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Dr. Alka Arora is chair of the Women’s Spirituality program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She holds a PhD in Women Studies from the University of Washington, where her dissertation examined spiritual discourses among third-wave feminists in Seattle. Her teaching interests focus on multicultural feminist spirituality, integral pedagogy, and animal rights. Some of the courses that Alka teaches include “Spiritual Activism and Transformative Social Change,” “Liberation Dharma: Gender, Buddhism, and Social Justice,” and “Sacred Lineages: Goddesses, Foremothers, and Activists.” She is currently doing research for a co-authored book on feminist spiritual activism

Eri Guajardo Johnson, is a second year student in the Women’s Spirituality MA Program. Growing up biracial in the highly segregated Midwest, the topics of identity, privilege, and disadvantage have been major sources of struggle and learning for her. It wasn’t until she came to the Bay Area that the deepening of her spiritual and political practice expanded. Having one foot in community work led by folks of color and the other in a predominantly white spiritual space, Eri realized the contradictory yet very real reality that spirituality and social justice are often held as two separate realms. Wanting to create a bridge for bringing anti-oppression analysis into white spiritual spaces, Eri has focused much of her Master’s work on exploring these intersections and ways in which we can spiritualize activism.

Arisika Razak, MPH, is the current Director of Diversity and the former Chair of the Women’s Spirituality Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her teachings incorporate diverse spiritual traditions, women’s health and healing, and multicultural feminisms, with a special emphasis on the spiritualities and cultures of women of the African Diaspora. An inner-city midwife of over twenty years, Arisika has led healing workshops and ritual celebrations for women for over three decades. In addition, she has facilitated embodied spiritual workshops for women and men at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and East Bay Meditation Center. Her writings on womanism have been included in several books and journals, and her film credits include Alice Walker, Beauty in Truth; Fire Eyes, the first full length feature film by an African woman on female genital cutting; and Who Lives Who Dies a PBS special on health care services to underserved populations.

Panel Moderator:

Kimberly Gibbons is a former teacher, an empowering leader and a dynamic speaker who is currently working on her PhD in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Women’s Spirituality at CIIS. She holds a BA in Classical Civilizations from UC Irvine and a master’s degree in Women’s Spirituality from Sofia University. She believes strongly that it is our responsibility as engaged humans and future leaders and scholars to connect with the next generation, helping them to discover the power and beauty of what it means to be a conscious, empowered, and responsible human being.