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Dawn Haney, Co-Director at an environmental justice march in Richmond, CA (photo credit: aneeta mitha)

Since joining the BPF team in July 2011, Dawn Haney has upgraded BPF’s strategy and operations, strengthening Buddhist-informed activism in social movements from Occupy to environmental justice to Black Lives Matter. She was promoted to Co-Director in April 2012, and has co-led BPF’s training initiatives: The System Stinks, BPF’s 2014 National Gathering, and Dharma + Direct Action trainings.

During her previous tenure as Executive Director of Sexual Assault Services Organization, a rape crisis center in Durango, Colorado, her proudest achievements included reaching ambitious fundraising goals to expand services to survivors and build a new community organizing program focused on building power in immigrant communities to fight sexual violence.

After years of reading Buddhists like Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh, Dawn’s social justice work brought her to the meditation cushion with a desire to be stronger and more resilient in her work to heal trauma and oppression. Dawn is currently in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leaders training program, and a sangha member of East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California.

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Katie Loncke, Co-Director

Katie Loncke, born in Sacramento, California, and now living in Oakland, is the curly granddaughter of Negros and Jewish refugees. She believes in the possibility of enough food, water, shelter, clothing, health care, and education for everyone. She started organizing in high school as a straight ally with a Lesbian Gay Straight Alliance, and currently organizes around social and economic issues with a group led by Latin American immigrant socialists.  Following her graduation from Harvard, the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center offered Katie a warm, life-altering introduction to Buddhism. Her writing on Buddhism and politics has appeared in The Jizo Chronicles, The Buddhist Channel, make/shift magazine, Flip Flopping Joy, and Feministe, as well as here on Turning Wheel Media.

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Nathan Thompson, Development and Communications Associate

Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Nathan Thompson is writer, herbalist, educator, practitioner. He is passionate about urban agriculture and food forest development, racial justice work, and gift based, community centric healing initiatives.

Prior to moving to the Bay Area in 2015, Nathan was a member of Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul for well over a decade, and served as the Chair of sangha’s board of directors for five years. In addition, he co-founded an adult education non-profit (FIRE School), an online literary magazine (Midway Journal), and worked in a variety of educational settings as a teacher or support instructor.

During the summer and fall of 2013, he served as the guest editor for Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s online magazine Turning Wheel, and is excited to return in a more full-time capacity. When not at BPF, Nathan might be found making herbal medicine, tending to the plants in the little food forest in Albany, CA’s Memorial Park, or out hiking and biking in the Bay Area.

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LiZhen Wang, Block Build Be Network Coordinator

LiZhen Wang is an organizer and spiritual counselor who integrates astrology, sacred sexuality, tarot, and somatic work into their practice. They spent their childhood in Taipei, New York, and New Jersey, with their mother’s Buddhist altar at the center of every home.  LiZhen is currently based in NYC, where they lead a monthly healing and whole-ing circle.

As an organizer for racial and economic justice, LiZhen has led campaigns targeting the state’s biggest utility company to pay its security officers a living wage; fighting the Providence Police Department’s use of gang injunctions victimizing Asian-American youth; and most dear to their heart, mobilizing their own workplaces to win just conditions, so that non-profits can practice what they preach. In addition to organizing, they have also made dough nannying, writing higher ed communications, and playing professional humiliatrix. They are humbled, grateful, and expanded by it all.

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Kate Johnson, Training & Education Programs (photo credit: Izzy Wilder Studios)

Kate Johnson is a lifetime dancer, a longtime educator and meditator, and an emerging organizer and process queen.  

Before joining BPF in January 2017 to co-create online programs integrating Buddhadharma and social justice education, she served as a Transformational Activism Coordinator at The Interdependence Project NYC, where she helped organize meditation communities to participate in fair wages and climate justice campaigns. In addition to her work at BPF, Kate teaches meditation and mindful movement workshops for people of all ages, and facilitates awareness-based embodied approaches to anti-oppression training in schools, businesses and organizations.
Kate is a current trainee in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s four year program for Buddhist meditation retreat teachers, having completed Spirit Rock/IMS Community Dharma Leader program. She earned a BFA in Dance from The Alvin Ailey School/Fordham University, and an MA in Performance Studies from NYU.  Her first book, Friendship As Freedom: Mindful Practices for Resisting Oppression and Building Community, will be published by Parallax Press in spring 2018.

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