Belinda Griswold is a communications strategist for conservation groups – primarily focused on climate change – throughout the US. She is also a lawyer and mediator, and a longtime Dharma practitioner in the Tibetan tradition. Belinda has worked with BPF as a BASE group leader, board member and volunteer consultant for many years. Belinda has coordinated local and statewide political campaigns, and has also served as a board member of Tara Mandala, as fundraising director for Nalandabodhi, and as the USA national fundraising director for HH Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje. She brings a deep passion for the integration of spiritual practice and spiritual activism to her work for BPF. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, daughter, two pit bulls, and an old cat.
Rev. Michaela O’Connor Bono is a resident priest and co-leader of the Mid City Zen sangha in New Orleans. She took ordination in 2010 and has been practicing Zen for almost ten years, having done most of her monastic training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and Green Gulch farm, which are part of the San Francisco Zen Center. Rev. Michaela is involved in prison meditation and chaplaincy work and she is on the Board of Sakyadhita USA, a branch of the International Association of Buddhist Women.
Funie Hsu is filled with gratitude to be working with such a dedicated board and community for social change. Issues of justice are deeply important to her personally and professionally as an Assistant Professor in American Studies at San Jose State University. She has a background in education, having taught elementary school in Los Angeles Unified, received a Ph.D. in Education from UC Berkeley, and continued her research on U.S. empire and education as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis. Funie is excited to be a part of the Radical Asian American and Asian Diaspora caucus of BPF, where transnational perspectives on social justice and Buddhist practice are shared. She comes from a bicultural, multilingual (Hokla, Hakka, Mandarin, English) family and is the daughter of working class Taiwanese American immigrants. She grew up with Buddhist practice and feels strongly about including the experiences of Asian and Asian American Buddhists in discussions of Buddhism in the U.S. Funie lives in the CA (East) Bay Area and is obsessed with cats (and dogs).
Samantha (“Sam”) Wechsler has been practicing Vipassana meditation for more than 10 years. She is passionate about the intersection between contemplative practice and social justice, and seeks to integrate the two in ways that contribute to individual and collective liberation. She is the former director of Bikes Not Bombs, a non-profit organization in Boston, Massachusetts, and the founder and former director of Voces de Cambio—the first all-girls after-school program in Guatemala designed to combat racism, discrimination, and machismo through writing, photography, and other forms of creative expression. Sam currently serves as the Associate Director of the Program on Inequality & the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, and she coaches activists who are working toward systemic, transformational change.
J. Tyson Casey began to practice meditation while reinventing himself after a work-related injury led to a differently abled life. During a residential practice apprenticeship at Green Gulch Farm, part of San Francisco Zen Center, he met Mia Murrietta. The two were married at Green Gulch in 2009, and lay ordained there in 2011. Tyson currently spends his time during the week at Rockwood Leadership Institute, where he oversees the National Leading from the Inside Out Yearlong Fellowship and coordinates programmatic and operational systems. He also teaches Sustainable Leadership at Starr King School for the Ministry. Prior to Rockwood, he was the Managing Director of BPF. Tyson lives in Oakland with his wife and a middle-aged Italian Greyhound named Cosmo.
Sierra Pickett has a passion for accessible Sangha building. At the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) — a donation-based, social-justice Buddhist center that Jack Kornfield has called “the most diverse Sangha on the planet” — she is a long-time Coordinating Committee member of the People Of Color Sangha, a weekly sitting group offering safe(r) space for POC practitioners. Sierra also sits on the Programming Committee for EBMC at large. She is a web weaver who sees networking as an intentional act of love connecting us together in reciprocal support. An American Sign Language interpreter by trade, she loves expanding linguistic and cultural accessibility within a social justice framework. Easily spotted in bright colors, Sierra’s smile is contagious and will greet you readily.