Living the Questions: A Civil Rights Elder on Exhaustion and Rest, Spiritual Practice, and the Necessity of Loving Community

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Our colleague Lucas Johnson catches up with one of his mentors, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons. Now a member of the National Council of Elders, she was a teenager when she joined the Mississippi Freedom Summer. She shares what she has learned about exhaustion and self-care, spiritual practice and community, while engaging in civil rights organizing and deep social healing. Dr. Simmons was raised Christian and later converted to the Sufi tradition of Islam.

Lucas Johnson leads The On Being Project's work in social healing as Executive Director of Civil Conversations and Social Healing. He is a community organizer, writer, and a minister in the American Baptist Churches. Read his full bio here.

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons is assistant professor of religion at the University of Florida and a member of the National Council of Elders. Her account of her work as an activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is featured in the book, Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC.

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