In 2012, Scarlett’s youngest son Jesse was murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. A tragedy that has forever altered her life. Not wanting her son’s death to become a source of continued hatred and misunderstanding, she knew that she had to forgive to heal. It wasn’t easy, but necessary. The trip to India was a new stepping stone that reaffirmed her belief for cultivating nonviolence and socio-emotional learning in educational curriculum's.
A wrongful conviction at the age of fourteen sent Jason to juvenile hall where he began to act out violently, subsequently joining a local gang in Los Angeles. He bounced in and out of jail for a decade. Ironically, his last conviction and a gift for poetry led him to pursue a life without violence. As a father of two beautiful children, since returning from India, he is even more convinced of the need for providing tools and opportunities to youth to help break the cycle of violence.
Ashara is a parent, independent curator, organizer, and passionate advocate in the Movement for Black Lives. She is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Impact Hub Oakland - an innovation co-working space for social entrepreneurs engaged in building a just society through business development. She passionately works with organizations to build capacity for increased community engagement through the uses of creative arts practice, exhibition, and project management.
Trombonist and award winning music scholar and educator, Angela was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She founded the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music to provide high quality, affordable music education to Oakland citizens. She is presently completing a Doctorate in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Angela is a passionate advocate in the Movement for Black Lives.
DR. SONN SAM
As the Chief Innovation Officer at East Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, Dr. Sam is exposed on a daily basis to youth violence. In regard to the trip to India, he says that he went on the pilgrimage because it was the homeland to two of the most honorable historic figures in history: Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. At their core these two figureheads represent love and compassion. Dr. Sam is the son of genocide survivors from Cambodia and is married with three amazing children.
Linda came to India to support her friend Scarlett Lewis and found the trip very insightful. She was touched by the warmth of the people especially the gratitude that oozed out of everyone including the beggars on the street. Diagnosed with congestive heart failure during her first pregnancy, Linda received a heart transplant on Valentine's Day a decade ago. She writes a letter to her donor's family each a Valentine’s Day. She is a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.