Setu and Black Mat Yoga hosted Intersections of Pride: a celebration of living our truths out loud, a critical conversation with wellness leaders Jase Cannon and Oneika Mays led by Eric Mosley in June 2020. Proceeds from the ticket sales were donated to the Ali Forney Center, the most comprehensive program in the nation dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless LGBTQ youth in NYC.
We are living in a big moment with heightened awareness of the injustices that are happening daily to the lives of people in the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. It is important to come together for Pride and talk about the intersection of our identities – personal and collective – and hear from individuals working inside social organizations and institutions pushing for transformation. We’ll talk about their wellness journeys from growing their personal yoga and meditation practices into tools they can use to create social change within prisons and homeless shelters.
This conversation will take place virtually. After registering, you’ll receive a link the day before the event with information for where to tune in. We’ll leave time at the end for open Q&A. Come to listen and speak up.
About our conversation guests.
Eric is a yoga teacher and the founder of Black Mat Yoga NYC, a company committed to ensuring yoga is accessible to every BODY. Eric is a graduate of Morehouse College, Relay Graduate School of Education and Three Sisters Yoga. Eric previously served as the dean of culture at a charter school. After a decade of classroom and school leadership, he has found a new way to educate through yoga. Eric is fiercely dedicated to making sure that people across identities, specifically people of color, feel a sense of representation, community, and acceptance both on and off their mat.
Oneika Mays (LMT, E-RYT, CMT, Reiki Practitioner) transitioned to yoga and meditation from a career in corporate retail over 10 years ago. Oneika used that experience to support social justice non-profits and teach meditation and yoga inside jails. Today, Oneika is the first Mindfulness Coach at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. At Rikers she works one-on-one with community members in a therapeutic/medical setting. Sessions are a combination of modalities and are infused with compassion. These sessions are meant to help people foster resilience. Oneika also facilitates workshops, trainings and retreats around the country centered around resilience, liberation and compassion. Oneika is committed to dismantling whiteness in wellness and other spiritual communities. She believes that meditation and mindfulness practices can forge a path to freedom. Power for the people.
Jase Cannon has worn, and wears, many hats. She is continually evolving in her role in the world, and intersecting her work within diverse communities to build community in New York City and beyond. Jase divides her time between her West Village apartment, the yoga studio where she has a loving following throughout the week, the Ali Forney Center drop-in center in Harlem, and all over NYC in meetings and collaborations with the eclectic people who make up the circle of co-conspirators in the mission to spread loving kindness. Through producing short documentaries about her work and speaking publicly at events, on television, and publishing multimedia accounts of her journey, Jase has cast a wide net in the worlds of wellness, philanthropy, gender studies, and entertainment to bring these elements together and create a powerful platform for ever greater self-expression for all.
About the Ali Forney Center
The Ali Forney Center’s mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.
Their organization’s namesake, Ali Forney, was a gender-nonconforming teen who fled his home at 13. He entered the foster care system where he was bounced around to several homes, and was beaten and abused. Ali ended up living on the streets at the age of 15. Ali was dedicated to helping other young people and publicly advocated for the safety of homeless LGBT youth. Tragically, in December of 1997, Ali was murdered in Harlem.
Committed to saving the lives of LGBTQ young people, in 2002 Carl Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC) in memory of Ali. Since AFC’s launch with just six beds in a church basement, the organization has grown to become the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths in the country—assisting nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program.