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As our social justice consciousness is raised, how does this affect the way we respond? In this workshop, Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown will speak to the essential connection between spiritual work and social justice work by focusing on a foundational figure of the Civil Rights Movement. A mystic, theologian, and spiritual adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Howard Thurman (1899-1981) possessed the uncanny and prophetic ability to make a connection between silence and the scrutiny of one’s inner life with social justice work. As the spiritual architect of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Thurman chose to engage in sacred activism—work that would serve all people and to use the contemplative experience as a path to peace, purpose, and empowerment.
Lerita Coleman Brown, Ph.D., Ayşe I. Carden Distinguished Professor Emerita of Psychology, Agnes Scott College, is a spiritual director/companion, writer, retreat leader, and speaker. She earned her BA from UC Santa Cruz and Ph.D. from Harvard University. A graduate of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Professor Brown promotes contemplative spirituality, the living wisdom of Howard Thurman, and uncovering the peace and joy in one’s heart on her website, peaceforhearts.com, and other social media platforms. Her chapter, “Dissecting Racism: Healing Minds, Cultivating Spirits,” appeared in the edited volume, Living into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America. Her book, When the Heart Speaks, Listen—Discovering Inner Wisdom was published in 2019.