Sonali Sangeeta Balajee

Consultant and Senior Fellow, HIFIS - UC Berkeley
Sonali S. Balajee, Consulting

Sonali Sangeeta Balajee is a racial equity practitioner, thought leader, artist, and activist with over 25 years of experience in racial equity, transformative change and decolonizing efforts, organizing, the arts, and healing. Sonali also serves as a Senior Fellow with the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society of UC Berkeley focusing on the intersection of belonging, spirituality, decolonizing, and community well-being. She has recently left 13 years of leading social justice and racial equity efforts in local government and national governmental movement-building, and consults locally in Portland, Oregon, as well as nationally and internationally.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

No Wholeness, No Liberation / Know Wholeness, Know Liberation: Embodying Living Systems and Decolonization to Strengthen Our Racial Justice Work and Resiliency

What kinds of futures of belonging and liberation can we envision and embody? How can we look to creative models of change such as arts-based engagement, mindful reflection, and living systems theory and practice to improve our analysis, actions, and resilience?

In broad brush strokes, this workshop suggests that creating deep change regarding the systems of racial oppression relies on four main elements: 1) being able to hold a vision that we can move into once the system is dismantled (liberatory capacity and decolonized vision for what is next / what we can be), 2) being able to accurately assess the system and name what it is doing (awareness of how the system racism and whiteness function), 3) being able to change the system (skills and tools to advance real, deep change rather than superficial shifts that leave the roots of racial oppression intact), and 4) embodying belonging and liberation as we go, leading to greater resiliency and well-being.

This session uses embodied racial justice tools (grounding in, tracking, engaging with artistic representations, and resiliency tools), critical race theory, and social justice education strategies in order to connect decolonization on the individual level to the dismantling of racial oppression on the systemic and structural levels. More specifically, participants will further develop authentic (systems) analysis frameworks, rooted tools for systems change, and capacities for living into liberation by engagement with concrete strategies on the four elements via partner conversation, silent reflection and small group work.

Speakers: Sonali Sangeeta Balajee, Heather Hackman