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The podcast of the Sacred Inclusion Network


Oct 24, 2023

This Spirituality and Social Justice Symposium explores the intersection of spirituality and activism. Host Angelo John Lewis engages in a dynamic discussion with guests Shariff Abdullah, Lucas Johnson, and Cat Zavis about their experiences in social activism and successful projects.

The panelists highlighted the significance of inner work and personal transformation in effective activism. They emphasized the need for individuals to engage in self-reflection, challenging systems of oppression while practicing empathy and kindness. They agreed that the collective exploration of solutions and the cultivation of curiosity and dialogue are essential for creating meaningful change.

Further into the symposium, they delved into the concept of leadership and its role in social justice movements. They express the need for leaders to prioritize love, compassion, and the well-being of the community over power and financial gain.  While they acknowledge the complexity and nuance of leadership, they advocated for a shift in consciousness and a reimagining of leadership that fosters inclusivity, empathy, and care.

Johnson shared his involvement in representing nonviolent activists at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, while Rabbi Cat Zavis discussed her experience advocating for women prisoners in Alaska and improving their living conditions. Shariff Abdullah discussed his involvement in the Sarvodia Peace Action Plan in Sri Lanka, and emphasized the role of grassroots movements in promoting peace and unity.

Abdullah is the founder of Commonway.org, who in the early 1960s he helped found the Black People’s Unity Movement (BPUM), an organization dedicated to self-help and development in the inner city of Camden. Johnson is the Executive Vice President of the On Being project and a human rights advocate and public theologian with deep, global experience in conflict resolution and community organizing. Zavis is the Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and a long time activist in social change work.

The event was sponsored by the Sacred Inclusion Network, and was held April 23, 2023. The panelists emphasize the importance of community and collective efforts in their work, highlighting the power of inclusivity and connection. Links: