Profiles of Guest Speakers & Community Mentors
Guest Speakers from 2015 Leadership Institute:
Kim Grose Moore
Kim Grose Moore is an inspiring, local, leader who is committed to being an example of the kind of change she wants to see in the world. You can see these examples in the choices she makes whether it's where she decides to live, to the local advocacy she does with communities and other parents, to the fact that she wants to be a white ally who is always bringing up race even when it's not easy to bring it up. During the first day of our training, Kim wss able to provide a meditation training based on her emerging practice as a Buddhist Chaplain. We were honored that she shared her own life's story with us, and how she has both stories of oppression and privilege in her own life history, and how it is so critical to understand that we have both of these dimensions to ourselves. She also spent a separate morning with us talking to us about social change strategies from a policy and community organizing perspective, drawing on her extensive experience in the field as well as her experience starting a school reform organization years ago. Kim continues to guide and mentor Soulforce Leadership as an organization & our project groups working on local issues of injustice and change.
Nipun Mehta came to talk to us about connecting inner transformation to social change in the world. He shared so many amazing stories with us. He spoke about the dignity that is provided when we work with people we serve, rather than the place of fixing or trying to save others. Nipun also shared his personal story of walking through India with his wife, and talked about his good friend, Pancho Ramos, who stood up for social justice locally when police brutality occurred years ago in Oakland. Our fellows called him "Inspiring" and "Adorable," and he was a ray of sunshine for all of us.
The team of Eduko
Eshan Govil and Aditya Sachdeva of the Eduko team came to speak about their organization that provides on-line tutoring to students from other students. Receiving a grant from the Linkd'n for Good project, they provided a real example of social entrepreneurship started and sustained by high school students. They shared their journey over 3 years of starting an organization and how they managed school and running an organization. It gave our fellows a concrete example of change in the world, and we really enjoyed our time with them.
Profiles of Community Mentors:
Maria Marroquin stopped by to sit with our immigration justice team. Maria spoke to the team about her work at the Mountain View Day Center, and heard about how the team is thinking about addressing issues of undocumented populations, as well as how to provide a safe space and resources for the children of immigrants in the Mountain View area. Maria is a local hero that represents what Soulforce is about that you can read more about her here. We were honored to have her in our presence.
Gautam Biswas is a champion for diversity and working across difference. He is a local business leader, and board member for the Mosaic Project based out of Oakland, which is an inspiration to us all of us at Soulforce Leadership. Gautam is working with our gentrification team, and he has the perfect balance of candid feedback about content while being keenly observational to group dynamics. We hope many more business leaders follow by his example.
Tasha Purra just completed 3 years in the classroom as an inspiring and dedicated elementary school teacher in Oakland. As she introduced herself to the fellows, she began by stating how lucky and privileged she felt to be working with our fellows. She is not afraid of listening and creating space and is so skillfull at changing contexts and holding a space of "dual consciousness." Tasha is also a programmatic and strategic advisor for the Soulforce Leadership Summer Fellowship.
Sima sat with our girl empowerment group. One piece of feedback she had for them was about doing a better job of listening to each other’s idea, and allowing time and space for new ideas. Sima radiates with positive energy (and her smile is contagious), and it clear that she is committed to doing the work on herself in the service of others. We are lucky our fellows got to spend time with her, and we were excited to see her volunteering at Karma Kitchen when we over to Berkeley for a field trip later in the summer. Sima is a local marketing professional, and has done work with nonprofits in the areas of generosity building, positive collaboration, and fostering authenticity.