Decolonizing Yoga was created to provide news, resources and support following the efforts to protest the 2013 Yoga Journal Conferenced held at the Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco. Hotel Workers, community organizations and unions had been participating in an ongoing boycott against Hyatt to protest working conditions. On Jan. 18th there was a rally in front of the hotel which included a yoga class in protest of YJ’s conference. A Facebook event was also created named “I Pledge Not to Attend or Teach at the 2014 Yoga Journal Conference if the Boycott Continues.” Over 300 people signed on. See news coverage by It’s All Yoga Baby: http://bit.ly/XbEbZV. The boycott ended when the Hyatt negotiated with the union.
After the Yoga Journal Conference the Decolonizing Yoga Facebook Page and website has highlighted the voices of queer people, people of color, disability activists and more in relationship to yoga, spirituality and social justice.
About Be Scofield, founder of Decolonizing Yoga
Be Scofield is a queer/trans writer, activist, Dr. King scholar and web/interaction/graphic designer who specializes in helping progressive and alternative health platforms shine. Her work has appeared in Tikkun Magazine, Huffington Post and Alternet and she has a chapter in the book “21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics & Practice.” In 2013 she was the first to break the story about the depth of transphobia within Derrick Jensen’s Deep Green Resistance movement. The article led to public outcry and spurned numerous actions, petitions and other articles. As a result, Earth First! Journal Collective, Greenpeace USA, Rising Tide North America and other organizations signed an open letter to prevent Deep Green Resistance co-founder Lierre Keith from publicly speaking at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC).
Be holds a B.A. in Psychology/Philosophy from Warren Wilson College (2006), has done graduate coursework in Postcolonial Anthropology and holds a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in the Unitarian Universalist tradition with emphases in women’s studies in religion, sacred dance, African-American religion and Buddhism. In 2011 she ran a popular conscious dance event in SF called Metta Dance which combined ecstatic dance, tea service, art, food, movement classes and more. Be specializes in the radical teachings of Dr. King and has taught a graduate course called “Dr. King and Empire: How MLK Jr. Resisted War, Capitalism and Christian Fundamentalism.” She currently serves on the board of directors for the Peaceworkers which supports nonviolent movements around the globe.
She has participated in numerous internships, campaigns and movements for social justice and led groups on white privilege and institutional racism. Her activism began in Immokalee, FL – an immigrant farmworking town 45-min east of her hometown of Naples, Fl. Here, she volunteered with several organizations including the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
In the summer of 2005 she participated in the Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) internship and was placed at the Beloved Community Center (BCC) an organization made up of the survivors of the Greensboro Massacre such as Rev. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller. After a week of training with IWJ founder Kim Bobo and other labor and religious leaders she traveled to Greensboro, NC and spent the summer working on a number of issues including race, homelessness, class, labor organizing and most significantly the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States.
In the summer of 2007 Be was one of ten students selected to participate in Michael Nagler’s Metta Mentors Nonviolence Internship in Berkeley, CA. The internship was an opportunity to experiment with nonviolence in social change organizations, as the interns were each placed in unique non-profits who were committed to serving the community.
Since 2005 she has also worked on anti-war issues, serving on the steering committee of the San Francisco chapter of the Iraq Moratorium and participating in many actions with CODEPINK and other peace groups.
Be is also the producer of “Dr. King: In His Own Words – War, Peace & Poverty” an audio CD with selections from Dr. King’s speeches/sermons on war, capitalism, imperialism, nonviolence and economic exploitation. The noted historian Howard Zinn called the cd “Quite wonderful and truly inspiring.”