Author and law professor Rhonda Magee to keynote CURW speaker series

Rhonda V. Magee, law professor at the University of San Francisco, will be the keynote speaker of the Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) series “Into and Out of the Echo Chambers,” which seeks to address current societal challenges and to consider how spirituality and humanizing practices might help us break down the barriers that divide our society.

The virtual talk, “Cultivating Peace in the Valley: Practicing for Navigating the Ebb and Flo of the Inner Work of Racial Justice,” is scheduled for October 12, at 12 noon. The event is free and open to the public but requires registration.

Magee is an internationally recognized thought and practice leader focused on integrating mindfulness into higher education, law, and social change work. She is the author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness.

The timeliness of Magee’s message is reflected in the nearly 20 additional cosponsors supporting this event, including programs, schools, departments, and majors. The Office of the Dean of Students hosted conversations on Magee’s book through a summer book club.

“The idea for this series emerged in the days after the (Jan. 6) insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” said Oliver Goodrich, associate dean for spirituality and meaning-making and CURW director.

“In conversations within the CURW community, we recognized that this was not an isolated event but rather a symptom of a broader spiritual crisis,” he said. “We wanted to open a conversation with the Cornell community to explore what habits of heart and mind might help us meet this moment, to see what the lens of spirituality might offer.”

Magee draws on law and legal history to weave storytelling, poetry, analysis, and practices into inspiration to help transform how we think, act, and live better together in a rapidly changing world.
Her work centers mindfulness and a compassion-based approach to confronting racial injustice and working towards healing. She invites us into the very personal and “inner” work of pursuing racial justice in our daily lives at Cornell and beyond – helping us to enter from a place of mindful awareness and grounding.

“We live in the 21st century, a radically diverse world, and yet we have never developed the intentional, personal kinds of technologies that address in deep ways what it means to bring people together across cultures,” she said. “We’ve rarely been supported in developing the interpersonal and broader practices necessary for thriving together.

“My book addresses how mindfulness and compassion can help. Mindfulness is about having a regular daily commitment to a kind of practice that supports awakening and healing with awareness and love, in a very deep way, that is ongoing for one’s life.”

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