Angel Kyodo Williams

Dubbed “the most vocal and most intriguing African-American Buddhist in America,” by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodo williams is a maverick spiritual teacher, advisor, and friend to many. An activist, artist, and founder of urbanPEACE, williams is author of the critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace,which has been hailed as “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, and “an act of love” by Alice Walker. Of African, Cherokee, and Irish descent, williams is best known for her ability to make ancient wisdom relevant to everyday life.

At age 27, a profound spiritual transformation dramatically changed williams’ perspective and life path. Since then, she has devoted herself to a vision of spirited action: inner awareness teachings applied to broad-based social change to produce true social transformation. Calling for a paradigm shift that “changes the way social change is done,” williams envisions the building of a spirit-centered social change movement from the ground up as the foundation for both personal freedom and the healing of divisions of race, class, faith, and politics.

Williams’ teachings cultivate what she calls the Third Self: a balance of soul and spirit; body and breath; heart and mind; and wisdom and compassion, so that we may each live, love, and lead from the heart. Insightful and provocative, williams serves as spiritual director of Center for Urban Peace in Berkeley, California, and is founding teacher of the New Dharma Community.

Earlier in her life, williams rode cross-country registering new voters, was founding chairperson of Third Wave, drank mojitos with Fidel Castro, and opened Kokobar, the first black-owned cybercafe. Her work has been covered in the New York Times, Ms., Essence, Village Voice, and on the Oxygen Channel.

Williams serves on the boards of Social Justice Leadership, Seasons Fund, and Forest Ethics. She speaks, consults, counsels, and leads retreats, workshops, and trainings virtually and nationwide.

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