Keynote Speakers

Recovery Dharma is pleased to have the two following special speakers at the Sangha Summit 2020.

Sheena Wadhawan

A photograph of Sheena Wadhawan

A photograph of Sheena Wadhawan

Sessions: Saturday 5–6pm ET; BIPOC sangha, 6–7pm ET

Sheena Wadhawan is a consultant supporting organizations and individuals to be inclusive, equitable, and to live their anti-oppressive values. Sheena came to this work after over a decade as a social justice attorney working on the frontlines of movements for economic justice, housing, civil rights, and immigrants’ rights. Sheena is a multi-lingual immigrant, woman of color, and survivor with lived experience of oppression. She believes in the resilience and wisdom of the communities she serves, who inspire her to be a joyful warrior and to lead with love.

In 2019, Sheena completed her teacher training in Cultivating Emotional Balance, which brings together contemporary emotions science with ancient contemplative wisdom to cultivate greater emotional awareness and balance through meditation.

No one of us is free until all of us are free.

We are gathering in a time of immense change. Buddhist principles guide us to transform ourselves in order to transform our world in ways it so desperately needs. Meditation is the practice through which we cultivate our attention and focus. Another crucial aspect of Buddhist practice is to live a life of virtue. To act in ethical ways towards our collective liberation. As we reckon with what it means to live an ethical life, we must understand the oppressive systems in which we live that benefit the dominant culture while causing great harm to communities of color. We have the potential for change and to be joyful warriors against the chains of oppression and racism.

Kaki Marshall

A photograph of Kaki Marshall

A photograph of Kaki Marshall

Session: Sunday: 3–4pm ET

Kaki Marshall has enjoyed a life of abstinence from mood and mind-altering substances since November 25th of 1998. Their path in recovery began in the 12 step tradition and in 2004, that path led them to the Dharma.

In 2006, Kaki obtained their Associate’s Degree in Behavioral Science, Certification as an Alcohol and Drug Specialist, and HIV Pre and Post Test Counselor. Kaki’s work in residential treatment settings began to inform their analysis of systemic power dynamics in institutions. They became passionate about addressing the disparities impacting those who identify outside of white heteronormativity. Kaki obtained a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Public Policy at Portland State University. Since then they have been working to dismantle systems of oppression and create public policy in service of a more equitable and just society. Most recently Kaki has worked for the City of Portland in the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the City and County of San Francisco Department of Homelessness, and PolicyLink helping civic leaders address issues related to institutional racism. Kaki’s professional acumen has always been informed by their personal practice of recovery rooted in the Dharma. Their practice has given them access to liberation from the burden of self-centered fear that leads to suffering.

In this plenary session, Kaki will speak about their experience with using the Dharma in their recovery to inform inclusionary principles. Kaki will share a meditation session to explore the unpleasant truths that we are currently confronted with regarding belonging and othering. In this session. Kaki names the temptation of using the Dharma as a spiritual bypass and explores the experience of discomfort resulting from disparities. In this process, we find the practice of being present to the unpleasant truth as the path to engaging with mindfulness with respect to the unearned power and privilege that we may encounter as a result of our identities.