We come from varied backgrounds of knowledge, experience and wisdom. Our collective effort brings healing to our Ancestors, our Community and to Ourselves

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About Us 

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Board of Directors 

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Isabel Adon

President

ISABEL ADON is an Afro-Latinx born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the Bronx, in NYC. She is a trained social worker and licensed by NYS as a LCSW. Isabel served on the Board Insight Meditation Society for 6 years and held the position of Diversity Chair. Isabel has been a meditator for over 20 years and practice in the tradition of Vipassana. Isabel is a community dharma leader who presently leads meditation sits at New York Insights. She was accepted into Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader program but unfortunately, due to COVID19 this program had to close. Isabel is a trainer/instructor on Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy (IFOT) and ITFL (Indigenous Tools for Living) a philosophy that is trauma focused and land based. She is a certified Focusing Oriented Therapist and a member of the leadership committee on FORCE (Focusing Oriented Relational Community Empowerment) which focus is to bring the focusing philosophy to those who may not have access free of charge. This is a ten-month training program with no cost to trainees. Isabel has been a housing advocate and received a commendation from the Bronx Borough President and NYC Council for her work in community organizing and fighting injustice against tenants. Isabel is a psychotherapist in private practice, who works with individuals. She served as a rape crisis volunteer for 11 years.

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Treasurer

Sharon Shelton

SHARON SHELTON discovered meditation and mindfulness when in early recovery from alcoholism in 1997, and has been studying and practicing ever since. As a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) by the International Coach Federation and Mindfulness Teacher for many years, Sharon supports individuals in clarifying intention, strengthening alignment and cultivating mindfulness. She completed the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP), is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher (CMT-P), and a member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (IMTA). In 2008, Sharon studied at the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City, receiving ordination and then serving as assistant dean. She is the founder of the 3800+ member Listen to Your Life Meetup, and has been leading and facilitating diverse groups for many years. As a businesswoman, Sharon has decades of experience working for Fortune 100 companies, small technology start-ups and nonprofit organizations, most recently serving as Vice President of a global software company for 12yrs. She also teaches in the Business Plan & Entrepreneurial Support Program, a multi-week program designed to support and mentor BiPOC business owners in collaboration with SCORE and Shaw University. Sharon is a native New Yorker and currently lives in Cary, NC with her wife Dr. Michelle Bailey. Sharon is a Founding Advisor and Teacher at Cloud Sangha and part of a leadership team that includes Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.

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Secretary

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Miko Brown

MIKO BROWN has worked with nonprofit and governmental organizations over the past 15 years to help foster a more just and compassionate world in partnership with individuals and communities throughout the United States. Miko’s work is grounded in the emergent process of fostering communities of care and counter-oppressive practice that affirm and honor the lives of all beings and center the experiences of those who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA+. Miko’s past experience includes work in the realm of national service with AmeriCorps, farmed animal sanctuaries, community building, community learning, social justice and equity programming, facilitation, and mental health and wellness work. Miko operates an organization offering hypnosis and support sessions that incorporate a psychotherapeutic process known as Focusing. Miko received a Master’s Degree in Social Change and has contributed writing to the anthology Veganism of Color: Decentering Whiteness in Human and Nonhuman Liberation edited by Julia Feliz and the anthology Vegan Entanglements: Dismantling Racial and Carceral Capitalism edited by Z. Zane McNeill. The story of Miko’s work is also featured in the book A Better World Starts Here: Activists and Their Work by Stacy Russo. Additionally, Miko has supported and facilitated workshops and programming at various contemplative organizations including the Courage of Care Coalition, Namchak Foundation, and the Effortless Mindfulness Institute. Miko feels passionate about social justice and equity, fostering counter-oppressive communities, collective care and healing, Self-love in action, and contemplative and liberatory practices for the benefit of all beings and our planet.

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Kabir Hypolite

KABIR HYPOLITE is an African American single father, spiritualist, historian, writer, poet, artist, public health advocate, gay activist and humanitarian.  He has been a student of eastern spirituality and indigenous practices since 1990.  Kabir began his practice in San Francisco while serving as the Client Services Director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in the middle of the HIV/AIDS crisis.  Since then he has participated in many silent BIPOC retreats and day-longs and was a member of Spirit Rock’s CDL6 program prior to its disruption by COVID-19.  Kabir is also a graduate of the East Bay Meditation Center, Practices In Transformative Action (PITA) program.  He first became involved with PAAP as a participant on the original DeepTimeLiberation retreat in 2018, which proved to be personally transformative.  HIs practice focuses on ancestral healing and personal transformation. Kabir also enjoys practicing Native American flute and West African Djembe.  He lives in Oakland, California with his eighteen year old son, Hanif.

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Janet Roos

JANET ROOS, PMP, CMT-P, has been recognized as an innovator in Business Technology for over 30 years. She has worked coast-to-coast as a highly respected “In-House” and “Consultant” leader for world renowned companies. Most recently, she served for ten years in both a Director and Project Management role at McKesson Technology—a “Fortune 6 Company.” In 2017, Janet successfully completed the UCLA “Mindfulness Certified Training Program” and is a fully certified member of the International Mindfulness Teacher’s Association. Her passion is bringing Mindfulness Best Practices to corporate employees, professional athletes, and others. Her goal is to provide a “Mindfulness Framework” for supporting career development, stress management, change/uncertainty management, and career/life transitions. Janet is a four time “Hall Of Famer” recognized elite athlete who understands the inherent value of employing Mindfulness Practices for competition, sports preparedness, and training. She has sustained a personal meditation practice for over eight years and has attended numerous training and silent retreats. Janet has volunteered with Non-Profit Organizations and currently is volunteering on the EBMC Advisory Space Force Committee.

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Rosetta Saunders

ROSETTA SAUNDERS is an educator and historian with degrees in Ethnic and American Studies.  Having recently retired from 20 years of teaching with a focus on “People of Colors History” in the United States, she has done extensive research on her ancestral linage and continues to explore and experience her healing journey along with her ancestors. Rosetta’s passion is West African and Afro-Cuban drumming, primarily as a healing medium for self and others. She was introduced to the Dharma in 2002 at the first African American Retreat held at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Rosetta recently completed a two-year Dharmacharya program with the Venerable Pannavati and Pannadipa having taken refuge in the Triple Gem and receiving Confirmation of Ordination. Rosetta now welcomes the chance to immerse herself in practice and healing!

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DaRa WILLIAMS has practiced Insight Meditation for more than 25 years. She completed the Spirit Rock/IMS/IRC Teacher Training, and serves on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, and as an Associate Guiding Teacher at IMS. DaRa is a trainer and wellness coach, and has been a clinician and administrator in the mental health field for over 25 years. She is a certified Focusing Oriented Therapist and a practitioner and trainer of Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Complex Trauma Therapy."It is my belief that vipassana meditation and the dharma are ideal for transforming suffering, particularly the trauma of oppression and its many vicissitudes-where the chains around our minds and hearts can be broken through and dissolved. Awareness and wisdom become the vehicle for freedom and transforming lives."

DaRa Williams

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Diane Yaski

DIANE YASKI is currently the Retreat Program Coordinator at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  She has held roles as their Administrative Coordinator for their predominantly BIPOC and LGBTQI 4-year Teacher Training Program, their Community Dharma Leaders Program, and their Advanced Practitioner Program. Diane has over a decade of experience in non-profit organizations and is known to understand the nuances and dynamics of multicultural interactions and relationships. Diane holds a degree in Library Information Science and Technology as well as graphic design and photography. Outside of these roles, she is a committed practitioner of the Vipassana and Theravada lineage as well as yoga. She is deeply honored to be part of Peace at Any Pace and looks forward to her role as a board member.

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DR. RIMA VESLEY-FLAD is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Social Justice, and the Director of Peace and Justice Studies, at Warren Wilson College.  She is the author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice (Fortress Press, 2017) and a forthcoming manuscript: Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation (NYU Press, 2022).  

Rima Vesely-Flad

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Ricardo Freeman

RICARDO FREEMAN currently works as a screenwriter and podcast content developer  focusing on narratives that reflect and illuminate the stories and lives of underrepresented or marginalized individuals. He is particularly interested in exploring the intersection of personal histories, societal expectations, and the realities of navigating complex identities. For four years, he served as the President of the Board of Directors for Eagle Village Educational  Services, a non-profit educational consulting organization that existed to strengthen the school to career pipeline by transforming students into lifelong learners. Eagle Village was a pioneer in the development of the community school model in Oakland, California, and had a 17-year history of success in providing services to students and their families with after-school programs, mental health services, and family resource programs. As senior human resources manager at the University of California, Davis, for 24 years, he was responsible for providing leadership and stewardship on all aspects of human resources management, strategic planning, training, and program design.

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Devon Berry

Meditation teacher, Devin Berry, began practicing in 1999. His teaching is rooted in the Buddhadharma and mindfulness daily life practices. Devin’s training includes Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher training, the East Bay Meditation Center Commit to Dharma Program, Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program, and Insight Meditation Society’s four-year Residential Retreat Teachers Program. Devin also co-founded both the Teen Sangha and Men of Color Deep Refuge Group at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland.  In addition, almost 20 years ago, Devin began some of the first mindfulness programs in SF Bay Area schools, including weekly mindfulness groups for youth. Devin began working with youth over 25 years ago as a frontline advocate for marginalized youth living on the streets, in recovery and exploitation. Over the years Devin’s work has included leading wilderness camp programs for teens, Rites of Passage programs for tweens, and a summer camp for boys. After retiring from youth work, Devin co-created Deep Time Liberation, an ancestral healing journey that explores the impact of ancestral legacy and intergenerational trauma on Black Americans. He is passionate about the power of witnessing and storytelling as a liberation tool. Devin is a father and teaches nationally.

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Advisory Board

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Jacque Alexander-Sykes

“Creating is my centering and my focus”, says JACQUELINE ALEXANDER-SYKES, a multi-talented artist who utilizes color, shape and perspective to create striking forms figures and landscapes.  Her pallet includes working with acrylic, oils, watercolor and 35mm camera. Within the past 30 years Jacqueline has found her voice in the creative process, a voice that speaks eloquently through painting, photography and other creative endeavors. Since 1979 Jacqueline has lived and worked at St. Elmo Village, in Mid City Los Angeles. The Village has been an avenue for Jacqueline to share and teach the process of creativity to others as well as being a place of creativity where she can explore and develop as an artist and exhibit her work. For the past six years her work with youth has extended to be a Discussion Leader for the Getty Multicultural Internship Program, in which college interns are mentored. As a Board of Directors Member and Administrative Director of St. Elmo Village, Jacqueline  has been an important part of the day to day work that the Village accomplishes in the community. In 2019 Jacqueline became St. Elmo Village’s first female Board President and Executive Director. Among her other public art commissions are art for the Junipero Serra Branch Library as part of the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Public Art Program, creating art for the walls of Raymond Avenue Elementary School and producing three painted panels for Good Beginnings Pre-School. The most resent mural was painted for Walter N. Marks Realty Inc. on the Helms Bakery property.

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  Thank You! 

To Our Funders

Generous Individual Donations

Peace At Any Pace is a 501c3 Organization

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Facilitators

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Executive Director 

Noliwe Alexander 

NOLIWE ALEXANDER has been a student of Vipassana meditation for over 20 years. Throughout this time of deep devotion to the Dharma, Noliwe has become a dedicated practitioner, meditation teacher of various retreats and sitting groups, day-longs and class series programs. She dedicates her BuddhaDharma practice and teachings to the BiPOC, LGBTQIA+, At Risk and Elder communities. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock's CDL4 program, EBMC's Commit 2 Dharma program in 2010 and is a graduate of Spirit Rock Teacher Training from 2017-2020. Noliwe is the Co-founder of Peace At Any Pace, Inc. a non-profit organization that offers a Journey to Healing from Intergenerational & Ancestral Trauma retreats and Elder & Youth programs, which are exclusively for people from the African Diaspora. Noliwe is a wisdom keeper and humbled by the presence of her ancestor’s spirit that lives within and walks beside her.

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Devin Berry

Meditation teacher, DEVIN BERRY, began practicing in 1999. His teaching is rooted in the Buddhadharma and mindfulness daily life practices. Devin’s training includes Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher training, the East Bay Meditation Center Commit to Dharma Program, Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program, and Insight Meditation Society’s four-year Residential Retreat Teachers Program. Devin also co-founded both the Teen Sangha and Men of Color Deep Refuge Group at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland.  In addition, almost 20 years ago, Devin began some of the first mindfulness programs in SF Bay Area schools, including weekly mindfulness groups for youth. Devin began working with youth over 25 years ago as a frontline advocate for marginalized youth living on the streets, in recovery and exploitation. Over the years Devin’s work has included leading wilderness camp programs for teens, Rites of Passage programs for tweens, and a summer camp for boys. After retiring from youth work, Devin co-created Deep Time Liberation, an ancestral healing journey that explores the impact of ancestral legacy and intergenerational trauma on Black Americans. He is passionate about the power of witnessing and storytelling as a liberation tool. Devin is a father and teaches nationally.

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Ramona Lisa Ortiz-Smith

RAMONA LISA ORTIZ-SMITH brings over 25 years of meditation practice to her work as a Business Consultant, Retreat Manager and Facilitator at Peace At Any Pace, Inc. She has been practicing Vipassana meditation and studying the Dharma in the Theravada tradition for the past 12 years and is a graduate of the East Bay Meditation Center’s (EBMC) Commit to Dharma (C2D3) program and Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP6). Ramona Lisa has an MBA in Management and a BA in Business Economics with a minor in Ethnic Studies. She has years of experience in nonprofit management and board leadership. She is known for cultivating and maintaining collaborative relationships and her dedication to customer service, support and service to the Dharma. Ramona Lisa is humbled to be part of this incredible organization and its journey!

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ROSETTA SAUNDERS is an educator and historian with degrees in Ethnic and American Studies.  Having recently retired from 20 years of teaching with a focus on “People of Colors History” in the United States, she has done extensive research on her ancestral linage and continues to explore and experience her healing journey along with her ancestors. Rosetta’s passion is West African and Afro-Cuban drumming, primarily as a healing medium for self and others. She was introduced to the Dharma in 2002 at the first African American Retreat held at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Rosetta recently completed a two-year Dharmacharya program with the Venerable Pannavati and Pannadipa having taken refuge in the Triple Gem and receiving Confirmation of Ordination. Rosetta now welcomes the chance to immerse herself in practice and healing!

Rosetta Saunders

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DaRa WILLIAMS has practiced Insight Meditation for more than 25 years. She completed the Spirit Rock/IMS/IRC Teacher Training, and serves on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, and as an Associate Guiding Teacher at IMS. DaRa is a trainer and wellness coach, and has been a clinician and administrator in the mental health field for over 25 years. She is a certified Focusing Oriented Therapist and a practitioner and trainer of Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Complex Trauma Therapy."It is my belief that vipassana meditation and the dharma are ideal for transforming suffering, particularly the trauma of oppression and its many vicissitudes-where the chains around our minds and hearts can be broken through and dissolved. Awareness and wisdom become the vehicle for freedom and transforming lives."

DaRa Williams