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Deb Cuny, Director of Development

Deb Cuny moved to Berkeley from the South in pursuit of “the soul of social justice.”

With a background in fundraising, organizing, nonprofit organizational development, as well as faith and interfaith social change work, Deb chose to attend the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) to study the intersection of spirituality, privilege, and oppression.

Deb first became involved with social justice at Hollins University when a man with the last name of “Gay” shot seven people at a local queer bar. While the shooting was a catalyst for activism, it wasn’t until a Person of Color (POC) organization questioned the unequal publicity given to this incident (compared to countless invisible acts of violence), that Deb realized the systemic nature of injustice.

Deb has a professional background with multiple justice-based organizations working with anti-racism, queer, aging, youth, and differently-abled populations. In addition, Deb has served as a chaplain for places including San Francisco General Hospital, Project Homelessness, and currently the Birth Justice Project working with inmates in SF County Women’s jail.

A participant in many Buddhist communities including Naropa University, the Institute for Buddhist Studies, and East Bay Meditation Center, Deb’s interest in the Buddhist Peace Fellowship includes building bridges between faith communities as a step towards global healing. Deb brings to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship a strong belief that social transformation is possible only when “heart/faith, practice/behavior, and systems” are equally rooted in a framework for change, which for Deb, is part of the path to liberation.

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Katie Loncke, Director of Media & Action

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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Dawn Haney, Director of Training & Development

Dawn Haney brings her passions for social justice, good non-profit management, and the dharma to her role as Director of Training for BPF. During her three-year 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. She led the organization’s shift from a primarily white women’s agency to one that applied an anti-oppression lens to ending sexual violence, re-centering the work in the lives of people most marginalized in the community. She has consulted with a range of folks, from anti-violence advocates and circus freaks, to improv artists and fiscal policy geeks. She blogs about strengthening nonprofit roots, rooting for nonprofit success, and giving not so great nonprofits a root canal at Rooting Nonprofits.

Dawn’s social justice work first brought her to the meditation cushion with a desire to be stronger and more resilient in her work to heal trauma and oppression. As an active sangha member of the Durango Dharma Center, she managed the first residential retreat for the center’s Next Generation group for meditators in their 20s and 30s. It was on retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center with socially-engaged Buddhist teachers Joanna Macy, Donald Rothberg, and Lawrence Ellis that Dawn decided to move from Colorado to the Bay Area to better explore the intersection of social activism and Buddhism.

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© 2012 Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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