Episode 20 - Adrian Mack & Keisha Thorpe (The Emergent Studies Institute)

It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

-James A. Baldwin

I first met Adrian and Keisha when I entered the PhD program in Transformative Studies at CIIS in San Francisco back in 2013. I had to leave the program almost immediately due to financial aid problems (making me the shortest lived doctoral candidate since Elvis got his honorary degree) but they continued on and have begun implementing what they had been learning in exciting, innovative ways. They are co-teaching a class at the Emergent Studies Institute which explores the linkages between social justice movements and the creative muse via the artistic outlets of music, literature, film, images and performance art, beginning with the Civil Rights movement to the present day. 

In many ways, On the Block Radio is a project that grew out of my initial interactions with folks like Adrian and Keisha. They are engaged, compassionate people who are finding ways to join their business interests, academic scholarship, creative impulses and spiritual lives into integrated, integral models of wholeness, mindfulness and balance. They are entrepreneurial, new paradigm activists who are breaking down barriers, abolishing stereotypes and rewriting what is possible for people of color in the arts, academia and business. It was an honor to talk to them in this engaging, wide-reaching conversation. And it made me REALLY want to get back to CIIS. Enjoy!