Debra Kerr (she/her) identifies as a cisgender heterosexual white woman living with a disability. She is a partner, mother, grandmother, and retired speech pathologist who has meditated since 1991, and taught since 2002. Deb loves being in nature, community building, SCUBA diving, juggling, music and humor. A graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader program, Deb is a Core Teacher at East Bay Meditation Center, where she also guides the Every Body Every Mind Sangha for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Her meditation practice is influenced by both Theravadan and Dzogchen teachings. Deb is dedicated to waking up as much as possible, and to using the tools of Buddhist practice to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression and exclusion. She loves maximizing well-being and human potential through the practices of lovingkindness, compassion and wisdom.
Beth has practiced meditation, according to the Vipassana tradition, for more than 10 years. She works as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, supervising and teaching psychotherapist trainees. She also volunteers as a Buddhist Chaplain at Laguna Honda Hospital and is continuing her training in spiritual caregiving, which began at the Sati Center and continues through Clinical Pastoral Education at the Pacific Institute of Essential Conversations. Beth regularly teaches medical and mental health providers on topics related to disability liberation and unlearning racism. She has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.
Anne Finger has been practicing at East Bay Meditation Center for over a decade. She is committed to bringing the needs and joys of the disabled community to our sangha. In addition to her practice at EBMC, she has also attended retreats at Spirit Rock as well as at Gaia House in the UK and also trained in the chaplaincy training program at Sati Center.
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Mushim Patricia Ikeda
Mushim is a core teacher at EBMC. She has experience in both monastic and lay Buddhist practice, and she is also a diversity and inclusion consultant, an author, and a mother. Mushim has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), a disability that is an environmental illness now affecting increasing numbers of people in our society. Mushim serves part-time on staff as EBMC’s community coordinator, working with volunteers and in communications.
Master John W. Ellis IV
Master Ellis is a martial artist with more than 30 years of experience in helping people strengthen the connections between the body, mind and spirit. He teaches toddlers, youth, adults, senior citizens, athletes, the physically challenged, and autistic children. He has more than 25 years of meditation practice in Christian, Zen, Vipassana and New Thought traditions; and has written about martial arts, spirituality, and alternative health for major media. He currently teaches at Ananda Martial Arts and Fitness Academy in Oakland.
“Coach Kenji” has been meditating for about half of his adult life. He graduated from both of EBMC’s yearlong programs, Commit to Dharma and Practice in Transformative Action. As someone who has lived with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for over two decades, he was on the team that addressed accessibility issues for EBMC at the old Broadway Street location, and he is an occasional temple consultant. Kenji moved to the Bay Area in 1993 to act as a community organizer, nationally, for grassroots gay Asian and Pacific Islander HIV prevention groups. As a business and life coach he focuses on other entrepreneurial types who also grapple with ADHD. He has a unique perspective as a bi-racial/bi-cultural/bi-coastal, disabled, gay man.
Renato P. Almanzor, PhD
Renato P. Almanzor, PhD is a transformation catalyst, whose experience emerges from 30 years developing leaders committed to equitable communities, multicultural organizations, and social justice. Much of his work has been dedicated to supporting community leaders working with and in low-income communities and communities of color.
Renato received his Ph.D. and M.A. in organizational psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, his M.S. in counseling from San Diego State University, and his B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Davis. He completed coaching certification through Transformation Services, Inc.; received mindfulness training for social change activists through the yearlong Practices in Transformative Action program at the East Bay Meditation Center where he also served as an apprentice for core teacher Mushim Ikeda the following year; and certification for Zumba Instruction. He currently serves on the boards of the East Bay Meditation Center and Oakland Peace Center.
emiko yoshikami is a mixed-raced, mixed-Buddhist queer. She has been involuntarily hospitalized three times due to what may be called a “psychiatric disability." Raised with the Dharma through the Western Insight tradition, emiko began practicing Vipassana meditation as a child. However, ancestrally, she comes from a long lineage of Pureland Buddhist priests. She is currently a participant in the East Bay Meditation Center's Spiritual Teacher & Leadership training. Committed to Disability Justice, she spends a lot of time thinking about power in relationship to the multiple realities we live in. At core, emiko seeks to co-create a more just and compassionate world.
Venmo: @emiko-yoshikami | Paypal
Arisika Razak, MPH, is the former Chair of the Women’s Spirituality Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Previously a nurse-midwife, her teachings incorporate diverse spiritual traditions, women's health and healing, multicultural feminisms, queer theory, and diversity theory. Arisika has led national and international healing workshops and ritual celebrations for women for over three decades, as well as embodied spiritual workshops for people of all genders. She is committed to living a full and joyful life while remaining mindful of her physical limitations, health challenges, and disabilities.
To offer a gift to support Arisika's teachings, please do so via PayPal: email@example.com