Singing Poet BeatMan; Meditator, Educator, shit talking Irreverent Reverend. Consult, curriculum write, program design. Facilitate, collaborate, liberate. Free the creative!
We’ve facilitated Mindful Liberation experiences beside industry greats like Vinny Ferraro, Jack Kornfield, Spring Washam, Chris Mckenna, Jon Kabbat-Zinn, Linda Lantieri, JoAnna Hardy, Dr. Dan Siegel, Yvonne & Rich St. John Dutra, Lee Mun Wah, Victor Lee Lewis, and more. Perhaps more importantly, we’ve studied with the Mindful Masters posing as “inmates”, “gangsters”, “addicts”, and other criminalized transmutational servants to us all, for decades.
We’ve shared stages with Dead Prez, E-40, KRS-One, Shabazz Palaces, Brett Dennen, Hieroglyphics, Goapele, and Zion I; We’ve made songs with Dilated Peoples, Living Legends, Los Rakas, Ise Lyfe, Coco Peila, Jonah Matranga, and more.
We’ve Started Rites of Passage programs at continuation schools, Youth Leadership/Mentorship Projects at Social/Eco Justice outdoor Schools, AfterCare programs for Youth Re-Entry orgs, Co-Midwifed books, films, and albums for artists and orgs alike, founded Artist Collectives for Creative Liberation in the face of Gentrification in Oakland, and the list continues…
Behind walls, whatever they be, be they prison, classroom, church, state; be they systemic, cultural, emotional, or psychic; we always find what’s creative and liberated. We in outdoor classrooms in the redwoods, in the studio, on stage, in circle, in film, on the corner, and in yours.
JAMES AMUTABI CONNIE HAINES
I am a multimedia artist that works in the mediums of sound, the written word, paint, video, music, digital editing, and collage. I have 20 years experience as a facilitator: holding space for high school-age youth struggling with addiction, facilitating workshops on issues of oppression, facilitating mindfulness workshops in Juvenile Detention facilities and truancy programs around the Bay Area; and teaching Theatre of the Oppressed. These experiences have taught me that the intersections of social justice, art, community, and creativity is one of the pathways to our personal and collective liberation.
Empowering the creative spirit present in all of us allows for more beauty, complexity, and intimacy to flow into our lives. Art is movement, stories, breath, choice, all sculpted into the masterpiece that is us. The art that comes through me is a reflection of my inner and outer questing, the people I have held community with, and those who have impacted me with their lives and stories.
I am currently working with CLN (the Creative Liberation Network), a collaborative arts project re-imagining the potential pathways to liberation, writing a book called – Magic Without Magicians, working on a 108 card Liberation deck, using mindfulness, mediation, music and theatre create a variety of interactive story-based experiences. CLN wants to support whomever wants to unlock their creative potential. CLN has been facilitating a milieu of creative workshops meant to help cultivate creative capacity and dignity. Feel free to ask for my “brag bank, cv, and work history.”
Whether talking about sex, race, birth, JustBodies or sustainability, facilitating workshops with incarcerated adults or teenagers in the woods, making art or bodymoving, my actions are likely guided by liberation, solidarity, and an underlying agenda for cultivating playful comfort-zone-stretching interconnection with self and others. A lover of the paradoxical and paranormal, ancestral wisdom and asymmetry, my suburban desert born-being strives to bring water to the deserts, metaphorical and literal. A midwife of transition, as well as a multitude of strange and creative projects, I am currently finding solace in the process of creative liberation through CLN.
My work in the world is dedicated to the future generations, that they may be born into bodies liberated from intergenerational trauma and celebrated for their unique expressions of identity, sexuality, and desire.
I am a Somatic Sex Educator, co-founder of BeJustBodies, as well as a past member of the CSB teaching team at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. I am trained as a Doula (Birth Assistant) and draw wisdom and skills from my experience with experiential diversity education, anti-oppression work, non-violent communication, direct action, restorative justice, and expressive arts therapy.
I have a BFA in Photography, with a Sociology minor, from Arizona State University, and I equally value the education I have gained from world travel, direct action activism, co-parenting, permaculture design trainings, and my ongoing practice of decolonizing the body through dance, play, and irreverent mindfulness. As a gender fluid queer person of European descent raised in the concrete covered desert of Arizona — Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Gila River Indian Community, and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Territory — also living in Ohlone Territory (Oakland), I am rooted in solidarity with all my relations and grounded in an ongoing search for pre-Christian/preColonial ancestral wisdom.