By Ashley Adamkowski April 30, 2014

The Women's Spirituality Program held our first annual symposium titled, ‘Transforming the Story: Spiritual Responses to Gender Based Violence' on Saturday, April 19th, 2014 from 9:30am-4:30pm.

The day began with a panel of powerful speakers from various agencies around the Bay Area who focused on themes of resiliency, empowerment, and community collaboration. Our keynote speaker, Staci Haines, is one of the founders of generationFIVE, an activist organization whose goal is to end childhood sexual abuse within five generations. She presented on spiritual sources of healing. Arisika Razak, a core faculty member within the Women's Spirituality program also spoke on the topic of gender based violence. She was joined by another CIIS faculty member, Jesus Solorio, who spoke about the role of men within these areas of focus. One of our current students, Elisabeth Sikie, shared about her mother's very important work in domestic violence prevention and activism.

After the panel there was a roundtable session where we broke out into small groups for discussion. This was a time for sharing ideas and personal stories as well as asking questions, and engaging with various community members, students, and professors. During the afternoon we joined together for an experiential session which included a healing drum circle with Jamie Lavender and a deep trance meditation exercise led by Trinity Ordona. The symposium ended with a time for reflection and connection as we gathered to speak about our next steps in the prevention of gender violence.

With this symposium, created a space where local community members came together and shared their stories, asked questions, and connected with the various organizations and non-profits around the Bay Area. There was also time throughout the day to network with local agencies such as The Reily Center of St. Vincent De Paul Society of San Francisco, the Asian Women's Shelter, and La Casa De las Madres who tabled with resources and handouts regarding their services, volunteer opportunities, and outreach.

We created opportunities for networking, allyship, and transformative solutions to ending gender violence, in all its forms. We fostered an environment of learning which focused on strengthening our dedication and activism to the myriad ways gender violence occurs while simultaneously focusing on self-care and community building.



-Welcome and Introductions (Alka Arora)
-Framing Gender-based Violence: Intersections and Progressions (Arisika Razak)
-Transformative Justice and Healing (Staci Haines)
-Music and Healing from Gender Based Violence (Carolyn Brandy)
-La Cultura Cura: Using Spirituality and Culture to Heal the Wounded Male (Jesus Solorio)

-Sharing Story with Elisabeth Sikie- "My Mother's Spiritual Journey Toward Justice: a Contemporary Legacy of a Domestic Violence Activist and How She Made a Difference in the Lives of Women and their Children"

-Discussion circles: A Place for Sharing Story

-Medicinal Drumming (Jamie Lavender)
-How to "Let Go" of the Past without Reliving It: An introduction to energy self-healing through deep trance meditation (Trinity Ordona)
-The Transformative Impact of Art and Community with Individuals who have Experienced Sexual Assault (DISCLOSE)



-Asian Women's Shelter
-The Riley Center of St. Vincent De Paul of San Francisco
-La Casa De Las Madres
-The Women's Spirituality Program at CIIS
-DISCLOSE Art-based Collective

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