 schools and retreat sites throughout the country. She also incorporates contemplative practices in her classes and in the guided meditation sessions she has been leading for Spelman students, faculty and staff for over 10 years. Goler is a national Circle of Trust® facilitator, and many of the retreats and workshops she leads are based in the work of education innovator Parker J. Palmer, who has written extensively on the value of living an “undivided life,” in which one’s work is in harmony with one’s values.

 

Marieke van Woerkom has worked in the field of cultural exchange, interfaith bridge building, conflict transformation and human rights for over twelve years. As program director, facilitator and educator, she has designed, implemented and supervised hundreds of trainings, dialogues and related programs that raise awareness, promote understanding and empower diverse groups of people to make positive change in their own lives and that of their communities. Marieke has worked with groups of Arab, Israeli, Cypriot, Balkan, South Asian, North & Central American, European, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and secular participants in the US, Europe, Middle East, South Asia and the Caribbean.

MariekeIn New York City, where she lives, she works in the public schools to help create more conducive learning and teaching environments.  She also works with various cross-cultural groups, designing curricula, facilitating dialogues, coaching staff, assessing and evaluating programs, and debriefing audience reactions to theater performances and movie screenings.

Marieke holds a double Masters in Cultural Anthropology and International Relations, with specializations in identity and inter-group relations. She is also trained as a mediator and has participated in group process work trainings around the world. She is well versed in Theater of the Oppressed techniques and Open Space Technology. She uses drama, story telling, music and other arts based methodologies in her workshops as needed.

Past and present clients include American MidEast Leadership Network, The Ariane de Rothschild Foundation, Backward Society Education, Children of Abraham, Columbia University’s Project Tolerance, Global Youth Connect, Harvard University’s Global Education and Human Rights Workshop, Hosteling International, the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, Just Vision, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, MOUSE Inc, New York City Department of Education Respect for All Program, Plan International, Seeds of Peace, the US Department of State, Winter Media, Yale Summer Institute for Educators.