Celebrating spirituality and activism for Black History Month

It’s Black History Month! Join us at this event featuring Jan Willis, renowned professor, author and faith-based leader, whose influence has been celebrated by Time Magazine, Newsweek and Ebony Magazine.

February 2, 2022

Spirituality and Activism: A Black Buddhist Woman’s Perspective

February 9, 2022, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. ET

At this event, Dr. Willis will share her experiences marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how she became a Buddhist contemplative, academic and activist. Learn about how spiritual practices can impact us to engage in matters of liberation and justice, as well as protect us from burnout.

Facilitated by Marcus Evans, PhD candidate, Religious Studies, McMaster University. Hosted in partnership by the Black Student Success Centre, Spiritual Care and Learning Centre (SCLC) and Interfaith Working Group, part of the President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC).

About Jan Willis

Jan Willis (B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy from Cornell University; PhD in Indic and Buddhist Studies from Columbia University) is currently Professor of Religion Emerita at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and Visiting Professor of Religion at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland and the U.S. for five decades and taught courses in Buddhism for more than 45 years. She authored The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (1972), On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (1979) and Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition (1995). She also edited Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (1989).

Additionally, Willis has published numerous articles and essays on various topics in Buddhism — Buddhist meditation, hagiography, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race. In 2001, her memoir, Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey, was published.

In December 2000, Time magazine named Willis one of six “spiritual innovators for the new millennium.”  In 2003, she received Wesleyan University’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Newsweek magazine’s “Spirituality in America” issue in 2005 included a profile of Willis, and in its May 2007 edition, Ebony magazine named Willis one of its “Power 150” most influential African Americans.

In April 2020, she published her latest book, Dharma Matters: Women, Race and Tantra; Collected Essays by Jan Willis.

Jan Willis