2022 Conference





Keynote Speakers





Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Psychologist | Professor | Preacher


Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes is a clinical psychologist, public theologian, and ecumenical minister whose work focuses upon healing the legacies of racial and gender oppression. A professor of practical theology and pastoral care at Columbia Theological Seminary, Dr. Chanequa is the author of I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation, Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength, as well as nearly two dozen journal articles and book chapters in theology and psychology.


Beyond the classroom, Dr. Chanequa spends most of her professional energy writing and ministering to clergy and faith-based activists, and generally caping for women of color engaged in Christian social justice activism. Her faith has been shaped by Methodist, Baptist, and evangelical social justice communities as well as by Buddhism and Islam. She was ordained by an independent fellowship that holds incarnational theology, community engagement, social justice, and prophetic witness as its core values.


Visit her website here: https://www.drchanequa.com/ 



Lama Rod Owens

Author | Yoga Instructor | Authorized Lama


Lama Rod Owens is a Buddhist minister, author, activist, yoga instructor and authorized Lama, or Buddhist teacher, in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism and is considered one of the leaders of his generation of Buddhist teachers. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Owens is the author of Love and Rage: The Faith of Liberation Through Anger and co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation


He invites you into the cross sections of his life as a Black, queer male, born and raised in the South, and heavily influenced by the church and its community. Through his lens you catch glimpses of your own often conflicting identities. Through it all he weaves in time-tested, traditional Buddhist principles and practices that give listeners real tools for healing and evolution. Owens is the co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice and study community. Has been published in Buddhadharma, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle and The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and offers talks, retreats and workshops in more than seven countries.

Visit his website: https://www.lamarod.com/ 





Kate Bowler

Author | Professor | Incurable Optimist


Kate Bowler, PhD is a New York Times best selling author, podcast host, and a professor at Duke University. She studies the cultural stories we tell ourselves about success, suffering, and whether (or not) we’re capable of change. She is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel and The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities. After being unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35, she penned the New York Times best selling memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved) and her latest, No Cure For Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear). Kate hosts the Everything Happens podcast where, in warm, insightful, often funny conversations, she talks with people like Malcolm Gladwell and Anne Lamott about what they’ve learned in difficult times. She lives in Durham, North Carolina with her family and continues to teach do-gooders at Duke Divinity School.


Visit her website here: https://katebowler.com/ 






Wajahat Ali

Public Speaker | Recovering Attorney | Tired Dad


Wajahat Ali is a Daily Beast columnist, public speaker, recovering attorney, and tired dad of three cute kids. He recently published his first book Go Back To Where You Came From: And, Other Helpful Recommendations on Becoming American. He believes in sharing stories that are by us, for everyone: universal narratives told through a culturally specific lens to entertain, educate and bridge the global divides.


He also enjoys writing about himself in the third person. He frequently appears on television and podcasts for his brilliant, incisive, and witty political commentary. Born in the Bay Area, California to Pakistani immigrant parents, Ali went to school wearing Husky pants and knowing only three words of English. He graduated from UC Berkeley with an English major and became a licensed attorney. He knows what it feels like to be the token minority in the classroom and the darkest person in a boardroom. Like Spiderman, he’s often had the power and responsibility of being the cultural ambassador of an entire group of people, those who are often marginalized, silenced, or reduced to stereotypes. His essays, interviews, and reporting have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and New York Review of Books. Ali has spoken at many organizations, from Google to Walmart-Jet to Princeton University to the United Nations to the Chandni Indian-Pakistani Restaurant in Newark, California, and his living room in front of his three kids.


Visit his website: https://www.wajali.com/ 




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