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Sonali Sangeeta Balajee

Sonali Sangeeta Balajee is a proud mother, a social artist, organizer, facilitator, mindfulness / yoga instructor, and an emerging health practitioner who works at the intersection of belonging, equity, and deep transformative change. As a social artist and social naturopath, her life work has focused on bringing forward ideas and strategies that speak to wholeness, specifically calling for leading with multiple truths and perspectives required for collective health. To those ends, she strives to elevate the connection between social and spiritual wellbeing, focusing on artistically embodying and animating the web of health, belonging, collective care, and liberation. Sonali’s experience in racial equity, transformative change and decolonizing efforts has been the basis for her work on youth development, environmental justice, and HIV / AIDS-related advocacy and service. Her current advocacy focus is on resource mobilization for projects and initiatives that speak to the social and environmental antidotes our world so desperately needs.

Sonali is a former Senior Fellow at the Othering and Belonging Institute (UC Berkeley). She worked closely with the Othering and Belonging conference, frameworks, and strategies. Sonali spent 13 years in U.S.-based government in Portland, Oregon, innovating in the areas of health equity, policy and systems shift towards justice, and community visioning. Her positions spanned senior policy and program manager positions on equity for both Multnomah County’s Office of Diversity and Equity and the Commission on Children and Families, as well as the City of Portland’s Mayor’s Office. She is the lead author on the racial equity tool and process, the Equity and Empowerment Lens with a racial justice focus within Multnomah County. Sonali has also contributed to national movement-building of racial equity initiatives within government with the Governing Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). Sonali has 20 years’ experience in performance art (dance and music), and 35 years of deep study of yoga and mindfulness, studying their effects in schools, correctional facilities, and on classroom instruction. She served as a Healing Practitioner with the WK Kellogg Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing Initiative, and continues her education in health and healing through studies inspired by Ayurvedic sciences, Contemporary Alexander, and naturopathic efforts.

Sonali is the founder of ‘Our Bodhi Project’, that works in relationship with individuals and groups to create meaningful spaces of learning and strategies for healthy movement-building that centre the ‘whole’ of our experiences as living systems. It is a spiritual and political organising project that honours the sacred relationship we hold with the Earth. Bodhi Project is grounded in the leadership of women of colour with roots from across the globe who proudly carry forward their ancestors' practices focusing on collective health for all living systems. By tuning into interconnectedness, collective imagination, and organization of resources, Bodhi Project helps in accurately understanding how harm happens and the social antidotes that heal and liberate us, while simultaneously sustaining our health. Through the Bodhi Project, Sonali also aims to aid youth development through a partnership between holistic health and equity practitioners, by gathering and mobilizing protest-based artists to create and organize around a frame, by supporting professional and personal development in liberatory practice, and by creating versions / adaptations of the frame specifically for young people.