The creation of these resources rests on the support of many people. This page is dedicated to all who have made this happen, and especially to those who supported the Kickstarter that allowed me to focus on developing these resources. I extend my most sincere gratitude to each and every person mentioned below.
I would like to thank my family, first and foremost. When I told them I was going to step away from the work that I loved so dearly – working as a high school history teacher – and to take a major economic risk to develop myself as an independent writer of curricula, they did not tell me I was crazy, but told me they believed in me. I have made many sacrifices in order to do this work, and so have they.
Secondly, this website simply would not exist without the support of Kristian Habenicht, a good friend since high school, and Jacob Schwartz, a friend from my days at the beautiful high-Arizona desert community of Arcosanti. I have been blown away by their readiness to make room in their busy days and offer technical support whenever it was needed, which was often. Their belief in this work offered me much needed affirmation in the months leading up to the official launch. My old philosophy friend Josh Eads also offered constant affirmation that what I was doing was not only worth the struggle, but that I was the right person to do this work, and that it would one day have a major impact. I would also like to give special thanks to Chance Grable, a new, good friend who hosted my launch party and whose work around racial justice and mass incarceration I deeply admire. I cannot thank these four enough.
The following people made contributions that were so generous they made my jaw drop; including Josh Smith, a friend since we were four years old; Warren Taylor, whose belief in my work has inspired me to put myself out there in a bigger way; Emma Lindsay, a dear friend from the San Francisco Zen Center who has expressed support for this project since it first came into my mind; Nick Yick-Yah Shah, another Zen friend who has also had my back in developing this since its inception – and who now leads a youth group with me at the Green Gulch Zen Temple; Auburn Sheaffer Sandstrom, a fellow teacher fighting for social justice out of Ohio; youth mentor Nancy Nathanya Coonridge; Glenn Lym, a local historian and my favorite conversational partner at the coffee shop out of which I work; Hayley Dawson, who has been a constant believer in my work and is a wonderful psychologist; and fellow teacher Karen Akashi (mother of my wonderful roommate Dana!)
Many others have given with an exceptional degree of generosity, including Martin MacKerel, a ceaseless and selfless supporter of many social justice causes; Mary McCall, a professor of ethnic studies at Saint Mary’s who has long believed in my work; Hayley Dawson’s friend Colin Beck; and Melanie Mitchel, an inspiring somatic psychologist friend. A whole host of friends known through my four-and-a-half years of spiritual practice with Young Urban Zen (of the San Francisco Zen Center) have stepped forward in particularly large ways, including Hannah Addario-Berry; Kate Ming; Simon Moyes; Juliana Lopker; Greg Rosenstein; Jordan Katz; Mike Flanders; and Mike Ruckers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: other contributors from Young Urban Zen include Nick Howells; Janie Lu; Miguel Rojas; Brett Monzel; Jenya Lum; Vnesa Vistara Vos; Matt Johnson; Margaret Hayertz; Aditya Mukherji; Cynthia Lin; Mackenzie Stone; Eileen Torrez; Joyous Bey; Stacey Greenblatt; Cindy Manit; Grace Zavolock; and Shundo David Haye. These friends pulled in others who I hope to know in the future, including Christopher Bisignani, Jessica Gray, and Morgan Fitzgibbons. Ryan Johnson, who showed up to Young Urban Zen when the group first began and while he was still in high school, connected me to another mentor of his, Nancy Nathanya Coonridge, who made an extremely generous donation. It was also wonderful to see Evan Wilson from the Green Gulch zen temple throw in his support as well. When this work comes to its full fruition, it will be in large part due to this incredible spiritual community.
This project could not have come this far without the support of Dav Clark and Erica Svani Grevemeyer, from the truly incredible New Dharma Community, which explicitly unifies spiritual and social justice paths; and Svani’s friend, Shekhar Tamasker. Svani was the second person to pledge to the cause, just ahead of Christopher Turner, an inspiring philosopher friend from my days in Arizona, and his brother Joe Turner. Seeing them show up to support this brought back fond memories of many powerful conversations. It was amazingly inspiring to see a crew from my days at the high desert community of Arcosanti over a decade ago show up to support this as well: shout-outs and mad love to Jewel Blackfeather; John Victor Loughran; Carolyn Campbell; Jacob Schwartz; and Ruth-Claire Weintraub. I am so happy to remain connected with you all!
A group from my Mills College teacher-credentialing days showed up to support this: Patrice Prentice, who engages in wonderful work in Africa. Kaye McKleroy; a professor and wonderful supervisor. And John Warren; a fellow history teacher and wonderful conversationalist. Cooper Reeves from my Mills College days also threw down his support. Boundless gratitude as well to Liz Olson from the Church For the Fellowship of All Peoples, a community with a truly profound historical legacy; and to that church’s pastor Dorsey Blake for his belief in my work and for his powerful presence at the launch event. Many thanks to Rachel Reinhard, the director of the UC Berkeley History Social Science Project, and to Elizabeth Humphries of the Oakland Unified School District history department for their supportive conversations and for sharing my project with the teachers they work with. And many thanks to: Brochearoe Fabian; an English teacher focused on cross-cultural work out of Portland. Meena Serendib, from my high school days, now an amazing actress and advocate of social justice. Melissa Radich, a good friend of my brothers and an inspiring mother and supporter of social justice. Bruce Reyes-Chow; who works on the intersections of race, faith, and technology. Mihyun Lee; a profound dancer whose craft radiates and richly portrays the wisdom of the body. Cassie Newman of Youth Speaks. Regina Lynn; fellow teacher and creator of Breakup Breakthrough. Rose Slam! Johnson, director of Queer Camp Bay Area, and the person who initiated my interest in the techniques of nonviolent communication. Tony La Rosa, from way back in the days of growing up in South San Jose. Devin Carey, also from back in those San Jose days and an old comrade in teenage mischief making and track-and-field ass-kicking. Amanda Connolly, from those nostalgic high-school drama class days. My sister’s awesome friends Ashley Battle; Shrim; Desirae Tongco; and Alehida Negretre. Fellow history teacher and like-minded thinker Jess Grainger. Michelle Delattre, who for many years ran UC Berkeley’s Office of Resources for International and Area Studies, and who gave much support to a young, struggling and sincere teacher. My totally awesome roommates Kyle Mock, Michael Palmer, and Dana Akashi. And finally, Amanda Hamlin and Kjersten Sahl.
Many thanks as well to Aaron Muszalski, another conversationalist at the coffee shop out of which I work, for helping to spread the word. When his friend Jane Maru backed it, she told her sister – a teacher and activist in Ohio – Auburn Sheaffer Sandstrom; who made an extraordinarily generous donation. Jane and Auburn made a huge push for this during it’s last few days. Many thanks to their friend Nancy Child-moss for contributing as well.
Finally: incredible thankfulness to my mother and father – Joyce Elmore and Paul Burnett; sister and brother – Vala Burnett and Bjorn Burnett; and old and cherished family friends, Karen Thomas and Jo Anne Pinick. It means a lot to have you on board.
With boundless gratitude,