In our capitalist society, people try to meet their needs by earning enough money to take care of themselves. This system puts us out of relationship with one another and creates real scarcity, allowing people who have power and resources to more actively meet their needs. What if we imagined a different future—one that would allow us to live in a state of abundance and connection? What if we chose to believe that everybody’s needs are powerful and valid and are intended to be met through relationships with others, rather than through money or other forms of exchange? This kind of shift could create a world that is healthier, more connected, and equitable. Join Miki Kashtan, the founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication and Cassie Thornton, an artist creating an alternative care network in a conversation moderated by Kaira Jewel Lingo, a Dharma teacher whose work includes both imagining alternatives to capitalism and healing racial trauma.
About the Panelists
Miki Kashtan is a practical visionary applying the tools of Nonviolent communication. She is the author of Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working together to Create a Nonviolent Future; Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness: Transcending the Legacy of Separation in Our Individual Lives; and The Little Book of Courageous Living. She is inspired by the role of visionary leadership in shaping a livable future, and works toward that vision by sharing the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication through consulting, retreats, and training for organizations. Miki blogs at The Fearless Heart and her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Tikkun magazine, Waging Nonviolence, Shareable, Peace and Conflict, and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Berkeley.
Cassie Thornton is an artist and activist from the US, currently living in Canada. She refers to herself as a feminist economist, a title that frames her work as that of a social scientist actively preparing for the economics of a future society that produces health and life without the tools that reproduce oppression— like money, police, or prisons. She has produced large and small social projects and writings with activist and art organizations, festivals, conferences, and institutions including Transmediale, Bemis Center for the Arts, MoneyLab, Furtherfield Gallery, MayWorks-Halifax, Strike Debt, Headlands Center for the Arts, Cannonball Miami, Volta Fair in Basel, Mass Arts, PS-1, Brooklyn Museum, Flux Factory, Gallery 400 in Chicago, Southern Exposure, SFMoMA, EFA Project Space, and more. She is currently the co-director of the Re-Imagining Value Action Lab in Thunder Bay, an art and social center at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada.
Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher, who lived as an ordained nun for 15 years during which time she trained closely with Thich Nhat Hanh. She began practicing in 1997 and currently shares Buddhist meditation, secular mindfulness, and compassion internationally, providing spiritual mentoring to individuals and communities. She works at the intersection of racial, climate, and social justice with a focus on activists, people of color, artists, educators, families, and youth. She is the author of We Were Made For These Times (Parallax, forthcoming 2021) and editor of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children. Her website is kairajewel.com. She lives in New York.
A Blade of Grass’ public programs are made available for free thanks to the generous funding of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; David Rockefeller Fund; SPArt; New York State Council on the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the National Endowment for the Arts; and our beloved community of individual supporters.