Activism: An Antidote to Helplessness

May 11 – June 15, 2022
Wednesdays, 8 - 9:30am (whole group)


May 11 – June 15, 2022

Note: So that we can prepare for the series and explore partnerships, we need to have a minimum of  50 people registered no later than April 11, 2022 to hold the series. 

In this exciting new series, we will apply the skills and consciousness of Nonviolent Communication to social justice work, both learning and taking action together to create a society that works better for people and the planet.

Many of us are finding it so very difficult to engage in conversations across the divides that face us.  How do we connect with our neighbor, who has a political lawn-sign that we oppose?  What do we say to our family member whose attitude toward the COVID vaccine has made us feel less trustful and connected?  How do we advocate against proposed laws that systematically disadvantaged communities from the global majority? Where do we get the courage to knock on doors or make phone calls supporting political causes we believe in, when we know we might be walking into a harsh greeting?

During our six whole-group sessions, we will practice facing engaging in hard-to-have conversations about politically-charged issues, with boldness and compassion. We will also work on taking care of ourselves, understanding our own reactions to conflict, and finding ways to face differences without bringing hardship to ourselves. 

In addition to the whole group sessions, each participant will indicate their preference for one of four Action Groups, centered around the following topics and meeting at the times below (all are listed in Pacific time). We will try to assign each person to their first or second choice.

  • Climate Action,  Tuesdays, 11:00am – 12:30pm
  • Electoral Politics and Voting Justice, Tuesdays, 3:30-5:00pm
  • Racial Justice, Wednesdays, 3:30pm – 5:00pm
  • Restorative Justice, Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:30am

In these sessions, one of the instructors will teach about these particular areas and offer support in engaging in action.  For example, the climate justice group might use the meeting time to become more informed about climate-related issues and also to engage in organizing around these issues. The electoral politics group, as another example, might make calls or write letters related to the 2022 election.  

In addition to the whole group and small group sessions,  all participants are asked to meet an additional time each week in a peer-led gathering, to offer empathic support and to continue collaborating on specific actions.

Again, participation in this course includes three meetings each week for six weeks:

Whole group meetings: Six Wednesdays, May 11 – June 15, 2022
90 minute sessions: 11am – 12:30pm Eastern; 8am – 9:30am Pacific

Action-focused small groups: 90 minute session each week

Climate Action,  Tuesdays, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Electoral Politics and Voting Justice, Tuesdays, 3:30-5:00pm
Racial Justice, Wednesdays, 3:30pm – 5:00pm
Restorative Justice, Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:30am

Empathy and action-focused peer-led groups
60 minute session each week; a variety of times will be offered for self-organized groups

We believe that our time together will contribute to all of our capacity to contribute to creating a better world.  We also are confident that this six week period will give us all a sense of accomplishment to help overcome any helplessness we feel — we will have taken action together on things that matter deeply.

Kathleen Macferran holds a vision for a peaceful, just and sustainable world. She is committed to co-creating a world where peace replaces violence, love replaces hate, equity replaces inequity, and all people live meaningful lives. She has worked as a Certified Trainer for the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) since 2003, and as a CNVC Assessor since 2010 when she co-created a community-based path to certification. Community system building and conflict transformation are passions of hers.Kathleen has worked internationally with individuals, community groups, businesses, schools, colleges, faith-based communities, hospitals, families, prison inmates, and correctional and law enforcement employees. She serves as a trainer for the Freedom Project of Seattle, WA, an organization that supports healing connection and restorative communities both inside and outside prison through the strategies of Nonviolent Communication, mindfulness, racial equity and anti-oppression.

Kathy Simon is passionate about teaching skills for communicating across difference, whether the differences arise across the kitchen table, in the classroom, the boardroom, or across religious, racial, and political divides. With a degree in Literature from Harvard, Kathy began her career as a high school English and drama teacher. She then earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education at Stanford, and directed the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national school- reform organization focused on creating more equitable and vibrant schools. Kathy is the author and co-author of several books on curriculum, teaching, and school reform, including Moral Questions in the Classroom, Teaching as Inquiry, and Choosing Small.A certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, Kathy has been practicing NVC since 1995 teaching it since 2009. For nine years, she led BayNVC’s popular “Living Peace” retreat and Immersion Program. Kathy leads workshops and does coaching in a wide variety of contexts with parents, couples, educators, clergy, and therapists, and for non-profit groups. You can learn more about Kathy’s work at her website,

Roxy Manning’s life experience as an Afro-Caribbean immigrant combined with her academic training and professional work as a licensed clinical psychologist and CNVC Certified Trainer have cultivated a deep passion in her for work that supports social change at the personal, interpersonal, and systemic levels.Roxy is excited whenever she is helping opposing voices hear each other and see past individual hurt and struggles to the structures that contribute to those challenges.

Sarah Peyton, Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and neuroscience educator, integrates brain science and the use of resonant language to heal trauma and nourish self-warmth with exquisite gentleness. She teaches and lectures internationally and is the author of the book “Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain’s Capacity for Healing.”She brings together depth work and self-compassion that integrate Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) with the transformative potential of Nonviolent Communication’s empathy. Sarah is currently at work on a second book, commissioned by W.W.Norton, on the relational neuroscience of the unconscious contracts, and the deep needs that we are meeting with “self-sabotage.”​



Cost:  We offer a sliding scale:

600 – Support those with fewer resources to attend
550 – Support trainer’s sustainability
500 – Requested standard contribution
450 – Discounted rate
300 – Scholarship rate

Our sliding scale is intended to make this event accessible to people of a wide range of income levels. Please choose an amount that reflects your ability to contribute. If the requested sliding scale is not sustainable for you, we invite you to reach out to us below.


We wish to support all people who are passionate about this work to have access to it, independent of their current access to financial resources. We recognize that, because of various social and economic systems, some people experience financial barriers to participating in events with cost-based attendance.

We are explicitly inviting participation by people who come from any of the following communities. We know that when these people are included, all communities benefit:

  • People with visible or invisible disabilities

  • People who do not have white skin privilege and/or who come from communities who have been targets of racism

  • Low-income/Poor or Working class people (please refer to this definition as a guideline when self-identifying in this category)

If you identify as part of one of the communities listed above and would like to be considered for a low-cost space, please email us to apply for a scholarship. Preference will be given to those who are new to this work and who have not attended past events at reduced or no cost.

Scholarship requests? Please email us to request a scholarship.
Questions about this series? Feel free to email us here.

Get the latest events, webinars, and more delivered to your inbox.