john a. powell – Creating the Conditions for Belonging and Breathing in a Toxic Environment
Bridging or breaking? That is the sharp choice we face today as a society and as individual citizens. john a. powell, Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, has long been one of our nation’s leading and most original thought leaders. He has delved deeply into the complexities of civil rights and liberties, structural racism, poverty, housing, racial and ethnic identity, inclusivity, spirituality and social justice, as well as the needs of citizens in a democratic society. john goes beyond the personal and interpersonal to consider some of the cultural systems that push us to break and polarize. He illuminates how instead we can bridge to transform and heal these destructive impulses and the current toxic political atmosphere by cultivating new ways of thinking and by building social structures conducive to Belonging and Breathing.
john a. powell delivered this talk at the Bioneers 2020 Conference, introduced by Kenny Ausubel.
john a. powell, Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley; previously Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State, and prior to that, founder/Director of the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota, has also taught at numerous law schools, including Harvard and Columbia. A former National Legal Director of the ACLU, he co-founded the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. His latest book is: Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.
To learn more about john a. powell, read his full bio at the Othering and Belonging Institute.
In this 2017 Bioneers keynote address, john a. powell explores how we can better understand the spaces we currently inhabit and strategize to co-create alternative spaces where real healing can truly begin.
In this Bioneers podcast we ask: Can humanity overcome divisions such as race, class, nation, religion, and gender roles to come together to solve the planetary emergency that threatens our common home? Civil liberties and legal scholar john a. powell and social justice advocate Grace Bauer show how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of “beloved community” can overcome conflict, separation and the burdens of history to transcend our fear of the “Other” and work together to heal our societies and the Earth.
Culled from a decade of writing about social justice and spirituality, john a. powell’s meditations on race, identity, and social policy provide an outline for laying claim to our shared humanity and a way toward healing ourselves and securing our future. Racing to Justice challenges us to replace attitudes and institutions that promote and perpetuate social suffering with those that foster relationships and a way of being that transcends disconnection and separation.