Social Healing Fellowship

On Being’s Social Healing Fellowship accompanies a cohort of leaders whose lives and voices model and inspire wisdom, moral courage, and social creativity in the urgent, yet also generational work of conversation, civilizational reckoning, and social healing.

Driven by a call to nourish, embolden, and accompany the people and projects who are healing our world and tending to common life for this century, On Being’s Social Healing Fellowship began a new cycle in October 2023.

The fellowship brings together a group of leaders who are initiating and fostering social healing efforts in their local communities — with particular attention to addressing deep fractures in our public life. Each fellow’s work fosters social healing through weaving and leveraging relationships, serving as bridge people connecting at the intersections of communities, holding unlikely relationships, and bringing a quality of interaction to their work that gives rise to something bigger.

The year-long experience is designed to serve as a “resource for the resourcers” — connecting fellows to each other as well as to On Being’s communities of insight and practice as a support for sustaining long-term efforts and preparing for future work. There is no application to the program — fellows are nominated by trusted advisors to our project and invited by On Being to participate. Rather than expecting fellows to produce any new projects, the fellowship design emphasizes an experience of restoration and spaciousness intended for reflection, listening, re-visioning, and cross-pollination. The hope is to foster an environment where fellows have opportunities for discernment and renewal alongside a community of geographically diverse peers and cross-disciplinary thought partners, and we invite experienced elders and guests to join these meetings on an occasional basis. 

We invite you to meet our fellows through their stories, as they’ve chosen to tell them — as part of this cohort, and at this time in the life of the world:

2023-2024 Fellows

Megan Black

Kansas City, MO

Pronouns: she, her

Megan Black is a Midwest-based organizer and trainer committed to race equity, inclusive democracy, and the common good. Born and raised in Iowa to a progressive, Catholic, service-oriented, interracial family, Megan has spent much of her life trying to make sense of our differences and to build bridges between them. She began her career as an organizer with an interfaith community organizing group working to end predatory lending, reform immigration policy, and end mass incarceration. Since 2010, Megan has worked with organizations like Interfaith America, Faith in Action, and Western States Center to navigate the divisions created by race, religion, and politics, with a particular focus on the issues of antisemitism, anti-Black racism, and Christian hegemony. Megan earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. She now directs the Common Good program at Western States Center and regularly trains and consults on bridge-building and DEI initiatives in her hometown and across the country. Megan lives in Kansas City, MO with her husband (currently a postulant for Episcopal priesthood) and two-too-many cats. They are eagerly anticipating the birth of their first child in November 2023.

Emmanuel George

Hollywood, FL

Pronouns: he, him

Emmanuel George is a community historian and preservationist from Hollywood, FL. Emmanuel’s love for preserving Black history began in the mid-2010s when noticing the gentrification in the historic Black community of Hollywood known as Liberia, as well as its sibling historic Black community that sits across the street “Danie” in the northwest section of Broward’s first incorporated city, Dania Beach. Researching and finding out more about his community’s history, and seeing how it was being slowly erased — whether through displacement, elders passing away, homes and properties being bought out — pushed Emmanuel to make sure the history and the stories of the community and what’s left of it be documented and preserved as a way to educate others about the hidden stories one may not know about, and to make sure that the stories are passed on from generation to generation.

Autumn Dawn Gomez

Albuquerque, NM

Pronouns: they, she

Autumn Dawn Gomez (Taos Pueblo/Comanche) is a multifaceted Indigenous artist and organizer from the Northern Rio Grande area in New Mexico. Autumn is passionate about the Land, Water, and People. Autumn expresses that love through public murals, screen printing, working with elders and youth, participating in cultural activities, and learning about plants for medicine and foraging.

Natilee McGruder Kyle

Huntsville, AL

Pronouns: she, her

Natliee McGruder Kyle is a Montgomery native with deep roots in sustainable agriculture and community organizing around the country and specifically the Black Belt. She is in community with an extensive and diverse network of organizations, institutions, and individuals.

As an organizational development consultant, she has expertise in community food systems, facilitation, strategic planning, project management, and ample experience planning and coordinating food and farming conferences such as Southern SAWG and the National Good Food Network Conference. As a grassroots leader, she co-chairs Alabama Leads, a program designed to provide peer connection, opportunities for learning and growth, and programmatic support for leaders working to build a more resilient, equitable, and peaceful Alabama.

Mrs. Kyle graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, from the University of Alabama School of Law with a Juris Doctorate, and from the University of Sydney in Australia with a Master in Peace and Conflict Studies, while serving as a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow. She lives in Huntsville with her amazing husband and loves Alabama football.

Marcia Lee

Waawiiyatanong/Detroit, MI

Pronouns: she, her

I am a learner, grower, and listener. I look to nature’s rhythm, God’s time, my children, and my elders to show me the way. I am committed to finding joy in small things; to listening with my heart, body, spirit, and mind; and to ending oppression, racism, and injustice. My people are from Taiwan, and I live in Waawiiyatanong, currently known as Detroit, MI.
My intention is to practice living in right relationship with myself, Mother Earth, and my human and beyond-human neighbors. I do this imperfectly and with a lot of gratitude towards those who choose to walk with me on this journey. My work is to be a mother, healing-centered leadership coach, friend, Courage and Renewal retreat leader, wife, Tai Chi teacher, daughter, popular education facilitator, sister, and Taproot Sanctuary space holder.

A core value for social healing for me is asking questions that open us to embodying our values and deepening our capacity to love, listen, and learn, individually and collectively.

Alison McCrary

Bvlbancha/New Orleans, LA

Pronouns: she, her

As a social justice movement lawyer, community mediator, spiritual director, transformative justice practitioner, and an internationally sought-after speaker, Alison McCrary has lived her life at the intersections of justice and spirituality. She is a creative systems thinker, a go-to strategist for social movement organizations experiencing transitions or challenges, a team builder, and an expert networker who nurtures values-based leadership in others and community-led social change. 

Alison works on issues related to criminal justice reform, environmental justice, immigrant rights, international human rights, cultural preservation, voting rights, disaster recovery, and housing rights. She has served as a spiritual advisor on Louisiana’s death row for the past 18 years, as a movement capacity-building strategist supporting nonprofits led by formerly-incarcerated people, the statewide campaign manager for the Unanimous Jury Coalition, abolishing a 138-year-old Jim Crow law in Louisiana, Founding Director of the ReEntry Mediation Institute of Louisiana, Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project, President of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and Founding Director of the New Orleans Community-Police Mediation Program.  

As a former Catholic nun, Alison enjoys creating meaningful and creative rituals to help others experience the divine and sacred in their lives. Alison is an enrolled citizen of the Ani-Yun-Wiya Cherokee Nation and is active with the Bvlbancha Intertribal Community in New Orleans.

Molly McHenry

Cincinnati, OH

Pronouns: she, her

Molly McHenry is a family nurse practitioner, a queer person, a foster and adoptive parent, and a Christian. She has spent her career providing care to disenfranchised youth in Portland (OR), Manhattan, Boston, and now Cincinnati. This includes young people who are LGBTQ+, unhoused, incarcerated, HIV+, in foster care, exposed to environmental racism, trafficked, impoverished, and those struggling with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. Her medical practice is rooted in harm reduction, trauma-informed care, abolition, and racial justice. In December 2023 she will complete a psychiatric nurse practitioner program that will allow her to provide comprehensive psychiatric care within her medical practice. She is also part of Joy Channel, a collective of creatives doing work in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space through storytelling, consulting, and training. With her wife, an Episcopal priest, she is a parent to two children, three rescue dogs, and a rambling cat. She balances the stress of caregiving with laughter, play, puppetry, songwriting, community building, and jokes about body fluids.

Zakia McKensey

Richmond, VA

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Zakia McKensey is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She has been an active member of the LGBTQ community. For many years Zakia was a national performer and pageant competitor. She is a former Miss Gay Black America, Miss Black National, Miss International Supermodel, Miss Virginia Capitol Pride, and Miss Sweetheart International at Large. She has worked for Fan Free Clinic, where she was instrumental in creating the Transgender Clinic, as well as Richmond City Health District, where she was a Disease Intervention Specialist and also the first African American transgender woman to ever work for the health district. October of 2015, she opened the Nationz Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides advocacy for transgender individuals as well as offering HIV/STI testing, a food pantry, PrEP clinic, emergency housing, and other supportive services to the Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area. She was named a 2018 Outstanding Virginian by Equality Virginia. Zakia was honored with a Firework Award by Virginia Pride in 2018. Zakia was recently appointed as a Commissioner for the City of Richmond, and is the first Black transwoman to be appointed. In her free time, she enjoys time with family and friends, traveling, competing in and attending pageants, cooking, and spending time with her Furbay Japan. Zakia is also a part of a docuseries “Blind Angels” on CNN for her work in Virginia.

Rev. Ian Carr McPherson

Raleigh, NC

Pronouns: they, them, theirs

Rev. Ian Carr McPherson currently serves as the Minister of Social Justice and Students at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, a historic congregation in the heart of Raleigh, NC. They are a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Ian accompanies communities that are inspired by ancient wisdom in their pursuit of personal, communal, and societal transformation. As a Christian educator (and aspiring organizer), Ian is called to equip the church in its pursuit of the just social order Christ envisioned. “Civic formation” is Ian’s watchword and vocational lodestar. Like their spiritual forebears, the Charismatics and Pentecostals, Ian’s call weaves together deep attentiveness to personal spiritual gifts and fiery devotion to the Spirit’s transgressive work through (and for the sake of) community. In their spare time, Ian loves to read, write, hike, and explore small-town cafes and breweries with their partner, Heidi, and their terrier, Phoebe.

Dr. Onnie Poe

Augusta, GA

Pronouns: she, her

Dr. Onnie Poe stands out as a remarkable educator, community leader, and certified peer specialist parent, making significant strides in Augusta, GA, and beyond. Equipped with a Doctorate of Education in instructional leadership, an education specialist degree in curriculum and instruction, a Master of Education in counseling and psychology, and a bachelor’s degree in health behavior, Dr. Poe leverages her comprehensive educational foundation to assist individuals with disabilities and mental health challenges.

Drawing from her personal experiences with mental health, the wisdom she’s garnered from serving youth within the educational and foster care system, and the insights from her own children, Dr. Poe molds these narratives to inform and enhance her work. Dr. Poe founded the organization Filling in the Gaps, dedicated to providing education, community engagement, and resource and referral services to the community. Dr. Poe also established Release Enterprises, a wellness brand championing mental and emotional well-being.

Renowned as a skilled trainer and workshop facilitator, Dr. Poe frequently amplifies the voices and experiences of youth grappling with mental health issues. Her insights and proficiency have consistently proven invaluable to various organizations that advocate for mental health. Her unwavering commitment to uplifting lives, both in her community and further afield, serves as a beacon of inspiration for all acquainted with her journey.

Michael H. Smith

Denver, CO

Pronouns: he, him, his

Michael H. Smith serves as Senior Program Officer at the Colorado Health Foundation (TCHF). In this role, Michael co-leads the Foundation’s Advocacy Priority and supports the Foundation’s locally-focused work. Prior to joining TCHF, Michael was a Program and Strategy Officer at the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF) in Richmond, VA.
Before his move to Richmond, Michael led real estate development and urban planning work in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors in Pittsburgh, PA. Michael served as Project Manager for TREK Development Group, managing the Bedford Dwellings/Hill District Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant. Prior to that role, Michael worked in the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, managing the city’s affordable housing task force. Michael came to Pittsburgh after working for four years in Charlottesville, VA, as a neighborhood planner.

Michael completed a bachelor’s degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and alumnus of the Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy, serving as a fellow in 2020.

Micah Melody Taberner

National City, CA

Pronouns: she, her

As a bi-racial, Latina, transgender, Christian woman, Micah Melody Taberner has learned the importance of communities where people can embrace their whole selves. Her greatest passion is helping individuals and communities explore the intersection of their own identities and faith. Currently, she works in and alongside queer communities of faith, building spaces for individuals to heal, worship, and lead without fear of rejection or violence. Micah Melody serves as the Community Care Coordinator for Transmission Ministry Collective — an online community dedicated to the spiritual care, faith formation, and leadership development of gender-expansive Christians. She is also pursuing a Master of Arts in Social Transformation and a Master of Divinity at Pacific School of Religion. In her work, she loves using art, music, and storytelling to build relationships, stir cross-cultural dialogue, and advocate for a theology and praxis of trans liberation that affirms the full humanity, dignity, and worth of all people.

2021-2022 Fellows

Mamie Hillman

Us, They, We

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and a community grassroots organizer/advocate. My most recent active engagement has been completely restoring an African American Historical Home and repurposing it as the Greene County African American Museum, Inc. After twenty-five years of commitment to this project, the museum opened late 2021. Living in a rural southern community, honoring and celebrating the historical narrative of African Americans is very significant. For this, I am grateful. As I often say, wherever we are, it should be better because we are there. I firmly believe that each of us is gifted with purpose, to make a life-giving impact in the betterment of our world. For we are God’s hands and feet.

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is to treat one another as you desire to be treated.


Lanny Peters

Georgia, USA

Pronouns: he, him, his

I was born 13 months after the death of my parents’ first child, who was only four months old, so I was conceived in grief. My parents bought a little four room mill house with money inherited from my mother’s father, which was stolen from them before I was five. My longing for justice runs deep. My father never learned to read, but worked hard at low wages and provided for his family, until one day he crawled under the house and disappeared into mental illness. The intersection of depression and oppression innervates me. My mother’s life was changed in a pandemic when she had polio as a teen. She had to learn to walk again and never stopped. She loved to laugh and tell stories, gifts that have sustained me to this day. 

I studied at a consortium of nine schools in Berkeley, California, among Baptists in North Carolina, and Presbyterians in Georgia. I served as Parish Minster at First Baptist in Washington, DC, for seven years, and pastor of Oakhurst, a (oxymoron) liberal Baptist church in Decatur, Georgia, for 28 years. After retiring four years ago, I was a hospice chaplain for a while and am now a free range minister, a person of Baptist Christian tradition on an interfaith pilgrimage. 

My wife just retired after 30 years of teaching children to love music at the Atlanta International School. We have a son who is a rapper in Atlanta and a son who is a digital nomad living in Colombia.  A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is the belief that every person’s story is a God story. Deeply listening to another’s story and sharing intimately one’s own can be a means to build community, overcome division, and bring healing.

Apollonia Piña

Oklahoma, USA

Pronouns: she, her

Apollonia Piña is an interdisciplinary researcher of Mvskoke, Xicana, Scots-Irish, and French lineage. Apollonia’s life as an indigenous activist started with her Native and Xicano parents and informs her work in academia and community involvement in Northeast Oklahoma. Presently, she is the Tulsa chapter organizer for the Matriarch organization and developer of an Indigenous-centered STEM camp for Native youth. Her research interests include non-Western perspectives in science and math, Indigenous sexuality and womanism, and promoting Natives in STEM. She is the founder of Green Corn Medics, a street medic crew that provides care to those in need during direct actions. She enjoys scouting rare books, rock and roll, origin stories, and connecting the dots. She resides on the Mvskoke reservation in Tvlse, Okla Humma with her son.

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing, put simply: liberatory/pluralistic science and medicine for all. This guides me in all facets of my community engagement, whether it’s teaching Indigenous youth our peoples major contributions to math, science, and medicine, or, in the more literal sense of social healing, in the intentional ways I engage with my patients when I am working at the hospital.

Malika Cox

Oklahoma, USA

Pronouns: she/her

Malika is the author of the Flourish OKC Restorative Justice Learning Curriculum. She has been involved in human rights advocacy, peacebuilding dialogue, restorative justice practices, and ecumenical clergy work. She has been to the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia, spent time in Rwanda during the Gacaca courts, lived in post-conflict Belfast, and has been to the Israel/Palestine region multiple times.

Malika is currently working on her Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at Tufts Fletcher School focusing onHuman Security. She received her Master of Philosophy in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity College Dublin, Irish School of Ecumenics in 2017, and a Master of Arts in Practical Theology in 2016 at Regent University.

She jointly won the James Haire Dissertation Award for her peacebuilding research on Palestinian and Israeli dialogue in cyberspace, #PEACETECH. Malika is the Pastor of Justice and Spiritual Formation of The Table OKC, an organic movement attempting to embody the radical, inclusive, self-sacrificial love found at the table of Jesus, and a co-host of the Table Collective Podcast.

Malika is devoted to cultivating restorative relationships and honoring the beauty and intrinsic worth of every human being. Her core values are justice, equality, and the human flourishing of all people.

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is kindness. I love the Jewish practice of Tikkun Olam, ‘mending the world through acts of kindness.’ I believe that kindness on a macro level is working towards truth and societal healing through transitional justice practices such as truth and reconciliation commissions, reparations, and commemoration. 


Brandon Wrencher

North Carolina, USA

Pronouns: he, him

I’m from a Southern working-class family and small town in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Whatever good that I am and have done is because of the many strong Black women leaders in my extended family, church, and community. I am a life and love partner to Erica, a resilient Black woman, mother, organizer, singer, and educator. Together we are the proud parents of two young Black boys who love the outdoors, music, to read, laugh, wrestle, and cuddle! I am the son of a Black woman who taught me to love God, learning, people, and justice. I carry my daddy’s name and the sense of hard work and responsibility that he instilled in me. This story of my origins and identity is core to any of my work and accomplishments. My life’s mission is to catalyze local circles of spirit and action that cultivate personal and social change. I’ve tried to live this mission out faithfully. Here’s some of how that’s gone for me:

Brandon is a minister, organizer, writer, and trainer. He works across the US within faith, higher education, and non-profit sectors at the intersections of decolonizing church, contemplative activism, and local presence to build beloved communities. With neighbors and friends, he started The Good Neighbor Movement, a multiracial, queer-affirming, Black-centered faith justice community based in Greensboro, NC that is a network of contemplative activist groups. Brandon is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Master of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary, and completed post-graduate studies in theology and ethics from Duke Divinity School. Brandon has two forthcoming books in 2022 — Liberating Church: A 21st Century Hush Harbor Manifesto (Wipf & Stock and The Voices Publishing) and Buried Seeds: Learning from the Vibrant Resilience of Marginalized Christian Communities (Baker Academic).

I’m honored to be among this fierce and compassionate group of social healing fellows. My prayer is that who I am and my work are a testament and a seed to a freer and more loving me and world!

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is Leader-full. I am at my best when I am curating and writing content with and for my community, catalyzing new creative collaborative projects, sharing power for new and different leadership to emerge, gathering new people together to form pockets of community and organization, and collaborating with neighbors, leaders, and organizations to make change.



Chalice Overy

North Carolina, USA

Pronouns: she/her

Chalice is a spiritual practitioner steeped in the Black church tradition. Her ministry aims to make The Divine accessible, especially to those who find themselves on the margins of mainstream Christianity. She thrives in the areas of spiritual direction, conflict transformation and preaching, and has a strong interest in culturally authentic spiritual practices.  Chalice is currently the co-Program Director for the To Heal the Wounded Soul project–a collaboration of the Clergy Health Initiative and the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School–and also serves on the ministerial staff of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. Lately, she thinks a lot about how the church needs to evolve to support individuals and communities along a journey of healing and transformation.

Chalice enjoys skiing and swimming, and loves daylight and fresh air. Her greatest aspiration is to navigate this world as authentically as possible by showing up as herself, everyday and in every space. She hopes that, in doing so, she can fulfill her assignment in the time she has in this realm.  

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is Authenticity/honesty. We’re not likely to pursue healing if we’re not honest enough to admit that some things are broken in our world. So we need honesty to even start the process, and we need to prioritize it throughout. When people come from a real place, we can address the real issues. When people come from a performative place, we squander the time and energy of everyone involved. 


Paige Ingram

Minnesota, USA

Pronouns: she, her

Paige Ingram (she/her) is a nomadic, Midwest-based organizer, strategist, facilitator, and creative person. She currently serves as a driver and designer of a process to frontload the strategy, culture, story, and structure of a national mass movement a Truth and Reconciliation process and Reparations in America. She also supports the Movement for Black Lives with strategy and partnerships, leads a cohort of Americana artists of color with the Western States Center, and serves as a lead trainer with the Momentum Community. 

Locally, she is committed to uplifting the dreamy, creative ways that we make abolition irresistible to our communities, starting with her own personal practice. Paige believes her calling is to curate experiences where people can connect in ways that heal, encourage the re-imagining of their communities, and make tenable changes that are an outgrowth of spiritual practice, authentic relationships, and intentional engagement in community.

Committed to weaving together global liberation struggles, she earned a Master’s in Middle East Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. Paige’s favorite emotion is gratitude and favorite thing to do on earth is laugh. 

Find her on instagram or twitter (@seriouslypaige) or on her website (

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is truth-telling. This can be the most liberating or frightening act, and everything in between. I have found in relationship to self and community (in the many ways we define it), that the root of break-down is typically linked to the misunderstanding or concealment of truth. To put it in a different way, truth-telling is critical to healing. In my work, I root myself in fostering opportunities for folk to get to know their truth, express it, and embody it.

Heidi Kim

Minnesota, USA

Pronouns: she, her

I was born in Seoul, Korea to parents who met and married in New York City as international students in the 1950s. They returned to Korea for several years, but then immigrated to the U.S. permanently when I was a baby, seeking greater economic and political stability here. I grew up in Muscatine, Iowa where I learned to love the big midwestern sky and the kindness of neighbors, and where I also learned a great deal about racism and misogyny as a young woman of color. My theologian mother and dentist father raised my two brothers and me to be reflective, competitive, and practical at the same time. Our home was energetic and boisterous, and filled with intense and heated debates about everything from national politics to whether Bach or Beethoven was the superior composer.

My early experiences of organized religion revealed a lot of racism, sexism, and anti-immigrant sentiment, even as I loved singing in the choir. I felt a strong pull towards faith, but often found churches to be both exclusive and transactional. I returned to the church via the choir as a younger adult, though I had to be paid (as a soprano section leader) to do so. I fell in love with the liturgy, inclusive theology, and radical feminist priests of The Episcopal Church, as it felt like a place where I could show up with hard questions and find grace and prophetic witness in return. The church has been a place of both trauma and healing, and I remain hopeful and prayerful about our call to be a source of wisdom and love in bringing about racial healing and justice making. My vocational call remains very much a work in progress.

Most of my professional life has been in education, the church, and in the world of classical choral singing. I’ve been blessed by many colleagues and teachers along the way, who have reminded me that finding and honoring one’s voice is an integral element of knowing and honoring our personal and collective Belovedness.

Heidi J. Kim has engaged in racial healing work in The Episcopal Church as well as in higher and secondary education, focusing on the stories of the survivors and disrupters of oppression and marginalization. She is particularly committed to creating space for the struggles of people of faith to speak across difference while remaining in community. Her passion is working with curious, diligent, and loving people to sustain strong and inclusive communities. She currently serves as the Director of Talent and Organizational Culture at Propel Nonprofits in Minneapolis, MN. She also serves as an independent consultant for faith-based communities with a focus on conflict transformation, culture change, and formation for racial reconciliation and healing.

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is curiosity — I think that polarization arises when we sit comfortably in our places of certainty that we are right and everyone else is wrong. I find that when I am triggered by something that feels dehumanizing, staying in a place of curiosity can often get to the story behind the story, and uncover the “shorthand” that people often use to describe their own experiences. Curiosity has helped me find connection and empathy with people whose perspectives and experiences are vastly different from my own.


Keni Nooner

New York, USA

Pronouns: she, her

I am an ever-curious soul that thrives within spaces that value the power and art of gathering together. Raised in the heart of Texas with a southern rooted family on both sides (Louisiana and Arkansas), I’ve somehow managed to live and thrive in New York City for the last six years. Probably because I come from a family that, although they suffered generations of pain, found the best in what they had. A family that laughed hard sometimes just to mask their crying. A family that worked its best to stay connected as we moved across the country over time. I’m aware of the unhealthy peace we often upheld, but I appreciate the outlook they gave me of the world — to just keep trying to find appreciation in the little things. Because of this, I often go where the excitement, creativity, and joy resides.

You can say a major hobby of mine is watching Astrology Tik Tok (hehe), but otherwise I love traveling, connecting with others, and seeking out any live show on the planet — comedy, music, theatre, etc. My favorite album is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Some of my most frequented podcasts are Unlocking Us, Criminal, Science Vs, and Bottom of the Map — a podcast that explores and critiques southern hip-hop at the intersection of social impact. Once again, you can’t get rid of the southern girl in me.

In everything I do, I enjoy testing out the limits of what healing looks like. I’m currently transitioning from a nonprofit career of eight years in the gun violence prevention movement, where I worked to uplift impactful stories and connect intersectional issues to both coalition-build as well as address the root causes that perpetuate gun violence in America. My new, and very exciting journey involves being creative through social impact campaigns and experiential events, as well as meshing the belief that art, empathy, and storytelling are powerful in changing culture. This all fuels my passion for empowering, healing, and connecting communities around the world.

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing, and my main approach for life: lead with empathy, and be intentional and curious about the journey ahead. This really just means all we can do is try to manifest the world we want to see around us while also understanding that we’ll have to pivot with the ever-changing world. This helps us be more empathetic to life’s journey and more open to connecting with each other in a real way. 


Ora Wise

New York, USA

Pronouns: she, her

Ora Wise is a chef, community connector, speaker, and facilitator focused on collaborative culinary and cultural production. She lives in Brooklyn and works as an organizational consultant, mentor, program director, and interdisciplinary producer in New York, Detroit, Puerto Rico, and beyond.

Grounded in Popular Education as a movement building model, she spent over a decade designing curriculum for projects connecting local and global struggles for abolition, decolonization, and collective liberation, including Slingshot Hip Hop, Detroit Future Media, and The Knotted Line.

Coming from people with a passionate relationship to food and a deep reverence for the processes and people that produce it, Ora has turned to food as a vehicle for self determination and collective healing. At the heart of Ora’s approach to leadership is the practice of radical hospitality: creating spaces for celebration, creativity, intimacy, and nourishment.  As Culinary Producer for the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, she directed The Dream Cafe, an experimental pop-up restaurant centered around Black, migrant, and Indigenous chefs and farmers. Drawing from this, as well as her experience co-founding and operating a queer catering company, she guides businesses and nonprofits in operationalizing  principles of equity, accessibility, accountability, and sustainability.

Ora is a founder and director of FIG, a collective of people working in and around food sharing resources for self transformation and collective action. Through FIG’s partnership-based Food Security Program, she is co-creating a laboratory for solidarity economics and cross-sector systems of support.

Ora is interested in collaborations that allow her to weave together her passion for communication, culture, education, hospitality, and collective ownership.

A core value that impacts my approach to social healing is communalism/collectivism — Whatever creative projects, organizations, businesses, social spaces, or events I am a part of founding, leading, or producing, I approach them collaboratively and committed to shared ownership and equity (structurally, conceptually, and fiscally).