Centered in Blackness: Designing Contemplative Spaces for Black People
A webinar with Dr. Michelle Coghill Chatman and Dr. Steven Thurston Oliver
Originally broadcast on Friday, March 13, 2020
3 pm – 4 pm ET / 12 pm – 1 pm PT
Free and open to all, with a $10 optional, suggested donation
We understand that as Black people our approaches and contributions to understandings of mindfulness are grounded in our unique histories and perspectives. Too often in academia, Black scholars interested in writing about lived experiences of Black people are encouraged to use the experiences of White people as a point of comparison in order to somehow validate our findings or make them more accessible to others. We start with the premise that our stories are worth telling and have value on their own merit. As such, we envision creating and sustaining contemplative space that centers and flows out of our voices, experiences, and collective wisdom as Black scholar-practitioners. We strongly believe that these spaces are important and affirming for Black people and anyone in the broader community interested in learning about contemplative pedagogy through a Black lens. Black people have wisdom to offer from the various “mats” that serve as the foundations upon which our contemplative practices rest — be it the yoga mat, the divination mat, the Muslim prayer mat, the floor of the Buddhist temple, the mat of family, culture, or history, or the mat of Great Mother Earth. Join us for a rich discussion about the value and possibilities of Black contemplative spaces and learn about the upcoming 2nd Annual Black Mindfulness Summit, April 17 – 19th.
About the Presenters
Dr. Michelle Coghill Chatman is a Cultural Anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the Crime, Justice, and Security Studies program at the University of the District of Columbia. Her work focuses on the use of contemplative approaches to support liberated learning environments that center healing, social justice, and community, particularly for Black youth and communities. Her recent publication, “Advancing Youth Justice and Healing through Contemplative Practices and African Spiritual Wisdom,” appears in the January 2020 issue of the Journal of Contemplative Inquiry. Dr. Chatman is the founder and convener of the Black Mindfulness Summit.
Dr. Steven Thurston Oliver is an associate professor of secondary and higher education at Salem State University. Steven is a sociologist of education whose research is focused on the ways in which contemplative pedagogy can be used as a catalyst in K-12 teacher preparation and higher education programs for cultivating greater capacity among educators to engage across human differences.