5 Incredible People to Follow (Part 1)

Sonya Renee Taylor with a neutral expression looking at the camera.
Image Description: A photo of Sonya Renee Taylor with a neutral expression looking at the camera. She is wearing a blue sweater, round gold dangling earrings, and a gold necklace. The background is dark grey.
Tiffany A. Yu standing outside, smiling and looking at the camera.
Image Description: A picture of Tiffany A. Yu, smiling and looking at the camera. She is wearing round dangling earrings and a cream coloured shawl. In the background is a palm tree.
Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee with a soft smile looking at the camera
Image Description: A photo of Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee smiling softly at the camera. She is wearing a black shirt with a white shawl overtop, beaded dangling earrings and a beaded headpiece.
Jeffrey Marsh with a neutral expression looking at the camera.
Image Description: A photo of Jeffrey Marsh with a neutral expression, looking at the camera. They are wearing a white shirt and the background is light grey.
Dr. Shaym Ranganathan, leaning against a wall and smiling.
Image Description: A photo of Dr. Shyam Ranganathan in a bright room, wearing a white shirt with rolled up sleeves. He is leaning against a wall and smiling. In the background is a window.
(A note for transparency: I struggled in writing the image descriptions for this post. I found a great article on The Body Is Not an Apology (how fitting!) that describes what I am wrestling with: www.thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/we-need-your-help-specifying-race-and-gender-in-image-descriptions.
 
I ultimately chose not to include race and gender descriptions because I couldn’t do so with clarity for everyone. I did use pronouns where I could verify them.
I understand that – especially regarding race – this may then uphold western imperialism’s default assumption of white, which is an inaccurate representation of the people featured in this post.
 
This is the messyness. I don’t have all the answers and am committed to continuing to practice. If anyone is aware of any social media accessibility educators who share about this, please include their links in the comments!)

In each New Moon Newsletter I send, I feature one ‘Incredible Person to Follow.’

Everyone who is featured has played a meaningful role for me in my unlearning journey, specifically unlearning western imperialism and its subsidiaries (colonialism, capitalism, racism, sexism, the list goes on..).

Here is a post – that is bursting with awesome – about the first five people I ever featured.

I highly recommend engaging with the work of these activists, researchers, authors, artists and change-makers!

sonya renee taylor

Sonya Renee Taylor with a neutral expression looking at the camera.
Image Description: A photo of Sonya Renee Taylor with a neutral expression looking at the camera. She is wearing a blue sweater, round gold dangling earrings, and a gold necklace. The background is dark grey.

Sonya Renee Taylor is the Founder and Radical Executive Officer of The Body is Not An Apology, a digital media and education company promoting radical self-love and body empowerment as the foundational tool for social justice and global transformation.

Sonya’s work as a highly sought-after award-winning Performance Poet, activist, and transformational leader continues to have global reach. Sonya is a former National and International poetry slam champion, author of two books, including The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love (Berrett-Koehler Feb 2018), educator and thought leader who has enlightened and inspired organizations, audiences and individuals from board rooms to prisons, universities to homeless shelters, elementary schools to some of the biggest stages in the world.” – www.sonyareneetaylor.com/about

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy engaging with – and am challenged by – Sonya’s work. Her “What’s Up Y’all” videos always call me in while calling my whiteness out; here is a link to some of her most popular episodes for your unlearning pleasure: www.thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/top-10-whats-up-yall-videos-of-2020/

You can also find amazing, free resources on her website: www.thebodyisnotanapology.com

To support Sonya’s work, please consider becoming part of her Patreon community here: www.patreon.com/Sonyareneetaylor

You can also find her books and more information about her offerings here: www.sonyareneetaylor.com/work.

tiffany a. yu

Tiffany A. Yu standing outside, smiling and looking at the camera.
Image Description: A picture of Tiffany A. Yu, smiling and looking at the camera. She is wearing round dangling earrings and a cream coloured shawl. In the background is a palm tree.

Tiffany Yu is the CEO & Founder of Diversability, an award-winning social enterprise to elevate disability pride; the Founder of the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter, a monthly micro-grant that has awarded $52.5k to 53 disability projects in 8 countries; and the host of TIFFANY & YU, the podcast.

She serves on the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council and was a 2020 Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit.

At the age of 9, Tiffany became disabled as a result of a car accident that also took the life of her father. She started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and has also worked at Bloomberg and Sean Diddy Combs’ REVOLT Media & TV. She is a 3x TEDx speaker and spoke on 5 sessions at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. She has been featured in Marie Claire, the Guardian, and Forbes.” – www.tiffanyyu.com/bio

Tiffany’s work around disability has been a major catalyst for me in learning about internalized ableism and how to make my offerings more accessible. I am so appreciative of the wide range of topics that she addresses, from chronic pain to fashion to mental health.

If you want to engage with her work, a great place to start is with her podcast: www.tiffanyyu.com/podcast

She also has an Anti-Ableism Daily video playlist here: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkL0lrxKU8_q2Zy34UbNx8wO2kLNI0Q_7

I also highly recommend checking out her company Diversibility: www.mydiversability.com/

Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee

Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee with a soft smile looking at the camera
Image Description: A photo of Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee smiling softly at the camera. She is wearing a black shirt with a white shawl overtop, beaded dangling earrings and a beaded headpiece.

Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, is a decolonial creative & strategist catalyzing social change to transform colonial narratives & impacts. She works within the intersection of class, culture and creativity focusing on social change through communications and deep engagement. Ta7talíya’s collaborations have influenced opinions, changed behaviours and mobilized community action. She is the designer of a life-size board game called Sínulhkay and Ladders.

Her facilitated workshops aim to answer the question “what now” in this era of truth & reconciliation. Her approach earned her the 2019 City of Vancouver Award of Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. Michelle is also a 2020 Dialogue Associate with the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. She is also the author and designer of a two decolonizing workbooks and is currently writing a full-length creative non-fiction about her decolonizing journey.” – www.decolonizeeverything.org/our-team

It has been an honour and a privilege to engage with Ta7talíya’s work. Her Decolonize First workbook has been a game changer for me; it is incredibly rich and includes links to numerous additional resources. If you are looking for a powerful, self-guided place to work on decolonization, this is an excellent option: www.nahaneecreative.com/products/decolonize-first-a-liberating-guide-and-workbook-for-peeling-back-the-layers-of-neocolonialism

Nahanee Creative also offers on-demand mini courses here: www.nahaneecreative.com/collections/nahanee-creative-on-demand-mini-courses

Here you can find a list of highly recommended reads by Nahanee Creative: www.decolonizeeverything.org/instagramlinks

jeffrey marsh

Jeffrey Marsh with a neutral expression looking at the camera.
Image Description: A photo of Jeffrey Marsh with a neutral expression, looking at the camera. They are wearing a white shirt and the background is light grey.

Jeffrey Marsh is one of the world’s foremost commentators on nonbinary identity and activism in America, with a message of positivity and inclusion and a deep knowledge of queer issues and history. As an author, Jeffrey was the first prominent public figure to use, and advocate the use of, they/them pronouns for trans and gender non-conforming people.

Jeffrey’s spiritual and inclusive messages have received over 1 billion views on social media. Jeffrey is a viral TikTok and Instagram star. Jeffrey is the first openly nonbinary public figure to be interviewed on national television, for ‘Unfiltered.’ Jeffrey was also the first nonbinary author to be offered a book deal with any “Big 5” publisher, at Penguin Random House.

Jeffrey’s bestselling Buddhist self-esteem guide ‘How To Be You’ (http://jeffreymarsh.com/howtobeyou) is an innovative, category-non-conforming work that combines memoir, workbook, and spiritual advice.

Jeffrey has been a student and teacher of Zen for over twenty years. Currently, Jeffrey is developing several TV shows centered around issues of LGBTQ identity and stories.” – www.jeffreymarsh.com/

The most impactful teachers for me are those who teach by example, and Jeffrey does just that. The way in which they interact with everyone, whether it is someone who is supportive or not, is a skill that I deeply aspire to. I particularly appreciate the nod to Buddhist philosophy that shines through in their teachings.

You can find links to many of Jeffrey’s talks on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/channel/UCKDBJO1KAhAHroi44gRqyFQ

And be sure to check out their book, also available as an audiobook here: www.jeffreymarsh.com/howtobeyou

Please consider supporting Jeffrey’s work directly here: www.paypal.com/paypalme/JeffreyJeffrey

dr. shyam ranganathan

Dr. Shaym Ranganathan, leaning against a wall and smiling.
Image Description: A photo of Dr. Shyam Ranganathan in a bright room, wearing a white shirt with rolled up sleeves. He is leaning against a wall and smiling. In the background is a window.

Shyam Ranganathan is a Canadian researcher, author, translator, scholar and teacher of philosophy. His work spans philosophical traditions, and consists in contributions to moral and political philosophy, the philosophy of thought and language, philosophy of religion, the study of East Asian and South Asian philosophy and global impact of widespread assumptions that structure what one might call the W-estern tradition.

His work also contributes to inter-disciplines such as Religious Studies, Translation Studies, and Sanskrit Studies. A thematic focus of his work is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  

He is author of two scholarly books, editor of two volumes, translator of one philosophical text with commentary, and author of numerous papers in philosophy. 

He is a member of the Department of Philosophy and York Center for Asian Research, York University (www.profiles.laps.yorku.ca/profiles/shyamr/)” – www.shyam-ranganathan.info/bio

Last but certainly not least I want to share with you my Yoga philosophy teacher, whose research and teaching has contributed to nothing short of total transformation in my life over the last year.

Looking back, it feels like I never came into contact with Patañjali’s philosophy of Yoga until I started learning from Dr. Shyam, despite having taken 500 hours of yoga teacher training up to that point.

You can start by checking out all of the podcasts he has been featured on (this is how I originally connected with his work!): www.yogaphilosophy.com/courses

You can also subscribe to Yoga Philosophy streaming for less than $7 per month here: www.yogaphilosophy.thinkific.com/courses/yoga-philosophy-streaming

And if all of this tickles your fancy, I highly recommend engaging with any of his course offerings here: www.yogaphilosophy.thinkific.com/collections

I hope that you enjoyed this introduction to five incredible people that have been very influential for me on my unlearning journey.

Do you have an incredible person in mind that you’d like to uplift? Please share their name and links to their work in the comments!

If you have found this post interesting, please consider sharing it with your network by clicking one of the icons below.

Stay tuned! I will release an ‘Incredible People Part 2’ soon!

 

Until then, in practice,

Tara

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5 Incredible People to Follow (Part 1) – the one person revolution